Grandmother’s Legacy by Parisha Taylor
The system of living for the Cherokee meant being surrounded by demonstrations of value and examples of respect.
That respect goes out to everything as being valuable. The knowledge that all Creation is a living ecosystem and that even the “body” we call the Universe is the transforming of ourselves. We live “in” and “through” the Great Spirit. Everything is “alive” and therefore is life and needs respect and care.
We are inner-connected and outer-dependent on the whole of Creation – the macro and micro -elements and creatures, we are all connected.
The laws of physics support the basis of the system our people live. The law of opposites for example, is our Medicine Wheel.
Quantum physics says the part of us that is relative in the third dimension is in the field of opposites, we exist in the balance of polarity. This polarity is as common in our lives as our Planet turning on her axis, our Sun rising in the East and setting in the West, day and night, desert and ocean, man and woman.
Change is constant and it challenges us in every moment and breath. Every breath in and every breath out – every heartbeat is change. Each is a measure of life that is finished, past, and to be no more. Our way of life is to flow with this fact. To resist only brings aging faster. We accept this fact of ever present death as a guide to the passages of our growth, from infancy to death at whatever age, we know to live in the world of opposites with respect of them. We simply know this as Great Spirit.
To every thought and action there is re-action – opposition. This brings the experience and outcome. Cause and effect. Time is what we “spend” here, we exchange it for experience; it is our only real commodity.
Sleep is called the mini-death. We live in the dream state as well as the wakeful state of our life. So therefore we accept our dreams as meaningful. Dreams take place at some levels of existence because the dreamtime is experienced in mind. Some is recalled, most is not, but all is real.
We interact with our dreams emotionally and physically, therefore they are real. We work with all dreams as a way to understand the greater picture of our purpose and life, which is active and happening in many dimensions, simultaneously. Today, Dream Research has proven this important part of our life needs greater consideration of value.
The experiences of life are merely the outcome or test of the opposites. We exist in this life and third dimension in that fine line between magnetic and anti-magnetic forces. We are always active, in what manner we are cognitive of the activity determines what we believe and think we know consciously.
The process of breathing is being inner-active with the field of opposites – in – out. The heartbeat, tighten and release, this is inner-action with this same principle, polarity/opposites. So even in a decision to take no action is a decision of action.
For every determination and intention there will be a counter determination and intention. Every thought will have an effect and action.
Our world and therefore our life is positive and negative, masculine and feminine, polarity is the field of energy we the form/body exist in the three dimensional life.
Physics has learned of ten dimensions of existence. Our people have interacted with and know of fourteen dimensions of existence. Research of the principles of life in physics and psychology supports the reality of native knowledge in every phase of its evolvement. We live in duality. We exist as we are because of it. So knowing that, my people live in harmony with the knowledge.
We hold to our values and live in a manner to nourish our lives with a sense of value of all there is in life. To respect our inner-connectedness to all creation is our strength. We accept we are inner-dependent on the principles of this World and our life in it.
To disrespect even the smallest, the microcosm of our world is to bring suffering and pain. To harm anything is to be self-destructive. To care is to be gentle and considerate. Caring is thoughtful of other’s needs. To nurture is to speak truth and be fair under all circumstances. These are powerful needs of our people.
Our ancestors left us the way of the Lodge. Our Wisdom Keepers, the Old Ones, have passed them to us in each generation. This is why we protect our Old Ones and value them.
We accept only One Source, which is the same as One God. We accept that this “One” holds us all in Its Oneness; therefore we exist because of IT.
We accept that there are certain times that we are sent “messengers” who teach and direct us back to the principles of Life and our purpose here. We acknowledge these as the lives of all that are referred to as Prophets. These we call the Peacekeepers.
We do not see the need to kill to make people accept only one prophet. We do not understand “religious wars”. The One, the Creator in all the many holy names that has been given the One, has never asked this of our people. We remain ignorant of the purpose of religious wars.
