Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seekers of American Indian Spirituality.

Fred "Coyote" Downing, Photo by Kim Sallaway

Because I am so deeply interested in the early history of the north coast, and in particular, the Eel River canyon, I get a lot of questions about the Indian people, their culture, and mostly their spirituality. I often just answer privately that I’m not an expert on Indian culture, and I’m definitely not the one to ask about religion.

We have covered many Indian stories here, that could be interesting to some seekers, but mostly I have not rendered any expert opinion. I am the one that only believes in tangibles, remember? However, I’ve often said that the beliefs of the north coast Indians come the closest to something that I could believe in. Their beliefs seem to me to be more real than anything else. The Indian people see the world around them, they see the seasons, the mountains, the fish and the animals, these real things of the Earth are included in their beliefs. They pray for renewal and restoration, as in The White Deer Dance of the Hupa Indians of The Klamath.

In the past, the Indians sought renewal in their everyday actions. The burning of the north coast brush was a way of renewing the brush and reeds that they used in basket making. The burning renewed their food supply by ridding the acorn oak trees of bugs and competing brush. Their every spiritual focus seemed to be in a circular cycle, like in what goes around comes around. The Ghost Dance was a prayer ceremony that the Indians used to pray that things would come around the circle and there would be no more white man on their land in the coming seasons. So, their religion seemed to be in a circular path.

The Christian religion is linear, you are born, God gives you a spirit, you live your life on this Earth in Gods service, then your reward is to die and get to go to heaven for ever and ever. I think they call it “eternity”.

I have recently received some mail from some people seeking spiritual answer, and I know that there are people more qualified than I in giving these answers. When I think of the North Coast Indian Spiritual leaders I think of people like Fred “Coyote” Downing, who does the opening ceremonial blessing of some of the festivals of the north coast. As I watch the blessings, I often wonder how much is original "north coast", and how much is simply American Indian culture blended into a modern ceremony. For instance, the dream catcher is Chipawa Indian, but all indians make one now.

What I am going to do is post some of my correspondence, and hopefully some of you will have advice for these “Spiritual Seekers”:

Dear Ernie,
Hi; my name is Delphine, I am a 37 year old French girl and I got your email while surfing on the net .

To make a long story short, I went to California the 1st time as a foreign exchange student when I was 17, coming back ever since whenever I could, having met some wonderful people I call my 'other' family.

The first time I went, well ... I had to. I don't know how to explain it but I had to!

NB: I am 1/4 Spanish on my father's side and a few years ago discovered that one of the missionaries who founded the several Californian missions was from my island, Mallorca: Juniperro Serra. I guess that is what drove me there .

But today, I am writing you this mail because, OF COURSE, I am coming back to visit my family (in July 2011)!

I am taking my 10 year old son with me for them to meet. I am trying to think ahead (yes, I know ... but time just flies you know!!) about things and sights that might be of any interest to him ... and natural parks and places will mostly do it.

As for my own interets, I would like to go to places where there is a lot of spiritual energy, mainly from ancient Indian tribes ... and that is why I am writing you this mail.

While surfing, I have discovered there are a lot of tribes, ancient territories, museums, etc. But that is not what I am interested in .

I will be living in Penn Valley and was wondering if there was any place in that area you can point out for me, that I could go to, respectful of Mother Nature and the Indian Past (healing places or centers of energy, you know: that kind of place), that you know of/or have heard of, even if it is just walking among trees in a small forest.

And if you are not familiar with what I am interested in, maybe you know someone who knows someone, ...

Thank you very much for your time and the interest you will put in answering my question.
Delphine .

Answer:
Dear Delphine


I am a member of the local Rotary Club and we have sponsored many exchange students. Many students and hosts form permanent bonds that last through the years. I’m glad to hear that you are traveling back stateside, and I hope that you enjoy your visit here. As you already know the student exchange program is the very best hope in this world for peace and understanding.

