Listen to this...(entheogenradio

Listen to internet radio with Entheoradio on Blog Talk Radio
John Cannon is on the Twibes Ayahuasca Twitter List.

Sun Dancer

Sun Dancer
Sun Dancer

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quoted with deep admiration and respect, click on his name, linked to the greater body of his work:

Coyote Medicine: Intensive Mind-Body-Spirit 
Healing Adventures
Search for coyote medicine    
offered by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.

"...Native American medicine has been practiced on the North American continent for at least 10,000 years. When Europeans arrived in North America, Native people of this continent were a healthy lot. Plagues and epidemics from Europe soon changed that, but do not mitigate against the effectiveness of Native American methods for attaining long-term survival and avoiding chronic disease. Conventional medicine has lost this wisdom for transforming illness into health through mind-body-spirit integration - a fundamental concept among Native North Americans and most of the remainder of the indigenous world. Conventional psychotherapies have also fallen short of their ability to transform people's lives. They have parceled out therapeutic time in hourly increments in frequencies of once or twice weekly. Weekly one-hour appointments or even yoga classes before work allow us to address only our most critical and immediate concerns. The time needed for inner exploration, for personal transformation, and for the exploration of how personal issues, nutrition, family problems or spiritual matters affect our health is sorely lacking.

Conventional therapies have neglected opportunities to facilitate a profound change within a short period of time. They have also ignored the power of ceremony and ritual in treatment. Ceremonies couple the patient's intention to heal with the power of belief and faith in the ceremonial process. They lead to peak experiences that kindle insight into our condition and increase our belief in our own abilities and capabilities. Since medical school graduation, I have been working to integrate the thoughts and techniques of traditional Native American healing elders with more common behavioral medicine techniques and psychotherapies. I have wanted to find the most effective and most aesthetic way for me to midwife people's personal transformations and healings. To improve my approach, I interviewed a number of Native American healers to learn how they conceptualized their work and how they thought it could be translated into modern American culture.

Native American Healers Shield The traditional healers told me that time is the first important ingredient in the healing journey, comparing starting this journey to beginning to push a rock up a hill. It takes a lot more effort to get the rock moving at first than to keep it moving. They wondered how seeing someone once or twice weekly could provide enough "oomph" to start the healing process. "How can you push a rock up a hill if you keep stopping and letting it roll back down?" they asked.

In organic and biochemistry, an energy of activation is required to initiate a reaction. Once initiated that reaction may proceed irreversibly to completion without much further energetic input. Without sufficient energy of activation, the reaction never occurs. A cake without sufficient energy of heat remains mush. A minimal level of heat is needed to actually cook the cake (transforming the internal arrangements of its molecules). The healers loved these comparisons to chemistry, and reflected upon how nature is the same at every level. In systems science, we say that each layer is isomorphic to the other.

The healers related that they typically stayed with the sick person until the job was done. They rarely helped more than one person at a time, and people often traveled great distances to see them. These great distances necessitated an intensive approach, since the journey from home to the healer could not be made many times.

The healers would concentrate their work over a number of consecutive days with multiple hours spent each day on healing. Ceremonies often took place every night. Lakota healers would do sweat lodge ceremonies at night, sometimes followed by yuwipi ceremonies. Dineteh healers would perform nightly chants lasting as long as ten days as in the Blessing Way or the Coyote Way. When sufficient progress had been made, the person would be sent home with instructions to return at a later date for further treatment. Because their healing was more directive, their patients would leave with specific instructions for tasks to complete during the interval apart.

The traditional healers emphasized how they helped people become aware of their inner world - their anger, sorrow, bitterness, rage, and hatred, so that it could move again. They pointed out how modern American culture teaches people to ignore their inner world and their feelings. Children are taught in school to ignore their body needs for elimination until it is convenient for the teacher. They are taught to ignore their wish to play until scheduled recess. Civilization, as it is now constructed, requires a level of ignoring emotions for smooth functioning that the traditionals found sad.

