Saturday, February 17, 2024

Mid Winter Season's Reflections: Remembering Relationship

This blog has been sitting in my bones for some time. With midwinter consciousness around me, I want to reach for illumination. I want to write something of promise and with inspiration. However, the rain and dark clouds make it difficult to find motivation and anticipation for the upcoming season here in north coastal California.

Thus, when my motivation wanes and I have a loss of direction and purpose, I can always find an incentive when my thoughts turn towards my ancestors and reflect upon their journey and histories. The seasons always guided my ancestors, just as the seasons direct me to pay attention to the earth’s voices. Unfortunately, most of us in settler society today pay little attention to transitional experiences. We direct our thoughts far ahead of us on our Earth walk. But when I place my attention on the Earth, my thoughts are not ahead of me. They are there in the present moment. I find I am addressing the relationships I have with the land and the immediate environment in which I live. This wisdom comes so much easier when I can explore more on the land, instead of looking out as the winter spirit has a firm hold on all our lives.

So what do I do when I can’t easily connect to the land and Mother Earth? Well, that did not stop my ancestors. The elements were not foes, but part of their lives that they lived. Like our brothers and sisters of the animal kingdom, they are part of the elements. Even with a changing season, many come out to acknowledge and greet it. There was such a different attitude towards change amongst the ancestors compared to our modern humans. Today, it is easy to assess that change is uncomfortable or an unwilling dance partner. Who wants to get soaked to the bone in the cold winter while trying to have a relationship with the land? I must remind myself that a relationship is not just an exalted moment where a merging of energies and consciousness may come together. Relationship is also about working together to build something that has meaning and longevity. Though seasons may seem transient, they never are. They consistently return, and that is a certainty. Perhaps many of us have taken an attitude of being transient and mobile too flippantly that we lose the connections that help us understand the value of what building relationship mean. Therefore, I make myself get out on the land, even though it is pouring rain. I prefer to check the weather for a break during its emotional moments, but I visit the greenhouse. I examine the old planting boxes to determine what maintenance they need and explore for potential new life in areas where perennials live. Most of all, I rejoice and thank all those plant relatives that have returned to be with me. Otherwise I lose the flow of contact and before long I don’t understand what has happened and discover plant relatives that may have needed help on winter’s journey are no longer there. Then, I am deeply saddened and guilt-ridden for the neglect. I don’t like to feel like that.

Transitional awareness, (such as what I have minimally gleaned), directed my ancestors to reunite and place their efforts in intentional consciousness through ceremony. Through ceremony, we gain awareness of what is and what lives in the hearts of all participants.

Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemen Wintu explained to me about ceremony:

Well, it brings people together. Getting ourselves ready to show up to represent those things that we heard and feel as our sacred tradition.  I think it comes about within the heart in ceremony that a lot of people realize what they can do.  _ (Sisk)  

Dr. Dan Longboat Mohawk scholar and personal mentor:

Ceremony and storytelling are agents that inspired inner consciousness within our human lives and world, rather than its contemporary value place upon it from the dominant society for the primary use of entertainment and/or propaganda.  _ (Longboat)

In Routledge to Native American Literature Part IV Traditions, in my contribution Indigenous Hermeneutics through Ceremony; I offer a personal experience of ceremony:

I fasted with four other women when I apprenticed with Elder Edna Manitowabi.  All of us participating came into the fasting camp with different intentions and from different communities.  Despite that, when it was over, there was a transformational spiritual link that I do not believe will ever be broken between us. I also believe that the spiritual experience deepens our identity and personal power with Spirit, which incites a rededication or responsibility to the community and to Mother Earth. _ (Marcus)

I provide these insights to demonstrate the enduring significance indigenous peoples attach to ceremony.  Ceremony is a ritualistic event with purpose. Ceremonies have the power to reveal the contents of our hearts, that we often overlook due to our lack of stillness.  Perhaps we do meditate, but most of us meditate to feel better and to help calm ourselves within this highly energetic society in which we live. As in most civilized and highly populated societies, meditation became necessary in order to cope with the industrialization of their environment.  

For most indigenous peoples, there was no need for meditation because their environment and society did not divorce them from a life-force generating Spirit of Mother Earth.  The wonder of life’s spirit was powerful.  Perhaps if we watch the 2009 Avatar film by James Cameron, there is an animated depiction of this idea where the life-force is visible in magnificent colors.  I know some folks can see such a phenomenon.  However, seeing was not as important as perceiving, honoring, and supporting the relationship to all life forces that we are all a part of. 

In a society that many of us live, individuals rely on meditation and prayer as tools to handle social challenges and to find solace amidst the chaos and constant distractions. However, if we turn to an Indigenous perspective, meditation is not to have an empty mind, but to make intentional time to encourage a direct line of connection to the Creators, (and what my Santee/Sioux friend Scott Frasier would say, “the pulse of the universe”), in order that we can take part in the dance of creation on our planet. We are not trying to fight or divorce ourselves from the spirit of the world, rather to co-create with Mother Earth so that we can contribute to supporting all life.

This very participation in procreation brings with it certain responsibilities and understandings that must be maintained, the kinds of understandings that today we call an “ecological compact or spiritual ecology? (Greg Cajete)

If we wish to truly take part, then we must come to it with supplication and reverence or what many of us would refer to as respect. Curiosity does not do it. If fact, once this experience truly happens, it impacts us. We can never return to our previous state of self-centeredness. This change allows us to live by a code of ethics and standards that no other book outside of us can dictate. It is a living truth. People who valued the visions established protocols that embody this integrity as a way of life. For some in indigenous communities across our planet, these protocols and lifeways have lasted for thousands of years. 

