Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What The Ground Says

The last few days have been filled with reports of violence of unnatural and perverted kinds.  Man made and man engendered.  It is at times like this that I look out towards nature and ask, "Is everything all wrong?"  The answer, as some tell us, is blowin' in the wind.  What might it be?  Certainly, the wind, the sky and the earth say different things to each of us, and some of us cannot hear them at all.

This, more than any other, is a time to close our minds, if only for a moment.  To allow ourselves a small respite from the cacophony of cities, discussions of and men and their petty affairs and to look to the spirit for answers.  I quote some Native American voices ( which were recorded as their tribes were dwindling and dying):

"The Great Spirit is our father but the Earth is our mother.  She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us and healing plants she gives us likewise.  If we are wounded, we go to our mother and seek to lay the wounded part against her, to be healed."                           (Big Thunder)

"The Lakota was a true naturist - a lover of nature.  He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age.  The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power.  It was good for the skin to touch the earth and old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.  Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth.  The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew.  The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing.
   Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle.  For the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them and so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
   The old Lakota was wise.  He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans too.  So he kept his youth close to its softening influence."                                          (Chief Luther Standing Bear)

"I wonder if the ground has anything to say?  I wonder if the ground is listening to what is said?  I wonder if the ground would come alive and what is on it?  Though I hear what the ground says.  The ground says, It is the Great Spirit that placed me here.  The Great Spirit tells me to take care of the Indians, to feed them aright.  The Great Spirit appointed the roots to feed the Indians on.  The water says the same thing.  The Great Spirit directs me, Feed the Indians well.  The grass says the same thing, Feed the Indians well.  The ground, water and grass say, The Great Spirit has given us our names.  We have these names and hold these names.  The ground says, The Great Spirit has placed me here to produce all that grows on me, trees and fruit.  The same way the ground says, It was from me man was made.  The Great Spirit, in placing men on the earth, desired them to take good care of the ground and to do each other no harm..."                              (Young Chief)

"Oh, yes, I went to the white man's schools.  I learned to read from school books, newspapers, and the Bible.  But in time I found that these were not enough.  Civilized people depend too much on man-made printed pages.  I turn to the Great Spirit's book which is the whole of his creation.  You can read a big part of that book if you study nature..."                                                   (Tatanga Mani)

"I had learned many English words and could recite part of the Ten Commandments.  I knew how to sleep on a bed, pray to Jesus, comb my hair, eat with a knife and fork, and use a toilet....  I had also learned that a person thinks with his head instead of his heart."                         (Sun Chief)

"The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures and acknowledging unity with the universe of things was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization.  And when native man left off this form of development, his humanization was retarded in growth."                                                                        (Chief Luther Standing Bear)

"What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.  It is  the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the Sunset."          (Crowfoot)

(Quotes from 'Touch The Earth', compiled by T.C. McLuhan)

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