“All my relations” now include talking animals, shrinking hides that become shields, and wisdom from the oldest in the village.
I have just finished reading a book by Joseph Marshall III, which has a lot of interesting and engaging stories about life on the North American plains before the white two-leggeds came. I must say that I have, like Joe Campbell, always been interested in the people of the plains, and their myths, so I enjoyed reading it.
If you know some of the character of the Lakota Sioux tribes, it will not come as a surprise to learn that the stories have intention, a moral, a wisdom, or similar, and Marshall pulls these in at the end of each chapter. I find it interesting to compare this with the Virtues project which you can visit on http://www.virtuesproject.com/ This initiative is Canadian, to reach out and retrieve the virtues that we as a planet need.
Marshall’s eight virtues are Silence/Inner Listening, Tolerance/Acceptance, Faith, Selflessness/To give of oneself, Patience, Knowledge, Peace/Quieting and Wisdom. All are also represented in the wider Virtues Project, and I wonder if the Lakota description of the Great Spirit “All my Relatives”, which includes all creation, was the source of the catchline for the Virtues Project also. It reads “There is no they, only us”.
These stories and the wisdom they contain are very relevant for our world. We need to re-commit to virtues, but we cannot do that without first loving ourselves. I recommend reading Marshall’s book in a cocktail with Robert Burney’s “The Dance of Wounded Souls” – it is an intoxicating mix! Have a look at some of the quotes on http://www.wisdomcommons.org/author/Robert%20Burney and compare that to these quotes from “returning to the lakota way”(Published by Hay House 2013)
“When we pray or meditate and say All My Relations, we invoke the essence of all that is in the world. Think of the power that is there. It’s not magic. It is unbridled and awesome power. We must bring it together unselfishly, for the good of all that is” (p271)
“Sometime in the afternoon, a bundle of sage in his hand, he trudged through the deep snow to the cow. She had expired. There was no feeling of elation, however, only sadness. The words of his grandfather ran through his mind.
We do not kill because we can, we do it because we must. For that, the hunter gives thanks and humbles himself for the animals’s gift of life.
Slow laid the bundle of sage next the cow’s head. Then drawing his knife, he set about finishing his chore.” (p239)
Let us sit together and not shun the sadness.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.