Archives For thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

The Wild Hunt —  November 24, 2016 — Leave a comment

Cornucopia photo by Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

Cornucopia [Photo Credit: Jina Lee/Wikimedia]

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving,a harvest day, or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace. The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook and spend time with loved ones. We offer thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and supports this site. As we move forward from another successful fund drive, you all give us something to be thankful for.

So thank you.

befunky-design3As many people work to figure out how to move forward after one of the most explosive and unnerving presidential elections in recent history, time marches forward into the holiday season. Despite the current complexity of politics in the United States and around the world, this time of the year is most commonly associated with memories and traditions of family, worship, and celebration.

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Public Domain [Pixabay.com]

I have always believed that the magic of any season has the ability to transition us toward healing and wellness, and the magic of traditions helps to frame our varied experiences. With this current political client, this idea could become essential in helping us move forward during a time when life feels so uncertain to many.

“Tradition is one of the most beautiful ideologies we have created and experience as living and loving humans. There is no cookie cutter outline for what your tradition should look like, who you should share it with or how it should grow over time.

Tradition remains one of the few practices that truly belongs to your family and close friends, and allows you to cherish the very valuable memories created with your loved ones over the years.” – Daffnee Cohen, Why We Need to Maintain Family Tradition Huffington Post

Traditions within any context reflect on repeated and meaningful customs or beliefs that often connect us to culture. How one interprets culture, and how one enmeshes the many different variations of culture embraced within one’s spirituality can be very unique and very specific. The intersecting layers of culture that we balance are often reflective of our families, spiritual traditions, racial culture, gender, and regional experiences.

Certain times of year we see many of these pieces come together in a very intricate and beautiful way. November and December happen to be the time of year when we often see such things collide.

Traditions are also important within the intersecting communities of modern Paganism. Much focus is placed on training and passing down information from one source or another to support the practice of our craft. But how important are our holiday traditions and do we see them as important?

I see our cultural and familial practices as magical acts that are just as important as any other. These include: the passing down of tradition to those we love; the sharing of memories that hold reflections of history; the solidifying of cultural norms that enhance our connection to identity, purpose, time, and place. In that way, recipes can act like spells and planned activities like rituals that have the ability to manifest powerful threads of connection.

Some celebrate Thanksgiving in November while others embrace the winter holiday season in December. It is interesting to see how many Pagans connect to the different holidays that are widely celebrated in contemporary society. For the same reason that some Pagans celebrate a secular version of Christmas, many of our Pagan families and cultures continue to celebrate the societal norms of such widely accepted holidays.

[Photo Credit: Crystal Blanton]

Thanksgiving in my home has always been infused with the smells and tastes of collard greens, yams, cornbread, banana pudding, and walnut pumpkin pie. The ritual of cleaning and cooking starts 2-3 days before the holiday – a routine passed down from my grandmother, to my mother, and to me. Recipes and food preparation are as important as any ritual set up, and my grandmother’s memory comes through as we manifest the same traditions year after year.

My family celebrates a spiritual Yule and secular Christmas, opening presents in the morning and spending family time together in the evening. On New Year’s Eve, we all burn the midnight oil until the clock ticks midnight, when we are able to toast to Apple Cider – another long family tradition that we still do every year.

When we are not able to be together, it is tradition for us to call each other right after the New Year rolls in so that we will be together throughout the coming year.

What does it look like for others? What foods, rituals, traditions, and practices are held as sacred throughout the holiday season? How do we create new traditions when those of our past do not serve us? Because there is such a diverse spectrum of Pagan and polytheistic traditions and a wide array of different types of people within our community, I reached out to others to learn what kind of traditions, cultures, practices, memories, and even recipes where cherished at this time.

During Yule we try to stay up all night. Baking. Playing games. Crafts. We do a traditional Christmas as well with presents, tree, decorating. Looking at lights. Lots of family and good good. Like any good ritual. – Chrystie Sargent.

My holiday tradition is to reach out to anyone who might be alone or find family time traumatic. This year a friend who had personal disaster is my Thanksgiving guest; last Christmas Marie and I took a friend whose family is overseas to a movie, and every New Year’s I hold my door open to anyone needing oasis from the pressures and noise of the night. – Diana Rajchel

We hold vigil for the longest night of the year. Staying up and playing games, chatting, movies or whatever. We tend the flame that was lit at dusk. Then just before sunrise we go out and sing up the sun. Everyone lighting a candle to take home with them to carry the energy home.