Traditional healers pointed out how strange it is for a secretary to be unable to take time off if overcome by sadness from a tragic case history she was typing. In this example, they thought it was odd that the bosses could imagine that a human being could type a document without entering into the story that the document conveys. They reflected on how emotions got in the way of efficiency in the modern world. They related how their society used to be less hurried. Hurry has become the watchword of modern society, since the faster we go, the more money we make.

In the days before modern pharmaceuticals, rest was a key ingredient of any therapy. Healing may best begin by putting the client to bed. This disturbs daily routines and breaks old habits. It allows the body's repair mechanisms to take over from the defense mechanisms; the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down the sympathetic nervous system.

Traditionals mentioned the importance of a number of ceremonial procedures, including purification ceremonies, which are also important for the inner life. They see becoming well as a journey - a journey that takes time."
Post this to Scribd

Friday, June 4, 2010

From the website, "The Republic of the Lakotah"

The Sun Dance: Sacrifice, Integration, Reciprocity, and Regeneration

October 30, 2009 by Thunder Horse  
sundance-silhoutte1Generally, each sun dance has a sponsor, usually the main dancer, who bears the expenses of the ceremony. The event ordinarily involves about a week or more of activity consisting of an early private period, during which preparations are made and instruction and prayer take place, followed by the public phase of dancing. Construction of the sun dance lodge is accompanied by complex rituals in which a special tree is cut for use as a center pole, with the dance enclosure erected around it. The entrance faces east, and in some tribes sunrise ceremonies mark each days dawn during the dance. Inside, an altar is constructed, usually featuring a decorated buffalo skull. Dancers fast and abstain from drinking during the three or four days of dancing. While special songs are chanted by drummers near the lodge entrance, each participant moves rhythmically back and forth from the periphery of the lodge to the center pole. Dancers continuously blow on eagle- bone whistles, fixing their eyes on the crotch in the center pole that is typically known as the Thunderbird’s Nest or eagles nest. Periods of rest alternate with intervals of dancing. At the end of the sun dance, purification rites are held and the participants may drink water and break their fast. The lodge is then abandoned, its components remaining briefly as a reminder of the ceremony before returning to the elements.
sundance-lodgeVoluntary torture was part of the climax of the sun dance in certain tribes such as the Lakota and Cheyenne. In those cases, the dancers were pierced through the breast or shoulder muscles by skewers which were tied to the center pole, and they danced by pulling back until their flesh tore away. Sometimes the thongs inserted in the sufferer’s bodies were attached to a varying number of buffalo skulls rather than to the center pole.
A very important consideration in understanding the Native American’s perception is that the buffalo is a highly social animal, naturally sociable. That is a trait with which the Plains people could identify, finding similarities to the broad allegiances and communal relationships characteristic of their own social organization. Unlike more solitary species, the buffalo, as a herd animal, is often referred to by the natives as a “tribe” or “nation.” The movements and whereabouts of that “buffalo nation” influenced the Lakota tribal structure and location at a given season. Generally, the Lakota’s interactions with buffaloes do not involve personal contact with individual animals, but rather the whole species or population. Calling the animal “Buffalo” always implies reference to the group or at least a member who represents that group. One specific buffalo is rarely, if ever, singled out or named  as is often the case in many societies with any animal who is to be eaten. This practice helps in combating the revulsion that may accompany the consumption of flesh from a familiar individual being. The communal ritual reconciliation is made with the species as a whole: human society appeases the buffalo nation.preparingfsundance1
