Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Chance Back to Conscious Health

"Merging with the Redwoods" 

Umpa Walli! Winter Blessings to you during this very mystical season.  In addition, many apologies for this very long delay.  I can blame it on Covid19 but I am grateful for the prescribed time out.  At least at this time of year.  When one chooses to live in a more isolated region, (and I only speak for myself), there is a tendency to pay attention to the seasons or what some would call climactic changes, than to the commercial constructs of proclaimed holidays or social and jurisdictional observations. When we turn the attention to nature and its spiritual attributes (as we are also natural and possess spiritual inclinations) the Church then labels us pagans or what Owen Davis has termed "religion of the peasantry".  Way back then those of us with such predispositions were outsiders to the colonial elite. 
I could get into a historical and political treatise here, however, I am not trying to make a point pertaining to human rights because I basically live in an environment where I don't find the need to proclaim who I am. I found when I chose to participate in such a climatic regional discourse, I was a very unhappy and angry person.  It's not easy to remove ourselves from it all, but we can.
I do not have to identify myself as an Indigenous person, I live my life as an indigenous person and we all know that indigenous peoples have been on the outside looking in within the colonial paradigm.  Contrarily ... I believe we live our lives not from the outside looking in, we are In.  From an indigenous perspective, all the rest of the contrived notions of colonial society are literally not from a perspective of a periphery of life, but a fantasy.  Labels and constructs that we accept are when we become completely lost within the confines of our minds.  We have an incredible amount of resources to look into instead of immediately accepting what is placed in front of us because "friends" and family condone it.  Again that is my personal perspective and my perspective gives me the opportunity to live a natural and normal (what I define for myself as normal) existence. 
Perhaps because I have found my place in my Elder existence.  I work hard at being a human being, the species that the Creators held such value and love for, and I seek to support all those who are striving for such a reality as well.  And,  the ancestors have left words of prophesy that when the settlers finally have settled into the structured society they designed on Mother Earth, is when great healing will take place for everyone.
So we approach the holidays.  Some of us have experiences founded within an observance or holiday that have marked our lives within that segment of time and each year that spirit of "time" returns. Like a broken record it plays upon our consciousness and instead of living in cheer, joy, and celebration, we are riddled with anxiety and depression.  In order to deal with all the energy of the holiday season that is quite ubiquitous, our emotional state reaches for outlets and we turn to anything that will remove the constant sequence of inner disturbance the social scene brings. 
I don't observe Christmas for many reasons.  It basically started with my mother leaving us on Christmas eve.  Every year after that it became more and more difficult.  I am the eldest of my siblings and after my mother left I took on the role of carrying out our birthday celebrations and holidays for my immediate family until my ex and I divorced.  I found us an empty lot, going through the motions like so many others.  During the years traveling through the colonial observances, I embraced the goodness of what I can find from the Earth and now celebrate that perspective.  And that celebration all returns to the indigenous peoples' honoring of the land and the gratefulness for living here. 
From an indigenous perspective, this time of year is a chance to return to the  Creators together with our families and close loved ones.  For many California Indigenous communities in the summer months, our ancestors (and still some of our communities) came/come together with our community at large for world renewal ceremonies, but in the winter it became much more intimate with our connections to the Creators. We held/hold our ancestors closer to us and relieved stories about them, and children were able to ask questions and learn the songs for traditional observances as well as work on regalia.  However, my siblings and I were not part of our living culture then.  We tried to walk in the world like everyone else.  I have been the only one of us that made the journey back to the ancestors because of the calling of Spirit.  The Spirit Call changed my life and has continued to heal me and has given me the strength I have needed all of my life. 
You don't have to be indigenous to hear the calling of our ancestors.  I must say that it is much harder to hear them if we are too attached to the fantasy of colonial society.  Some of us may finally find that social scene too toxic and desire a way out.  Desire is the most important ingredient in finding our own pathway.  I truly know that each of us has a pathway waiting for us.  And for many folks that come from a journey of recovery, they know it takes a lifetime of conscious emersion into the ways of spiritual direction.   That emersion for some is very difficult but rewarding, and for others, it is a joyful and spiritually practical manner of living on our planet each and every day.  There is no longer a need to find something out there that will bring happiness.  And even prophet Jesus has been quoted in saying "Nor will people say, "Here it is" or "There it is", "Because the Kingdom of God is in your midst. - Luke 17:21.
Our indigenous ancestors already knew they were living in Paradise.  There is no other place to be but here, now, and with God/Creators. It is up to us to bring back that paradise within our midst and that starts from within our hearts.  
Once again I must interject that we must have that desire for the calling to pull us out of our complacency.  Once we are on our pathway out of the smoke screens of delusion, we must continue to pray and ask the Creators for guidance.  When we do, people will come into our lives, situations, circumstances.  Remember, what is real is from the Spirit of the Creators not from the social mindset of the colonial scene. 
Laura and Diveena

