“The Enlightenment” era did more to stop people from being enlightened than achieve it. True, when Galileo et al succeeded in disproving the solar system is geocentric, that was a good thing. Some things deserve scientific scrutiny. However, even to this day, hundreds of years later, there are phenomena many have experienced to be true while those blinded by science debunk them.
That attitude has done more to destroy faith and spirituality than Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. It took decades before technology advanced enough to prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Just because it can’t be proven in a lab doesn’t mean it’s not true. Having an open mind is the most scientific thing you can do. My ongoing criticism of skeptics is that they don’t have to prove anything. I think they should have the same standards imposed on them as they expect of others.
Don’t believe astrology works? Prove it.
Don’t believe in telepathy? Prove it.
Don’t believe in past lives? Prove it.
Indigenous people as a rule believe in animism, i.e. that everything has an innate soul. We are all brothers and sisters. Everything and everyone is connected. We all came from the Earth, are part of her, and will return there. Having such beliefs, they’re in tune with their surroundings. Situational awareness at its best. Like the Navajo shown in the picture on the left. We grid-searched the fields outside of Hemphill, Texas together, picking up debris from the space shuttle, Columbia. Men and women who could spot a copperhead sunning on a rock from fifty yards.
Do you have a question? Pay attention. “Ask and ye shall receive” or perhaps, “The truth is out there” are valid principles.
One way Indigenous people find answers is through Spirit Animals. This goes beyond identifying with one particular animal, such as a wolf, lion, bear, mountain lion, etc. Admiring and assimilating the qualities of any animal you encounter can teach you something about
yourself or your situation.
How do you know what they are teaching you? Often it’s intuitive, because you’re already looking for an answer. Charlie Littlewolf, the main character in “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” knows this. Coupled with prayer, fasting, and traditional rituals his grandfather taught him, he’ll find answers.
If you prefer more specific help, an excellent book on the subject is “Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies.”
The stories in particular are delightfully reminiscent of Aesop’s Fables and most are suitable to read to young children. They explain the traditional meaning of various animals, indigenous archetypes, if you will.
But first you have to pay attention.
Since expanding my awareness to this hidden realm I have encountered numerous valuable insights, from birds in particular. A small flock of sparrows and a single male cardinal at my feeder. Two bald eagles soaring directly above my house. A raven squawking from the top of a phone pole. Hundreds of white pelicans circling above my house as they arrive at their winter home.
What are the odds? Those birds are not out there whenever I happen to look up. We have buzzards galore, but that is not what I have seen when I was pondering an issue. Buzzards, too, have meaning, but when they’re out there most the time, there’s far less meaning unless they do something unusual that catches your attention.
How do these animals know when to appear? Pure coincidence? Or, as part of this web of life, are they drawn to us by our asking to provide an answer only they can deliver?
Many would declare such beliefs in the realm of superstition. Have you ever noticed that superstition has the same root as supernatural? The world of the unseen?
There is so much that fails to meet the untrained eye.