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Indigenous Spirituality

A Letter to Myself Seven Generations Into Our Future

A Letter to Myself Seven Generations Into Our Future

by Ta'Kaiya Blaney

Thank you, I channel this thanks from the deepest trench of gratitude I can muster:
For we have done it. The Earth Revolutions, the movements against war, for education, to prioritize the might of the pen

The Slow Food Movement – Revaluing What We Eat

The Slow Food Movement – Revaluing What We Eat

by Paul Chaffee

For those who would love to find some middle ground between the strictures of a vegetarian or vegan diet, on one hand, and the sometime travesties of big agriculture, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), packaged food, and fast food, on the other, the slow food movement may be a satisfying alternative in reflecting on and choosing what you eat and how you eat. 

Following the Path of Transformation

Following the Path of Transformation

by Weston Pew

On my path over this past year my work for The Sacred Door Trail has taken me to the melting glaciers of Greenland where gigantic ice walls fall into rivers every 20 minutes, shaking ground and bone as a warning call of the coming rising seas.

Sleeping with the Jaguar

Like a river with three tributaries this story has three beginnings. Clearly it began on January 12 this year when I read in TIO about the interfaith, interspiritual festival – Universal Multicultural Dialog0 II – to be held in Guadalajara on May 6-8. But what captured me was the back-story, linking me to deeper layers of my psyche.

Preparing the Earth for May 6-9 International Interfaith Festival

When indigenous communities in México, El Salvador, and Honduras heard about the the Universal Multicultural Dialogue II (UMD II), they responded quickly. As announced in TIO last December, UMD II is an international interfaith festival being held in Guadalajara from May 6-8,2015. Thousands will participate, as they did at the first UMD in 2012, with more than 120 speakers, workshops, panels, ritual ceremonies, and arts. The theme this year is “We All Live Under the Same Sky.”

The Finer Points of Getting to Know You

As an interfaith-active Wiccan who has developed strong relationships with indigenous leaders, I’m familiar with the uncomfortable silences that can jar relationships between indigenous practitioners and institutional religionists. Something is missing. You’re in the same room but don’t know how to talk to each other. Here are some suggestions to bridging that spiritual gap.

Doctrine, Ritual, and Spiritual Development

Doctrine – the codification of beliefs, teachings, and practices – is an important element for established institutional religions. It clarifies what a religion expects of its followers, how to behave toward one another and Deity, ethics, an approach to celebration, as well as what to celebrate.

When Nature Talks Back

Several years ago, I attended a North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) “Connect” in Las Vegas. The program was organized in three tracks, including one called “Caring for Creation.” As might be expected, all of the Pagans and indigenous people gravitated towards that track.

What Is Indigeneity?

Can indigenous peoples not practice indigenous religions? What if a non-indigenous person claims to practice their religion? Can people normally not considered indigenous have an indigenous religion? What if they claim they are reconstructing a tradition that died out? What does “indigenous” actually mean, and how does it relate to both people and religion? While I will offer some general suggestions of my own, the most important part of this essay explains why these apparently simple questions are so complicated.

Struggling to Keep the Cosmovisión Alive

Every town, every culture has a concept of reality which accords with their life experience. The Aztecs, Mayan and Incas, peoples indigenous to Central and South America, created their own cosmovisión, as a way of conceiving the universe.

Renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery/Reclaiming Mother Earth

Hidden Seeds of Natural Healing & Curing was held last July, a gathering of 33 indigenous representatives from six continents, including two youth, ages 13 and 14, a council of leaders gathered to reflect on the global situation they and their peoples face. Hosted by United Religions Initiative’s Global Indigenous Initiative, participants met for three days near Napa Valley in Northern California.

Opening the Indigenous Door

Opening the Indigenous Door
Full Disclosure – Don Frew and Paul Chaffee have been friends and colleagues in the interfaith vineyard for more than 15 years, and Don has been a TIO supporter from the time the idea first glimmered. However close this association, though, devoting a credible exploration of “Indigenous Traditions in the Modern World” and leaving him out would be impossible. For 30 years Elder Don Frew has been the official interfaith representative of Covenant of the Goddess, the world’s largest Wiccan tradition. Don is a witch, a misunderstood word which can repel those unacquainted with paganism. But his relations with leaders from all traditions, established and indigenous, and within his own community are a perfect antidote to that discomfort. A grassroots bridge-builder with a global reach, he has championed indigenous, Earth and Nature-based traditions around the world, developing ways for them to be in dialogue with the rest of the global interfaith/interspiritual community. If you are interested in pagan and indigenous interfaith relations, you need to know about Don Frew. Ed.

A Different Approach to Deity

Neopagan, Indigenous, and Earth-based Spiritual Practice

Pachamama – Renewing Our Love Affair with Mother Earth

Around 1995 an intact and healthy aboriginal community’s pristine Amazonian environment was threatened by development companies looking for oil, minerals, and other resources. The Achuar people of Ecuador are a “dream culture”; their leaders began to perceive in their visions that they needed to connect with like-minded spirits among people of the very same developed world which was threatening them.

How a Native Elder & a Muslim Found Spiritual Friendship at a Christian Celebration

The invitation came from the Centre for Christian Studies to be a presenter at their 130th Anniversary celebrations in Winnipeg. The evening’s theme was Diversity, Transformation, and Hope. I was to substitute for Joy Kogawa, a fine poet who could not make it. How could I fill her shoes!? When I heard the theme, though, I said yes.

Bridge-building – the Hard Lessons

In 2004 I attended the Parliament of the World's Religions in Barcelona, Spain. When the appointed translation services broke down during the explanations of indigenous rites being enacted, I was asked to help translate. I speak Spanish and come from an indigenous-related spiritual tradition. So began my journey into the world of interfaith relationships.

Reconciling the Blessings and Challenges of Diversity through Ancestral Spiritual Values

In Lak’ech Ala K’in. In my Mayan tradition this sacred greeting serves to honor another and means “I am another yourself” or “I am you, and you are me.” Another meaning is “I bow to the Divine within you.” When this greeting is given, there is always an action of placing the hands over the heart. In the Hindu tradition the greeting Namaste, which I learned through my work and connection with spiritual teachers in India, corresponds and is similar to the Mayan greeting. It is a philosophical statement affirming that the doer of everything is not me but the gods. With these greetings I embrace the blessings of diversity.

Wicca, Indigenous Traditions, and the Interfaith Movement

The interfaith movement has an illustrious history of bringing the major religions together to compare similarities, share differences, build relationships, and discover new ways to work together for the betterment of humanity and the world. Collateral benefits that often go unnoticed include a multitude of meetings among smaller groups, communities included in global interfaith organizing efforts, who are now able to come together in their own smaller meetings, creating new networks of friendships where few existed before.

The Fiery Force that Sparkles in Everything

What is the positive core at the heart of who I am? My response: “You are I, recognizing the fiery force that sparkles in everything.”