Very recently I was invited to join a very dear indigenous friend and Yurok Elder, Laura Woods to a documentary filming of acorn processing.  It was a welcomed honoring for our acorn relative's recultivation into our indigenous communities.  Laura has hopes to bring the films out to indigenous communities so that they may regain our acorn relative back into our lives once again. It was an amazing journey as we traveled from the Klamath coast inward, sometimes on one-lane dirt roads to Weitchpec, the Yurok Tribal offices to attend the event.  It reminded me of the times I'd drive through the magnificent Alexander Valley onto one lane roads out to the Pomo Kashia reservation at the coast to attend the healing ceremonies that I participated in.  For Indigenous people who make themselves ready, attending ancestral ceremonies rivets one's journey profoundly into the consciousness of the ancestors.  If you would like to listen to our conversation that pertains to Laura's journey back home to her Yurok community from living out of state and leaving the dominant paradigm, please visit our podcast meet up on Our Ancient Lands.

My final note on returning to the Creators is ... know that many of us have been there, and want to urge you on.  Contact us and drop a line as well as look into our online talking circles and wellness programs.  
As we put our gardens to rest this season we also recently closed our programs and talking circles through the end of the year.  If you are interested in attending our talking circles we plan on hosting them again in mid to later January 2021.  If you would like to find out more about our wellness programs give us a call at 530-419-4827 or email us at and visit our website.  Let us know you are interested in any program or event, and we will send you the information to register and join us.
We have plans to open another 16-week Mending Broken Hearts workshop in 2021 spring, either online or in person.  If you are interested please give us your input, it will help determine if an online or in-person workshop is favorable. 
May the Creators guide us all towards a healing consciousness of health and well being into the winter. May the ancestors from the depths of winter's knowledge give us the strength and courage to find our pathway of life so that towis hinaak weyyatto (we can do good in the world) 

Walli Ka Molis

Diveena Marcus


Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Height of Spring is a time to honor all Life Givers

