“With all things and in all things, we are relatives.” — Sioux
From my personal experience, as I reflect on early days of my life, a memory is imprinted in my brain. I have never lost sight of it. It is me as my younger self that I innately was conjuring. Some might call it communicating with God or Mother Nature.
I have two memories: walking along the lake shores of northern Minnesota, and experiencing the waves during my first trip to the ocean. I remember picking up shells, with the wind in my hair as seaweed tangled and clung to my feet and ankles. Gulls were flying overhead. I remember the sound and smell of water breaking as it reached my feet — tides that tugged as it pulled out.
This is my reminder that indigenous ways are within. Finding the sacred and the power in nature is principal in indigenous teaching. You can be taught by your connection to it. She, your indigenous nature, speaks wisdom to your being and then it processes through you.
Some people teach and study indigenous ways, and we can learn from them, as well. We can combine the things we read and hear, and some even attend retreats and seminars. We always learn from other people’s perspectives. We gather them all and develop our own. I prefer getting my perspectives directly from the source and combining that with other teachings resonating within me.
In these truly difficult times in the urban jungle where I live — ridden with crime, violence and protests, not to mention a pandemic and an election like no other creeping in on us — I find it hard to devote any energy to the sacred ways. Rather, I’m a news junkie and a Facebook freedom fighter. It’s hard to meditate, and it’s hard to praise and worship.
A basket with magic items in it, and my altar with magical things on it, are ignored — just when I need them most. As I write this article, I’m compelled to revisit the magic that was passed to me from indigenous people and their ways. I have collected many things, including bones from dead animals, feathers, and dried bugs from a spider’s web. Somehow I know the power and the magic they held and hold to this day. I’ve trusted my own nature and my indigenous voice from within. I believe we all have this voice inside of us. Our ancestors passed it down. We learn the ways by connecting to them.
For example: I am part Italian, so I started researching Italian pagans and witchcraft. I learned the Italian word for witch, strega, and that led me on a journey to learn more about the indigenous ways of the stregas, their legends and lore. I’ve also discovered that letting yourself go, dancing to mystical music, and connecting to the archetypes funnels in the indigenous ways.
I’m speaking to myself in these troubled times — and maybe to some others who may find it just as difficult to return to the sacred and the old ways of worship and find the wild place or that quiet place.
We have all developed rituals. We have objects, music and magic. We have hope that we can dance again and walk on the shores with the wind in our hair.
We must connect with and recognize our indigenous ways and our true nature, trusting the goddesses and the gods to come to life inside us as they did for the indigenous peoples before us. The energy is pure and raw and it is true. It is our nature and is never out of reach.
“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” — Leonardo da Vinci