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Category Archives for "The natural world"
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Ten Commandments of Climate Change from Pope Francis

Well, just when I thought Pope Francis couldn’t be any cooler, he has come out with an eloquent 10 commandments for stopping climate change and the “disturbing warming” of our planet.

One would think he was Native American.

These 10 commandments were part of a 182-page encyclical on climate change entitled “Laudato Si [Praised Be To You]; On Care for Our Common Home.”

Encyclicals are teaching documents traditionally addressed to Catholics worldwide, but this one was addressed to “every person living on this planet.”

In it, he said, “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”

Here are the Ten Commandments of Climate Change

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How to find the sacred in everyday life

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and find they were the big things.” Robert Brault

One of the things I love about the Native American spiritual path is the focus on appreciating the simple things in life.

Simple things are often hard to relate to in today’s world of overwhelm.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, says we human beings currently create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of civilization up through 2003!

And yet our bodies were, and still are, designed to be in tune with the sun, the moon, the seasons, and the cycles of nature. That simplicity is what our souls long for.

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Reincarnation: how to know if you lived before

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Were you here before?

How will you know?

Reincarnation is the spiritual belief that when we leave our physical body, our souls eventually re-enter another physical body and we live another life. Possibly over and over.

But perhaps we don’t need to reenter a physical body to live again, because consciousness may very well survive death, the brain and the body!

The Roman poet Lucan summarizes the Celtic attitude to death as follows: “Death is the middle of a long life.”

I once asked my Muskogee Creek teacher, Bear Heart, if Native Americans believe in reincarnation.

This was his one word answer: “Yes.”

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Moon time teachings: why they’re not for women only

In traditional Native societies, the moon time, or menstrual cycle, is seen as something sacred. Yet my mother called it “the curse.”

What do the Natives know that our mother’s didn’t?

I used to share moon time teachings with women’s groups only, but I’ve decided that men need this information, too.

For my women readers, this is information that has been lost in our society, but it can help us in achieving the life balance we all seek.

To my male readers, please read this in the spirit of gaining a better understanding of female mysteries! Learn to appreciate the women in your life as energetic beings in tune with the cycles of nature.

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Sacred Fire: the manifestation of Spirit

“The Sacred Fire used to heat the rocks represents the eternal fire that burns at the center of the universe.” Dr. A.C. Ross, Lakota

I don’t believe I have ever been to a Native American ceremony that did not incorporate Sacred Fire.

Fire is a gift from the Creator. It is spirit made manifest.

It is untouchable yet touches us with it’s warmth and light.

When we learn how to communicate with it, our lives are enriched.

Just as the sun provides warmth and light, and allows growing things to flourish, Fire warms our homes and cooks our food, and lights our way in the dark.

Even without looking for deep, spiritual meaning, fire is certainly mesmerizing. What is more relaxing than sitting and watching a fire?

DOES FIRE HAVE A CONSCIOUSNESS?

I think the answer is, “yes.”

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On the spring equinox, dancing and spiritual growth

Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?

The earth is comprised of 70% water and, on average, so is the human body. That alone is a giant clue as to how interconnected we are.

What happens to the earth’s energy also happens within us, therefore we can experience more harmony if we work with the earth’s cycles instead of ignoring them. It’s not just another day.

Here are some of the aspects of the Spring Equinox and how you can incorporate them into your own life so as to better communicate with the spiritual forces of the earth.

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Why you should throw away your sunscreen now

If you’re like me, you’ve spent your life slathering on sunscreen every time you were out in the sun.

Everyone said to do it. It was a no brainer, right?

Well, guess what? As with many pieces of health advice, “everyone” turns out to be wrong!

The latest research shows that if you apply sunscreen every time you’re in the sun, you’re blocking the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D may reduce your risk of up to 16 different types of cancer, including: pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin.

Vitamin D contributes to healthy bones, lowering blood pressure and protecting against a host of other diseases. Yes, you can take a supplement, but it will never be as good as the direct source of the sun.

In the USA, vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels. Ironically, vitamin D deficiency can lead to aggressive forms of skin cancer. A ground-breaking 2011 study published in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that optimal blood levels of vitamin D offers protection against sunburn and skin cancer.

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Why we should greet the Sun each morning

“The Sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” Galileo Galilei

The ancients have always known that the Sun is the center of the universe, yet how often do we wake up in the morning and greet it?

How much do we even know about it?

The Sun grows our food, brightens our days, affects the earth’s climate and our health. But we don’t think about it much except to cover ourselves in summer with toxic sunscreen that we don’t really even need [see next week’s post on that].

The Sun is also a great force of spiritual energy and spiritual teaching. So we should take the time to learn more about it!

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Season’s Greetings!

Wishing you peace, love and light now and forever! Here’s a small gift from me: a link to my 7 minute guided meditation video: You Are Light   Molly LarkinMolly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping […]

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The Winter Solstice – why it’s the true new year

Winter Solstice is the day when light is reborn out of the darkness of winter. Our days start to become longer and lead us back to the beauty of spring and the warmth of summer, stretching towards their peak at the Summer Solstice.

Most ancient cultures celebrated this return of light and life with feasting, music, light and fire, and for many, it was the true beginning of the New Year.

It was so important to the pre-Celt ancients of Ireland that they spent over 30 years building a monument to the returning sun: Newgrange.

Older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, it was designed so that on the Winter Solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the inner chamber and for 17 minutes illuminates the chamber floor and the symbols etched on the back wall.

WHAT DID THE ANCIENTS KNOW THAT WE DON’T?

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Save the wolves, save ourselves

Your family plays, forms loving bonds and social hierarchies, raises children and works to sustain itself, just like every other family.

But on a regular basis, your family members are slaughtered, just for being alive in the world today.