I also now use a real Yule tree. When it comes down, I shave off the branches and grind the needles to make incense and save the branches for kindling. The trunk I store in my shed until Beltaine. The trunk then becomes the family May pole. The pole once wrapped in ribbons is then stored again until Yule.

When we get the new tree, I pull the May pole out (the previous year’s Yule tree trunk) and cut it up into smaller pieces. Usually about 7-8 inches long. I use one for my own Yule fire and gift the others to friends. – Sabrina H.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC [Photo Credit: Dominique Smith]

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC [Photo Credit: D. Smith]

Quite honestly my tradition is to run away and go on a spiritual adventure. Last year I was in New York for Christmas, I attended midnight mass at St.Peters Cathedral, a Thelemic rite, an eclectic Wiccan rite, and a Wiccan/Heathen rite, I even did a pilgrimage to Salem. This year I’m running away to Cuba to experience Santeria first hand.

I was keen on reconnecting to Catholicism this past year because I had been finally able to let go of the hostility I had towards Christianity, as a whole, and I wanted to experience it with new eyes. It was a beautiful experience and when the man on the pulpit started in with his judgmental dogma I was happy to find myself in only minor annoyance compared to seething rage.

Essentially, these trips allow me to connect with myself, my spirituality and forces experiences I haven’t had before as I do these trips solo and I’m not distracted by others. I also tend to fly by the seat of my pants during these trips as I don’t tend to have any hard schedule and allow the experiences to flow. I’ve met very wonderful folks and had amazing spiritual experiences that would not have been possible if the trips had been overly organized. Spending nine days this year in Cuba by myself, as a woman, who has never traveled off this continent will definitely take me out of my comfort zone. – Dominique Smith

Like Thanksgiving? For us it’s a small sit-down dinner, and the only time I get out the good china and silverware (inherited), and the lace tablecloth, also inherited, but not “real” in that it’s machine washable, which is for the best. Turkey, creamed onions, mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce (both kinds and both from cans), and stuffing, Mrs. Cubbison’s I think.  And gravy, with giblets on the side because I’m the only one who likes them. Husband cooks; I set the table. We go around the table saying what we’re thankful for. We have finally abandoned the familial tradition (both sides) of eating until we hurt.

For Yule, where we used to do Christmas stockings, we now use those 8″ plastic cauldrons. Then, at my parents’ house, we open those gifts (small silly things) first, have breakfast or brunch, and then open other presents. We do Yule as a potluck dinner with friends, and after a ritual battle of the Kings. The party and feast serves as a time for people who want to exchanged gifts. We save family gifts till everyone’s gone. – Ashleen O’Gaea

Some years ago, I purchased a book titled The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I’d like to say that the book is quite good, but truthfully, I haven’t really read it. You see, I’m not super mathematically inclined. Upon the first day that I was looking at the book, I leaned over to ask my more-mathematically inclined partner a question about a formula, and the next thing I knew he was baking bread, and I was enjoying fresh baked bread. Since this is a satisfactory division of labor to me, I never really got around to reading it.

One of the gems from that book is this cornbread recipe. It has been dubbed by my most atheist and scientifically-minded friend as “magic cornbread” and has become a staple in our holiday dinners for the last decade or so. While it’s not a yeast bread like most of the others in the book, it is delicious all the same, and we are frequently asked to bring it to gatherings now.  – Stephanie Kjer

By McKay Savage from London via Wikimedia Commons

[Photo Credit: McKay Savage / Wikimedia]

Mid-winter is the time of the Promise of Life. The plants will bloom again, the birds will sing, creatures great and small will make themselves known once more. The Dark will fade into sunlight. It isn’t here yet, but it will come.

The holiday season is the perfect time to make our own promises. While this is often done at New Years, this is when we feel the need to plan and affirm the actions we will be taking when the warm weather returns in full power. This is when we chart our course for after the thaw of spring releases our languor into animation.

In our family, we take the time to consciously prepare ourselves for the coming year. We have taken the time to remember what has passed at Samhain, to celebrate our present at Thanksgiving. Now is the time to create our futures at Yule. We use the knowledge of the past and resources of the present to conceive our best future, to invest those resources in the next step of our lives. -Kalisara

While something as personal as traditions and culture can be inspirational and empowering, it is also important to acknowledge that not everyone has this same experience with family traditions or with the holiday season. These holidays can be a very challenging time for many people, and this often includes ways to find refuge, solace, and support during this time. All communities have people with a spectrum of experiences and preferences. Therefore, it is important to hold space for this as well.

