All around me I am witnessing the rebirth of a new American Tradition.It

Renee Baribeau The Practical Shaman

Learning to be a Tree

is time. This new fruit is ripening and ready to eat as a result of the seeds once planted by our ancestors. We are so quick to travel hither and yonder to find answers to our most pressing human question: why am I here?  It is my belief that the time is now to stop and rediscover our very foundation, for at the root, is where the strength of the plant is found. Over the past twenty years we have been busily focusing on collecting the ancient practices of the other peoples throughout the world, and have not realized that our eyes have been bling to the very traditions that are our own. Contrary to Ireland whose native cultures were destroyed, we in America have the two hundred plus years of our own makings still intact. It is time we stop to remember what it is that our ancestors shared with us.

Why am I speaking about this today? I feel as if I am standing in a comfortable dwelling but I have found a previously unused doorway. At this doorway it feels whatever is behind me most of the training I have received has not totally prepare me for what lie beyond. It is not matching my new cosmology. This past weekend, sitting with the elders from around the world, I realized that ALL OF US have arrived at the same gate. In no way am I saying that I have not benefited from the mountain top trainings in Peru, or the long days of chanting my Hindu mantra, or sitting in the Lakota Lodge, or any of the teachings. Perhaps they are the foundation of our tradition. This country to me was always the place of refuge and hope. Despite our treatment of the relatives who inhabited this land, our ancestors came here with the belief in a better world where one could dare to dream. So this dream has taken us far from our homes in search of some meaning that we were blind to see in our own gardens and lands. We have been seeking to reclaim our power outside ourselves, and became our harshest judge as somehow, somewhere our own culture seemed “less” than the other teachings.
We have stood in judgment of our own practices. I have come to   understand my role as a keeper of a new but ancient tradition. We are the keepers of this sacred knowledge. I am one who has done much work and spent many hours seeking the answers that I thought lay outside of this time and space. Yet again I was awakened to the vast knowing inside me, built from my own struggles and cosmology of the cities and towns where I have lived, been educated, and worked. This journey just an hour away from my home made it clear that my own traditions and life have led me to the same agreements with these wise elders. As they spoke, my heart sang with joy in this realization that despite our different shoes, we had arrived at a very similar place.
Perhaps the one elder who spoke most openly to the Corn had a more refined palate with the subtlety of that which lives in and around her, but it is no different than my understanding of the buildings, electronics, and shifts happening within the confines of my village or community. Consequently, I am returning certain tools I have acquired over the years that no longer serve me well. Really, they are not mine to keep any longer and need to be buried or passed on. In the process of this annyi, I am becoming clear as to our mission, which is to rebuild our own tradition. It is time to speak to our ancestors, to find out what it was that they were thinking at the industrial revolution, or when they invaded the other countries in an effort to maintain peace. Was this not some ideal that they were ultimately defending of our inherent rights to be free? We are so quick to diminish what these ancient ones did for us, but as seekers we ARE NOT ONLY allowed to seek, it is at the root of our being. Perhaps literally, it is at the root of our collective DNA. This freedom of choice was set down before us as our ceremony to a better world.
Clearly we have been in judgment of ourselves for a very long time. We lived with one another but held the belief that our mysteries were locked up in someone else’s toolbox. So desperate was our attempt at answers to our own common entrapments that we headed to the highland of the mountain to gain an understanding of their ways. Not only did we enter onto their lands, but we reinterpreted their method and terminologies to fit our own chaos. With all respect to the Queros’, their language was only concerned with their villages and crops. We have extracted that language to fit our own brokenness, and to fix ourselves using their cosmology. However foolish as it may seem, so many of us have failed to use this work as it was intended. As Americans, we took it home to heal the individual. Unfortunately, we missed the mark again as it was designed always to heal the community, and the individual was always second. As for so many of these traditions that we borrowed to heal ourselves, we forgot the healing of our own cosmology and tradition.

For me this means giving back the extraneous symbols that do not represent my path any longer. I do it with great respect and honor for the opportunities and education. After hearing speaker after speaker sing what I already knew, I realized that I had come home once again to our land and our ways. It is time for our villages and communities to grow Corn. We have the foundation of a Constitution that allows us to melt into our healing pots everything our ancestors have brought forward. Perhaps this is the fascination we have had traveling to all these distant lands seeking our roots. However, we are now standing ready to reclaim our own power. Through the vast technology and experience that we have, it is time to remember that we are a nation who came forth to express our inherent freedoms. I suspect that somehow the idea that our common welfare should come first got lost in the translation. So, my search is now ended and I am ready to take my place at the council of elders who will come forward to heal this community, this land, and the growing number of displaced individuals who are in need of a common cause. It is as simple as planting a community garden, but what I did hear this weekend that rang true loud and clear is that we are all one, and we are all here now.  Let’s put aside all judgments of our fellow human, those other seekers of truth, traveling their own paths but arriving at the same doorway and truly grasp the notion that this is our tradition, and we have the inherent right to be wherever we are on the spiritual ladder, but we are all in this transformation together, and it is time we remember why it is we are here

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