In yesterday’s DM I shared the story of Buck Ghosthorse who was kidnapped as a child from his reservation and whose life is a story of turning evil to good.
In my book on The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, I share his story in the chapter on the “Spiritual Warrior,” for he was that. And I also elaborate on his amazing funeral.
There is so much to learn from indigenous people. They are wise in many ways that the modern world has shunned including ways of ritual and ceremony, of rites of passage and alternative manner of dealing with grief and with celebration.
Many people I know have profited profoundly from sweat lodges and vision quests, from Sundances and ceremonial chants. Jung said he never worked with a North American at the level of spirituality when he did not find an Indian inside. We have more indigenous blood and soul in us than we ever thought. We need to respect that and to nourish it.
It is not enough to ask forgiveness of indigenous peoples for the way the modern world treated them. We must also ask them to teach us. It is not that we do not have something to teach them also; it is simply that they represent so much of the shadow side of western culture that for us to be whole, a deeper marriage has to ensue between the indigenous and the post-modern. This does not mean that the dominant culture overcomes or destroys the indigenous ways still another time or steals from them. It is about listening and paying attention and learning.
A special happening occurred to me at Buck’s funeral when I was honored to be the last elder to speak about Buck. We were outdoors and the rain was falling gently from the sky and I said: “Good, Father Sky is crying. I don’t have to. And the Earth can absorb my grief as I stand on her.” And so it was.
When I stood up and spoke I had a powerful experience I have never had before—I felt my words were not coming from my mouth at all but directly from my chest. I was talking directly from my heart and Father Sky from above and Mother Earth from below were holding me.
It was one more special gift that the Native People have given to me in dances, sweats, vision quests, ceremonies, teaching, laughing, eating and just plain hanging out.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 264-266. See also, pp. 75, 84-88, 93, 95, 141.
And D. Schindler, MD, Flying Horse: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound (Santa Ynez, Ca: Tribal Eye 2020)
Banner Image: Sage is one of the four sacred medicines indigenous to Turtle Island that is used for ceremonies, particularly ceremonies of cleansing, renewal, and transformation. Photo by Ginny Rose Stewart on Unsplash.
Queries for Contemplation
What experiences have you had of sitting at the feet of indigenous teachers or participating in ceremonies they lead?
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
By Donna Schindler, MD; Foreword by Matthew Fox
A white psychiatrist shares the truths she has learned about historical trauma in this book which has been called ‘prophetic’ by Reverend Matthew Fox. Starting with her childhood in South Texas and Bermuda, she takes us on a journey during which she had to confront her own racial biases and denial of the truth in order to work as a cross-cultural psychiatrist with a Maori mental health team in New Zealand, the Navajo Nation and California Native Americans.