In moving forward through the next few months, which are inevitably filled with celebrations, expectations, memories, and observances, there is also a unique opportunity to consider what this time of year means for us individually. What holds magic? Which traditions no longer serve us, and which traditions we want to create?

As Thanksgiving fast approaches, I wish everyone a safe, fulfilling, empowering, and magic-filled time. May we all find balance in the traditions we choose. And, maybe even enjoy some these amazing recipes:

Bacon Cornbread
Crystal’s Simple Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Soul Food Collard Greens

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The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.

Whenever I speak about gratitude, I usually get eye rolls. And I do get it. The world is now replete with self-help books expressing its spiritual benefits. It is impossible to get through afternoon talk shows without a sappy, Oprah-anointed guru psychobabbling at us to be better individuals and recognize the importance of being grateful. Then add to that a shared YouTube video showing someone expressing thankfulness sprinkled by a chiffonade of attached Facebook memes dripping with gratitude epithets, and you have a really hard-to-swallow saccharine-dripping torte that would challenge Pollyanna Whittier at the height of her powers. I will squeal with delight if I can be the first to leave that cake out in the rain. Like I said, I really do get it.

Photo Credit: M. Tejeda-Moreno

Photo Credit: M. Tejeda-Moreno

In practice though, I actually make the effort to spend time being grateful. With so many challenges in the world and with all of us facing personal and local difficulties, the feeling of gratitude can be hard to summon. It can be elusive and, even when we’re able to beckon it forward, there is often a sense of guardedness. And for some of us, deadpan cynicism and sarcasm have become so second nature that they overwhelm our ability to reflect on the moment.

It’s as if we are perfectly fine with cynicism, grief, frustration, and anger; but when we get to gratitude, there’s a discomfort. I can only suppose we like to believe that those tough attitudes and emotions harden us for the better. While the soft emotions seem to be socially scripted as expressions of weakness. It really begs the question why we choose to deride feeling warm and fuzzy. But, there once again is the rub. As a scientist, I’ve had to come to grips with a couple of irritating facts: cynical beliefs aren’t so good for me and being grateful has lots of benefits

Cynical beliefs have been studied for some time in different disciplines with the central question being their consequences on the individual. To be clear, this is not skepticism or realism. Rather it is a worldview that others are basically functioning deceptively and are fundamentally untrustworthy while directing their efforts to their own self-interest. It is of course a longstanding philosophical argument about human nature. But psychologists don’t focus on the philosophical. They focus on the empirical consequences on behavior, and, in this case, the measurable effects of cynicism on individual functioning.

With that question in mind, both correlational and experimental studies have led to some challenging findings. Those individuals who approach the world with fundamentally cynical beliefs report a non-trivial set of outcomes including increased mortality (Everson, et al. 1997), dementia, (Neuvonen et al. 2014), and obesity (Bunde & Suls, 2006). Such beliefs also affect work success and overall satisfaction (Leung, 2010).

One recent study by Stavrova & Ehlebracht (2015) tracked several thousand Americans who were stratified based on their cynical belief. What they found was that the more cynical an individual was, the lower the income of that individual over several years. To be clear, not all these studies demonstrated causation between cynicism and a negative outcome. But they do point in a direction suggesting that cynical outlooks are really hazardous to our well-being. The implication, of course, is that cynicism should be moderated. But how?

The answer to that question lies with gratitude. Empirical research on gratitude has shown that it can not only overcome cynical belief but also strengthen us in many ways. Roman Statesman Cicero first noted that “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” And like a parent, it knows how and when to fortify us. It acts as a bulwark against depression, anxiety, cynicism and envy by promoting feelings of well-being and happiness (McCullogh, et al., 2002).

Developing a sense of gratitude has positive effects on sleep patterns and results in increased feelings of serenity. This was demonstrated not merely through self-reports but also through observable changes in the brain visible through neuroimaging (Emmons & McNamara, 2006). And gratitude speeds the building of relationships while nurturing them to deepen our support and understanding of one another (Williams & Barlett,  2015). This is an amazing mix of benefits.

Additionally, gratitude produces effects that have cascading positive outcomes. Grateful people exercise more often and report less physical pain. It also improves self-esteem and increases our resilience in difficult emotional and physical situations. Gratitude even helps us with body-image issues (Emmons, 2008). All of these improve our functioning and our ability to accept our selves and others.

And all of this occurs without ever answering the central question about gratitude: Grateful to whom?