Springtime Rhododendrums in front of my house.
May I start by sending my best wishes to you all during this paradoxical time of isolation?  Isn't it ironic that we are enjoying the most gorgeous weather here in Coastal Northern California? Usually, this time of year we experience the constant pour of rain, wind, and fog on our shores.  Yet, this year we have beautiful sunshine, gentle breezes, and birds singing and bees buzzing.  It has been a delight.  I believe the land and its peoples are enjoying the time and space of this slow down of our hectic world even out in the recesses of California's most northern coast.  I pray that for all of us that we have a chance to enjoy the riches of Springtime amid this perplexing experience of hiding from Covid19. 
Yes, I know the parks and beaches have been closed, but we can find walking and hiking trails. And if we do have a yard of any sort we can even find the spirit and power of spring touch us there.  
This new spring season Marcus and I discovered a frog that was in our pond last year and is back, or rather he/she has been here alongside us, invisible in plain sight until we noticed. (Actually, there is an entire story on our frog relative perhaps later or another time.)
My personal early spring experiences were assisting my mother in her gardens.  I disliked it so much because it was such a chore that I developed a skin allergy to anything green that emitted a scent or sap.  Thus I was unable to help my mother in her garden in my later high school years. However, before that developed there was the picking, cutting/chopping/cracking, canning, packaging, and storing of our garden produce.  All this activity had to come first before anything else because it was the bulk of the food we lived on and sustained us in the winter months. My mother had a shed that was allotted just for storage for all the canning we did. Yes, it was very hard work.
I have to add, my mother was in her element when she was in the garden and in her kitchen.  It wasn't until I had space at my own home that I began my garden relationship.  Mind you I always had plants in my environment but I shied away from the gardening until my first personal garden experience. It was a time when I didn't have to tend the garden, but a time in my life when I wanted to tend a garden, and when no allergic breakouts no longer occurred.
At the time I was very much involved in meditation and acknowledging the energy of life.  I was ready to start a relationship with the plant kingdom.  I suppose there were many other factors that supported that experience and relationship building as well.  I have a love for essential oils and the wellness that the lifeforce of plants brings to me.  I was just beginning that journey of discovery then and wanted to know more, and to dive more deeply into the relationship with our plant relatives.  Also, I was working with a local indigenous medicine worker from the Kashia tribe (a Pomo relative).  I apprenticed under him and supported his healing work as a ceremonial singer along with his wife, niece, and daughter.
Herbology is very sacred to Indigenous people and that experience with Dennis gave me the impetus to embrace all aspects of learning the sacredness of life for the benefit of my own well being and for those that I love.
If you noticed in my previous statement, I apprenticed with a medicine worker along with his "wife, niece, and daughter."  All of us, women singers.  One of the first events I sang in a traditional ceremonial manner was the Flower Dance ceremony that is offered to young women who are stepping into their roles as women.  It is a very special ceremony that acknowledges the sacredness of the feminine energy of life and life-givers. For all indigenous peoples, their basic ideology is to respect and honor this spirit and energy and to honor the women of their families and communities and also the female of the species. are intrinsically beautiful.  They are also signs/signals that allow us to witness that something beautiful is happening in our world.  Miracles can happen because new potential and life are coming to aid us in our survival, whether it is aiding us in bringing beauty in our lives or aiding us in nurturing us in medicines, or food, or materials that can be used as resources and commodity.  Such gifts can not be taken for granted if respect and honor are upheld within such a blessing.  

Mammoth Sunflower 2019
Take for example the Indigenous Sunflower.  Every part of the plant is useful and edible.  Of course, the parts are edible at certain times but with that knowledge, nothing is wasted in nature.  I would say for most of the plants on our planet there is a truth to this wisdom.  I enjoy cultivating the Mammoth Sunflower.  Every moment of the sunflower's life is valuable.  As a plant in the garden, the Sunflower supports other plants, as well as attracts pollinators, gives shade, supplies food for wildlife as well as being food and medicine for humans, and emits to us joyful awesomeness in its presence.  This applies to all growing things, as I don't dare eliminate any other vegetable/medicine within this reference, as they all hold unique value as the sunflower. 
However,  we won't ever understand this amazing relationship if we don't spend time with those we want to learn about or do the work as their caretakers.  And yes it is not easy but when we are experiencing the relationship building as time evolves, we don't think about the difficulties or responsibilities that go along with the process.
Whenever I meet a gardener, there is an instant rapport and such generosity.  I don't know any other group of people that are so generous.  Generous with knowledge, time, resources, and friendship.
Hence, all referencing bring me face to face with acknowledging the sacred spirit, energy, and presence of the Great Spirit of our Divine Mother Earth and the feminine power she bestows to all human beings but most abundantly to our women and female relatives. Like the sunflowers, there is nothing that can be withheld to those that our mothers or those that mother bestow their sacred power of love that nourishes and sustains. 
As I write this blog, we are only days away from our secular celebration of Mother's Day.  I believe we should be holding this spirit within us for all of the Spring season, honoring the life-givers and doing what we can to support their work in the world, family, and environment.
So you've heard enough about this advocacy for the sacred feminine spirit coming from yet another female and mother.  But what about coming from a man?  It always touches my heart to hear such advocacy coming from a man who understands and knows this truth.
For this season's podcast on Our Ancient Lands, I interview Tim BlueFlint Indigenous flute maker and concert flutist.  His entire spirit as an artist for this session exemplifies his all-encompassing respect and honor of the sacred feminine spirit in our world.  He continually mentions his love and respect for his mother and grandmother as well as his beautiful relationship with the moon.
I do hope you take the time to listen to his creative process and his philosophical outlook on Indigenous culture and lifeways.  Here is a link to the video and music he shared. It was a pleasure to visit with him and I hope to do so again in the future.
And ... if you wish to start a step into building a relationship with this spirit through gardening please contact me through LUTEA's website or email.  If you are in the area please make an appointment to come by and either pick up some seeds and/or some starter plants.  If you are farther away for and in-person contact send us a donation that may cover mailing costs so that we can send you seeds. 

