Trials of Manhood for Indians

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Trials of Manhood for Indians

Most ancient cultures in the world have a rite of passage for boys; when they reach a certain age and strength, they would be given a quest or a task to do. When they finished this task, they were officially considered men by the people of their tribe. Sadly, in most Western cultures we have all but abandoned the notion of a “rite of passage.” We’ve replaced manhood with an extended boyhood, and never expect people to grow up and improve themselves. I’ve compiled some observations from my study of the Native American people, and I want to share some ideas I’ve had about how we can learn about rites of passage to adulthood!

The Quest

The main part of the journey to adulthood in Indian culture was The Quest. The quest that Indian boys undertook was simple, yet difficult to complete. The boy who wanted to be considered a man had to go on a 1-2 week journey by himself, building his own shelter and hunting his own food. During this time he would commune with the spirits and find his life purpose. Was he a hunter? Was he a warrior? Or was a musician or shaman, one who would guide the tribe spiritually? Maybe he would be a sportsman, one who played sports like ones you could find at patiosport.com… Or perhaps his purpose and goal was to be a chief or an elder in the tribe, making the day-to-day choices that kept the tribe alive. The spirits would tell him what his purpose was, and how he would accomplish his visions.

His New Name

Indian children were given a name as children, one that was given to their parents by the spirits. One of the reasons for this quest was to transition the child out of childhood and into adulthood, and to do this the boy needed a man’s name. No one got to choose their own name however… It was given them by the spirits on the quest. Often, you would make a name for yourself by your actions… Much like I’ve made a name for myself around my hometown for being great at indoor basketball… Thanks Patio Sport! Although you could not choose your name, your name might be influenced by the actions you performed, such as bravery in the hunt or in a fight.

The Return

After the quest was over, the new man would return to his tribe. A ceremony was held after he arrived, celebrating his transition into manhood and honoring his accomplishment in finishing the quest. The ceremony would also recognize the man’s new name, and discard his old childhood name. He would be added to the tribe as a contributing member, and the elders would consult among themselves and the spirits about his new role in the tribe, and what his primary job would be. It’s a real shame that we no longer perform such rites… They gave everyone a place in the tribe, and in the world around them.

Lessons We Can Learn from the Native Americans

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Lessons We Can Learn from the Native Americans

If you don’t like history, you’re throwing away a huge chance to learn about the things other people went through without having to go through that trouble yourself. Why would you miss out on a chance to learn from the past, if it meant that your future would be better? There are so many lessons that we can learn from the Native Americans that apply so well to modern day. I’ve studied a lot of the philosophy that the Indians had, and I want to share with you guys some of the lessons I learned. Here are some truths that you can apply to your own life!

Waste Not, Want Not

Maybe the Indians didn’t invent that saying, but they certainly practiced it. Whenever the Native American people killed an animal, they used every part of its body. It was considered disrespectful to the spirit of the animal to throw anything away, so everything was used. The meat was eaten, the bones could be used as tools, the brain was perfect for tanning leather, and the skin was used for tents or clothes. Even the sinew from the muscles that couldn’t be eaten was used for a sort of twine, to tie clothes together or to sew tents. Most modern cultures are far too wasteful, and we could take a lesson from the Indians here. Reuse water bottles, keep plastic containers, use less water for dishes… There are all sorts of ways to show respect to nature and keep things in balance.

Be One with the World

Our modern culture conquer nature; the Indians wanted to live side-by-side with it. It’s much better to try and be one with nature, rather than trying to control it. We tend to see so many animals as pests, but often they were here long before us and will be there after we’re gone. That being said, I am very glad that we have bug traps like the ones from http://insectmurderer.com, because some animals truly are pests! However, often we should just observe the nature around us and be at peace with it as much as possible.

Believe in the Spirits

I don’t know what your personal beliefs are, and I don’t want to contradict them. I do think it’s valuable to see the world as the Indians saw it; that there was a bit of God or “The Great Spirit” in everything. You could see it in the deer, or the trees, or the rivers. This is why they didn’t waste anything of what they killed, because it disrespected the gifts of the Great Spirit to throw anything away. I believe it is valuable to have that attitude towards nature, because it makes you respect it. You won’t disrespect something that has a personality and feelings of its own, would you? Nature is more of a living being than we often think. Maybe that’s why we have environmental problems; we have no respect for the spirit of nature.

Choose the right spiritual path to defend yourself with

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Choose the right spiritual path to defend yourself withOne of my latest posts reminded me of how important it is to stay rooted. By this I mean keeping in touch with your cultural roots, whether by heritage or those you’ve chosen to affiliate yourself with. And by affiliation I do not mean deliberately accepting the general behavior of mainstream ‘multicultural’ and commercial-oriented culture which has tragically become the American way of life. Back then, particularly before the Western settlers arrived and drove our forefathers and their tribes from their hallowed land, the American way of life was quite different. I feel myself drawing closer to those spiritual roots every day that goes by.

The spiritual significance of cultural weapons

Westernized culture also went on to create offensive ‘cowboys and Indians’ movies which always portrayed the Native American warriors as the proverbial bad guys. They were portrayed as vile primitive beasts that derived sustenance from drawing blood from innocent victims. And the primitive weapons they used, bows, arrows and axes, were their killing machines. But how quickly modern society still forgets what these weapons really meant to the young braves who were selected to defend their tribes and leave home on hunting expeditions to ensure their tribes’ survival.