We celebrate the greatness of all knowledge and we hold precious and sacred the teachings of all the Peacekeepers that bring love, enlightenment and joy to our world of opposites. We are also ignorant of a weekly Sabbath, a day held aside for acknowledging the One Source in its many names.
Our Old Ones taught us in stories around the fires at the end of our day. They demonstrated and showed us every day in our life to be in constant observance and acknowledgment of our source of Life. There is a constant flow of weaving our day into the fabric of our faith of the One. Every moment of every day is given in complete acknowledgement and focused mindfulness of our spirit, the connection to our Source. This connection is complete in each breath and heartbeat, that is all we have – the moment! We never knew if we would be here any given number of days or a week to practice setting aside a day for the Sabbath, every day was a holy day – Sun-day.
We begin by opening our eyes and looking into this world with our Spirit and saying, “I AM again today in the great Earth Mother. I am trusted with this gift of a new day, a new life. I am free of yesterday and all past. I begin a new life with greater wisdom and love. I welcome all my Relations to share this time with me. I give to you Great Spirit every thought and action of this day as my very best and pray ever to be your joy, as you are mine. I am your instrument, use me, use me up that not a moment or heartbeat is squandered. You are – I Am.”
We then go to the dawn of the day and greet the Sun Rising. We chant our words of praise and thanksgiving as it washes over us and warms our body. We are all equal in the light of the new day. We now make our offerings of corn pollen, which is the body of our Mother, and the gift of daily bread, our communion with Creator.
We bathe and wash away the time past and rid our body of all used and dead cells. Our Bath is rebirth and newness. We have been chosen and trusted to have this day and opportunity to serve all life and creation in the manner we believe God/The Great Mystery Wills us to do. Nurture and care for all. Share and give as given. Before any food touches our lips we give the best and first to the Great Spirit in appreciation of all our abundance and recognition of its source and origin. The Old and babies, nursing Mothers are fed first, and our Leaders and Chiefs are last.
The daily work is recognized as service and dedication to the One. Throughout the whole day we acknowledged our thankfulness of being here. We accepted every moment in the state of thanksgiving.
We knew our every thought was effecting the state of life in our world, so we were taught by example and oral tradition to be responsible for our thoughts. We are therefore always in prayerful communication with the Intelligence that surrounds us, this Intelligence is considered the Body of the One. So we were taught to be in constant awareness of how we were thinking and relating to everything as Great Spirit.
I remember how good it was when the work was heavy and intense and the body grew weak. There would be the joy of a Song Bird coming near us and singing, and someone saying aloud, “Aho, Great Spirit” and we would all acknowledge it with “Aho” [Amen]. Our work became lighter and our hearts stronger in this gift. [Blessing]. We knew Creator expressed itself in all its creations and everything had purpose and was valued as such.
We accept we are loved. We have been given the most precious and valuable of all gifts – intent to be/free will. We have been trusted with this Power. We accept that there is only one Giver and it gives all things. This is called Creator. How we pass on the gift is how we role model the Source. Generosity is a profound reality. Giving is the receiving.
We are aware on all levels of our inner-actions with the Source Of All. We see it in Nature. The Seasons, the Sunrise and Sunset, the Winds, the Clouds, the Rains. Creator is in the cry of the newly born, and the scream of the Mother in birth. It is in our children’s laughter and our tears, in our songs and in our work. We see it in all the creatures that live in this world with us. We see it in all mankind. Where is God not?
We come together in Celebration and our Ceremonies are done as we see Nature to be. We see Nature as our teacher and we observe her well. We know the “laws” of Nature and respect them in all areas of our life. Everything and everyone is included in the Ceremony, because we are here together and share the time called a life.
We know no need to have shame. It steals the Spirit. We know remorse, the pain of responsibility and the desire to heal and make better. We have tolerance; Great Spirit has shown us how. We have no need of faith for there is no doubt. We do not seek love, we were created of it, and it is ours to give, not take. To experience is to understand, so we do the best in any moment, and re-take any mis-takes with the knowledge of growth. We are born into death so we always prepare for it and are ready to embrace it in any given moment. You cannot take “my life” it was already taken, it is the One’s. We live transparent and open unto each other, for who is more important than the One? And the One sees and knows all, so in all wisdom and intelligence do we really think we can hide? From who, each other? Not if we are of the One.