Helping to relieve the guilt resulting from killing and eating conscious creatures, too, is the persistent belief that animals willingly offer themselves to hunters. This idea is reflected in the observation that “the Lakota spoke of their hunt not as ‘driving’ the buffalo but as ‘leading them’; not ‘chasing,’ but ‘calling’” them. Certain men possessed “the power of charming the buffalo into a corral or over a cliff.” They accomplished this feat by disguising themselves in buffalo robes and imitating the animals’ movements and sounds. The conviction that the buffalo voluntarily give themselves to be killed for the benefit of human beings is closely associated with Plains people’s sense of identification with the animal and with the force of reciprocal obligations toward it. As expressed by members of one tribe, “Since buffalo allowed themselves to be used in order that the Lakota people could live, it seemed fitting . . . to offer a part of themselves to the sun and other spiritual persons.”
Therefore the sacrifice of the dancers through fasting, thirst, and self-inflicted pain reflects the desire to return something of themselves to nature, with special reference to the life- sustaining buffalo, in exchange for past and future benefits. Elements of the Lakota sun dance are almost certainly derived, features the self-torture of participants by means of buffalo skulls.sundance-tree2
Additionally, men disguised as other animals including grizzly bears, eagles, antelopes, swans, rattlesnakes, beavers, vultures, and wolves, imitated the sounds and behaviors of their respective species. The players enacted interrelationships involving struggle between various forms of life. Animals growled and chased each other and meat-feeding scenarios took place. This performance represents the expression of a theme dealing with predator-prey relationships. Evidently, the ambiguities of carnivorous behavior were being explored through ritual. To a greater or lesser degree depending upon the tribe, the sun dance includes the elements of sacrifice and pain on the part of participants. The ultimate gift is the offering of one’s own body. In a deep sense, this phenomenon of undergoing physical agony relates the supplicants to the rest of nature; it is atonement in the true meaning of “at oneness,” with reference to the unity of the cosmos. For all living creatures are subject to suffering and share a common capacity for pain. According to Oglala tradition, “This truth of the oneness of all things we understand a little better by participating in this rite, and by offering ourselves as a sacrifice” Death, represented by undergoing torture, signifies that the profane man has been killed and the participant has come to life regenerated in body and soul. The person must “die” through the ordeal of “being cut to pieces” in order to bring about his symbolic resurrection. The meaning of the cutting and bleeding of the Lakota dancer who is pierced, the pain that results is “the natural complement of his figurative death.” The flesh that is tom away when the thong breaks loose “represents ignorance,” which “should always be behind us as we face the light of truth which is before us.” Therefore the sun dancer is reborn, mentally and spiritually as well as physically, along with the renewal of the buffalo and the entire universe.sundance-arbor1
The great sun dance ritual establishes the tenet that there is no final death, for all living things can be renewed. Human beings, however, like all their fellow creatures, must cooperate in order to bring about universal regeneration. By feeding grass to the buffalo skull, the cycle of life is symbolically perpetuated. To appease the buffalo who gives so much to people, appreciation and good intentions must be shown, and deferential behavior is mandated. By significant acts like refraining from eating buffalo flesh after the animal has provided a vision, leaving some of the meat to make peace with the animal’s spirit after a buffalo is slain, and planting a piece of sacred buffalo tongue back into the ground during the ceremonial feast, honor is given to the spiritual presence of the buffalo. Because the animal’s spirit still remains when the buffalo is killed, death is not final; eternal return is assured for both buffalo and humankind through reciprocal actions that maintain the harmony of the natural world. So at the close of the Oglala sun dance, Wakan-Tanka is addressed: “You have taught us our relationship with all … beings, and for this we give thanks… May we be continually aware of this relationship which exists between the four-leggeds, the two-leggeds, and the wingeds. May we all rejoice and live in peace!”
Post this to Scribd

About Me

My photo
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Having followed many Paths, Teachers, Traditions & Leaders, I now describe myself as an Elder, Caucasian, Inka, Buddhist, Dervish Medicine Man, struggling to integrate power and humility, or, more simply, how to get out of the Way. Now, my Guru is my bulldog, Charlie, the Bonnie Prince.

Subscribe Now: netvibes

Add to netvibes