It is also not out of place to suggest that these hand-crafted weapons had religious and/or spiritual significance for these men and in learned circles today, particularly among the survivors of those tribes who choose to have them close to their person; these weapons are regarded as cultural accoutrements. Apart from its spiritual significance, the weapons mainly served as a means which to defend with, not annihilate or wantonly kill with. As tools of necessity, these cultural weapons also resonate with the spiritual philosophies of the true martial arts practitioner.

The talismanic value of the jewelry I wear

When they practice their kicking and punching skills on a good freestanding punching bag, they don’t have vengeance in mind nor do they have venom coursing through their veins. I hope these thoughts on weapons and the means for equipping yourself with effective fighting skills have placed you in the right frame of mind too, particularly in light of recent, violent events plaguing mainstream society today. As it has helped me, it will also help you to stay rooted as a well-rounded American. It goes without saying that it would please me even more if you chose to one day become a true Native American.

I’d like to close this post with one more thought on my culture of choice. I’m digressing slightly from what I said earlier on being superstitious. Let me rephrase; I am still marveling at my transformation from being an inherently suspicious and superstitious young man to one who derives great spiritual value and benefit from the talismanic jewelry I now wear religiously.

To help you fully appreciate what I feel and mean to say here, think also of those folks who swear by wearing the Star of David or a crucifix around their necks.

Native American tracking skills

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Native American tracking skills

Living in harmony with nature means knowing how to follow her sings. Native Americans knew it, and they had developed orientation skills. They knew to predict weather conditions by the look of the clouds in the sky or to predict a natural disaster by the animal behavior. The hunt was an integral part of their lives, and it is quite logical that they have developed remarkable skills in tracking wildlife. If you are involved in hunting, probably you are using them to reach your prey.

One of the ways to get to the prey is to follow tracks on the ground. It takes a lot of practice and focuses to notice them, especially where there is plenty of other evidence on the ground. When you see an animal footprint, you need to know to which animal it belongs to. Simply, they are not all animals valuable for hunting. The Indians know much about animal tracks. They would first assess their size and whether the footprint originated from paws or hooves. Then, they would count the number of fingers and look for traces of nails. By the shape and size of the paws, they were able to assume which animal made footprints.

Finding traces is not the same thing as finding wild animals. Today, every hunter carries a good rangefinder, with which can observe the environment and see is there some wild animal around. The Indians had to find some other way to get to the animals – to monitor their movements tracking  the marks on the ground. The way the wild animals leave a trail meant a lot in the detection of animals. The diagonal pattern of tracks is characteristic for animals that move the front left and rear right leg at the same time (like a deer). Pacer pattern indicates that it is an animal that moves both limbs on the left and on the right side at the same time (like bears). Animals that jump also leave specific traces. All this can be recognized, and the man can determine the direction in which the animal has gone.

Besides the footprints, the animals leave other traces. Big animals can break branches passing through their trajectory. A careful eye of Indians would not miss that. There are also traces in the form of animal feces, or in the form of food that has been dropped. Some animals leave their mark with their way of eating -tips of the plants that are eaten and the like. A good tracker will know to distinguish the fresh broached plant from the one eaten before a few days. Also, it will recognize the freshness of other marks. In this way, they will know whether they are on the right track to reach the prey.

To get a catch, the Native Americas had to know a lot about nature and its inhabitants. They supposed to know where are their habitats, where they sleep, where they like to eat and where to hide, to find all the marks they leave and to recognize their external anatomy. It’s a survival skill that all people once had.

Benefits Of Holistic Healing Approaches

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Benefits Of Holistic Healing Approaches

Modern medicine treats people who are sick as though they are machines with which something has gone wrong. The most common used methods are to radiate and cut them open to see what parts have succumbed to illness, and then to treat only those parts of their bodies.

The human mind and spirit are never taken into consideration.

Unlike these methods, holistic approaches take a human being as a whole. Like Native Americans still do, they actually stop and ask questions about the general well-being of an individual. Nowadays many people see the significance and the benefits of such approaches, and there is an increasing number of people who choose to be treated by so-called medicine men.

Things are changing so rapidly that even modern Western medicine has started doubting its methods. There are more and more techniques that are specially developed to rid doctors of the need to heal their patients in the invasive ways that have become customary.

One of the most famous such methods is definitely electrotherapy. I did some research and found some sites, such as TensUnitReport.com, that have reviews of many different devices for electrotherapy that can be used out of the comfort of your own home. So it really seems that things are changing for the better.

The benefits of non-invasive methods that still fall under the category of modern medicine can easily be proven. For instance, you can read about the advantages of above-mentioned electrotherapy here, as well as on countless other sites. When it comes to alternative methods, however, it’s all treated like hearsay.

This is exactly why I believe that people should be more invested in promoting holistic approaches, and that’s why I’m going to take this opportunity to say something about all the benefits of alternative healing methods.

After subjecting yourself to a holistic healing method, you’ll notice that not only does it relieve you of pain, it does that a lot quicker than any modern method could. Apart from healing the part of your body that’s most affected by the illness, it also improves your overall sense of well-being. In the process, it makes you understand some basic things, the most important being the fact that you need to take care of yourself in order to remain healthy. This, of course, excludes drinking, smoking, irregular sleep cycles and bad eating habits.

Healing is conducted only with the use of natural ingredients and positive energy, which means that you won’t get your body poisoned while trying to treat it. Apart from all this, it’s highly likely that you’ll open up a communication channel with Mother Earth, which means that you’ll become someone who cares about the environment as well.

As you can see, there are plenty of advantages, and no disadvantages when it comes to holistic healing methods. By now you should have realized how harmful it is for mankind to stick with modern medicine, when there is such a wonderful alternative to it. I’m not saying that people should stop seeing their doctors; I just believe that we all could do a lot better.

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