We are initiated into the stages of evolution and have set rituals to acknowledge the changes of such passages. The chemistry of our body changes as we mature so it calls for acknowledgement and sharing of wisdom in relation to it. We pass our traditions on through this practice. We hold to the Principles in our Traditions for they are ageless and cannot get lost in time. Even if the people expire, the principles are in all of Nature and will come to each generation as it did in the beginning. We cannot destroy the principles, they are God/The Mystery. We are made of them.
Those who wish to test Creator make up some creative angles of these cosmic principles and they are called superstitions. They pale to the test and fall to the wayside; truth and principle are of the One and cannot be altered or destroyed.
We are savages and heathens to most religious people because we do not live in fear of the Almighty. I cannot be in fear of what I am. I Am That I AM, is real and it is all giving and love. I am here in the world by the will of God/Great Mystery and by that Will I live. What has fear got to do with that? It is clear and free of Man’s laws. It is love and unto it all returns. That we are of different lands and practices and even if our traditions are different in many aspects, that does not change we are all humans. Do You question Creator? We do not. We are as intended, all is of beauty.
We are of exactly what God/Creator is. In the reflection of the One we have been created, so we create. We are Co-creators, children of God. So who is counting out whom, for what reasons and how do you justify that in regards to your scriptures? In finding our answers to these questions, my desire is that you will go to a deeper level of your spirit to reflect upon the words.
I am so very grateful for the wisdom in the lifestyle of my Cherokee family. We refer to it simply as “The Way”. Nature is the oldest of our Elders and we know her well. She has birthed our Human Elders to give words to her ways. It is simple, but can be hard if we make it such or resist the authority that is its life giving power. We accept all has purpose within the Circle Of Life.
The way we live and the roles within our community is woven as a blanket, each thread a principle of the One. Our Elders are the Wisdom Keepers, who hold in safekeeping and demonstrate the wisdom for us. They nurtured us all as their own so we call them affectionately, “Grandmother and Grandfather.” We use Grandmother and Grandfather also for our Peace Keepers, helping us to remain open to what is fair and works for everyone’s good. From original time we have always called all humankind Brother and Sister, regardless of shades of skin, texture of hair or individual features of face. We are Human, the chosen out of all the creations to protect and be the stewards of our Mother the Earth and all life forms here.
Our Elders take us through all the passages of life and the evolution of our human growth. This helps us stay connected. It keeps us centered in the seven generations behind us and the seven in front of us. This is so we do not make the same mistakes of our Ancestors and we use the wisdom of their mistakes to set the growth of the next seven generations to come.
These passages all have manners, and activities we must do to prove we understand and know the importance of this life. Each seven-year growth period has an initiation that goes with it. As children we are given significant ceremonies as we come to different stages of growth so everyone understands how to conduct themselves with us, and so we as the children know what the differences will be. This cultivates self-confidence and personal perspective of our role in our family and Village.
This allows even children to see they have great importance in the survival of our way and people. They learn to hold their end of the work and responsibilities according to their ages. They are born as gifts to us and taken to the Sun on their first Moon cycle among us so that parents and family know they are a child of the Great Spirit and we are trusted stewards of them until they can manage for themselves. We acknowledge we do not own them and that no one owns another, this would be to our total detriment. European people, who came here, introduced slavery of another human to our homeland. Even when we began to war among ourselves before the Europeans came, it was to the death and all survivors, men, women and children were adopted into the camps of the captors as family. If they chose not to be adopted they were killed rather than left alone to a slow painful death was the intention behind the killing.
Killing of each other was breaking of the basic principle way of our life. And the Old Ones said it came as a sickness in man when he began to hunt the animals for food instead of living off the trees and soil. This is how illness and sickness came to our lives say the Wisdom Teachings. Sickness was the defense of the Animals and creatures to try and get us to see how harmful and wrong it is to kill them and take a single life. After man had eaten flesh, he then began to hunt and kill his own species, human. Then came the wars.