I could be talking about any minority group, anywhere in the world. But today I’m talking about wolves.

Mysterious, mystical, misunderstood wolves.

This post contains a 4-minute video on how the presence of wolves has a cascading effect on ecosystems by changing the behavior of deer, regenerating forests and stabilizing rivers. It’s almost miraculous. Wolves restore ecosystems by their very existence.

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A Native American Thanksgiving Prayer

I have published this prayer for the past two years during Thanksgiving week. It is timeless and appropriate at any time of year, but particularly now.

Thanksgiving prayers are common to most religious groups. Native Americans had entire ceremonies just for the purpose of expressing thanks – sometimes the ceremonies lasted for days.

This Thanksgiving Prayer comes from the Seneca Nation and is at least 500 years old.

It is traditionally done around a fire, with spiritual food on the altar. I have adapted it to be used as a Thanksgiving Prayer on our national holiday:

SENECA THANKSGIVING PRAYER

And now we are gathered together to remember the Great Mystery’s first instruction to us: to love one another always, we who move about on this earth.

And the Great Mystery said that when even just two people meet, they should first greet each other by saying: “Nyah Weh Skenno” which translates to “thank you for being” and then they may take up the matter with which they are concerned.

[Nyah Weh Skenno more literally means: “thank you for being alive in the here and now and not adding to the confusion of the world.”]

The Great Mystery gave us our lives and requires in return only that we be grateful and love one another. The purpose of this prayer is to pass on those instructions and give us the opportunity to express our gratitude.

So the first thing we will do is give thanks for our lives.

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Is the invisible world the real world? 

How many do you see when you look at this picture?

In most of my classes I hold up my hand and ask this question: “How many do you see?”

I always get one of two answers: “five fingers” or “one hand.”

But a traditional Native American might say, “nine,” because they count the spaces in between.

To them, the invisible world is as real as the visible. And it’s the invisible world we want to connect with in order to maintain the magic in life.

WHAT’S IN THE INVISIBLE WORLD?

What we cannot see is usually depicted in Western society as the stuff of horror stories or science fiction, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with reality.

And, yes, the invisible world is real.

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On snakes, transformation and “crushing it”

Upon finding a road-killed snake last week, “crushing it” took on a whole new meaning for me.

According to urbandictionary.com “crushing it” means: “Being in severe shape, looking good, being better than others, looking hot, feeling positive, having more than others, having relations with other attractive people.”

Or put another way, “doing it all…. well.”

But can we really “crush it” in everything we do?

Not according to television screenwriter/producer Shonda Rhimes in her June 2014 Dartmouth Commencement Speech. Ms. Rhimes is the creative force behind the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal and had this to say:

“As a very successful woman, a single mother of three, who constantly gets asked the question, “How do you do it all?” For once I am going to answer that question with 100 percent honesty here for you now.

“Shonda, how do you do it all?

“The answer is this: I don’t.

“Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life…

“Anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar.”

I love her honest answer, and this is why I want to take a look at how we really “crush it.”

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Did you ask the turtle?

“Did you ask the turtle?”

That’s a question Gloria Steinham was asked in college after helping a turtle to the other side of the road.

It’s a cautionary tale about wanting to help people who don’t need our help.

That can be a hard lesson to learn.

Gloria Steinem, writer and leader of the women’s rights movement, gave a talk to Smith College alumni about impacts from her education, about how seemingly small incidents can have very big impacts.

At Smith, needing to fulfill her science course requirements, Ms. Steinem admitted she took a geology course because she considered it the least scientific of all the sciences.

While on a field trip in the wetlands of New England’s Connecticut River, she saw a giant turtle which had climbed out of the river, crossed a road and was in the mud of an embankment of another road, seemingly about to crawl up and get squashed by a car.

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Why we need the salt of the earth

Salt has a bad reputation, through no fault of its own. It’s come about because most people use commercial table salt, an unhealthy concoction which we shouldn’t be ingesting in the first place.

Not all salt is created equal. Natural salt from the earth is what we should be using, and the results can contribute greatly to good health. Commercial table salt does just the opposite.

To the ancients, salt was as valuable as gold.

When you understand its benefits, you may just forget the commercial table salt and “go natural” once again.

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Bear Heart, humility, and praying for snow

In 1988, Colorado was experiencing a snow drought.

I know that seems hard to imagine after the winter we just went through, but that was the case back then.

The Copper Mountain Ski Resort was in danger of having to lay off staff and close, so the owner, a friend of Bear Heart’s, flew him to Colorado to pray for snow.

Before Bear Heart finished his ceremony, a heavy snow storm came in; one that the meteorologists had not predicted.

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Are you thriving? Or merely surviving?

Are you thriving? Or merely surviving?

The first is not as hard to achieve as you might think.

LESSONS FROM A CACTUS GARDEN

In 1999 I bought my first house – in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.

Earth lover that I am, I was excited about landscaping and, since the San Fernando Valley is a bit of a desert, that meant using native plants that would grow with the rainfall and sun usual for that area. Or so I thought.

My friends Bob and Laura were professional landscapers and offered to give me a landscaping consultation as a housewarming gift.

When I told them I wanted drought-tolerant plants and a cactus garden, the last thing I was expecting was the suggestion to put in a sprinkler system. But that’s exactly what they recommended.

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Why is the world’s largest garbage patch in the ocean?

Did you know the world’s largest garbage patch is in the ocean?

And that it consists of what was once hailed as a great future?

In the 1967 film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, the new college graduate is cornered by a friend of the family with advice for his future:

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

[Note: the bolded line is ranked #42 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.]

Little did we know that the great future of plastics could turn out to be The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – and a persistent tragedy on our planet.

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