Spiritual and intellectual integrity is achieved on Turtle island by the interplay of human and more-than-human consciousness.  (Sheridan and Longboat 365)

We can not be impacted unless we temper ourselves by finding our place of belonging where we are. Indigenous spiritual knowledge originates from the natural world, which is all highly spiritual. This knowledge is inherent within the cosmological indigenous culture. I believe indigenous knowledge is our planet Earth’s code of ethics, and guides us to understand laws of the universe. Hence, reflection and making the time and space for re-cultivating the relationships that give life back to us is imperative for each and everyone’s survival and towards living fulfilling lives. What is that song of yesteryear? Love the one you’re with. It starts where we are, in the presence of living relationships. We may have many social media friends, but do we truly connect? Or are we becoming distracted from connecting to purposeful relations? A question to be asked is what is really meaningful in our lives? Most of us know. We all want to be blessed with living, loving relationships. We want relationships that are experienced in our personal lives that allow our 5 senses (and more if possible) to be shared intimately here and now, in present time and space, together. It is up to our willingness to make actual relationships that help us make choices to cultivate living love in our lives so we can rejoice in living a hinaak towis hennak (a good life). In the eyes of my Anishinabe cousins, it is important for us to battle the Wetiko, the darkness that pulls us away from mental clarity and well-being. Fear in our society takes us away from each other. When we make a commitment to live and seek love first, we make the choice to living now. We can gain clarity and we will have focus. There will be no room for distractions.

Traditional Indigenous people believe we have benefitted from this beautiful world and we are part of its evolution. Much like the spiritual and transformational bond I have with my fasting sisters, we humans have become bonded to each other and to the rest of the non-human peoples in our earthly environment through our living relational experiences.  _ (Marcus)

When we live a purposefully directed life, genuine relationships happen. There is a bond that is completely meaningful and beautiful. I believe that is what we all are living for. In midwinter, many indigenous peoples came together and still do, to honor and celebrate their time here on Mother Earth. We never know when things will change. For my indigenous ancestors, they did not experience wars (until the invasion of settlers), but they had natural environmental challenges. Perhaps the environment must go through changes that may affect our lives. In modern society, our lives can change through economic and social impacts. However difficult it may have been, if we are here now and have some precious ones (vegetable, animal, mineral and/or human) in our lives, we are blessed. We honor those that are still with us as well as those who have been our mentors and have left us memories and legacies. We also look at our spiritual lives and reflect upon the power of the Earth and the divine Great Mystery of the universe that holds together all our lives. Hence, we also reflect and rededicate our life path to hold a stronger bond to our Earth walk and with the commitment to living a hinaak towis hennak, a good life that will enhance our life ways and others.  

I pray these last days of winter may help us come to a place of clarity as we reflect on our connection to the Creators. Ceremonially, may we reflect on what we truly want that cultivates love and meaning. May we make ceremony to come together with our loved ones. May we rediscover family. With such a foundation, the dawn always breaks through the darkness.

Muyye Weyya



Marcus, Diveena. Indigenous Hermenutics through Ceremony; Song, Language and Dance. The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature. New York, NY: Routledge, 2016

Longboat, Dan. Introduction to Indigenous Food Systems. Trent University, Ontario, Canada. 12 Feb. 2013 Lecture.

Sheridan, Joe & Dan Longboat. The Haudenosaunee Imagination and the Ecology of the Sacred Space and Culture 9. 4(2006): 365-81

Sisk, Caleen. Personal interview. Siskiyou County, California. 18 Sept. 2014.  

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Balance, Regeneration and Rebirth

Native American Thunderbird

Many blessings in consciousness to us all.  Many apologies for this very delayed blog connection.

Finally, we are traveling well in our first year of neutrality after our covid confinement. It has still been a era of change for us.  Last month we went through the covid initiation. Marcus was well within 2 weeks, I after a month.  Despite taking a complete month of rest out of my daily life pattern, I find it has been a blessing. I have been told by my physicians that my resistance is higher now regarding the pathogens, but for me, I truly paid attention to my reflective time that the situation offered to me. It offered me a reexamination of how I was living.  (I am sure it coalesced with the 2 years of covid isolation as well).  

At present I can truly relate to our relatives the sun and the moon and their recent phenomenal journey that occurred on October 14, 2023 through North and South America. The 2023 annular solar eclipse.  We have dubbed the name that the social drama has given to their journey as the Ring of Fire eclipse.In In actuality; we observe a ring of light in all annular eclipses. A ring of "fire" is radiating out of a dark black orb.  The ring of rays are of the sun.  The dark black orb is the moon, and we as humans see it this way from the pathway of its journey on the planet we live on, Earth.  We, as humans, are very much a part of this phenomenon.

A solar eclipse happens only on a new moon. There are at least 12 new moons a year, so why would an eclipse be a rarity? The path traveled by both the sun and the moon must be in perfect alignment. Simultaneously, the moon must be on or very near a lunar node. (nodes are where the moon passes along the Earth's orbital plane). And ... the moon must be apogee (the farthest)  from the Earth for the ray/light/fire to be visible to our observation. We never see a new moon unless there is an eclipse.  

There are 3 types of eclipses: total, partial and annular.  

A total eclipse is when the moon covers the sun completely, and day becomes night. Its pathway is shorter and its pathway narrower, approximately 9000 miles long and 90 miles wide.  So it is not totally everywhere.

A partial eclipse is when the moon covers part of the sun's light. The sun, moon and earth are not in perfect alignment and the moon looks like it took a bite out of the sun. Partial eclipses are virtually unnoticeable because of the sun's brightness. 

An Annualar eclipse is when the moon covers the sun but is apogee and thus the ring of sun flares can be visible on Earth. The annular eclipse is rare since the moon, sun and Earth rarely fall into perfect alignment and the moon's distance does not always allow the flares to be seen distinctly.  The eclipse pathway is narrow and shorter as well, but varies again because of the distance of the moon to the Earth. 

The recent Ring of Fire Annular Eclipse that North and South America experienced on October 14, 2023 had a visible pathway affecting humans on Earth from Eugene Oregon, down through the tip of northeastern California, Nevada passing through Elko, south to Richmond Utah, Albuquerque New Mexico, then through San Antonio Texas onto South America. In South America: Eastern Mexico, the coast of Belize, eastern Honduras, half of Nicaragua, the coast of Costa Rica, central Panama, central Columbia and centrally swooping through Brazil. 

We were not in alignment within the eclipse pathway here in Crescent City, CA.  However, that does not suggest that we are not part of the phenomenon. 

Now that we've looked at the scientific phenomenon of the solar eclipse, I must shift gears to illuminate on how many indigenous peoples view the sacred moments when our galaxy and the universe make their presence known in our lives.

Predominantly viewed from a North American perspective, when the sun and moon and our planet come together, that spiritual conjunction is monumental and an extremely sacred moment. For many indigenous peoples, they take the moment of the phenomenon to be in an honoring mode.  

