35. The shawl - returning home
Many people across the world have heard the expression 'home is where the heart is'. Travelling bands of Native Americans have known that each time they broke camp and moved to another location, home moved with them. Home was not necessarily the movable dwellings or belongings of Tribal People but rather their connection with the Earth Mother and to each other. The home of any gypsy, nomad or wanderer lives inside the hearts of those loved ones who represent security and nurturing no matter where that traveller may be.
The sense of loss was devastating when the Native Americans were forcced to walk the trail of tears and leave the areas where they had been the Guardians of the land for centuries. The Living Teachings which bound them together were the Spirit of the People. Each tribe knew that a new home could be created in another place because as long as the Teachings lived, the Spirit of the People would live.
After the Trail of Tears many new traditions began to emerge from the ashes of the broken spirit of the people. The Peyote Ceremony, the Taking of the Shawl and many other Teachings marked the hard road back to finding the heart, the spirit and the home of Native America. The Ghost Dance became a tradition Prior to the Trail of Tears and was originally intended to call back the Buffalo, clean the waters , bring back the prairie grasses and rid the white eyes from sacred ground.
The Taking of the Shawl is a little known Paiute Teaching that came into being when some members of the Red Race could no longer live in the white world. Those Native Americans that chose to return home and embrace the teachings of their elders took on the Shawl. The shawl was a symbol of coming home to the arms of the Earth Mother and being wrapped in her nurturing love. To accomplish the taking of the shawl one would have to return to their original teachers of their tribe and ask permission to live among the people who honoured the ways of the Ancestors.
Those who had taken the shawl moved from the clapboard houses provided by the Board of Indian Affairs and took up residence in the Traditional Paiute homes called Karnees. Although it was much warmer in the clapboard houses, those who had taken the shawl were very happy to live in karnees. Their hearts had once again found a home in the Traditional Teachings of the Good Red Road and the material things no longer mattered.
Many Native Americans who left reservations during the years following the Trail of Tears lost touch with the Traditional Teachings when they moved to cities in order to find work. Many generations have married into each others races and some have lost touch with the Earth Mother. In the ensuing years as the Traditional Teachings have come to the attention of the public, the return of the Native Americans to the ways of their Ancestors increased. Many of the mixed blood children of the Red Race have chosen the good red road as wel. it is now the time of the White Buffalo and people of many races are taking the shawl.
The Grandmothers of the sisterhood of the Dreamtime Buffalo taught me that the Time of the White Buffalo would mean many things. The prophecy said that the return of the buffalo to turtle island would mark the return of many Red ancestors who would not necessarily come back to the good red road in red bodies. Many people would feel confused having no Indian blood and yet be red on the inside and white on the outside. Grandmother Cisi told me that the Great Mystery was going to play Heyokah with everyone who refused to honour the paths of others.
Grandmother Berta told me that some native people would deny other native teachers who shared their tradition with all races. Then grandmother cisi laughed at the raucous battle of egos she had seen in her medicine bowl that would be caused by the fighting of those people claiming to be the only true native teachers. The grandmothers promised me that this jealousy and envy would eventually serve as a growth tool for all concerned and would iron itself out as the Fifth World of Peace continued.
The difference between 'the people' and 'those people' is that 'the people' have stayed on the Sacred Path because of the behaviour of 'those people' has reminded them of why they need to walk in beauty. This teaching applies to every race. The people are those who have taken the shawl and live in harmony, honouring the Sacred Space of all life forms.
In taking the shawl we were taught that the earth mother loves all her children and welcomes everyone home no matter how naughty they have been. We are not here to heal the Mother Earth she is quite capable of doing that herself. We are here to heal ourselves so we may discover our roles in Creation. During the former fourth world the earth mother purged herself of many civilisations that did not honour her right to life. Mother Earth has the potential and the abililty to cleanse herself again if the need arises. This is not to say the two leggeds should not be mindful of assisting in cleaning up any damage that has been done, on the contrary, that is part of our human role as children of the earth.
Each person who takes the shawl comes into alignment. We are being taught to acknowledge the beauty in each unique expression of creation whether it be human, creature being, plant person, stone person or enemy. The shawl may be too heavy for some people to carry on their shoulders if it means that daily lives must be lived in harmony. Taking on the shawl also means one is willing to exchange information and allow all Traditional Teachings to live so that the goodness of each can be shared by many. it is time to let go of the I and take the shawl that covers the eternal We.
If the shawl has fallen across your shoulders you are being invited to return home. If you have forgotten yourself recently it is now time to remember your essence and potential. If you have falsely judged others it is now time to see the value in all paths and chosen lessons.
You may be coming home to the magic that you once believed in or to a new sense of well being, but in every case you are returning to a temporarily forgotten state of being, In every life there is a need to return to the simplicity of happiness. If you have forgotten how to find the simple truths that supported your inner joy you are invited to return home.
Wearing the Shawl is coming come to the arms of the Earth Mother and being loved. The responsibility of taking the shawl is being loving to others who have forgotten the Sacred Path or way home.