Now that I’ve done my Rotary commercial, I will try to answer your questions. If there is a God, he lives in the Redwood forests of northern California. My favorite redwood grove is The Founders Grove located on highway 101, @100 miles north of Ukiah. It is simple to get there from Penn Valley. Simply drive west on highway 20, Penn Valley's main highway, until you come to hwy 101, go north to Dyerville, and you are there. (About 4 to 5 hours) The best time to visit is May, because everything is in full green foliage and bloom, but not to discourage you, any experience in a redwood forest is memorable. It is one of the most deeply spiritual experiences that you will ever have. Rain or shine. But stay out of a redwood forest in the wind. The falling limbs will kill you.

My favorite Indian tribe lives right here in southern Humboldt, the "Wailaki". They are my favorite tribe for a lot of reasons that I will leave for later. The Indian people of Southern California were steeped in the Catholic culture for years before the northern California Indians even saw a white man. Your countryman, Father Juniperro Serra started the California Missions in 1768, the Franciscans had a stifling influence on the Indian culture. However, the Northern California Indians lost much of their culture, later, from the California Gold Rush influence, (1849) but much of their history, culture, and spirit remains.

What I hope you will do is give me permission to post your letter with some others similar to yours and let my blog readers make recommendations to you.

Thank-you for writing me!
Ernie

Her reply:

Dear Ernie,
Well, THANK YOU very much for that quick reponse to my mail: it was so nice of you to take the time !

... And thanks for the Rotary commercial talk because from my own experience, everything you wrote is right: going away that first time just opened my eyes, discovering that no country was better or worse than the other, its people just being ... wait for it: DIFFERENT, that's all.

... But knowing also that we are mainly all a piece of God.

I am really into Indian 'things' right now:

- I am reading "1000 white women" from Jim FERGUS and what you wrote about the history of Indians in California made sense to me;

- I am doing a healing session next Saturday (all day long) with a chaman and there will be Indian songs, dances and drums- I can't wait !

- I am also making my very own "dream catcher": I have been taking clay classes for the past 3 years and I am used to model my own stuff (little stars, hearts, Christmas stuffing, etc); also, last summer, I met a lady in Mallorca who taught how to make rope out off palm leaves ... and I am in a desesperate need to touch, feel, be in the presence of and therefore will be buying very soon some rock crystal stones, don't ask me why! So it will be my very own special unique dream catcher made with these things !

Thank you for all the detailed directions ... now I have to study the map and see if I can make it there !

But I am sure my son will also be delighted to go to that spiritual place .

Yes, of course you can post my letter on your blog; I will be more than happy to get more recommendations .
Take care!
Delphine :-).

Then I also got this letter from another person:
Dear Ernie
Hi, i came across your blog when looking up pictures on eel river, and i saw somewhere you said the people who live on eel river have great wisdom.


What do you know about the indians or who ever it is that live there? I was always curious if there were spiritually enlightened groups in the humboldt area, but it seems all the natives here are all modernized and know nothing of the ancient knowledge their ancestors must have had. They just live easy on the government checks and get lost in western science like the elite want them too.
Tommy Hadley

I replied to him:
Tommy


Can I make your letter into a post? I think that you will find some amazing answers to your questions. But, to make it short, many Indian people have lost their culture, but not all are satisfied to "Live easy on their government checks". I think that you will find that not many of them "get lost".

Are you any relation to the Eel River Hadleys?
Ernie

His reply:
Sure you can post it.


I have always loved ancient groups with spiritual knowledge. Like the Javanese people of indonesia. I just find it hard to believe the natives here are spiritual. But i don't know much about the native history here in humboldt county.

I'm in search of an enlightened master. Doesn't sound like much, but finding an enlightened master is very hard. Many think they are enlightened but 98% aren't. The only way you can tell is if their aura is golden.

Sadly, most of the world population don't even see other peoples auras because they have be blind by material things like western science.

And my last name is hadley indeed, but what do you mean by the eel river hadleys? I know of 1 other hadley family here, but i always thought my last name was unique, and somewhat rare with a great history.

Tom

So that's it... I think that these people are honest seekers of a spiritaul path, but I would be less than honest to say that I would be the best to guide them, unless they are seeking the deep spiritual feeling that I get from living in the Eel River Canyon, but that is beyond my ability to expain.
 
