Do you think it’s time for some traditions to die
so the next thing can come along?
And after my initial shock at his question I recovered enough to answer…
The thought of that happening hurts my very soul.
I don’t remember what else I said and it probably wasn’t as coherent as I’d have liked just because of the powerful emotions washing over me in that moment. But I do know that I thanked him for his question; I said it was personally quite significant to me. He looked perplexed.
WE HAVE A HUNGER
Do I understand about cycles, death and rebirth, seasons? Of course. Transition is the nature of the work I do every day. Is it time for these traditions to return to the ether? No! At least, certainly not yet.
Through my experiences with Native peoples over the years, I’ve learned these things: They are people who touch the earth, live close to it, who understand the nature of connection of all things…energy…sharing in community…a global consciousness. They hold these threads sacred in their now fragile traditions.
If you’re reading this article, then you probably belong to a culture that has largely forgotten these things. And we’re hungry for these aspects that are so rare or fleeting in our present-day societies—especially because the pendulum swing seems stuck toward destruction of these values.
Part of my involvement at the conference was to help facilitate a track called “Language of the Soul.” On the final day of that forum, and as a culmination to our activities and discussions, I guided a despacho ceremony—learned from Q’ero spiritual leaders— with those who had chosen that track, about forty people. To my knowledge only one other person there was familiar with the blessing ritual. But all actively participated: folks from such far-flung places like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Australia, United States and others. Afterwards, they made comments about the effect it had on them, such as feeling moved and the sensation of energy for the first time.
I fully believe that if we honor Indigenous traditions such as those I discussed in Part I…if we’re willing to sit in circle…to take part in these deeply held spiritual rituals…then we touch what’s timeless. We’re injected. A transmission takes place that gets integrated into who we are in the world.
And when we hold sacred witness to those who have had the difficult and usually thankless role of holding these filaments—and honor them for the stake they’ve held—a sacred reciprocity occurs. There is a ripple that goes out. When there are enough of us engaged in this way, then perhaps it’s time for some traditions to relinquish themselves. That’s hardly yet though, is it?
Isn’t it ironic that this consideration came to me at a conference whose subject matter was global renewal? Maybe it’s easier to create a careful cocoon, to insulate ourselves, to stick our collective heads in the sand and ignore what’s happening around us. I can’t do it.
My soul won’t let me.
I offer spiritual travel journeys with the premise of supporting Indigenous traditions that are so in danger of decimation through influence from Western culture. Through Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the nonprofit extension of my organization, we sponsor Native Spirit Keepers living in the US so that they may sit in circle and reconnect with Maya, Q’ero and Quechua spiritual leaders and community. Through this intangible process I have witnessed the important effect it has—spiritual beauty and strength.
For Western travelers who accompany me, I view our participation and witnessing as a gift of respect, aside from the transformational aspects it has on us.
And the long-term effects are forever carried in our souls.
For those who are moved to support this work in preservation of Native wisdom traditions and well-being of the Maya people, please join us for Entering the Maya Mysteries, January 13-25, 2013. Your participation matters. Also see my post on the humanitarian work of Don Sergio Castro. Grandmother Flordemayo of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers will be with us in January blessing our travels with prayers.