Father Sky Among Indigenous Peoples, continued

In the Aranda-speaking areas of Australia it was believed that the earth and the sky had always existed and had always been the home of Supernatural Beings.  The western Aranda believe that the sky is inhabited by an Emu-footed Great Father who is also the Eternal Youth.  He has dog-footed wives and many sons and daughters and they live on fruits and vegetables in a land that is eternally green and unaffected by droughts. 

Aboriginal Rock Art of a bird-footed being, Ubirr Art Site, Kakadu National Park, (Aranda territory), Australia. Photo by Thomas Schoch on Wikimedia Commons

Through it the Milky Way flows like a broad river and the stars are their campfires.  All these sky dwellers were as old as the stars and death never touched them.  The Great Father of the sky appears as young as his children. 

Death happened only on earth and that happened because connections had been severed between the sky and the earth.  A ladder between earth and heaven, or a great tree, was cut down and so the bridge between earth and heaven was destroyed and death ensued on earth.  Immortality and ageless youth belong to the celestial bodies and Sky Beings.  Through symbols and ceremonies here on earth entrance is gained to the sacred and life-giving world in the sky.

In the Americas, the native peoples had a strong sense of the Great Spirit in both its immanent and transcendent presence and its presence as Father Sky.  For example, Big Thunder of the Algonquin tribe says:

“Great Spirit, Red Road.” Artist unknown.

The Great Spirit is in all things.  He is in the air we breathe. 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.  

Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota people prays to the Great Heavenly Father:

I hope the Great Heavenly Father, who will look down upon us, will give all the tribes His blessing, that we may go forth in peace and live in peace all our days, and that He will look down upon our children and finally lift us far above the earth; and that our Heavenly Father will look upon our children as His children, and that all the tribes may be His children, and as we shake hands to-day upon this broad plain, we may forever live in peace.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 5-7.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Algonquin Peak” Photo by Adam Riquier on Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

Does listening to indigenous peoples’ understandings of Father Sky feed your own journey?  In what ways does it do that?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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10 thoughts on “Father Sky Among Indigenous Peoples, continued”

  1. Avatar

    What I awakened to, within my apprenticeship in Indigenious spirituality was the inter-relational, inter-dependence, and inter-connections of matter and spirit… the sacred unifications of the natural realm and the spiritual realm and the conscious reality of being and living in the Oneness of this. Unfortunately these similar wisdom teachings the Christian Church did have as well, through the writings of the contemplative mystics, however they chose to oppress, suppress and hide this wisdom… labeling it as heretical in order dominate other people’s spiritual growth… fearing a loss of power if these truths were unleashed to the masses. However, now the hidden wisdom teachings of the Christian mystics is being made known, empowering Christians with the truth that is indeed setting us free from patriarchal dominance and their priestly misuse and abuse of power.

    I am grateful for courageous souls, such as Aquinas, Bonaventure, Teilhard, Teresa of Avila, Carolyn Miss, Mathew Fox, Mirabi Starr and Ilia, just to mention a few of the mystics of the past to the present, whom have been dedicated and committed to seeking and finding the truth of that which had been lost to most of us Christians, for so many centuries. These wisdom truths are indeed setting us free, that we may truly learn how to take responsibility and consciously co-creatively participate in our own spiritual growth, with a new awareness of the evolutionary journey of discovering our personal and intimate connections of Oneness… with matter and spirit, the natural realm and the spiritual realm, the divine nature within the sacredness of our humanity, the wholeness and holiness of being and living in deep relationship with the all and the everything, the Great Web of Life, the Great Spirit incarnate in its presence and essence… which maintains and sustains our very existence… the Great Mystery that desires to make itself known to each one personally, experientially, through direct encounter.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, You say, “I am grateful for courageous souls, such as Aquinas, Bonaventure, Teilhard, Teresa of Avila, Carolyn Miss, Mathew Fox, Mirabi Starr and Ilia, just to mention a few of the mystics of the past to the present…” Well, guess what? If you google the number of Catholic saints it says there are over 10,000! I’m sure we should find a few more creation mystics among them if we were to just begin to survey the saints…

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for your thoughts, Jeanette, for pointing out once again that the Christian Church did have mystical teachings scattered throughout its writings and history; as you say “through the writings of the contemplative mystics,” but that the church hierarchy “chose to oppress, suppress and hide this wisdom… labeling it as heretical in order dominate other people’s spiritual growth.” So true. I too am so glad that people like Matthew Fox, Richard Rohr, James Finley, and others are revealing to us the long history of the Rhineland mystics and other “heretics.”

  3. Avatar

    I want to thank you, Matthew Fox for your profound and inspiring messages. I taught your book on Creation Spirituality years ago at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Ma., and have kept up with you ever since. Now your work is more needed than ever. I LOVE this series on toxic vs healthy masculinity! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your courage in speaking the truth, an obvious truth when you think about it, but so hidden by centuries of encrusted, fear-based, death-dealing, toxic, reactionary “thinking.”

  4. Avatar

    Matthew’s reference to Stephen Jay Gould’s comment that human beings are a mere afterthought of the evolutionary process surprised me. My last memory of Gould is a mystic moment he experienced when standing on the porch of Chartres Cathedral meditating on the statue of the patriarch, Abraham. He points out that the statue embraces both metaphors of time, time’s arrow and time’s cycle. Gould’s closing words are a prayerful and playful ejaculation: “Rock a my soul…” He claims to have tried to avoid radical duality in his search for scientific fact, acknowledging that a researcher can never be absolutely objective. [Gould, Time’s Arrow / Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time: 1987, p.208.]

  5. Avatar

    I choose God’s Spirit of Love~Faith~Hope~Creative Oneness, Immanent & Transcendent, with my fellow sisters and brothers on our ongoing spiritual journeys as co-Creators with-in God’s Spirit….! ?❤️?

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