When I inject the word "honor" I mean it to be used as "reverent". When we are reverent, we take our personal pleasures and ego out of the picture. We become serious and respectful to our environment and to those who we share it with. For many of my indigenous relatives, we pray. We speak of the blessings in our lives and we offer our gratitude with thoughtful thanksgiving for being part of this magnificent universe in which we live.

There are still some cultures today that hold ceremony to honor such phenomena. And mostly, the observance is like any religious observance, fasting (no food or water) praying and, like in many Native American ceremonies, staying awake in participation of the event until the duration of the eclipse is complete. 

Many Indigenous peoples see an eclipse as a renewal and a regeneration of energy and spirit. The sun and moon are recharging and resetting themselves to what is coming ahead. There are legends within North American indigenous cultures that state that the sun, (especially in a solar eclipse) is going through a death process and the moon is supporting its resurrection. Some have ancient legends that suggest that the sun and moon are coming together to mate, a suggestion that offers creation/regeneration and a new beginning in the heavens and in our world. Both concepts suggest that the occurrence does not induce immediate effects, but ones that will develop. 

Indigenous peoples feel that conjunctive energies within the sun and moon are shifting energy on earth and in the atmosphere. Staying humble and withdrawn allows such happenings to settle before exposure to the outer environment.

It is interesting that the image of the Thunderbird comes to mind for me. The Thunderbird, for Native Americans, is a supernatural being of great power.  In many Native American legends, the Thunderbird has dominion of the weather and also the upper western world, where many of such beings of power live. The sound of its wings is thunder, and the flash of his eyes is lightning. We all know that after thunder we will find lightning and after lightning, mostly there is rain and or storm.

When I was studying and living in Ontario, Canada, my Anishinabe mentors told me the Thunderbird's significance to them. The Thunderbird warns us to be indoors and protected, as change is coming to the land. Thunderbird is a protector of life and its presence comes to help to balance evil/negative energies. Rain, thunder, lightning are all tangible symbols of great supernatural phenomena. For me, the Thunderbird reflects that image of the power and significance of the omnipotent energies of the sun and moon together, that as so significant to the earth's survival. What comes out of that conjunction just may be the Thunderbirds's spirit metaphorically.  There can be a great presence of life renewed in the coming times up to about 6 months, or there can be massive changes that such a powerful presence in weather and natural occupances take place in order to help balance life on sacred Mother Earth.

I pray that during the season of the West, traveling to the North brings us a reflection of honor and reverence so that we can heed the guidance of the Creators.

Muyye Weyya


LUTEA: Lyceum of Universal Teachings of Earth's Ancestors

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The Mysterious Powers of the East

Photo by John Towner
Photo by John Towner

Spring Greetings and blessings. I know we’ve been underway in our 2023 spring season. However, Mother Earth and her nature ensemble have kept us here in California in seasonal suspense. We are slowly being introduced to a new season in far north coastal California country. However, Spring Equinox came and went without too much notice as our days have been a continuum of winter with a few clouds parting enabling us to catch some moments with our grand relative the sun. We are still waiting for more.

Many cultures across the globe observe vernal equinox as a major eventful day.  Ancient celebrations in the east, in particular Nowruz in Iran, have been a practise for 3000 years, perhaps stemming from Babylonian traditions.  In India is the Vishnu spring festivals. In the far east, such as Japan, Shubun is the spring celebration. Also, is the Korean Cherry blossom festival. Maslenitsa is a major observance that is associated with Easter in Russia and the Ukraine, even with snow presence there are always festivities.  Christians observe Easter to herald in Spring, and the emergence of blooms activates an awareness of the season’s change, i.e. tulip festivals in Norway and Canada and Lavender festivals in France. All this excitement is the honoring of an actual new year on the planet alongside all our relatives (plant, animal, mineral, and human).

For my indigenous ancestral relatives, we awaited the wild strawberries on the hills in north central California. Actually, the timing of the strawberry emergence was typically late April, early May.  Thus true spring for my ancestors was about a month after the logistical Equinox.  I was told the hills would glisten with carpets of red berries. Today, we either grow them in our own gardens or purchase them at the market.  However, before my community celebrants could eat them, we held the annual strawberry ceremonies and festival. During the ceremony, we were each given a strawberry towards the end of the ceremony and then the festivities and feasting began. The strawberry represented the emergence of a new life and the promise of a new life within all of us. So no matter what was of loss or unhappiness in the past that we traversed through the winter, we started over with a new chance in life in the spring. For my ancestors, this is the power of the East, the energy of spring.  A new beginning and birth to a new life of beauty and joyfulness.

When I speak of energy, that energy is the Life Force residing in and upon Mother Earth.  Without that mysterious (my ancestors so honored with deep respect "the Divine") gift of Mother Earth we would have no ability to live.  I understand scientists are scrambling to find other planets to sustain us human once we finish using up our Earth's resources and gifts. What I do not understand is why do we humans not take care of the perfect place that beautifully and naturally offers everything we need to survive as well as thrive? Or as my ancestors called Hinaak Towis Hennak, To live a good life.  We all could live a very good life here with no lack for anyone "if" we could hold this Divine mystery sacred.

The spirit of the mother, and her divine right as a woman to bring forth and support life is a great mystery.  My ancestors held the highest position in our community for the women.  Our women's bodies are sacred.  Yes, there are scientific methods for growing test-tube babies.  However, the fetus can not emerge into the world as a human being without living within the miraculous nurturing womb to be given the blessings of a human being.  No one can replace our women and the gifts they bestow upon humanity.  These gifts are not just a body to incubate our offspring.  There is an ability to nurture, love, care and to even sacrifice the ego for the wellbeing of others. I also believe that the spirit of the women's nurturing body and its connection to the life force of the planet as well as the emerging spirit of the child with its first breath, all are in sync to produce life together. Yes, we all have choice and we can go against such attributes.  Nonetheless, I am so very grateful that many women have chosen to support the sacred aspects of their gender.  I am also grateful that celebrating our mothers continues to take place in our exoteric colonial secularized society unbeknowest of its deepest profound mystery.