So, all you wise people out there that are looking for fresh minds to guide and mold, this is your chance.

Some very interesting links:
Ghost Dance
Major Ervin A. Hadley
Current Two-Rivers Tribune
Wailaki tribe
Seeking Native American Spirituality? Read This First!

Local Indian Petroglyphs, Photo by Robin Shelley







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57 comments:

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay, I didn't want to be "firsties" but you guys had your chance.

One of the things that I like about the Wailaki Indian tribe is that they voted that they didn't want to become "casino Indians" for the sake of the tribe, and their culture. I sincerely believe that they are right. Most of them have jobs, and pretty much blend with the rest of us, but they still maintain their tribal meetings and culture. Many of them are my friends, and some of them are my relatives.

The local Indians show a bunch of wisdom.

Johnathan Wilson said...

My family was a bunch of Indian fighters from what i have been told, but I always enjoy looking for arrowheads. From what my dad has told me the original Wilson homestead in Laytonville was the Indian village. I dont know if thats true, but I have found alot of broken arrowheads there, and Peggy Nyhen has a can full of arrowheads that were found there. North of Laytonville where we still own property from the old Wilsons there are a couple sites where there are arrowheads and other Indian sign. The Indian rock is also right next to our fence so I enjoy to go look at that as well.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi Johnathn
Is that the rock almost stright accross from the CDF station, were they chipped arrowheads?

Johnathan Wilson said...

No it i not, this rock is right along spy rock road before the school. It is absolutely covered with petroglyphs. Sorry i didnt include that in my post.

Robin Shelley said...

You have some pictures of that rock, Ernie. Right?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thank-you Robin, and Jonathan, for pointing that out to me. I guess that rock would be a point of great Indian signifigance.

However, I not sure how "Spiritual" it is. My cousin Jim Newland told me that he thought the little Indian kids probably got in a bunch of trouble when the elders found out that they had scratched up that rock.

I included a photo in the original post, at the bottom.

Johnathan Wilson said...

Apparently some people think it is spiritual, the tree next to it is usually covered in beads and other things. I try and clean it up every time i go up to it but people keep dumping stuff on it.

If you go up to and take some close looks and try to make things out it can be pretty cool. Im not sure what the spirals are but there's one part on it with a bear track and what looks like a person next to it (very faded), maybe symbolizing a bear taking kids away?

Bud Bowman, who used to chase bears on our property found a rock face with petroglyphs on it when he was chasing bears. Sadly he couldnt remember where it was.

Eric Kirk said...

Great post Ernie. Thanks!

spyrock said...

"Be drawn into world of rushing rivers and blackberry wine, of ancient forests and barroom seductions, of maidenhair and heroin. This is the vibrant vocabulary of Shaunna McCovey, a member of the Yurok Indian tribe, whose poetry captures the day-to-day struggle of northwestern California’s native people. With a voice as varied as her subjects, McCovey’s elegies, songs, and polemics are a necessary addition to the poetic language of California.
About the Author
Shaunna Oteka McCovey (Yurok/Karuk) wrote her first poem at the age of six while growing up on the Yurok Indian reservation in northern California. She holds master’s degrees in social work and environmental law and a juris doctorate from Vermont Law School. Her poems have appeared in News from Native California, Through the Eye of the Deer, and The Dirt is Red Here.
It began upriver at Katamiin where the people danced themselves into existence,danced themselves right out of the ground into this world of love and hope and loss, and love and hope and loss, and love..."

this sounds like she is the chosen medicine woman. i read "medicine trails" by mavis mccovey this year which revealed much about native california indian medicine. mavis was chosen as a little girl to learn the medicine ways from the grandmothers of her tribe or in this case tribes. maybe shaunna is the same person. it seems her newest project is to create a marine sanctuary along the coast of their tribal land.
April 15, 2010 11:32 PM
the book medicine trails can be bought on amazon. most indian spirituality these days is passed on by mixed bloods or metis. the pure bloods rarely reveal their songs or spritual practices to others.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Spy
I have noticed that more women are becomeing business and spiritual leaders.... As men, do we have anything to worry about here?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with successful women as long as they keep wood on the porch.