To take only what we need and to not kill the Tree or Bush we take fruit and food from. To leave enough to reseed and living the principle of reincarnation and allow all life its course of existence was how we were given to live here. This is called the Sacred Hoop.
Our Elders teach and work with Ceremonial Leaders, who are given the roles of leading and caring for all items of ceremony, the way we dress and regalia all are in compliance with cosmic principles.
Our Medicine People or Witch Doctors have been given the ways to heal and the herbal recipes to help cure illness in our world. These are the same and in most cases better than the pharmaceuticals you get from the drugstore. They are organic and more compatible to your organic body. Most people are dependent today on chemical drugs instead of natural pharmaceuticals. Witch Doctors use drama to draw the emotional state of a person to their authority and then use it to overcome the fear of dying or sickness. Most North American Natives use ceremony for this same purpose.
All our healing is based upon the body, mind and spirit all needing attention for a whole healing. We acknowledge that when a person’s Spirit and Mind is in conflict and stress, the immune system goes way down. So the emotional state of a sick person is given a great deal of importance. We call upon resources we have in Nature and the Cosmic Forces to flow through us as an instrument to help others. We surrender our vessel to being whatever Great Spirit needs us to be, to heal and do the work of the One’s expression in and through our world.
We do not feel we have a self. We are a cell of the One. We are always within the One. So it is easy to just put the mind in place to that and allow the Source to flow into our service. How can you be independent of your Source and BE, or exist? Clear Mind, Intelligence cannot answer this other than to come to this same place. Because IT IS, we are. I AM THAT I AM, what are you saying?
Our Rock Lodges where we use hot stones prepared in observance of our knowledge of the Cosmos and principles of life on Earth are all a huge part of its ability to heal, but also to open the body’s pores to release toxins and residue left in our skin, purifies us and gives us a new base to heal from. The lodge works in body, mind and Spirit and is based upon that balance to bring wellness and peace. We also use Rock Lodges to prepare for ceremonies.
Everything we are emerging into today, cloning, space travel and computer technology is the doorway to “knowing” we are truly of the One. To not get reckless and destructive or harmful is a must or we will all suffer the outcome. Quantum Physics is the major source today of giving back our faith in a single source, with many names and revealing to all unbelievers that we are of the stars and the essence we call “life” is infinite intelligence of the single Source. Face it or not we are of divine origin.
Our Chiefs are the Fathers of our way of life. They lead because they have proven their valor and virtues to the People. To break that trust is to die. Their manner of existence is noble and loyal. The Chief does not eat until all the People are fed. He does not have a blanket if any of his people are without one. He has to be the first to lead the battle if fighting is determined to be the only solution, so he can be the first to die if blood is drawn and a Son lost. If he comes back with dead he then has to take the role of provider and takes all families of men who died in his battle. His warriors must see that he fought fierce and that is the only reason he lives and others died, or they kill him themselves.
Our Clan Mothers are Mothers to all people. Who ever comes to visit or a traveler stops in she must feed them. Even if a dog or animal comes to the people, it must be fed. This prevails to the point that if food is scarce, Clan Mother and the Chief will not eat so there is enough to share with the guest. Also, providing them with a warm resting place is part of our way and she would give her own blankets if needed.
We are each here as providers. To use our gifts are to keep them. So we would not come to a place to take. As we are all made welcome by offerings of food and warmth, we come bearing gifts and being in full demonstration of how much we value the goodness of the people. So we cut wood or do a major work to give back for what was given. We would give our very best possessions to show our gratitude. We give more generously than was given us always. If someone just takes they are considered dangerous and would be observed as a threat to the safety and welfare of our families and People.
The way of the Clan was originally our means of knowing who was in direct blood lines so we did not inbreed, and therefore have birth defects as an outcome to doing such. So today that is less necessary because few live so close anymore.