From an Indigenous perspective, I advocate that our mothers, and the women of our race are to be cherished and loved.  We do not understand the mystery of our lives coming into this world.  Yes, we may have on an esoteric consciousness to chose to come into this world on a certain day, and time and year to certain parents and place. However, no matter how powerful we may think we are, we are not the sole participants in creating our experience on our planet Earth.  There are the mysteries of others and their journey and their willingness to come together with the force of life that comes into alignment with the life force of all involved.  I find it an amazing journey, mystery and wondrous realization that we are here, now on this amazingly beautiful and magnificent planet that we can call home.  

On Mother's Day I pray we acknowledge our beautiful home on Mother Earth.  Do a blessing, be with her, and most importantly learn to honor each other, and our blessedness of being a part of humanity as we know it.  

My indigenous Eldes have told many stories that align with prophesy.  One is that our Mother Earth will be here a long time, long after we all are gone.  However, human beings have not been here on Mother Earth as long as our other brothers and sisters in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms.  There have been other types of races, perhaps similar to humans.  But they did not last long as well because they did not honor and care first for the planet, or each other but rather foremost themselves.  How do we learn to change from our egocentric selves?

Come back to Earth, the Great mystery and the blessed honor of the mother.  

Muyye Weyya


PS: My first powwow I attended in my California homelands brought in by outside Native Americans. (California Indigenous peoples did not do powwows or publically danced).  However, things change and if it is fun, why not?  We did not eat fried bread either.  However, at that first powwow, fried bread was sold in concessions with strawberries and whipped cream.  We easily included fried bread in that context.  Try it sometime.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Signs of Maturity


Jedediah National Forest

Muyye Weyya,

Many blessings!  As I write this blog, it is during the final days of summer.  We at our northwestern California coastal front are enjoying most lovely weather.  Not the usual scenario.  The winds pick up during these times and the weather is cold.  This year I did not have enough energy and stamina to work our traditional Indigenous garden area by hand, where we plant our winter squash, beans and corn.  It was a long winter with much rain, more than our share from last year.  Hence, our season has been late.  So I guess I can understand our later summer.  However, there have been no winds and this year I did not plant any of my favorite mammoth sun flowers.  One problem I have with them is I have to stake them deeply in the earth because our strong coastal winds will blow them down. (Our sunflowers get to be 11 feet or more tall). This year no winds and no sunflowers, whom I truly miss.  Regardless, I paid heed to installing more flowers for our visiting pollinators, and they were very happy this year.  Many hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and bees came to visit, and they not only like the flowers but the pond as well. Despite the damp climate we have here, nature loves water features and water in general.

Each year the seasons are mysterious, and I suppose that is the intrigue of the garden.  I continue to learn from the land every time.  Some plants relatives that are supposed to grow here don't want to show up.  Our tobacco that I planted last year, didn't want to visit, but this year decided out of the blue to show up  unannounced amongst our broccoli and brussels sprouts. Gardening for me, is like having children, you can't expect anything but accept them.  Some of them may be amazing producers and then others have to be quite coaxed along.  I had planted 3 zucchini plants. One is an over producer that almost took over the entire bed, another was first to give up babies but petered out early, (though I told her she was doing great and still so welcomed to be in my garden).  She still brings forth a youngster now and then.  And then there is a tiny little thing that the flowers seem to over protect it.  It doesn't seem to want to have babies and that's OK by me.  I am just so glad it showed up.

And as I grow along with the land here, I realize I must change to adapt to it. Therefore, I am preparing myself for next spring's gardening in all the garden areas with a tiller.  It has been many years I refused to bring machinery onto the land but if I am to sustain my life with a continued relationship with the land, I also must change when I need to.   We have only cultivated 1/3 of the area that we live on the land so that we do not drive away any original neighbors. We reserve a small patch of living area that we gate so that Auggie (our family Doxie) has domain and the intruding Racoons and Bear, Coyote or Cougar actually have kept us at bay since he's claimed his yard.  Oh, they come and visit, but there is no intrusion in comparison to when we first arrived.  Thanks to Auggie.  We are so grateful to him.  All our fur family members are so valuable.  

I think back on the early settlers who came to California and changed the landscape from grasslands to grazing lands for cattle.  Such a change brought the demise to our natural wetlands, where so many waterfowl made homes and immense indigenous eco systems thrived.  This change continued by developing and industrial colonists, bringing their designs and homeland invasive plants and animals into the natural indigenous habitat.  They did not intend to live amongst but to colonist the region. To make it theirs and to change the region to what they are used to. The earth loses her stamina from the support of her many environmental relatives that the flooding/drought, and climactic changes that our society knows quite well now, has become prominent every season in California.

I apologize for the history lesson. I am just in reflection as the season prompts me. According to the Elders who share teachings of the Medicine Wheel, autumn (omchu walli), from my matriarchal Tamalko language, speak of the maturation time.  It is the time when the human being learns to transition into an adult.  For most of us, it's hard to let go of the summer.  Many of us have memories of going on vacations and visiting family and/or relatives we hadn't seen.  I remember summer at home in northern California, and spending time with relatives going to Bodega Bay starting with early morning sea weed gathering and cooking our breakfast and meals for the day on the beach.  We all made great memories together.  My immediate family also took our summer vacations visiting my father's relatives who live in San Diego.  It was fabulous, going to the beaches there, fishing at night for grunions, visiting the San Diego zoo, and after-dinner story telling by my uncle and great uncle.  And of course, playing with my cousins that we hadn't seen for the entire year. 

But, when the crest of fall emerges, all the fun ends, and it's back to school, work and schedules. At least that was the perspective of a child.

However, from an adult, the vision is to come home again, to embrace the inner family once more. I see it as an acknowledgement of all the blessings we have in our lives, from our own children and homes to the relationships that support and sustain us on all levels of valued existence. Here in our inner circle, we take the time, as many say, to "batten down the hatches" to make or reestablish our secure foundations.  

The autumnal season allows us to reflect on what we have and what is important to use for the caring and sustenance of our lives and for those we love. So I guess we get a little more serious about things.  As the Elders remind us that fall is the adult season.  We grow up and take responsibility for our lives and those who need our care.  I always think about the autumnal season as a reclamation of who we are and making right again our walk upon the earth.  It is a time when we are more conscious of our actions and words.  When we have a deliberate consciousness of ways of being within our inner circle, we are then matured enough to follow suit outside among the rest of our relatives.

