Ancient Indigenous Practices for Healing During Challenging Life Cycles
The Indigenous Amazonian prophecy of the Eagle and Condor speaks of a time when all people walked together as one. There was one language spoken, and one lens through which each person could see their path. This was a time of great peace, and the interconnectedness we shared was honored and nurtured.
After many moons, there was a restlessness that came over some of the people. They wanted to see change and explore the depths of their abilities. This marked the time when we began walking two separate paths.
Path of the Eagle and Condor
The first path, the Eagle, was based on making strategic decisions, focusing on development of technology and industry, using aggressive measures to promote change and develop the mind to its greatest potential. This path reflected, and was born of, primal male power activated through brute strength and the desire for evolution.
The second path, the Condor, focused on using inner wisdom, following the heart, and acknowledging the interconnectedness of community. It was the way that accepted and guided all people and promoted unity of the Tribe. The way of the Condor was believed to reflect the power and loving nature of Sacred Mother Energy.
It was thought by many that the path of the Eagle would be most powerful and successful because it was industrious and cunning. This belief prevailed for many seasons as great change and progress were achieved. Although the power and value of the path of the Eagle was clear, it came at a price. As more people continued to walk this path, an imbalance in the connection between the mind and heart manifested so that the thoughts and logic of the mind outweighed the needs and wisdom of the heart.
This imbalance created separation between what we felt in our hearts and what we perceived as real. It also blocked our ability to access our inner wisdom and nourish our spiritual fortitude.
Today this fight between our heart and mind lives inside us, throwing us out of balance daily. When we are met with life challenges, we need to access our inner wisdom and the Creator Energy within us, the part of us that trusts what we are feeling inside, and that trusts the unseen.
When this access is disabled, the negative experience of our struggles and challenges is amplified since all we can do is react with nervous responses.
Connecting with Our Heart Medicine
Recently, many of us have been affected by COVID-19. It has had a profound impact on our life cycle as we walk around the Medicine Wheel. It has brought sickness, isolation, financial strain, loss of loved ones, and uncertainty as it has blocked our ability to see a clear vision for the future.
Spiritually, this is an opportunity to re-assess our relationship with our Self, with each other, with this world, and with trust in the unseen. Our perceptions and feelings about our life circumstances reflect the health of these relationships, as well as the integrity and consistency of our ability to stay centered and connected to our heart.
Feeling powerless creates veils of illusion: I can’t escape; I’m not safe; I’m separate; I’m abandoned; or I’m alone. These veils of illusion cause feelings of paralysis, fear, anger and resentment. As we continue to be influenced by these veils, we begin to attract hucha or negative energy. Hucha is defined as the energetic manifestation of all the negative thoughts we have about ourselves and others. Hucha creates a web of heaviness that blocks our ability to free our emotions so we can generate positive feelings and create change.
On the other hand, Medicine people know that the heart is our sacred organ of perception and the lens through which we need to see all things. Connecting with the world through our heart allows us to connect to our emotions, honor how we feel, and release negative emotions. Seeing with the eyes of our heart allows us to stay centered in our own knowing so that we don’t become lost in the chaos of adversity. The more consistently we can weave ourselves into the fabric of our Heart Medicine, the more effective we are at navigating situations that challenge our emotional health.
Ceremony to Release Hucha and Connect to Our Heart’s Wisdom
Ceremony is a powerful way to honor the sacredness of a person, a moment, the spirit or consciousness of Mother Earth, the elements, the cosmos or the Creator. It involves taking time to see beyond what can be seen and celebrating the oneness you share with it. It requires you to open your heart in earnest so you can truly feel and see with the eyes of your heart.
Some Ceremonies involve using sounds, singing, chanting or dancing. Others involve giving offerings of gratitude or respect.
1) Spiritual Breathing – When we lack fortitude, stress and worry can become overwhelming. Indigenous people believe that our breath is what connects us to our inner Creator Energy and to the spirit of all living things. It contains our essence and power.
If we do not breathe with the proper depth and quality, we become spiritually and physically sick. We are consumed by the chaos in our minds which, in turn, causes separation from the inner guidance of our heart and our connection to Mother Earth. We are no longer in balance since our breath has become entangled in our hucha.
Our breath resides within us as a fluid part of our innate intelligence. As we re-align ourselves with our breath we are able to disentangle from our veils of illusion – fear, depression, hopelessness, and grief.
There are four centres that connect us to our breath. These act as bridges between our spiritual heart and this world: The soles of both feet (1 & 2); the base of the pelvic floor in your Medicine Bowl(3); our heart center (4).
- Bring your breath and awareness to your heart space at the center of your chest. Breathe slowly for 3 minutes.
- Then deepen your breath so it reaches down into the base of your Medicine Bowl. Breathe into your Medicine Bowl for 3 minutes.
- Deepen your breath until it reaches the sole of your right foot for 3 minutes. Then bring your breath to the sole of your left foot for 3 minutes.
- Visualize bringing your breath up and down both legs from the soles of your feet up to the base of your Medicine Bowl for 5 minutes.
- Breathe from the base of your Medicine Bowl up to your heart centre for 3 min.
Observe the change in your body, mind and spirit and the sense of re-balancing you have achieved.
2) Gratitude – All ceremonies start with giving gratitude and feeling reverence for the blessings that touch our life. Our heart begins to awaken and fill with passion upon acknowledging our intention to bring our gratitude into practice.
Creating a despacho as a gift from the heart is a common South American Indigenous ceremony performed with the intention of giving thanks. Despacho items can include dried beans, seeds, flowers, leaves and other sacred items. The selected items are placed on a piece of paper or cloth which is folded and tied into a bundle. Great thought and care are put into this ceremonial ritual, and with practice one will receive insight as to what items are most sacred for each ceremony.
If you choose to create a despacho, upon completion of it you can give a prayer of gratitude in silence. Take a moment to sit quietly and feel the gratitude with every part of your being. Feel joy fill your heart until your thoughts and perceptions begin to transmute from patterns of hucha to a positive sense of wellbeing. When you feel ready, give your offering with an open heart. To complete your ceremony you can place the despacho on an altar, in fire, in the earth, or in water.
3) Water Healing – We are made of approximately 90% water and, as such, we are deeply connected to and affected by the spirit of Water. She is referred to as the Great Water Mother. As she lives within us, she nourishes, cleanses, and fortifies our body and spirit. She teaches us to reflect inwardly so we can cleanse what no longer serves us. We can invite her medicine to cleanse our cells of the fear and unforgiveness that are feeding our hucha. Cedar is one of the sacred living energies used with water medicine for cleansing. It will bring your mind and heart back into balance through the release of emotional and spiritual toxins.
Gather 10 cedar branches; give thanks to the cedar tree(s) from which you harvested the branches. An offering of tobacco given to the base of the cedar tree is common practice
Add the branches to your tub then fill it with warm water. Your bath should be for 30 minutes. During your bath, ask the water medicine for cleansing of your fear or unforgiveness. Gently brush your skin while asking the cedar branches to wash away hucha. Give the Cedar back to Mother Earth after your ceremony is complete.
The challenges we are facing during this cycle of intense change are spurring us to heal the imbalance between mind and heart so we can endure. Practising sacred ceremony helps re-entrain us back into the rhythm of our heart so we can connect to our inner wisdom, heal our relationship with ourself, release negative thought patterns and nourish our spiritual fortitude. This in turn will allow us to access our inner power to support self-care and manage our mental health and well being.