In authentic Native American culture, there is a strong connection to nature and the spirit of all living things. I once read in Earth Medicine, by Jamie Sams, the story of a child on a walk with her grandmother. The grandmother fell asleep against a tree and in the meantime, the granddaughter dug a large hole so that she could lay in it to smell the spirit of the soil. When her grandmother woke up, she corrected her granddaughter, telling her that all living things, even the land, have a Sacred Point of View and that since she had moved the soil without asking permission, she now had to find a new home for the soil.
I thought after I read this of all the land that has been moved in the world, with huge pieces of gouging equipment, to make way for our homes, towns and cities. Has anyone doing this building ever asked permission to move the soil? Feng Shui practitioners (an ancient Chinese art of understanding energy and placement) teach that there are auspicious days to begin building projects, days when it’s better to move the soil and begin construction. This all makes me wonder about the foundations of our homes and towns. It seems love and respect for the land/planet are generally missing from our modern building process.
I have read that native peoples ask permission to remove plants, or their leaves, to use in cures or as spices, and that they give thanks to birds, fish and other animals for their lives taken for human consumption. And how does the spirit of growing things change if we don’t ask permission, and give thanks, before taking their lives? What spirit is in the meats we eat that come from animals raised in compartments and killed in slaughterhouses? It seems there is a whole bunch about the spirit world we have chosen to forget. It is good there are teachers like Jamie Sams and Ted Andrews (who crossed over in Oct., 2009) to help us remember the way.