We at LUTEA begin our Medicine Wheel Wellbriety workshop during the fall season. I am always ready for the reflective work during the fall.   Internally I am really ready, but everything else doesn't respond as quickly but it follows eventually.  It usually takes about a month for us all to get to know eachother and to get familiar with indigenous practices and methods.  By then we are immersed into the autumnal season and very aware of our internal journey and thus have the strength and courage to walk upon the Red Road towards further growth and wisdom.

I believe we have the opportunity and are intuitively susceptible as creatures of the earth to be most aware of learning at this reflexive season.  The Earth continues to process life this season, even though the flowers slowly die, and the fruit of the vine have been harvested, leaving the debris to decompose. The smells of the process arise from the earth and they prompt us to be aware once again to new experiences.  Stark contrasts of darkening days, are the backdrops to vibrant hues of reds, golds, and coppery burnt oranges amid various shades of green and intermingling purples and reds. It is a rich world of a deeper awareness that those that have a mind and heart to appreciate the chance to touch a journey towards wisdom will understand. 

Imaging the richness of colors and earthy smells of the dampening lands reminds me of my favorite vegetable, the American indigenous winter squash.  Yes, I miss their presence in my garden this year, but I am grateful that I can still find pumpkins in our local farmers market.  So many autumnal foods honor our pumpkin relative from soups, pastas, appetizers, (i.e. pumpkin sage gnocchi and pumpkin ravioli that I love), and so many desserts and treats.  My favorite that I continue to make through the years is a pumpkin bread.  This bread is so moist and flavorful.  When I enjoy it with a favorite cup of tea, I am reminded of the warmth of home.  I am sharing my recipe with you in hopes you will make it sometime this season.  


2 cups of pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked) I usually roast mine 

1 cup of melted salted butter

3/4 cup of water

4 eggs

3 2/3 cups of flour

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 cup of raisins (I use golden raisins reminding me of the sun)

1 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Blend the pumpkin, butter, water, and eggs until mixed.  Add the flour, sugar, salt nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda. Then add the raisins and nuts.  Pour your mixture into a greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until golden brown.  At times, I push a toothpick in the center just to make sure it's not sticky.  

Enjoy with your favorite cup of tea.

If you ever attend our monthly meditation session, we can share a cup of tea/coffee and take time to sample something from my kitchen, perhaps even my pumpkin bread.

Perhaps it is still too early, but when the nip of fall comes to us, let the blessings of tea time be in our lives more often.  Having tea was such an enjoyable pastime I wholeheartedly took part in the British Isles.  Tea time was often and whenever one had a moment to pause in the day.  Pauses are valuable in life.  Like a pause when a musician plays music, there is a slight lift from the movement and then a return to the flow of the piece. (peace?) Such pauses are never intended to break us away from life but to give a moment to look into it in a reposed setting. I like to think that's what the birds do when they drop into our pond and flitter so slightly in the water, refreshing their moment.  For they come back several times in an afternoon.  Who says we can't take as many breaks as we need?

So, my friends, as we head back into the flow of the haven/home/foundation of our relational world, let's please feel quite grand that we are moving into that realm of responsible choices.  Perhaps after we re account all that we have to work with as we journey into autumn, we may think a bit more cautiously. However, we are blessed, blessed to be here as human-beings able to live in our homeland of the Great Beautiful Mother Earth.  And, yes, we will make some serious decisions now and again, but we are also learning to care for our wellness in a good (lovely/pleasant) way.  As we continue this way of living a good life, we can come together and share warm moments of love and gratitude with eachother and a good cup of tea.

Hinaak Towis Hennak Weyya








Thursday, March 17, 2022

What is Hinnak Towis Henaak?

Indigenous symbol (hand) for healing

I awaken this morning to the acknowledgement that today is St. Patrick's Day.  The feast day in the Catholic religious tradition that honors Ireland's patron saint.  Feast days are not actually days of feasting.  Feast days are a religious and traditional practise in honor of a sacred moment or person (usually martyrs) that instills our connection to the Divine. The practise is much like Indigenous ceremonial observances. Indigenous traditional observances are seasonal and land based, they are acknowledgements of blessings and also hardships.  Indigenous traditional ceremonies last over a weekend up to 10 days.  Catholic Feast days last from one day to an average of a week.  The traditional Christmas feast observance was 12 days.  Our Christian observance of Easter was traditionally a week.  Contemporary society has shortened our days of feasting from a week to a typical day.  In traditional indigenous ceremonial practises, the duration of ceremonial days has stayed the same.  However, fewer community members take part.  Whereas, in the dominant society, the one day celebration has become secularized and most of the population takes part in their own manner.   
We return to St. Patrick.  The day that is observed is March 17 of any year, and is the commemoration of St. Patrick's death. Originally, he is honored for his miracles and what his efforts to bring Christianity to Ireland had done for the church. However, in the contemporary context, the general celebration is honoring the Irish peoples' heritage and culture.  
To put it plainly, celebrations are about heritage and culture.  They bring us together.  They help us to heal. 
So my question on writing this blog is What is Hinnak Towis Hennaak?  Hinnak towis henaak is a manner of wellness addressed in my California matriarchal ancestral language,Tamal Machchawko (Coast Miwok).  It literally translates to make/have a good life. For most indigenous peoples, making/having a good life is being well. A good life is wholeness and that wholeness for many of us is based and held together by culture, relatives, family/friends and our histories together that make up a heritage.  
We heal when we can come together in a good way.  We heal when we can establish good relationships with the land, ourselves in the world, our families and friends and what we do as we walk upon the Earth.  When we are well and good, many miracles can take place in our lives and the everyday occurrences are immense blessings, much aligned with St. Patrick and his legacy in the Irish community. 
From both a Christian and Indigenous perspective, miracles are the blessings that our connections to a spiritual consciousness and wellness establish in our lives.
We all have a heritage that connects us to our Mother Earth and to a specific region that can bestow to us knowledge and vitality, just as our relatives, the Irish and Indigenous people understand.  
Hinnak towis henaak, is a complete, well-rounded consciousness that is embedded in our minds, heart and hands.  How we think, how we feel, and what we do with ourselves stem from this consciousness.
Spring brings our sleepy, wintery awareness back to the land and to the world.  Once the sun shines brightly, we can not ignore its presence and neither can our plant relatives. When we learn to acknowledge them, we can learn to have relationships with them.  
After the long winter, I know I am ready to work on eating more fresh foods that the land offers in abundance locally, and I can take better care of my digestive system.  
From the onset of our new year 2022, I've returned to some of my old practises.  One is sourdough bread baking research, and kombucha brewing.  Both practices incorporate fermentation production. 