Research suggests that the answer to that question is actually irrelevant in order to receive the benefits of gratitude. There are many ways to show gratitude, and there are many permutations to feeling grateful. But the practice of gratitude does not require a target or a benefactor. There is space for the atheist and the believer. No belief or patron is required. We only need us. Gomez was grateful for Morticia without ever having to wonder much else.

The power of gratitude is that it develops the spiritual strength to recognize the moment and the privilege of experiencing it. Our ability to feel grateful involves us in the here and now, and helps us acknowledge the blessings that come from our connections to one another. That also extends to our connections to other Beings, Spirits and Nature. But gratitude does exist as a powerful human gift in its own right and bluntly one that we so often overlook or, ironically, take for granted.

In the spiritual space, I often feel that gratitude has been appropriated as a virtue exclusive to the Abrahamic religions. I feel our Christian colleagues, for example, seem more comfortable with acknowledging and expressing gratitude. So too in Islam and Judaism, gratitude is at the forefront of worship. While some may not personally internalize their gratefulness, they cannot escape being reminded that it is a virtue, important in practice and central to worship.

Likewise, Hinduism also embraces the centrality of gratitude. One of my best friends growing up was Hindu and his mother reminded us at every festival about the significance of gratitude to the Gods and each other. It is a dharma that is both human and divine. Gratitude was a daily practice and a sensibility to be developed, which ultimately protected us from ourselves.

But, it is easy to forget that we all have our own magic at play here as well. We each have our own reverence and relationship with nature, and our own spirit to harness. Each of us can reclaim gratitude as an asset of our own. The seeds of that strength have already been sown.

For some of us, this time of the year is the fulfillment of our trust in Nature. It is the time when our conviction in the order of the seasons brings forth a harvest that has been ongoing since Lughnasadh and is completed in Samhain. Yet, this time of year is often a moment forgotten because of the many demands on our time and the many events heralded by the first day of autumn.

While fall gets a lot of attention, I personally believe that Mabon really gets the short end of the calendar stick. The autumnal equinox closes out summer and with it the end of vacations and the timelessness that goes with the long days. The remnants of summer slowly shut down from crab shacks to tourist traps. It then turns from sad to hectic quickly. For some of us, the school year begins; for others we prepare for colder weather. From ballet to soccer to football, autumn revs up into full swing quickly filling up our schedules. Some of us, move right into Samhain with decorations, party planning and organizing rituals and events.

My Facebook feed is currently a testament to the rise in posts on Halloween decorations and ritual activity. All the summer white space on my calendar is now a daily rainbow of activities punctuated by “to do” pointers littered across my free time. We become busy again. And with all that, we become unavailable to ourselves.

Just this week, I received a lovely reminder of that point. Just as I finished the first draft of this column, gravity decided to teach me a lesson in gratitude. What started as a tingling on the top of my left foot after an evening run became excruciating pain that had me wrestling with the floor until rescue services arrived. The check-in at the emergency room was not quick enough.

Let me publicly state here that I am apparently an exceptionally unpleasant person when I’m in severe pain. I become unsparingly sarcastic, willful and quite adept at being insufferable. Although my pain kept getting worse, my husband stuck it out with me through the ordeal. When the physician asked about medical history my husband said “insanity runs in the family but you’d never guess it.” With one sentence and a smile, he cut through all the rancor. I calmed down; the pain went down and I even refused Dilaudid. The treatment was made more effective by being grateful my husband was there.

We can be grateful for our medicine and magic, and we can be grateful for the reminders of basic things like health and even the ability to pay for a hospital visit. The counting of what we are grateful for really begins with our relationships and, through both, we produce those powerful effects on which science reports.

Photo Credit:  S. Ciotti

Photo Credit: S. Ciotti

Back to Mabon, this season is a reminder of the promises of gratitude. We sow and harvest both in nature and our relationships. And it really is our holiday. It doesn’t co-mingle with others like Christmas or Easter or even All Saint’s Day. The closest neighbors might be Rosh HaShanah and EId-al-Edhabut with a different meaning. In the Wheel of the Year, Mabon is a time of rest and reflection. It is a day uniquely ours.

As the days grow shorter, we celebrate our accomplishments and are offered a gift to simply be grateful for being present. Mabon invites us to have a nice long chat with ourselves. Mabon invites us to share the harvest and to reflect on how our cynical selves build within us temples to materialism and self-doubt. Mabon invites us to have an optimistic and appreciative conversation that we often reserve for others and rarely reserve for ourselves. It is moment to reframe the many hostilities directed toward us into opportunities for change. Transforming emotional energy is Pagan strength; and gratitude can be a powerful catalyst.