Oregon

Robin Shelley said...

A friend of mine originally from Iowa just got back from a few day trip down the coast to S.F. & back. Out of all the places she saw, she "loved" Garberville the most. The hemp signs & pot paraphernalia openly displayed in the stores made her giggle (she thought "hemp" must be a "politically correct" term) & she thought all the "reggae & hippie-types" were "wonderful". Not a word about the Eel River, rolling hills, Ernie or even Benbow... but she sure did love Garberville. I'll bet she goes back.

spyrock said...

thanks ernie, i for one agree with oregon, as long as she keeps wood on the porch. i would like to add, as long as she can stoke that fire. i've met a few of them and at my age, just in time.
the reason why women have become the keepers of so many different tribes spiritual tradtions was decided for them back in the 1800s when so many of the men were getting killed. they figured that a woman had a better chance of survival and would meet with less resistance and that the medicine teachings would have a better chance of being passed on to future generations through them. i actually have some thoughts about this as i have learned that it is very difficult for a man to know these teachings nowadays. there seem to be a lot of people who don't want these teachings out there. i was going along just fine when some teachers taught me some of the medicine wheels. afterwards, it was like slamming on the breaks for a herd of buffalo to pass through gawking at you saying who do you think you are, this is our red road. i think these teachings are meant for women to carry until things change. when that will be i have no idea. i just sorta feel i'm in quicksand about this, so i'm just inching my way out. what is interesting is that this french woman wants to know these things. i've met french women, danish women, german women, english women, japanese women, and american women who are drawn to these teachings right now. it's just what's in the air.

Ben said...

There are many decent books on Northern California Native spirituality and some not so decent. "Medicine Trails" is really good. The best one I'm aware of is "Standing Ground" by Thomas Buckley. It is the real thing. Read it.
A well known Karuk author and elder tells how he went to his grandmother and asked: "Gram, what is this thing you call Creator?" She looked surprised and said: "Don't you know?... It's everything... It's everything."
The linguist and author Jaime de Angulo was once asked about Indian "religion". He replied that Indians lived their religion every day, all day, and that hey were surrounded by the Spirit of the whole earth.
Buckley's title, "Standing Ground" translates from the Yurok word for mountain. The mountain stands. It is a living thing.

olmanriver said...

Great post Ernie and commenters, thanks.

spyrock said...

thanks beo for turning me on to another book. stuck here in the quicksand, i've got plenty of time to read. it was ben who told me about medicine trails.

spyrock said...

beo of course was supposed to be bro. but then again maybe beowolf means brother wolf...

Ekovox said...

the Hupa Indians of The Klamath.

Ernie, if I may, The Hupa Indians are of the Trinity River. The Yurok and Karuk were of the lower Klamath River region. The Hupa people's territory bordered the Klamath, but were based upon the lower Trinity River. I know that is a petty correction, but you're talking about my stomping grounds.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Eko
It crossed my mind when I said that, that I was in the wrong river. I appreciate the correction. It might seem like very little difference to some folks, but when you are talking about a person home, it makes a big difference, and it should be right. I stand corrected.
Thanks
Ernie

Ernie Branscomb said...

I was talking to a person today that pointed out that Peyote, Marijuana, tobacco and other sacraments are a big part of the Indian rituals. Vision quests, starvation, and sweat lodge sweats are all part of their religion. Dancing until you drop is another part of their rituals. It must be tough to be a religious Indian!

I like my religion, If you can’t hit it with a hammer it ain’t real. Pass me another beer.

olmanriver said...

Ernie, whilst fasting may seem like starving to those used to three square meals...really it is just fasting.
Nit, nit, pick, pick.

Anonymous said...

I never heard a Yurok claim to be related to a Hupa.
"He ain't no cousin of mine".

Oregon

Ekovox said...

It's ok Ernie, historians make mistakes...except few recognize the mistake and then apologize for it.

Ben said...

I know brothers who are registered, one Hupa and one Yurok. These days, about everyone on the "Rivers" is related.

Anonymous said...