sourdough loaves
Sourdough loaves

First of the year's Kombucha batch

Indigenous peoples always included fermentation methods in their foods. Basically, most of the fermented foods we eat today were introduced only recently by folks who appreciate cultural traditional foods and know the benefits.  Yogurt is a traditional food in the Himalayas and in India for millennia.  Kimchee is traditional, and used for centuries in Korea.  Even in aboriginal California, acorns have also been fermented, especially in the high north country.  The Karuk continue to practise the processing of the fermented acorn dish called Pish. Those of us that have Eastern European connections enjoy sauerkraut, another example of fermented food.  European and Mediterranean foods such as pickled beets, onions, peppers, etc. continue to be on appetizer tables and eaten before meals to aid in digestion.  

Pish Acorns

As we age, our digestion requires more attention, especially if we have not incorporated the habit of eating fermented foods.  I have many friends who, in the aging process, can not eat what they used to because of digestive concerns.  I have always been sensitive to bread, pastas, and red sauces.  Even more so as I have been aging.  Hence, the fermented foods are a welcome into my palate.  I am working to have my husband embrace them as well.  I will not bore you will all the benefits of fermented foods.  We are in the information age and a click away will do the trick. 

Again, the process of fermentation takes time.  If anyone has home brewed, you understand you will not get results immediately.  The process is learning to have patience with a step by step routine.  
When I make sourdough, I usually set up in my calender, every two weeks for the process.  I make two loaves and they are good for a couple of weeks for my husband and myself.  You can always freeze one loaf.  Many times I give one loaf away.  I usually take an evening to the next midday for the actual bread-making process. It's worth it. I do it all by hand, and I have to say that it's like working on the earth, and one of the most grounding and rewarding experiences as it benefits all round, emotionally (very calming), physically (I put in the effort and make a relationship with my kitchen and the bread itself), mentally (I know the goodness that will come from producing healthy foods) and spiritually (I'm taking time out to be within the process of creation). 

I used to make Kombucha back in the 90s because it was a healthy food fad back then. I got the scoby mushroom from a friend, and made lots and lots of kombucha.  It wasn't that tasteful, so my family did not help me drink it.  Hence, I eventually gave it up, because I was doing fine, digestive wise then. 

Present day, Kombucha is not a fad, but for many a drink they prefer because of the benefits and because of the taste.  The taste has improved with the use of fruit juice and additional fermentation. Now, Kombucha is a refined connoisseur beverage.  It is the beverage of my choice because I know what I put into my brews, and I also add additional fermentation with organic juice I add to the bottles that give a fiz.  It is like drinking a health food soda pop without the chemicals and immense sugars. It takes me two weeks to make the foundation brew and an additional 3-4 days for the second fermentation to get the fizzy drink.  Depending on your taste, you can brew for a month, or a week.  

With all that being said, to live a good life, we must own it and we make our own decisions on how we wish to live.  For the most part, it takes a bit more effort and time out of life for the really important things in life ... our health and our wellness. 

So in the manner of Hinnak Towis Henaak, I am leaving you will a sourdough recipe that I have enjoyed.  This recipe is from Gemma Stafford, Irish baker: Perfectly Crusty Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners. 

For Kombucha information: You Brew Kombucha

Thank you for visiting and if you have any questions contact me.

PS: Also look into LUTEA's event page for any wellness events and programs.  They are all free to attend. 
We are presently preparing for our annual Mending Broken Hearts Healing Journey that supports those of us going through trauma, loss or grief.  This is open to everyone who is willing to learn and participate in an Indigenous perspective of healing. Mending Broken Hearts.

Monday, September 20, 2021

How do we find "hozho" ...... Balance?


November Twilight
November Twilight By David Hoffman

Last night was the first good rain we had in Del Norte for a very long time. I woke up by my husband's snoring at 4:30 am.  I was a little annoyed because I had to be up earlier than usual to prepare for LUTEA's monthly morning meditation, and I knew there was no way of me returning to rest once awake.  

However, in adjusting to the darker morning awareness, I realized I heard raindrops on the skylights. I waited in anticipation as we all knew there was a possibility of rain, and have been anxious for it within this long drought, but I also did not want to be disappointed if the rain passed us by.  So I lie there waiting for more drops. And, slowly they gathered a momentum where the sound of the rain was so marvelous that I felt that cozy warm feeling that a fall rains brings.  The one that lulls you to sleep and the same one that holds you still in bed feeling like in a warm cocoon, and not wanting to leave the embodied connection of comfort's embrace.  It's a feeling of beauty.  How do you feel beauty?  You just know it.

David Hoffman's photo above, of the vibrant colors and the stark dark images and shadows emit beauty and power both contributing to an equal value because of the intensity of differences.  I believe that beauty is life experiencing equality and being conscious of it.  It is not so much an aesthetic, (even though our society likes to classify things into a category or label) though I believe it can become an aesthetic once experienced.  

Many compare being in love to finding beauty in life.  Love does offer many antidotes to life, i.e. peace, harmony, value, and balance. When one feels love, it does not necessarily equate that the object of the affection is also feeling love. He, she, they, may, may not, but when one embodies love, the beauty of it overpowers the need to make sure.  It just exists. Even if the world may be falling apart, those that embrace love believe that they can weather through the storms of life.  How?  By traveling through the differences of what the Navajo explain as being of smooth mind.  And there is a word for this state as balance or Hozho.

Hozho is the word for balance and also a sacred reference to the name of the Creator in the Navajo or Na-Dene linguistic family. It comes from an ideology of possessing a deep relationship between place and Self. Such a connection would definitely have a divine influence. To achieve such a relationship, a person/people experienced a very long history of events within their regional environment for centuries. Such a relationship I would say lives within the DNA,  There was no need for an Audubon, Linnaeus, Agricola or Jung, as each person through oral history and personal connection to the landscape and all life in the environment embodied the knowledge and wisdom of their seen and unseen world.  

