Tag: Aboriginal

Rite of the Womb

As part of my journey reconnecting with my Native roots, I discover many beautiful ceremonies, rites and practices, which I’m invited to participate in.

My friend, Little Deer Fairy Child, is studying to work energetically with people who wish to heal themselves iSacral-chakran body, mind and spirit. Many call this work “shamanic”. Few people call themselves shamans because it implies years of apprenticeship, some gifts and a community recognition. That being said, shamanic practices are available to all who are interested in learning. It has everything to do with a holistic approach to heal and spirituality.

Little Deer Fairy Child was initiated in the 13th Rite of the Munay-Ki, a ceremony which empowers women to heal their wombs (and their sacral chakra, for those who are familiar the chakra system). My friend has graciously initiated me into the 13th Rite of the Munay-Ki: the Rite of the Womb.I couldn’t be more grateful for the beautiful ceremony, the recognition of my feminine identity and the awakening of another centre of my personal power.

In the practice, you ground yourself and connect to the grandmothers and women who came before you. A Womb Keeper calls upon this wisdom and healing energy and asks to be a channel to pass this on to the woman (or women) before her. A thoughtful and symbolic altar or bundle is set out with 13 candles (for the 13 grandmothers and 13 moons), a bowl of water, objects that convey femininity for the participants and flowers. By placing hands from her womb to another’s, the Womb Keeper passes on the Rite and connects us in the Great Sisterhood. The Rite cannot be staged and must be passed on by a Keeper. Men are welcome guests who hold sacred space for us as lovers, family, friends, supporters and figurative protectors. The men who participate are also welcome, as are the participating women, to blow positive intentions into petals that are placed into the water, ultimately to be given back to Mother Earth.

Keeper of the Womb

I had a wonderful experience receiving the Rite, as I felt my growing connection to strong, nurturing energy from women Petals waterpast, present and future. I felt closer to my friend. I felt clearer on who I was and on simply “being woman”. I felt warmth rushing to my womb. It was as much a physical experience for me as it was an emotional and spiritual one. I was blessed to have my partner hold space for me. Even though he is unfamiliar with Native American practices and customs (and I’m new to them myself), he sat with us, peacefully, attentive. He kept an open mind. He helped light candles. When his turn came, he took a petal in which to blow an intention. And when I was overcome with emotion, he took me in his arms and told me he loved me. I felt how much I loved him at that moment too.

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

The Rite is not simply for women who wish to bear children or for women who’ve been victims of abuse. The Rite of the Womb, as it’s also called, is meant to help women bring awareness to their centre of creativity and personal power. We hold much of our pain and fear in the womb, finding ourselves paralyzed from making self-honouring decisions. The womb is the centre of our ability to make art, to find solutions that ring true for us and a healthy womb allows us to cleanse ourselves (physically and energetically) in order to embrace life’s cycles. In very practical terms, the Rite of the Womb helps alleviate period symptoms and soothe pain in the general area of reproductive organs. The womb is like a micro version of the Earth Mother. So a rite that honours the womb also helps us nourish our relationship with the Earth.

Although some people have noticed incredible, noticeable changes in their reproductive health, it is not advised to forego medical counsel from a trusted physician when it comes to illnesses and disorders. Now, I’m a firm believer that health is a three-part organism: body, mind and soul. If you nourish your mind and your soul, you acknowledge your feelings (emotional body) and sensations (physical body), then you’re on your way to create an ideal recovery scenario.

As most rites, the Rite of the Womb is a personal commitment you make to yourself and as such, it is considered a responsibility. Because of its shamanic, South-American heritage, it is a free practice in the spirit of healing the world, one woman at a time. You can see it as the responsibility you owe yourself and other women is your payment for receiving such a gift. You also owe it to your fellow sisters to share the Rite with any one of them who wish to receive it, in full understanding of what it represents. I invite you to visit The Rite of the Womb website, to view the beautiful video on the ceremony and to read on the intention of the practice. The testimonies are very touching and special as well.

If you are interested in receiving the Rite of the Womb and would like more information, do get in touch! It would be my pleasure to help you on your journey…

flowers and candle

Finding Your Clan

The names Grey Owl, Morning Star and Crazy Horse have held a place of wonder in my mind and in my heart from a young age. I’ve pondered the nature of these names and of the practice behind it. I’ve also wondered about the meaning of clans and if they necessarily had ties to lineage. It would seem that as an adult walking into a culture that was never explained to me, my genuine curiosity is met with warmth and in time, I’m discovering the ways in which these practices hold meaning.