Oregon,somehow i'm related to Goforths&Graviers,But I don't "claim" it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:01,
I rest my case.

Oregon

spyrock said...

ben franklin invented the word american to bring the colonies together to overcome british rule.
americans were the ones who won that war and every other war since on this land. he did that to unite all the various peoples from different nations that had immigrated here. the concept was borrowed from the indian idea of confederation which was in existance at the time. that is how we identified as one people and became a strong nation.
they should outlaw distictions such as afro american, mexican american, asian american, etc. which serve the special interests of these various groups. these distinctions separate and divide us as americans. america, love it or leave it, that's what the working man would say. and make it against the law and put in prison those corporate executives who send our jobs over seas. you know, like meg whitman.

Anonymous said...

If I lived in Calif. I would vote for Meg. In a heart beat.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:27 was Oregon. I don't know how I missed not saying so.
Go Meg!!!

Oregon

spyrock said...

I was talking to a person today that pointed out that Peyote, Marijuana, tobacco and other sacraments are a big part of the Indian rituals. Vision quests, starvation, and sweat lodge sweats are all part of their religion. Dancing until you drop is another part of their rituals. It must be tough to be a religious Indian!

one of the elders i have met, suzy archeleta of the taos pueblo, was 97 years old and still knew the songs of her people. she sang them for us even though most of us were white americans or european.
she talked about being forced as a child to go to the indian school in sante fe and when they cut off her braids her mother wouldn't let her go back. outwardly, she was catholic from the spanish occupation and this was more acceptable to the americans who came later. the massacre at wounded knee was because the indians were practicing their religion in the form of a ghost dance. so yes, its very dangerous for native americans to practice their religion. and just fyi, we only know about 1 percent of what its really all about. and nobody is giving this away for free. so enjoy your beer. you might as well.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Spy
“it must be tough being a religious Indian”
I didn’t mean to be offensive, just observing. It always seemed to me that suffering was a big part of ALL religions. Father Juniperro Serra broke his leg and continued to walk on it and was crippled for life. The reason that he did that was to remind himself, and give example, of the suffering that Christ went through for “us”. To us “ wonder whys” that seems a little strange. To us “wonder whys” skipping a meal or a good glass of beer seems a little strange.

The thing that us “wonder whys” can quite get is why so many people of the world seek religion, or spirituality when we are all surrounded by it, all we have to do is let it in. Walk through a forest, lift your head to a night sky, roll in a field of fresh bloomed meadow foam, pick wildflowers for your lover. You don’t need to starve or punish yourself in strange ways, for strange reasons, on the twice told tale that somebody else did it. It reminds me of my mother who used to say “If somebody jumped over a cliff, it doesn’t mean that you should”.

Ernie Branscomb said...

So... Where is Suzy Blah Blah when you need a metaphore about life imitating art. Or what ever religion really is???

suzy blah blah said...

Nice post Ernie.

To your corespondents:
does your life have a purpose?
what is it?
does it have meaning?

Anonymous said...

Another quiz...cewl, those fifteen question ones are tooo long.
A) yes
B) it is it
C) yes

How did I do? I think I got 2 our of 3, had to guess on the second one.

Anonariver

suzy blah blah said...

Sorry, The questions are not meant as a joke, even though your flip attitude and deprecatory reply seem to want to reduce them to such.

olmanriver said...

Then I apologize for not staying serious.

spyrock said...

suzy blah blah does sort of remind me of susie archeleta. i mean this 97 year old woman played that drum hard and sang that song loud and we were dancing to it moving in a circle and she didn't want to stop. she was loving it.
as far as those questions go, yes, they are very similiar to some questions dove is thinking about right now for a medicine class. she calls it her homework. but i can't tell you what the questions are, but they are very similiar to suzy's maybe susie blah blah is a medicine woman. susie archeleta died a couple of years ago so maybe susie blah blah took her spot.

o said...

