TRIBAL EMPOWERMENT



In Black Elk Speaks (1932), John G. Neihardt told of accompanying Black Elk, the aged holy man of the Oglala Sioux, to Harney Peak, the same place where the spirits had taken Black Elk in a vision when he was young. Neihardt wrote that as those who stood by watched, thin clouds began to gather out of a clear sky. A scant chill rain began to fall, and there was low, rumbling thunder without lightning. With tears running down his cheeks, Black Elk chanted that the Great Spirit, the Six Powers of the World, heard his prayer to preserve his people. According to Neihardt, Black Elk stood for a few minutes in silence, his face uplifted, weeping in the rain, and then the sky was once again cloudless.

While those witnesses who observe such apparent control over the weather by a tribal shaman consider it magic, the practitioners themselves regard such abilities as empowerment. The tribal medicine men and women use forces that have been here for all time for the benefit or needs of their people. In their view, magic is not magic if one understands it. Their medicine power enables them to will something into existence because they have need of it.

When evolving humankind existed in a less technological state in tribes around the world, there was a conscious or unconscious awareness that humans were a part of nature, part of one whole. And conversely, the whole was part of humankind. Because of this oneness, humans understood that they were a part of the power of creation and of all the creatures that walked, swam, or took flight.

To be a recipient of tribal empowerment, the practitioner, the shaman, or the priest must live their commitment every moment of every day. They must believe in the unity and the cooperation of all forms of life. When they are forced to take the life of an animal in order to survive, they kill only after uttering a prayer, beseeching the group spirit of that animal to understand that such an act was necessary in the turning of the great wheel of life.

When those tribal initiates who seek empowerment have displayed the proper attitude of receptivity, they must go alone into the wilderness to fast, to receive their spirit guide, and to receive a secret name and a sacred song. Perhaps the guide will also grant special powers of healing or prophecy to the supplicants.

The recipient of tribal empowerment is able to obtain personal contact with the invisible world of spirits and to pierce the sensory world of illusion which veils the great mystery. Often this gift is heightened by the intoning of the personal mantra, the personal song, the holy syllables that attune him or her with the eternal sound, the cosmic vibration of all creation.

A crucial element in tribal empowerment is the ability to rise above linear time. Most people have accepted the conventional concept of time as existing in some sort of sequential stream flowing along in one dimension. In solitary, mystical experience, those recipients of tribal empowerment are able to enter a reality of time that is not clock-measured or clock-controlled and that places their psyches in a dimension beyond linear time and space.

The ethnologist Ivar Lissner believed that in the sophistication of the modern world, people must not forsake the heritage of spirituality that has been bequeathed to humankind over hundreds of thousands of years. Humans must never allow the materialist or the pure technologist to dictate the fate of humanity. In his view, surveying the contributions made over the centuries by those nontechnological societies and their tribal empowerments, humankind must be guided by "great, universal minds which are closer to the secrets of the transcendental and throw more into the scales than mere weight of technological progress."


DELVING DEEPER

Gill, Sam D., and Irene F. Sullivan. Dictionary of Native American Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Gregor, Arthur S. Amulets, Talismans, and Fetishes. New York: Scribner, 1975.

Harner, Michael.The Way of the Shaman. New York: Bantam Books, 1982.

Lissner, Ivar. Man, God and Magic. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961.

Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks. New York: William Morrow, 1932. Reprint, New York: Pocket Books, 1972.


DELVING DEEPER

Bryant, Alice. The Message of the Crystal Skull: From Atlantis to the New Age. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1989.

Garvin, Richard M. The Crystal Skull: The Story of the Mystery, Myth and Magic of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull. New York: Doubleday, 1973.

Gienger, Michael. Crystal Power, Crystal Healing: The Complete Handbook. New York: Sterling Publications, 1998.

Sullivan, Kevin. The Crystal Handbook. New York: New American Library, 1996.


DELVING DEEPER

Bracken, Thomas. Good Luck Symbols and Talismans: People, Places, and Customs. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997.

Budge, E. A. Wallis. Amulets and Talismans. New York: Collier Books, 1970.

Mintz, Ruth Finer. Auguries, Charms, Amulets. Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 1983.

Nelson, Felicitas H. Talismans & Amulets of the World. New York: Sterling Publishers, 2000.


DELVING DEEPER

Burl, Aubrey. Megalithic Brittany: A Guide to over 350 Ancient Sites and Monuments. London: Thames and Hudson, 1985.

Daniel, Glyn Edmund. Megaliths in History. London: Thames and Hudson, 1972.

Lancaster Brown, Peter. Megaliths, Myths, and Men: An Introduction to Astroarchaeology. New York: Dover, 2000.

Michell, John F. Megalithomania: Artists, Antiquarians, and Archaeologists at the Old Stone Mountains. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1982.

Mohen, Jean-Pierre. The World of Megaliths. New York: Facts on File, 1990.


DELVING DEEPER

Blum, Ralph. The Book of Runes: A Handbook for the Use of an Ancient Oracle. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.

Davidson, H. R. Ellis. Pagan Scandinavia. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1967.

Gordon, Stuart. The Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends. London: Headline Publishing, 1994.

Karcher, Stephen. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Divination. Rockport, Mass.: Element Books, 1997.

Sawyer, Brigit. The Viking-Age Rune Stones: Custom and Commemoration in Early Medieval Scandinavia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.


DELVING DEEPER

Bach, Marcus. Inside Voodoo. New York: Signet, 1968.

Bracken, Thomas. Good Luck Symbols and Talismans: People, Places, and Customs. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997.

Gregor, Arthur S. Amulets, Talismans, and Fetishes. New York: Scribner, 1975.

Mintz, Ruth Finer. Auguries, Charms, Amulets. Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 1983.

Nelson, Felicitas H. Talismans & Amulets of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2000.


DELVING DEEPER

Gill, Sam D., and Irene F. Sullivan. Dictionary of Native American Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Gregor, Arthur S. Amulets, Talismans, and Fetishes. New York: Scribner, 1975.

Harner, Michael. The Way of the Shaman. New York: Bantam Books, 1982.

Lissner, Ivar. Man, God and Magic. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961.

Steiger, Brad. Totems: The Transformative Power of Your Personal Animal Totem. San Francisco: HarperSanFranciso, 1997.



User Contributions:

Carlee
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Feb 26, 2006 @ 7:07 am
Interesting... however, I had wished you touched on the quartz crystal sand located on Siesta Key beaches in Sarasota, Florida. It has been said that the white powdery quartz crystal \"sugar\" sand on Siesta is inspirational. Many years ago I found out that it was an Island established and known primarily for attracting artists and writers. I lived there for four (4) years and daily walked the white sandy beaches. It was there I felt the most energized, creatively inspired by a force that caused me to paint, again! My works began to sell.... I was never more enlightened than when I lived by that beach and walked it daily, almost. I have never felt the same since leaving my beach home.

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