Nature is teaching us that this is a moment of gratitude as well. The harvest is a promise fulfilled; one that began at planting. And while it is a promise kept, there were never any guarantees. There was a lot of hard work. There were moments of doubt. There were torrents of rain and wind as well as drought. And yet the fruits are here. They range from the apples of the fields to the smiles of those we love. We can rejoice in a moment of abundance in both the land and in our relationships. And we can be grateful for them. It is our Thanksgiving.

 

Citations

Bunde, J. & Suls, J. (2006).  A quantitative analysis of the relationship between Cook-Medley Hostility Scale and traditional coronary artery disease risk factors.  Health Psychology, 25, 493-500.

Emmons, R.A . (2008).  Gratitude.  The science and spirit of thankfulness.  In D. Goleman et al. Measuring the immeasurable.  The scientific case for spirituality.  (pp. 121-133). Boulder: Co:  Sounds True.

Everson, et al. (1997).  Hostility and increased risk of mortality and acute myocardial infarction: The mediating role of behavioral risk factors.  American Journal of Epidemiology, 146, 142-152.

McCullogh, M.E., Emmons, R.S. & Tsang, J.A. (2002).  The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.

Neuvonen et al. (2014).  Leate-life cynical distrust,risk of incident dementia, and mortality in a population-based cohort.  Neurology, 82, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000528

Stavrova, O. & Ehlebracht, D. (2015).  Cynical beliefs about human nature and income:   Longitudinal and cross-cultural analyses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000050.

Williams, L.A. & Barlett, M.Y. (2015).  Warm thanks:  Gratitude expression facilitates social affiliation in new relationships via perceived warmth.

 

Happy Thankgiving

The Wild Hunt —  November 26, 2014 — 11 Comments

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace.

The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook, bake and spend time with loved ones. But first, we would like to offer thanks to each and every person who reads, comments, and supports this site. As we move forward from another successful fund drive into the festive season of lights, it is your continued support that brings us back here each day.You have given us a reason to be thankful this season. So thank you!

Public Domain [Pixbay]

Public Domain [Pixbay]

Happy Thanksgiving

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 28, 2013 — 2 Comments

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” – Meister Eckhart

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace. The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook and spend time with loved ones. I’d like to give thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and supports this site. As we move forward from another successful funding drive, you all give us something to be thankful for. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Communal harvest altar at Faerieworlds 2013.

Communal harvest altar at Faerieworlds 2013.

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 22, 2012 — 5 Comments

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace. The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook and spend time with loved ones. I’d like to give thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and supports this blog. As we move forward with our renewed independence, you all give me something to be thankful for. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Cornucopia photo by Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

Cornucopia photo by Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

In the growing darkness of November, the sacred fires are lit by the wisdom keepers of our age!

Thanksgiving TurkeyIt’s Sunday again. Last week, I wrote about the growing popularity of one U.S. holiday – Halloween. Now, a week has passed and, collectively speaking, America has turned its attention to yet another holiday – Thanksgiving. With that shift come new decorations, sacred family traditions, and most importantly, a squeaky-clean mythos involving a big ship, a bunch of Pilgrims, and of course, the “Indians.”

With that in mind let’s consider reversing the thread from last week’s post in which I examined a spiritual holiday going secular. What if we ushered in a secular holiday, Thanksgiving, with a definitively spiritual experience? What if we could reach into that modern American mythos to find a deeper meaning through a connection to the very spirit that resides within these lands? What if we could celebrate that spirit in a traditional way with the elders of the indigenous populations?

Creek Elder Sam Proctor

Sam Proctor
Muskogee (Creek)

This past weekend, the Sacred Fire Foundation made this a real possibility. In Atlanta, Georgia, the Foundation hosted its annual Ancient Wisdom Rising retreat. The annual event is a gathering of community elders from a across the globe who guard that ancient spirit – the one that emanates from deep within the Earth. Each year, these wisdom keepers come together to share their stories, offer counsel, and demonstrate the ancient traditions that have survived for centuries.