Double apology fer interfering where you were going with that Suzy.

spyrock said...

i'm with you about the punishment stuff ernie. being the school principals kid used to just mean that she would practice on me real good before she would whup on the kids at school. just to make sure she got it right. i had to explain some welts she gave me to the school nurse. i think i told her that i fell in the bryer patch. you know brer rabbit. i've never done a sweat lodge although i know quite a few people who know how to do them and one who has them every full moon. i like the sweat lodge at the best western cause it's right next to the pool. i sort of rotate from the pool to the spa to the sauna or steam bath. i have done a sun dance but just the baby kind. no flesh tearing. i think it's the sun dance for seniors because you get lots of breaks and you can play the drum or sit and support instead of dance all the time. but i did focus on the task at hand.
as far as a vision quest goes. i went on one in the boy scouts as punishment for not being able to put my tent up in the frozen snow. they told me to keep on walking down this dark road in the forest until they told me to come back.
i got sick walking in the cold and snow and they took me back home where i saw gordie howe and the montreal canadians with a canadian named dick alverson playing with them who turned out to be the absent father of my future british wife of 25 years. dick was there during world war 2 and met my ex mother in law who was an ice skater. so it did turn out to be a vision quest after all.
i think what you are talking about is more of an initiation or a guantlet run that they willing to show white people. the 49ers thought up the same thing and called it the clampers. you get intiated once and then once a year they all get drunk and initiate the newcomers every year after that. that sounds right up your alley.

Anonymous said...

If anybody wants to sweat and maybe have a religious experience come on up, I have 10 truck loads of wood that needs to be split.

Oregon

suzy blah blah said...

maybe susie blah blah is a medicine woman. susie archeleta died a couple of years ago so maybe susie blah blah took her spot.

LOL! No way Spy. But thank you.

... they took me back home where i saw gordie howe and the montreal canadians with a canadian named dick alverson playing with them who turned out to be the absent father of my future british wife of 25 years. dick was there during world war 2 and met my ex mother in law who was an ice skater. so it did turn out to be a vision quest after all.

I guess something like that could be meaningless or very meaningful, depending on how you feel about it. There was obviously some real suffering. It is very difficult for children sometimes, we don't always realize the extent. We are deeper beings than we imagine we are. I think it's a totally awesome vision.

suzy blah blah said...

Love you omr.

ox,
s

Robin Shelley said...

Kind of like OMaR, I was tempted to be flip with Suzy's questions & just say no. But then I thought (believe it or not!) that her questions were food for thought & not meant to be answered at all - at least, not here. Since I'm not one for much navel-contemplating anymore I guess I'll have to help Oregon split that wood instead.

Tom Hadley said...

Thanks for all the information guys.
But i'm looking for information on a spiritually enlightened group from which i can learn from. But i'm afraid most people don't know what it means to be spiritually enlightened.
I feel that the only place i can go for what i'm looking for is Tibet. Or Java in Indonesia. I don't feel the native Americans are at all spiritual anymore. They may try to be spiritual but theres a difference in what i'm looking for.
It's very hard to explain in a language designed for physical things. sorry.

spyrock said...

its very interesting that you mention tibet which is occupied by the chinese at the present moment. its also interesting that you don't see native americans as spiritual. actually, there was some debate between the early spanish explorers and the pope as to whether the indians were human or animal and whether or not they had a soul at all. so you are certainly not the first european to not be impressed by native americans. not to mention the genocide financed by the state of california and the federal government that totally eradicated some tribes.
but all paths lead to enlightenment. the day of the guru is over. but if you feel drawn to the buddist tradition, i would recommend you read siddartha by herman heese and any of the lobsang rampa books about tibet if you can find them. you should also go to java and see that city that was covered up by volcanic ash for centuries and is one huge mandalla. eat pray love seems to have gotten to a few people out there. also, its not the man with the golden aura who is enlightened. its the one who can see the golden aura in everyone and everything, even native americans.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Spy
Well said. I like that you gave options in the path that Tom asked for.

