What were you doing while the world was falling apart?
Imagine your great-grandchildren asking you that question. Can you be proud of your answer?
The “seventh generation” principle taught by Native Americans says that in every decision, we must consider how it will affect our descendents seven generations into the future. It is clearly not embraced by most governments and corporations in the world today.
It is also at the heart of the Idle No More movement of the Canadian First Nation People.
The Idle No More movement started in Canada in December 2012 as a response to Canadian Bill C-45 which lowers environmental protection standards for Canadian waterways, much of which passes through the land of indigenous [First Nations] people.
It’s important to remember that before our ancestors came to North America several centuries ago, this entire continent was indigenous land.
Most of us think of October 31 as Halloween, a time to dress up in costumes and make merry. But Halloween history tells of so much more.
In Celtic times, it was a time to honor those who have gone before us. The masked figures represent the spirits of the dead: our ancestors.
A Wee Bit of Celtic Halloween History
The ancient Celts, going back 4,500 years, divided each year into the dark half and the light half. The end of the light half was marked by Samhain [pron. Sow-ihn], a time when they were stockpiling food for the winter and giving thanks to the Sun God.
It is also a time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest – an appropriate time to invite the souls of the dead to come back for a visit. Candles kept in the window guide the souls back home and a place is set at the table for them.
“In our culture, whenever we receive a gift of food – whether someone buys us groceries or makes us breakfast or takes us out to dinner – we say that it extends our life. And as we accept that food, we breathe a word of prayer so that the dividends of that gift might be multiplied into the life of the person who gave it.” Bear Heart in The Wind Is My Mother
Ceremonial Gift of Food
Viewing food as a gift is one reason that most Native American ceremonies I have attended include a pot-luck afterwards: we are practicing the gift of life extension by feeding one another.
But before the people eat, a “spirit plate” is prepared and offered to either the Ceremonial Fire or Mother Earth. This represents a thank you for all that we have received and a prayer for the continuation of life and that all the nations on earth have enough food and water always.
Many Native American ceremonies also include Spiritual food on the altar. In the Lakota tradition it may be water, corn, berries and meat that are placed on the altar during the ceremony.
They are placed there as a prayer that the Eagle Nation will come and take the essence of that food to the places in the world where there is not enough food or water. So the food on the altar is a prayer that all the Nations have enough to eat.
This Saturday, September 22 at 10:49 a.m. Eastern Time marks the beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a day of balance of the hours of light and dark.
From here, temperatures begin to fall and daylight hours get shorter than the nights. The word equinox comes from the latin words meaning “equal night.”
Since a balanced life is something we all strive for, yet can be hard to achieve, why not set the goal of having the best possible day of balance on the Equinox? Just one day to start with. One day at a time is often the easiest way to make any change.
Here are 16 tips to help you live a day of balance this Saturday:
- Greet the day with a Morning Prayer from The Wind Is My Mother: “I thank you for another day. I ask that You give me the strength to walk worthily this day so that when I lay down at night I will not be ashamed.”
- Thank the sun for its dedication to spreading light on our Mother Earth.
- Drink a glass of water that you have first blessed by saying: “Thank you for this precious gift from Mother Earth.”
- Pray for the well-being of all your family and friends.
- Step outside and take 10 deep breaths, inhaling through your nose, exhaling through your mouth.
- Eat a nutritious breakfast.
- Do some clean up work around the house or yard.
- Eat a nutritious lunch.
- Call a friend.
- Read a book.
- Take a nap.
- Eat a nutritious dinner.
- Have fun with friends or family.
- Evening prayer from The Wind Is My Mother: At the end of the day, face west and say: “Thank you for all the things that happened today, the good as well as the bad.”
- Go to bed by 11 pm and have a good night’s sleep.
To me, that is a very good day of balance. Now the best part: Repeat it the next day, and the next and the next.
And a generally good proposition for living a life in balance:
- balance work with play,
- periods of rest with periods of activity,
- intellectual pursuits with creative ones,
- alternate reading non-fiction and fiction.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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