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 Symbolism

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Native American Symbolism

The many Native American cultures are rich with powerful and meaningful symbolism. In the nature that surrounded them, they found a world filled with spiritual symbols that guided them toward a lifestyle that was both spiritually and physically healthy.

In order to pay homage and show respect for the many powerful symbols, Native Americans did a variety of different sacred rituals which included dances, feasts, ritual hunting and harvesting and much more.

Symbols included the deer, the frog, the tadpole, the horned lizard, the coyote, the turtle, the bird, and even feathers. Each symbolized a different aspect of the spirit. The deer, for example, symbolized speed and family protection. The horned lizard was a symbol of perseverance and keeping secrets. Coyotes, on the other hand, are tricksters (according to the symbolism) and was considered a sort of spirit guide for hunters and those who are searching for something.

The frog symbolized renewal, fertility and was widely thought to signal the coming of spring. The tadpole, or baby frog, also symbolized fertility and renewal but were also considered extremely powerful since they were capable of transforming into a new form (the frog). The turtle was a symbol of feminine strength such as fertility, perseverance and long life. Many believed that turtles had the ability to evade death.

The bird symbolized exploration, vision, wisdom and hidden strength (since birds are often much stronger than their form and size would lead you to believe). It was also a signal that spring was soon to come. Their feathers were an extremely important symbol used in religious rituals and worn to show social rank or honor. Feathers are taken from different kinds of birds depending on the particularly type of spiritual virtues the person is trying to represent.

One of the most powerful symbols was that of the bear. For many Native American cultures, the bear was a symbol of strength and protection. The bear was a great leader and featured as a helper in many stories about the creation or origins of the world.

As part of the sacred rituals performed to pay tribute to the strong and protective bear, the Native Americans made a mixture of plants which they ate in order to become more like the bear they so highly respected.

Recent analysis of these plant mixtures show that there was actually some truth to its power to make a person more like a bear; that is, stronger and more powerful. The molecular content of the mixture is very similar to the modern protein shakes that weightlifters and strength trainers use to help build muscle for their workout.

Protein shakes are great for working out but most of the products out there are designed for men who are trying to bulk up and get huge. For women and those who just want to get in shape without looking like an enormous weightlifter, you need a specially crafted mixture. Delight shakes, which are the best for women, is exactly such a mixture. If you want to learn more about Delight shakes, the details are here.

Native American’s Hunting Bow of Spirit

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Native American’s Hunting Bow of Spirit

I happened to come upon a beautifully crafted American Indian bow, while I was on one of my usual jaunts in search of authentic works of art. Most of the ancient tools are becoming quite obsolete now. The American Indian Bow also called as Hunting Bow of Spirit is one such ancient tool.

The bow I saw was quite beautiful and done with such exquisite art and ingenuity that I was completely spellbound. I was itching to take it up and try it.  The friend who had the bow in his possession knew quite a lot about the well-designed bows made by Native Americans. I gleaned a great amount of information from him about the bow.

The famed American Indian Bows

American Indian bows used for hunting were mostly of the Self Bow variety. This bow is made from a single wooden piece. Most of the eastern tribes made such bows.  The bows had an elongated profile with rectangular cross section. These bows were similar to the English Long bows in the way they can be bent via the handle. The bows made by the Western tribes were a bit different. They came with sinew backs and some bows had horn composite and were of short stature too.

Hunting with Self bows

The effective hunting bows were used predominantly to hunt animals. Mostly the bows were used to kill snakes that dangled from the trees, while hunting wild animals for food was also a common practice. Children are taught from their toddler stage to handle the bow deftly. Master archers use the bows quite skillfully and with great accuracy.

Crafting the bow

The bows are usually made from wood like ash, locust or hickory in the eastern part and mulberry in the southern regions. Hop horn and berry wood were also used. The bow was created from preforms termed as Staves, which was in a cut form and was well dried too.

The entire process called as tillering needs precision and creative ability. Most of the time the creative process involved wasting huge amount of materials and was time consuming as well.

But since the Native Americans depended solely on hunting bows for their survival they had to master the craft, which is why the bows have become excellent works of art much admired by art connoisseurs world over.

Associated risks and benefits

The Self Bow is light in weight, so it can be carried easily. Beautiful and durable, the bows are also very quiet and alive in action. Such was the skillful creation of the bows that they managed to best the Muskets used during that period of time.

There have been several accounts that prove this unbelievable, yet true fact. It is said that the bow was so powerful that a Native had pierced an arrow right through the breast plate of a European invader.

Though the hunting bows used by Native Americans were quite powerful, they required consistent practice to be accurate and of the right form. The demands present in making the bow have discouraged many individuals who have tried to emulate their ancestors.

Spiritual Peace and Strength in Native American Indian Jewelery

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Spiritual Peace and Strength in Native American Indian Jewelery

Many older martial artists have a good luck charm, a small item that assists in providing them with the inner peace and strength they need to achieve perfection. Many don’t believe that an object has the ability to do such a thing and thus it is written off as a superstition. Perhaps I was one of these people, many, many years ago. I’d been doing martial arts ever since I was young, but had only started to take it seriously as I grew older. The younger me was all about the fight, the power kicks, the knowing that the average Joe had nothing on me. However, with age, I learned to look a little deeper and as my love for martial arts grew, and life got a bit more complicated, I started to look inward and developed a craving for spiritual peace.

On my journey to self acceptance and spiritual peace, I met a martial arts master who had more words of wisdom than I thought existed. He enabled me to look at the deeper side of things and keyed me in on some of the ways he was able to stay strong and achieve spiritual peace. One of the things he mentioned that really struck me was Native American Indian jewelery. I experienced a sort of flashback to the days my grandmother would show me her jewelery collection and speak proudly about all the properties of each piece and I’d pretend to be impressed. As a boy, jewelery was, by no means, something that I was particularly interested in. But that day seeing the piece dangling from this renowned martial arts master’s neck, I knew there had to be some truth in it. He spoke of the spiritual peace that it helped him to obtain in such a captivating way, that it stuck with me for weeks after our encounter.

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