Like you, I feel that the path to spirituality is within us. I don't believe in any sentient God that watches over everything, but deeply feel the connectedness between Man and nature. That’s where I find my spirituality.

suzy blah blah said...

the day of the guru is over

We find ourselves here in our day to day life very much involved in this grossly materialistic culture. Sometimes we feel a yearning for something more spiritual, something meaningful on a deeper level. Sometimes we say, this place I am at is just terrible and the people are so awful, so I'm going to just get rid of everything. Sure, you can do that. Then you get more and more isolated. You feel that you don't fit in, etc. So you say, I am going to go to Tibet, or Java, or wherever, to seek enlightenment ... but, that is missing the point. We are where we are to face the challenges of here and now. You are here to learn the lessons of life HERE --of love and hate, of happiness and sadness, of success and failure, etc.

But some folks say they want to be spiritually enlightened, which is all very nice except that you are afraid to die. We fight for life but Spirit is death. When you die you go to Spirit. And, dare I say it, the aged traditional rituals can take you to spirit too. In ceremony one dies, or that is to say, "who you think you are" dies, ie your ego dies. It's called the little death, the ego defers and you go to Spirit. Spirit is formless. There is no "us and them". One experiences a transcendence of us and them, a transcendence of enlightenment and unenlightenment. Or as Spy says, you can see the golden aura surrounding everyone.

I don't believe in any sentient God that watches over everything, but deeply feel the connectedness between Man and nature.

I relate to this. One doesn't have to believe in life. Life is right HERE. One needs to learn to appreciate life, to respect life. To celebrate life!

Anonymous said...

I agree Suzy, but what about my wood pile?

Oregon

Ernie Branscomb said...

“One needs to learn to appreciate life, to respect life, to celebrate life!”

Thanks Suzy, if any sentence ever written here describes me, that’s it.

I’ve never understood why religious people all seem to have the need to suffer. The Christians say that it is to remind themselves of the suffering that Christ went through for them. The Tibetan Budists crawl around the Jokhang Temple in Tibet. I don’t know the reason, but they will crawl a step, lay prostrate, crawl another step lay prostrate, and so on. The extra religious crawl all the way around the mountain. Other religions seem to have the need to control people and make them suffer. If you’re not suffering you are just NOT religious.

As I said, I find my spirituality in the connectedness between Man and nature. Notice the capital “M” designating Man the species, which includes the better half of the species, female, and not man the brute. I do that to save time, then I explain it. Dumb, huh?

I live life as a celebration, life is to be enjoyed. When you die, I believe that it truly is “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and it’s over. If there is a human spirit that lives on, it’s in the memory of the friends that you leave behind. Make as many friends as you can, and hold them closely. Treat them as you yourself would want to be treated. That means that you have to be fair at all times. I don’t have the easy way out of praying for forgiveness.

I am no expert in Indian beliefs or religion, but I’ve been told that my beliefs correspond very closely to the way that the original American Indian believed before becoming corrupted with the “white man religion”. I feel the connectedness that the Indian felt with the things around them. They believed that the spirits of man and nature could change places, and “shape shift”. I don’t believe that happens, but I sincerely believe that man and nature are connected. What hurts one, hurts the other.

I like reading about the old Indian legends where they explain how each and every thing came about, and how man and nature are connected. Our very own American Indian student, Ben, interpreted the old Indian legend explaining were the flint in Salmon Creek came from, and why there is a red stripe in abalone shells. Like I say, life is to be enjoyed, lived fairly, and honestly, and friends are to be valued. Nature is to be honored. The Indians took care of nature, and they used methods that we, today, have ignored. We are killing the Redwood forest by loving them to death. The Indians burned them clean. There is a deep lesson for everybody to learn the truth about redwood trees, my totem tree. By the way, my totem bird is the Raven. I feel very strongly connected to those two things in nature. If I was to seek anything in spirituality I would try to figure out why those two things seem to be connected to me more than others.

Okay, your turn.

suzy blah blah said...