I was not fortunate enough to grow up in the tradition of my Cree ancestors, but I am trying to learn about their ways and find the wisdom in their customs, legends and beliefs. I was named in my late twenties and have only recently received my clan. How do a spirit name, a clan and a person interact?

The truth is, I’m finding out as I go. I have yet to fully understand what my name means, and I’ve even more to learn in regard to my clan.

What I do understand is that we are children of Sky and Earth. We are souls, who’re given a nature and a body. We have an essence that is both metaphysical and physical. We are gifted from our spiritual father and from our spiritual mother.

Spirit Names

In my limited experience in bearing a spirit name, I understand it as a gift from tFather Sky. It’s the guiding principle in my life and in finding myself, despite all the noise. A name is given by an Elder (or a family member), which is used in ceremony, during teachings or when in alignment with my purpose, my true nature. The name is given when the bearer is ready for the responsibility it entails, as the bearer grows into the full meaning of the name and carries this medicine with them. A name chooses the bearer. It is given as a ceremony and must be feasted and honoured.

Dodem (Clan)

Bear Jim Oskineegish

Artist: Jim Oskineegish

A clan, or dodem (i.e. totem is an adaptation of the original word), is a soul family. It helps the clan member understand his or her nature and his or her role in the collective. This isn’t a blood line, as far as I understand it. Traditionally, members of the same clan wouldn’t marry, even if they were not related. My clan, or dodem, is a gift from the Earth Mother. It’s the group that shares my life mission, my values, goals and skills. Clans are also revealed in ceremony and should be considered an honour and it’s a privilege to be “accepted” into a clan. The clan chooses us, much like the name.

A clan is not to be confused with astrology or with power or spirit animals. Power animals (or spirit animals) are guides or helpers that come into our life and journey with us either for a temporary period, to help us learn a lesson for example or stick with us for life. These are considered helpers or teachers, but are not your clan. Your clan is essentially what you’re made of, where you come from and that does not change.

Both clans and spirit names are very personal because they pertain to our truest selves.

Wolf Pack

Source: Massiflux.com

There are many existing clans, depending on the beliefs and customs of the Nation to which one belongs. I asked a Cree Elder because my heritage is mostly Cree. There are far more than I could name here, but I have heard of Fish, Bear, Bird, Moose, Turtle, Wolf, Butterfly and Snake clans to name a few. A common approach when discovering your clan is to become familiar with the animal’s traits, qualities, habits and environments. This, in turn, helps us understand their medicine. What do they carry and what do they have to teach us about ourselves?

What About City Slickers?

In our contemporary world, finding your clan may mean something different to you. It may mean finding a group of friends who love and accept you for who you are. They support you in your life mission, when you are being authentically YOU. Your clan understands you because they are your kin on emotional and spiritual levels. Your clan acts as your support system. These are the people who share your values and your goals. They aren’t competing with you, but rather, are moving independently towards a shared vision and cheering you on.

Remember that First Nations do not marry into their clan, so it’s perfectly normal to find your clan as friends outside of your romantic relationships. Your clan’s place is that of your soul family, so if you have a complimentary relationship with your partner, that’s nothing to be concerned about.

I am fairly certain that my partner and I are not from the same clan, and for us, it means that our natures compliment each other. We share values and goals as well but we are not alike and that keeps things fresh. We also catch each other’s blind spots. Other clans can act as wonderful teachers.

I have met remarkable Moose Clan and Fish Clan Elders and one of my closest friends is Bear Clan. Because they differ from my nature, I learn from their personalities and perspectives.

Different Belief Systems

Thunderbird Norval Morrisseau

Artist: Norval Morrisseau

Whether you adhere to the spiritual concept of a soul family, in very real terms, or whether your belief system differs from this one, the importance of finding the people you most identify with will help you learn greatly about yourself. It will also provide tremendous support in being who you are and provide courage and inspiration. Your clan also offers safe haven and an environment to refuel. We may be born into families, but we all have clans, which may or may not be our physical families. This is something First Nations understood. We are given a physical family but we also have our heart-centred families – or rather, we find them and they find us.

I feel that I have gained so much from learning my clan. Many of my questions about myself were resolved instantly. Others will resolve over time and familiarity with the characteristics and values of my clan. I will study the characteristics of the emblem and meditate on its medicine.

Will you honour yourself by honouring your origins, and your clan?

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