Tradition. . .
“Six o’ clock
In the morning, I feel pretty good
So I dropped into the luxury of the Lords
Fighting dragons and crossing swords
With the people against the hordes
Who came to conquer.
In the morning, here it comes
I taste the warning and I am so amazed
I’m here today, seeing things so clear this way
In the car and on my way
– Crosby, Stills and Nash
In prayer the ceremony came to me, and so in prayer I offer it. We carry the light from the circle within to the greater circle without, passing it from East to South to West to North, walking our visions around the wheel, first as planted seeds and finally the bread of our very lives.
Are we so wrong to honor the Creator in this fashion?
We who see the hypocrisy in taking all that’s holy out of a people and forcing them to purchase it back piece by piece with currency stamped from humiliation and guilt?
We whose cries for vision went unanswered until we found them wrapped in steam and sage-smoke?
We whose bodies, hearts and souls have opened up to Wakan Tanka, filled to the brim with his sacred light and carried that light to the darkest places of the world?
We who find the language of our culturally imposed traditions a thing so foreign as to be almost incomprehensible?
We who, unable to hear the voice of God in brick, marble and plaster, have turned instead to pebble, leaf and feather?
Some would say we are not qualified. Some would tell us stick to our own traditions and find our God therein. To them I would say, with utmost love and respect, traditions are not the property of man.
Certainly they help him on his path. They shape him as the river shapes the stone over which it passes. Yet the stone seeks no ownership of the river. To enter the river with the utmost respect is to find one’s self carried to places unimaginable when standing on the shore. To enter the current unprepared is to find one’s self battered, flung and lost, possibly even drowning in its wake.
Admittedly the path I walk makes it easier for me to feel this way. I’ve never been persecuted for following the traditions that I do. My people have never been hunted, caged, poisoned, beaten or shackled for the color of their skin. My native tongue has never made me the victim of oppression. There are many, in fact, who would say that by following the practice of Core Shamanism, one becomes the oppressor, strip-mining cultures for their precious treasures and giving them nothing in return.
Perhaps there are those who abuse the teachings they’ve received for their own gain. This tradition is not alone in suffering that affliction. But it is arguably unwise to judge the majority of practicioners of any tradition by the few who seek to abuse it from within.
Along this path I have met some whose egos have led them to venture into places they are ill prepared to tread. But I have also met many times more those who’ve cast aside their egos and opened themselves fully to the will of the Creator.
And in the end, isn’t that the aim of spiritual tradition?