Oregon, I don't think you'll have much luck getting someone who's chasing after spiritual enlightenment to come and sweat over your woodpile. You'd need to wear a white robe and burn incense, grow your beard long etc. then maybe they'd fall for it, maybe. But if you do that, some of those young spiritually minded gurls are mighty hot, watch out, they know how to build a fire and give you wood too! --LOL. But, all kidding aside, here's a more realistic plan for you: there must be some young unemployed dudes around where you are, just go out and about some morning and look in the cafe's or on the street corners, they're everywhere. Even if they seem kinda weird with their dreadlocks or whatever, talk to them a little, you'll see they're pretty much just like you were at that age underneath, they relate to some of the same basic things of life like anyone else does. Then after bullshitting a little and gaining their respect, invite them over for a shot of Turkey. Believe me, they won't pass that up, they'll think you're awesome. Then, at your place, as they warm up to the cozy feeling, they'll want another shot, but you tell em, "Sure, right after you chop some wood just come on back inside and we'll build up the fire and pour some more out". And as the day progresses, they will want more and more Turkey and your wood pile will grow. ;)

If I was to seek anything in spirituality I would try to figure out why those two things seem to be connected to me more than others

right on.

suzy blah blah said...

suffering, oneness, responsibility

Robin Shelley said...

Oh, yeah, Oregon. Do that.

Anonymous said...

When I see someone talking Progressive I run the other way as fast as I can.
I was thinking it would be fun to split wood and pull a cork with company but it looks like I will be the only one splitting wood around here. Besides I like splitting wood and was just trying to share some of the fun.

Oregon

spyrock said...

Oregon, I don't think you'll have much luck getting someone who's chasing after spiritual enlightenment to come and sweat over your woodpile. You'd need to wear a white robe and burn incense, grow your beard long etc. then maybe they'd fall for it, maybe. But if you do that, some of those young spiritually minded gurls are mighty hot, watch out, they know how to build a fire and give you wood too! --LOL.
i think there's a book out called zen and the art of chopping wood. so oregon is a zen master eh. well, i don't mind spliting wood and have done quite a bit of it myself. and the youngin's these days. give them one beer or one shot or one toke and they are done for the day. i'm sort of backwards to susie's vision. i start out working and when i start gettin tired and thirsty then i start having beers and keep on having beers until the job is done.
but the part about the girls is true. those spiritual girls are mighty hot and they know right where to rub those sore muscles you got chopping wood.

Tom H said...

Hey SpyRock, Thanks for your reply. Well said. And I would go to Java but i believe a recent volcano eruption has affect Java and other places to have mass evacuations. I feel right now is a bad time to travel anywhere.
But i do not think the "age of the guru" is over, There are several enlightened masters all over. And There is always the Other Side.
Enlightenment can come fast when contacting the right entity.
It's too bad that there are so many Red Herrings placed by design to lour us away from the truth. For example, Alister Crowley, All his books about Goetic "demons" are false. And put bad information on some of the most loving and helpful beings to ever be on earth. I kind of gave up my search of a physical enlightened master. And i spend most of my time writing about the two entitys i have contact with.

spyrock said...

they always say, when the time is right someone will show up. i have been lucky enough in recent years to have met several people whom many other people regard as teachers. i sort of look at them as elders and i show them the same respect i show more normal elders who are teachers in their own right. but i'm getting pretty old myself but i'm not really interested in being a teacher. i'm more interested in learning how to be retired. so i'm not into classes or sweat lodges or vision quests or anything that is too taxing for someone my age. i have a thing for esther hicks and i listen to her when she says it's not about what is, its about what you want. i'm tired of chasing what is. i guess i'm into creating what i want. it's sort of like accepting yourself where you are right now and flowing downstream from there. deciding to feel good or what the aborigine and northern california indian did. dream your world into being.

spyrock said...

they always say, when the time is right someone will show up. i have been lucky enough in recent years to have met several people whom many other people regard as teachers. i sort of look at them as elders and i show them the same respect i show more normal elders who are teachers in their own right. but i'm getting pretty old myself but i'm not really interested in being a teacher. i'm more interested in learning how to be retired. so i'm not into classes or sweat lodges or vision quests or anything that is too taxing for someone my age. i have a thing for esther hicks and i listen to her when she says it's not about what is, its about what you want. i'm tired of chasing what is. i guess i'm into creating what i want. it's sort of like accepting yourself where you are right now and flowing downstream from there. deciding to feel good or what the aborigine and northern california indian did. dream your world into being.