Our Clan Mothers were the strength of our people. It is said that a people still stand unless the heart and blood of their women are on the ground. Women are fierce and mighty warriors for love of their families and People. Our Elders and Clan Mothers are the ones that lead us in beauty and heart. The manner in which our homes and Villages look and how our day’s events flow is all the service of our Clan Mothers. The decisions of how we celebrate our Ceremonies are her decisions. She works closely as a direct voice from our Elders. And she sees to the good and care of our Oldest and youngest.
She sees that the eating and food chain is held. First a portion of all food is given to the Fire or to the land. She and all the Women manage the process of who eats when. Portions are made to be given to the sick and disabled, then the Elders and Old People are served next. Then Nursing Mothers and children are fed and so forth and so on. The Chiefs all eat last so they make sure there is always enough food for all! Today, no Chief would go to a fast food place or restaurant unless he knew his Circle had food and was fed. His role demands he sit at the table with his people so he is sure all is well.
There were Red Chiefs that represented the leadership during war. If war was determined the course of action, the only way to see that was that we had all lost already and did not have the courage and strength to maintain the principles of life that comes with clear mind and intelligence and comprehends no one wins in war. So victory was lost, if war was determined. And the Principle Chief/Peace Chief had failed and could not lead the battle, so the Red Chief took over leadership for the battle. All Chiefs fought first.
Many parts of our life practices are founded on historical events of Spiritual nature. The Corn was given us as a sacred food and is native people’s manna, food given from above. Then some Peoples tradition of Tobacco came, as a powerful healing needed for dis-ease. We gave Tobacco to the Fire for an offering of appreciation. And it is smoked today as the same sacred burnt offering. This is not a statement of support for addictive cigarette smoking and other manners of its addictions. This is in violation to the gift of tobacco.
The Pipe was given to us by a Woman (Woman is wisdom) called Buffalo Calf Woman who came to live among the people and help them in a very dark time of life imbalance. Her teaching was to not violate each other sexually, in mind or body. To become caretakers again and stop taking and killing each other and all Great Spirit’s creatures. She gave permission to eat the buffalo until we had regained our abilities to live in harmony and eat of the bush again. She taught to eat flesh only when we had no other resources. To not waste a cell or part of the body was to show how we regretted needing to kill to live and to make use of all its form was to respect its life and remind us of how precious our relation is to each other. The pipe is to remind us of our connection to all life and to remember the price of abuse and disrespect to any part of it.
In preparing the pipe, tobacco is offered for all of Creator’s gifts of life and to know our inner-connectedness to everything else in the Universe.
Lovemaking is to know respect for each other and to pleasure the one we love. To do that we need to study them closely and watch their reactions to everything. Lovemaking is not just simple pumping of our bodies into the release of sperm and secretions. It is gratifying the Spirit and Mind as well as the body. To know the wisdom of our differences as man and woman. To know the way of our thoughts regarding the same things. Understanding the importance of each other’s differences regarding these same things or matters is powerful. We are given the teachings of these things in a way that Nature and Human can maintain a balance of harmony and beauty. The vital forces of attraction and chemistry are called our Fires and must be handled with intelligence and without fear and its blanket of superstitions and recognized as God given.
Our people do not suffer devils and Satan. We do recognize all this practice as painful and suffering. All is God to us. Great Spirit is all. What we do in regards to all the powers trusted us is an outcome of our own intelligence in interaction with the One. We could forgive and extend ourselves over and over again to the Newcomers (Europeans) because we accepted that they came because Great Spirit wanted us to know of each other. So we gave all we knew to help them survive here and healed their bodies from the illnesses of their long ocean journey.
We tried to understand the rage and greed. We tried to embrace the likenesses to help things come to a peaceful balance. We saw our common ground in both believing in one source, One God. Then we were whipped, beaten and called savages because we did not accept that Great Spirit hated us, and condemned us for believing in the love and beauty of our Earth and life here.