All indigenous people have a very similar ideology.  The Navajo, just have a beneficial way of articulating this consciousness for the general populace, brought through non indigenous author Keith Basso, who studied them.

Many indigenous peoples did not have words to identify imbalance because the focus was primarily on peace, harmony and goodness.  Even when storming the seas, there was always a fundamental vision towards getting back to wellness and to the flow in life.  I would say this is human nature.  To find wellness.  Therefore, to punish, and to lose faith and hope for a future in anything, was the last thing deliberated upon. 

If we examine the Hawaiian language, there is no word for goodbye.  My matriarchal indigenous heritage also carried a similar ideology.  For Hawaiians Aloha is love and is used for saying hello and also goodbye.  In my ancestral Coastal Miwok language tamal machchawko, when greeting each other one asks “Are you good?” And when parting typically  what was said, “Don’t forget me.” Furthermore, there are no words for religion, or art or justice or out of balance.  The focus was on balance, and its embodiment was active.  When there is no embodiment, there is a search for it outside of ourselves.

When I share my thoughts on balance and refer to Indigenous people, that includes all people and their ancestral connections.  All of our ancestors came from somewhere originally on this planet and lived there for a very long time.  They had a relationship with their environment and they also held expert knowledge from that environment, and that place gave them a sense of belonging, wealth, and beauty.  I'll also use the word that everyone is catch-phrasing to the max today, as "identity". 

Since the influx of settler consciousness, in our most ancient knowledge-keeping world (considered since contact, as the "New World") the attitude of place is ... its monetary value must hold up to make a good commodifying profit.  Settlers look at the environment on how to modify it quickly as possible with the least amount of dollars so that in the near future they will sell it for the most they can get.  There is little time or effort taken to consider the needs for environmental cohesiveness or the impact that their modifications are doing to the entire region.  The true value and wisdom of the region gets bulldozed, covered over and disappears.

There is another scenario, that I refer to regarding my homelands of California.  Spanish settlers modified the environment to make it look like Spain and called California "New Spain".  They cut grass lands that began the demise of the wetlands. Land was modified to build rancheros and missions.   The tradition continues.  From the beginnings of such contact historical documentation refers to the flooding, drought and erosion of land that began within modified regions.  Very little has been left to its original state and is continually being modified.

Why do I bring up such discouraging information?  I bring these facts up to consciousness because we must understand that we can not fix something that stems from a belief system that is foreign to the health and welfare of the ailing source.  In simplest terms, when we are ill what works best for the welfare of the infirmed is from the wisdom and knowledge and sources that support the wisdom and customs of the lands and peoples. 

Today many colonial developments are reexamining indigenous knowledges and consciousness that was eradicated by their own initiatives.   It's safe to impart that most of the technologies and knowledges for wellness in all the world have come from indigenous knowledge and resources, then commodified and mis-appropriated to benefit the egos/status and pockets of the scientists, pharmaceuticals, and the legal business of ownership and power.  

I reiterate that wellness was always the foremost focus within indigenous communities.  Spiritual, emotional, mental and physical, pretty much in that order. In the dominant society it is in reverse order.  When folks who are suffering spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally are given food and psychiatric care from a person who is usually very privileged and has no consciousness of the issues that befall their client and are being paid to do so. How can there be genuine empathy and urgent compassion to support wellness? There is usually judgement, classification and detachment, as all western science praises objectification.  

We at LUTEA, come from a legacy of brokenness brought about through the historical and consistent impact of the colonial culture and we find healing and wellness with a return to ourselves and our heritage.  We have learned to accept the darkness and the light and to walk in the beauty of knowing that the vision is embodying lifeways that support wellness for all relatives on the land and hopefully support this return to others.

We work to uphold the White Bison teachings that were originally produced to be shared to all peoples.  Typically, these teachings are offered and funded predominantly through Indigenous communities.  

Though we have supported several indigenous communities in California. As a nonprofit we advocate the Elders original request that the workshops be made available for everyone.  We do not work for any tribe/organization other that to support our Del Norte community and beyond, especially those who do not belong to recognized tribes or are living amongst communities where they do not feel they belong as well as for anyone who is looking for a traditional manner of healing that is aligned with and affiliated with Elders and their teachings and culture.  Not only are we staunch advocates of the teachings and protocols, we are Indigenous Elders and registered certified facilitators with White Bison.  We walk the Red Road as a give away to those who are committed to doing the work to return to themselves.

Join us every third Monday of the month for our monthly talking circle.  Everyone is welcome.  However, as with all intimate events and workshops each person much ask to participate for themselves.  We know that all of us know of someone who we care about that would benefit with these practices but the person must come forward themselves.  Everyone is welcome.  

Presently, we offer two long running workshops a year.  We recently finished our Mending Broken Hearts workshop that addresses grief, trauma and loss.  This workshop is a 16 week journey.  There is no homework.  All the practices are accomplished at the weekly meetings together.  Each person must be willing to be open to participate and to learn ancient methods yet new ways compared to those from colonial society for being with others.  We will open this workshop up again in the spring of 2022.  We will open it for online and perhaps in person participation as well.   If you are interested please contact us. 

In addition, we offer the Red Road Medicine wheel 12 Step workshop.  We are presently underway with the program.  Those that began the journey with us are getting acquainted with the Elders' teachings and methods to work the program.  If any of you are familiar with the program and presently working on a particular step, and would like to join us when we start to work your step; contact us if you'd like to join us for that session. 

As we enter the time on the planet once again when all life witnesses the changes towards living in balance on the Autumnal Equinox, seeking internal work is a natural process.  Our teachings tell us that change comes from within.  Something stirs within us to urge us to pay attention to how we feel about our lives, and our world. The seasons always help us to step back and pay attention.  I believe the seasons make me realize that the great mystery is governing the universe and our small part in it on our planet is being guided in real time.   Such a omnipotent realization. 

I always look forward to hozho. 

Muyye Weyya


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Thursday, May 13, 2021

A Light Towards Wellness

Walli Nis Hii!

