Anishinaabe elder, Spotted White Horse, spoke to us of the seven traditional teachings today.
When he began with the teaching of the eagle, a symbol for love,
he asked us to define it.
Each person described it differently.
” Giving without expectations,” was my answer.
” Ah yes, that’s the unconditional love. ”
While this is only one sort,
for myself it seems the most altruistic one, the type I most aspire to.
The Anishinaabe teach that to know peace is to know love. ”View your inner-self from the perspective of all teachings. This is to know love and to love yourself truly. Then you will be at peace with yourself, the balance of life, all things and also with the creator.”
Spotted White Horse then asked if any of us had experienced love.
Nearly all of us in the circle answered yes,
but one lady answered ‘no.’
White horse leaned into her and said ” I love you” The lady had a bitter look on her face as she rejected his offering.
”I am giving love he spoke simply, if you choose to accept it or not it’s your free will.” The bitterness never left her face.
As white horse laid out his medicines, her disdain for this was evident, he passed these sacred medicines around the circle so we could each smell them touch them, and experience them with all of our senses. The lady quickly passed them on carelessly from her hands without acknowledgement as though the medicines were a poison.
An epiphany occurred to me.. a sort of vision…
The night before I was speaking to the creator when I stated aloud ” Freedom is within.”
To hear the elder speak of the importance of our own personal paths and individual journeys within, struck a synchronistic chord in me.
When I made that statement, I was alone at night in the darkness of my apartment. I was praying to the creator to help me heal from a broken heart and a dreadful sense of loneliness.
Having White Horse appear on my path was like hearing the voice of the creator speaking back to me. It’s as though the great spirit said ”yes my child, you are on the right path, the source of peace is within you.”
I thought of the bitter woman. It almost hurt me to look at her. I fought back tears as the vision slowly came through to me.
” You did not do wrong. You only gave love as best as you knew how. The source of your suffering may seem to be within, but if you focus your vision to be sharp as the eagle, sharp enough to polish a stone, you will see the path to freedom from your suffering, the path to peace is also within you .”
I envisioned myself caught in a web of ego, throwing stones into a pond, watching them ripple out and return their karmic echoes back to me.
“We are either in a place of love or a place of fear, spoke Spotted Horse, we act on either one of these and this is what determines our fate. We come from love, love is spirit. We learn fear, fear is a human construct of the material world. Those who come from a place of fear are vibrating on a low frequency, one of selfishness.”
The elder invited us to join him in a smudging ceremony. He burned sage and fanned the eagle feather gently over the shell, creating a white cloud of healing energy.” you will smudge your head to have pure thoughts, smudge your eyes to have clear vision, your ears to hear with clarity, your mouth to taste and speak pure, your heart, the place of spirit… if you come to a point where you feel you need healing, touch this place, and if you want me to pray for you I will send a prayer to the creator, when you are done with the cleansing, say Miigwetch.
I looked around for Bitter Lady…she wasn’t in the circle.
I smudged my heart and held my hand there.
“Miigwetch White Horse…”
and the eagle feather flew on to the next person in the circle.