We were taken from our homes after sharing all we knew and our willingness to share the land. We were killed and made examples to all of our people because we did not accept a God of cruel damnation. We were not willing to fear our source and Oneness with Great Spirit. Our only laws were what we knew of Nature and how to be in service to life. To care for all life and all The Creators creatures and creations. To be fair above all personal needs. To do unto each other as we believed our God to be.
Savages? Ignorant? Brutal? Hatred? Heathens? Well I have a very different take on all that regarding my people, as I am sure others do as well. Of this I am sure, to hold malice is to bring a death more painful than we can bear, so I lift all need to judge or hate anyone or thing. All is of God is exactly as I live, breath and have my Being. I give no acknowledgement to Satan and waste no moments in fear of evil. I take full action to rid myself of any need to harm or cause imbalance to any form of life, to do so would offend Great Spirit. To place thoughts of Satan and Devils would be to create such and test the Great Spirit, and is this not an act of faithless practice? Is the devil what has come out of making a fearful God? Is that fear our knowing we are out of trust and right action? That fear is our opening our self to the punishment of doing and being wrong, and is not feeling this and carrying this pain not punishment? To prolong it and enhance it is to lose more time in its practice. Relent. Give it up! Release it. Feel your remorse and go forward with the trust ALL has been forgiven and you are wiser now and free to do better and make good, good for The ALL.
It is not acceptable to hit or hurt another’s physical body. Our Body is the embodiment of the Great Spirit. In it is represented the accumulation of all that exists. It functions from a source that no science at present can describe. The essence that is you looking out from your eyes the windows of your Being, the concept of what life and the world is, is sacred. And it has been anointed in Spirit and has the presence of the One God in all things.
What science does know is that everything that is matter is present in the body. So we are the total accumulation of all creation. We have been given Intent to think out our choices. Our body is Creator’s Altar. We are the expression of the One. We become what we believe God to be.
To come to a place where people are rejoicing in the Spirit and sing songs of beauty and praise is a safe place.
To kill and to try and force another to believe as we do is what? Creator is as varied as the creations of our world. Can anyone of us understand it from all points and in all matters?
To live life as a single day and do in that day all that we would want to be our final day is how it is with us. So caring, respecting and serving is the reality of our purpose. And to do it in good humor and to sing, dance and celebrate is joyful living. To give is to give the best, and the rest is of your own making, if you do not like it, change it.
All around you no matter where you are is opportunity. You decide its potential and outcome. You are the co-creators. Make a life worthy of all the gifts we are. Love from a place empty of fear. Live in eternal celebration of being chosen for this world and life, and if we manage well, we will dwell in its glory and beauty again.
Our path to fulfilling our dreams is often paved with sacrifices; remember that the word “sacred” is within the word “sacrifice.” Be strong in determination. Even as you stumble along and run in several directions, it is still marked with faith. You must walk in the strength of your beliefs and know courage is only found in facing your fear. Diligence and persistence is your resources. You will have to confront your doubts, over come your setbacks, and deal with unfairness. But all this is conquered in our willingness to face our challenges, take chances, and to fail and get up and go again! When the dream is realized there is no greater joy than knowing what you have accomplished along the way, and who you have come to be for the journey!
And so it all comes to pass………………………………………………..
This is dedicated to all my children and grandchildren, I pull you all close to me, that my Blanket will wrap you forever in peace and keep you warm, my blanket is my prayers for you. I say to your mind and heart as you sleep in my arms, remember this time, hold fast to the wisdom you have been given it is timeless and is today as powerful as it was in the beginning. Your roots are deep in the knowledge of Nature and the Ways of Life; you can always call upon it, be still and listen to your heart. It will preserve your dignity and self-respect. In days of testing and change may it give you guidance. And when your life is painful and your faith is low, walk in mine. When I am no longer in the world as a body, hold onto my hand,we are never separate, we are the Circle Of Life. Live life as a day and know we are one, I live in you and you live in me. I love as Great Spirit has given me to do, and I judge no one so all may live free. You are my fulfillment and joy, may my words give you what you ask for, and know my life is greater for you being with me.