Over the years the retreat has been held in a variety of locations including California, Washington State and New York. This year the event was back on the East Coast. Coming to Georgia, specifically, was a powerful choice for the Foundation because it paved the way for a spiritual and ancestral reunion for one of the visiting elders: Sam Proctor. As written by their Board of directors:

“Almost two centuries since the removal of his People from Georgia, Mr. Sam Proctor, respected Muscogee (Creek) spiritual leader from Oklahoma, returns to the shores of the Chattahoochee River to share his message of peace and time-tested wisdom about a heart-centered way of living.”  (From Ancient Wisdom Rising, September Newsletter)

Marie Junaluska

Marie Junaluska
Cherokee Elder

After visiting the retreat site near the banks of the Chattahoochee, Mr. Proctor said, “The Ancestors are still here.” During the weekend, he shared Muskogee traditions and, with other members of the Muskogee Nation, led a traditional Social Fire Dance welcoming the attendees to the land of his ancestors.

Joining him was Marie Junaluska, a Cherokee elder living in Western North Carolina and Kevin Welch, Cherokee Master Gardener. Their people’s ancestral heritage can be traced to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, Western North Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee. Like the Creek, the Cherokee were forcibly removed from Georgia and made to walk the infamous, “Trail of Tears.” Despite this painful history, the Cherokee spirit lives on.  Ms. Junaluska has been sharing, teaching and passing on the Cherokee culture and traditions for over thirty years.  And, Kevin Welch speaks out for the preservation of heirloom plants and growing techniques native to this Southern landscape and the Cherokee people.

Grandmother Walking Thunder

Grandma Walking Thunder
Navajo Medicine Woman

In addition, Ancient Wisdom Rising welcomed two other elders from North American indigenous cultures. Grandmother Walking Thunder, a healer and sand painter, shared the spirit of the Dine’ Medicine People (Navajo) and her experiences as a medicine woman. Coming from Alaska, Larry Merculieff of the Aleut Peoples shared the Aleutian teachings on the Oneness with Nature and the Great Womb of life. He is a one of the last Aleuts to be fully raised in the traditional way.

Larry Merculieff Speaks:

The Sacred Fire Foundation also invited wisdom keepers from cultures originating outside of the U.S. Sobonfu Some’ of the Dagara Peoples of West Africa’s Brukina Faso shared the traditions of her people.

From Southern Asian traditions, Marcy Vaughn, a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, led a visualization and a talk on compassion. And, Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami, a Sufi from Pakistan and a 17th generation musician, shared the healing powers of sound and music.

 

Marcy Vaughn

Marcy Vaughn
Tibetan Buddhism and Bon

Not everyone has the opportunity to attend a comprehensive inter-spiritual event like this. However, in reading the stories and watching the videos, it is possible to understand why these elders are reaching out to help humanity through their ancient traditions. More importantly, it is possible to understand how their teachings can help us rediscover our own connection to the Earth and benefit our journey, no matter what the path.

Once again, my thoughts return to the secular Thanksgiving – a holiday that focuses on community, compassion, tradition, and natural abundance. Can we re-sculpt the mythos to breathe a new spiritual life into that holiday? The story centers on an indigenous population, the “Indians,” teaching the new inhabitants, the Pilgrims, about the land and its creatures. It ends in a peaceful shared community feast that we now replicate every November.

Can we bring the spiritual into the secular? Can we transform this myth to focus on the teachings of the wisdom keepers who strive to bring humanity back into balance with Nature? Can we rededicate Thanksgiving to that ever sacred and shared wisdom that passes effortlessly from hand-to-hand, from drum beat to drum beat, from the heart to the heart through the eternal spirit fires of this wonderful Earth? And what if we did….

 

Earth

Courtesy: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

 

An Aside: I realize that there may be some readers who are not well-versed in Native American history, specifically that of the South East, or know much about Thanksgiving. Click on the following links for quick background reads:

About Thanksgiving from The History Channel
Native Americans in Georgia: Link Page with lots of Information. Or, go directly to the Cherokee‘s or Muscogee‘s site.

Happy Thanksgiving

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 24, 2011 — 4 Comments

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace. The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook and spend time with loved ones. I’d like to give thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and supports this blog. All of you give me something to be thankful for.

Cornucopia photo by Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

Cornucopia photo by Jina Lee @ Wikimedia Commons

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 25, 2010 — 2 Comments

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace. The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook and spend time with loved ones. I’d like to give thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and supports this blog. All of you give me something to be thankful for.

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 26, 2009 — 20 Comments

Whether this is a day of thanksgiving or mourning (or even “unthanksgiving”) for you and yours, may you find contentment, happiness, and peace. The Wild Hunt will be taking the rest of the day off to cook and spend time with loved ones. I’d like to give thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and supports this blog. All of you give me something to be thankful for.

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.