A Light towards Wellness

Greetings and blessings in this new joyous season! We are amid the strongest of Springs' spirit, and it is beautiful.  Mid Spring.  In my ancestors' words, we are grateful for this day. In our ancestral language of Tamal Machchaw, day and sun are the same words. The sun never leaves us as day is experienced by many people on the planet even though others may not. The sun may dim, yet it comes out again. And our lives reflect the sun as well. We are still here. The sun gives us hope. Despite the dark winter and journey of last year's covid trials (in all our lives,) we are emerging through the gift of vaccine and the work and efforts of so many of our relatives that help keep us afloat. Today as I write I am so very grateful to look out my window and see the plants in my garden show their green colors, and I know that the spirit of life once again is returning to us.  
My Indigenous ancestors believed and prayed for the future.  When life unfolds upon the planet, life as a living testament reveals the world is good.  It is something to rejoice in. Ceremonial celebration expresses the joy to being here in the world, living a good life in goodness and in wellness. Wellness and goodness were and are today highly valued qualities of being a human being in an indigenous conscious society.
My ancestors also understood when life would be difficult. They lived and died through 500 years of diasporic history upon their own lands.  However, they are not the only humans that have within their genetic consciousness trauma, loss and unresolved grief.  All our ancestors have passed down to us historical trauma embedded in our DNA. Many had left their own homelands to find safety and a good life because of the war induced experience they survived from. War in its many identities and definitions has been the culprit for the tragedies, trauma and the brokenness of our humanity.  Unfortunately, the war business has the science and medical fields in a constant mode of research and invention.  As technological advances produce more lethal and toxic manners of operation, they tax the medical field to generate methods of mending the wounds induced by war technology.  As colonization has built our society, it follows suit that our people revolve around technological advances to protect us, give us more power in everything we do and acquire within the physical world necessities and enhancements in physical capabilities and attributes.   However, what about the mind, heart, emotion and spirit?  Isn't the internal and spiritual qualities of being a human being as valuable as the body for wellness?   Our society today holds humanity's internal nature in a stepchild position regarding values within the order of healing and care compared to the physical aspects of wellness.
I return to my Indigenous ancestors. For the last 500 years, indigenous peoples have had to travel a road of healing and recovery silently and invisibly.  Interestingly, within indigenous societies there is less shame or fear to find that road because they highly value healing and wellness. Being well wholistically was and is a honorable pursuit in life. 
For many who do not know the histories of indigenous peoples on Turtle Island (the land mass of North/South America, Canada and Yukon/Alaska) most Indigenous peoples avoided war and held protocol, and healing practices for their community members that were preventative.   Trauma and loss are life experiences and there were countless levels and modalities of healing practices applied so that our relatives could return to the community as contributing members of the society.  Wellness and health is a fine guarantee for a nation to discover its excellence.  Excellence for indigenous communities is that its peoples believed in a wholistic approach and awareness for life.  Therefore, the spirit, emotional, intellectual and physical aspects of the human being were all incorporated in wellness and healing practices for balance.  Many times trauma predominantly affects the emotional and the spiritual qualities of a person and thus was attended to first in order to prevent any possibility of a long term physical symptom or ailment.  In addition, each person was treated in respect as an individual situation.  Everyone experiences trauma, loss and grief individually.  No one comes out of a stressful occurrence the same.
Humanity has been experiencing exponentially (and continues to experience trauma and loss), from the recent COVID-19 viral condition which has spread across the globe. Loss of jobs, homes, partners, loved ones, and security have left many in doubt, fear and despair.  Though there have been vaccines administered to get us out of fear and back in the running of a more "normal" life, (as well as relief funding), the wellness methods that are available for supporting the emotional, mental, and spiritual effects of trauma within a global context are subordinate, limited and minimal compared to the medical applications toward physical conditions of trauma.  A method that would offer a fuller capacity to heal, would be generated within a community because then as a social consciousness, healing for wellness is elevated and a wholistic perspective is acknowledged and practiced.
Society is slowly acknowledging the need for mental health wellness.   Unfortunately, not fast enough for humanity.  We must step up to regain a balance towards living.  Indigenous ancestors did not wait when something had to be done.  Elders who have been able to offer wisdom and understanding as well as guidance towards wellness and healing benefitted their communities.  The true traditional Elders never held back knowledge but lovingly gave to the people so all would be well and wise.  There were no businesses to benefit one over the other where bits and pieces were given for a price.   If everyone is well then everyone benefits.
Our Elders are so revered.  In Our Ancient Lands podcast we feature TerryAllaway, our local permaculture wisdom keeper.  She understands the workings of an Elder.  We are so grateful for her time and sharing.  Take a moment to listen to her knowledge and story.  
LUTEA offers support workshops and talking circles in the similar manner and practice passed down from the Elders.  Our basic foundation work is from the White Bison movement and we are certified facilitators.   The workshops are free, however we will gratefully accept donations.  
Mending Broken Hearts Healing Journey Workshop  May 23, 2021
We offer Mending Broken Hearts Indigenous Healing Journey annually.  This workshop is a 16 week workshop that takes place weekly for 2 hours for 16 weeks. We open this to everyone who is experiencing, trauma, loss and unresolved grief.  Held on Sunday nights at 6:00 pm to 8 pm presently online.  This is the only Mending Broken Hearts workshop for this year.  Please contact me if you would like to talk with me for more insights and information.
Medicine Wheel 12 Step Program Fall 2021 
We offer the Medicine Wheel 12 Step program annually. This program can take up to 22 to 26 weeks and is planned for this coming fall.  We open this to everyone who is working through sobriety, addictions, and character defects.  Held on Sunday evenings as well at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and online for this year.  
Wellness Talking Circle ongoing monthly
We presently facilitate a wellness talking circle online for those who wish to check in for support during the month.  Once our workshop and program get under way, we will offer the talking circle weekly for more available support for participants.  Held on the 3rd Monday evening of every month at 7:00 to 8:00 pm. May 17, 2021, June 21, 2021 and July 19, 2021. 
Monthly Morning Meditation Session  
LUTEA is facilitating our monthly morning meditation session on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 9:00 am until 10:00 am. Presently the session is online.  However, our plans are to open it up for in person attendance once the weather is consistent for outdoor participation.  We hold it near our water garden so conducive and for relaxation and for the connection to natural beauty.  May 15, 2021, June 19, 2021 and July 17, 2021.  
For further information or for any questions, please contact me.  I look forward to meeting and sharing.
All are welcome to the circle of healing.   
Walli Weyya