Lately I’ve seen a growing trend in wearing feathers, headdresses, tribal prints, and tattoos. However, as these things become more chic, I hope no one loses sight of the true heritage behind them. Although it may be nonsensical to compare ourselves here and now, to how we were as a species hundreds or thousands of years ago in some places, there is still an important essence of acknowledging where we have been, and those who came before us, to understand where we are going, especially for those living on lands previously occupied by an ancient culture.
We have the power to admire, implement, and benefit from the traditions and spirituality of Native Americans (and other indigenous cultures from around the world). For many tribes, their deep and spiritual connection with the land in which they lived, is profound, and can teach us a great deal about our own connection with the earth.
While in modern society, we are inundated with images of people living in the glamour of Hollywood and Broadway, hundreds of thousands of native peoples still reside in the Americas. While the way of life has changed for many tribes, many individuals still live in harmony with their land and their source of creation, and continue to practice many of their sacred rituals of honoring the earth.
Here are six simple ways you can add the wisdom and healing of Indigenous and Native American spirituality into your everyday life.
1. Wake Up and Give Thanks.
Some Native tribes awoke and greeted, praised, and honored the sun each morning. There was a deep recognition that each and every second we are alive is a massive blessing and the rising of the sun each morning is a powerful opportunity to pause, reflect, and give thanks.
You can begin each morning with a small ritual of your choice. It does not have to be traditional, but the act of doing something to add meaning to your morning is what’s important here. A moment to pause, and feel grateful that another day has begun, in which you get to be alive. A simple sun salutation, a moment to journal, meditate, or even taking extra time to savor your coffee, are all examples of small morning rituals. Don’t miss the opportunity to express gratitude for the wonderful life you have been granted. Use this gift of life to the best of your ability, and begin each morning with a powerful moment to feel reverence for a new day.
2. Turn the Water Off.
Indigenous people had gratitude for the water they used to keep them alive. There was a greater recognition that human life cannot exist without this powerful, rejuvenating resource. We can all learn from this respect, and practice it ourselves by being more conscious of the water we use.
Many of us are guilty of not turning the water off after we wet our toothbrushes, or between washing one dish and the next. Native & indigenous peoples did not (and some still do not) have or need access to water like those who live in modern homes, and they still lived and thrived. Next time you’re taking a shower, notice if you can use just a little less water and still finish feeling clean and satisfied.
3. Express Reverence for the Food you Eat.
The purpose of a meal is to nourish our bodies. Feel this and have a moment of gratitude or prayer for the food you’re able to eat. Whether you’re eating a salad of fresh mixed greens, with bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, and a delightful honey mustard organic dressing, or a pound of bacon with three eggs and some toast with a slab of butter and raspberry jam, acknowledge before you dig in, where your meal is coming from. Meat and fruit are both living beings which were killed for your consumption, pay your dues, by simply taking a moment to feel appreciation for the farmers, plants, and animals that make each and every one of your meals (and snacks) possible!
Hopefully, your respect for nature has guided you to admonish man-made processed foods and you’re geared towards whole, natural foods. More natural foods in your diet, takes this admiration a step further. Simple, organic foods, made from the earth to nourish and sustain us are better for health, energy levels, and overall well-being than processed and sugary foods.
Many indigenous people were hunters and gatherers, meaning every meal was less guaranteed, than it is for us in the modern world, where grocery stores keep us sustained. There was a strong appreciation for the food they ate, and rituals throughout the year for harvests as well as for meals. The animals they consumed for food were used consciously, and with deep respect that an animal sacrificed their live for their sustenence and vitality.
4. Walk Around Barefoot.
It’s clear that Native Americans had a deep connection with the Earth. We can practice this in simple ways also. One way is by feeling your bare feet on the land.
Go outside with no socks or shoes! Feel the rocks, the dirt, the concrete under your toes. You may feel cold, you may feel exposed; it’s okay. Your brain is the command center for your central nervous system, but your two feet are the vehicles guiding you through life. The tiny chakras in your feet will love and appreciate full exposure to the ground and a chance for them to stand supported.
After just one “session” with what has been called “earthing” by some, you’ll feel much more in command of your life and the ways you interact with and inhabit your surroundings, and the earth around you! You won’t be able to go and buy groceries with bare feet, but who knows… perhaps our society will evolve and everyone will be allowed to wear whatever they choose as shoes!
5. Pay Attention to Animals.
All around you are other living and breathing and experiencing creatures, capable of teaching you life lessons. Everything you encounter has symbolism and the power to reveal things to you.
You may find you have a totem, or spirit animal in this lifetime, or you may have several or different ones that teach you lessons at different times. Or, maybe you are influenced by every single organism out there!
When an animal unexpectedly pops up into your life, whether you drive by it, or notice a rare sighting, take a moment to acknowledge its presence, what you’re experiencing at that particular moment, and accept the gift of the animal appearing to symbolize and teach you something. You can always do an internet search on the animal’s symbolism later, to find exactly why they chose to enter your vicinity at that time or your intuition may make it perfectly clear for you.
6. Cleanse with Smoke.
Ceremonial smoke has been used by different cultures around the world for thousands of years in a variety of different forms. The essence is similar though regardless of the culture; to cleanse negative energy and purify the soul.
You can do this everyday (or even make it part of your morning ritual). Sage, cedar, and lavender smudges are excellent tools to clear out any blockages or negativity you may not have even noticed was there. You can also end special days sitting by a campfire outside and telling stories with great company. Regardless of the form, or scent, the etheric quality of smoke in the air is mesmerizing to say the least, and offers an opportunity to lose yourself in its beauty. Don’t underestimate its power, and harness it to keep your energy clear, vibrant, and light.
By Moses Hunter
Moses is a young artist living in Denver, CO with huge aspirations to travel the world, entertaining large crowds. Whether that be through music, poetry, dance, yoga, or comedy, he is always willing to put forth the necessary effort to ensure a quality time is had by all. His most recent efforts include self-publishing four poetry books in 2017, with another on its way in '18. Find and follow Moses on his social media, Instagram @family._.man, his platform for business inquiries and as a writing platform to showcase and share his creative endeavors.
Connect to the Earth now with one of these Earth based practices!
Earth Yoga with Denelle Numis
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