Many years ago Grandfather Wallace Black Elk took a giant step into controversy as he began to teach the Sacred Medicine ways to well meaning people of all nations. Even though this was spoken in the ancient prophecies, this act in and of itself created a controversy that continues to grow today. Some of this challenge comes from a very good place of having seen the misuse of ceremonial tools on every level. This misuse has been perpetrated by members of all nations, including the Native American. There is, however, just as much good work that is happening around the growing use of these tools and rituals that happens in a respectful manner.
The other day a local Native American
woman called me and asked if there was a video tape or a home study course
that would teach her how to use these tools. Her intention was to perform
marriages and healing ceremonies for money. As a struggling mother of a
large family, she stated to me that it was her right to use her heritage
in any manner possible to feed her family. I bit my tongue with self control
as I attempted td explain the Sacredness of the protocol. "You can't buy
Medicine," I explained to her. " Nor can you sell it. It must be earned:
We must all pray for it, fast with it, Quest with it and Dance with it.
At some point when IT embraces us, we are more prepared to share the gift.
None of us has the right to sell that gift. We can ask for folks to help
with grounds fees, help pay for firewood and coffee. If we are honoring
these ways properly, it is even appropriate for those who receive these
services to offer a gift or some green
energy. BUT YOU/WE CANNOT DEMAND A PAYMENT BEFORE PROVIDING THIS SACRED SUPPORT OF PRAYER AND HEALING!" She remained insistent and I excused myself from the conversation as to not show a value judgment.
The first thing that Grandfather shared with me is that Conjuring and Sorcery live side by side on the Cannunpa. Conjuring by definition is the manipulation of energy in a positive manner BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS REQUESTED IT to provide a natural healing or event of balance and comfort within a home. Sorcery on the other hand is the manipulation of the exact same energy done to you or against you, in order to take from you something of body, mind or Spirit. It is in essence a Spiritual Rape. It takes place everyday to unsuspecting men and women who find interest in this path. Every part of these rituals and healing practices should be provided with love, respect and without demand beyond that same love and respect returned.
I have a Lakota Uncle who always answers my pleas for support with the age old saying, " These are hard ways." He is right. It is always hard to pick up these tools in acknowledgment that you do not carry them, THEY CARRY YOU. The Drums, the Cannunpa, rattles, Medicine bags, feathers and animal totems, all come with a serious responsibility. Any who challenges that responsibility, challenges the very essence of the magic to prove itself in your own world. That challenge is faced when you run into someone who puts pot in the Sacred Pipe. It is not right and the purpose of the Cannunpa and the pot are in conflict. The same happens over working with Ceremonial tools and Moontime energy of women. Here we are, as bleeding women, moving in a counter clockwise manner to unbind and pull into the earth as the Ceremony is created to spiral in a clockwise manner up wards into a healing binding. The woman who allows her ego to get in the way of that honoring, disallows herself to grow in the most powerful means of that Medicine Healing.
Another Lakota of fame, Eagle man,
Ed McGaa once explained going into these ways for the first time is like
being a blank computer disk. As we are installed a new program of healing
is placed on the disk. These is no room for elephants or anger on the disk.
Old patterns are erased as we Quest and Pray. New patterns of healing are
offered as we touch our feet to the earth and show a new respect for the
healing herbs, animals and Medicines. Many of us, most of us, fight leaving
that old friend we call ego behind. It has served us in our game of power
for so long, that it is hard to allow ourselves to surrender to being powerless.
We see Elders and magical teachers who make it all look much easier than
it is. We want to be like them, but it is our nature to shortcut. In a
time when we can buy almost anything we want, it seems only fair that we
should be able to be able to BUY the healing and peace of mind. There is
many the scam artist waiting for us with synthetic solutions for sale.
The tool used or Ceremonalist using the tool is not nearly as important
as the intention towards goodness, honesty and integrity directed at the
For each of us the knowledge and the working ability to conjure requires much more work than handing over our power to some Sorcerer to sell us a quick fix. When the solution does not stay, it does not matter to the Sorcerer as he/she is no longer around to help us pick up the pieces. And after all, it was a choice. Your choice, my choice, their choice. It is still a choice.
As an active Ceremonialist for over thirty years, may I share with you some of my greatest secrets to healthy conjuring for wholeness.
1) I pick one thing, subject or need at a time. I identify it, write about it and place the intention of healing the situation head on. It can only be something within my will or at the reasonable request or someone who has come in a proper way to work towards solution. We cannot fix it all at once. None of us can do Earth, Water, Fire , Air, home, job and family all at once.
2) On the New moon I place this intention in my Ceremonial Journal and within my own Sacred Ritual and then I dream on it. I pray on it and I examine at it from every angle.
3) For that cycle of the moon I pay attention each day everything positive and negative that has to do with that situation and make note of what must be dealt with. For instance if someone is having problems with a child then we as a team need to look at what is really going on with that child. Is it physical, mental or Spiritual nourishment that this little one needs ? Or all of the above? How will we provide it? If the single mother can't provide because she is burned out and has no time or energy, then part of the solution is to help her create more time, heal to a more energetic state and to allow her to see the things that she might do to make life easier with that child. It is always about picking the battles, and taking the times to adjust to the proper solutions.
4) Every morning at Dawn, I take a fresh look at the situation or needs of that conjuring project. It changes and grows with time. There really isn't a Merlin with a magic wand to wave and create one big answer. I ask Creator several questions: What do I still need to understand about this need? What are the tricksters and obstacles that keep it from happening? What is the healing that needs to happen to allow this to come together in a balanced manner? What will I/we do with the Wisdom once this all happens? Will it grow corn and benefit the children of the future?
5) With each prayer that I make, I thank Creator that it is already happening. There is no prayer of 'I NEED OR WANT' , the prayers are always of 'Thank you for providing for my needs and knowing what I think I want.'
Many years ago, Sun Bear needed a certain amount of cash. To prove his point of the difference between conjuring and sorcery, he placed the amount in the center of the Altar. Within a full cycle of the moon, he had wreck in his car. The insurance settlement was exactly for the amount he had placed on the Altar. He never prayed for money again. He taught us the true meaning of prosperity and how we perceive it. Healing is the same. It seldom takes on the form we expected. That is why we call this GREAT MYSTERY.
Where this takes us is back to the place of intention. If it is our intention to receive healing, then we must set the boundaries as to how far we are willing to go and at what cost. We must also place an intention of really working it, in order for it to happen. If the intention is about sharing or giving Ceremony, then it is also important to place boundaries about how far we are willing to go and to what means will we place ourselves into someone else's choice to assist in the creation of this energy. It is important to remember that the word guru is spelled G-U-R-U and that's just what it means. YOU are the one who must ultimately do the work. A Medicine person, a Magician, a Healer is only as good as YOUR intention to do the work. They ARE NOT the answer, yet the gatekeepers for you to discover the answer. It is important to look into your own back yard, as the solution is always within your reach. If you have to travel 3000 miles to find it, you may be looking too hard or not looking at the obvious solutions. All in all, may I humbly suggest that each of us needs to examine our intentions as we step into this new Millennium. If we are to come together in peace and unity, then perhaps we need to remove some of the expectations and ego and all conjure towards a good direction in harmony!
Copyright (c) 2000 by Charla Hermann. All rights reserved. This article may not be used in any form without prior written permission of the author.
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