May the beauty of this season entice you to seek Right relations to all life-givers in your lives.

Walli Ma Molis!

P.S. I'll post my story of the frog next time

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Winter's Teachings

Diveena Marcus
Eastside of Battery Point Light House during winter in Crescent City, CA
During midwinter in which we find ourselves, throughout the indigenous communities there is the anticipation of more and more light returning in our world.  There are many celebrations or festivals of lights that center around the later winter part of the year.  Candlemass is a Christian festival of lights that commences within this time frame as well as Tu BiShvat, the Jewish celebration, and the Celtic Imbolc celebrations as well as the forthcoming Chinese new year and Vasant Panchami in India.  All mentioned events commence between the winter solstice and the Spring equinox anticipating the onset of spring and the anticipation of hopeful physical new beginnings in the material world. From a spiritual perspective, it reconnects us to the entirety of the universe and our personal rhythms with it when we join in the dance of change.
North American Indigenous people also anticipate the approach of a new cycle of life.  However, they know perfectly well we are still living knee-deep in winter. Instead of jumping on their new ideas that continued to spring up in their minds and dreams, (and I believe all pre-mentioned events were reminders to contain a focus of gratitude and mindfulness for right actions within changes) they would hold long communal gatherings with their leaders and Elders to obtain mentoring wisdom at this interval of life's anticipatory cycle.
My ancestral Tamalko and Southern Pomo communities would have moved up onto the redwood forests and hills away from the ocean during winter.  They held bi-regional lifestyles, living at the ocean in the summer and mountainous regions in the winter.  There were more protections for the people in the forests as well as access to freshwater and medicines during the harsher time of the year. The time to spend with loved ones was actually long-awaited.  I was told by Elders that there was not enough time in the days during warmer weather to spend "quality time" because everyone was too busy dealing with the process of living.  Winter was when the family came together and the stories and legends come forth from those that knew and remembered the histories to share.  If you had a relative that was able to tell the stories your family was highly regarded and had many visitors, (who additionally brought gifts when they visited).  Thus the time for gathering and sharing was a good time and a good way of being during the winter season.
My Indigenous cousins within the Six Nations community in Canada, hold a 10-day long observance of this time in ceremonies.  I was invited one year as Diane Longboat's guest, who was one of the ceremonial facilitators. Unfortunately, there was an ice storm as well as Diane's husband became very ill and I was not able to attend while I was there. The six nations reserve lands are north of Toronto and I was at the time living in Bailieboro, southeast of Toronto, a long distance in an ice storm to travel. However, I was well aware of what took place as I was mentored by Knowledge keeper Aqusaahsneh Mohawk, Skahendowaneh Swamp, Elder Jake Swamp's son.
The first portion of the ceremonies was a series of honoring ceremonies.  Families reconnected with runners, greeters and there is much protocol.  All traditional protocol is to instill the great depth of respect for everyone and everything.
It is a powerful experience to be in the presence of such knowledge keepers who can instill the traditions to everyone with great love and longing.  Many times I remember my father who was a storyteller, inform me of the histories from his South Pacific heritage.  They were magical times just to be in his presence and his recollection of personally witnessed events of history as well as those who he knew that shared their stories with him.
Unfortunately today with the separations we have from our families and communities there are few that can share or even have the stories left within them.
I was asked to share some of such stories through the Yreka Preservation society in Yreka California when I was living in Weed.  I mentioned to them that I could not repeat stories or refer to them until it was approaching winter.   They were respectful enough to wait until later that year so that I might make a presentation through the Siskiyou Library in Yreka to share from the ancestors.
So this is the time that we can share through our spoken words.  Not written down on the page as it is would not be living history, as it is not being delivered by the voice of the ancestors, and thus the myth-story is not effective nor is it respected. Delivery must be given through the breath of ones' own lifeforce.
Then once heard and felt through the presence of the culture bearer and knowledge keeper,  it would be remembered and/or held an impact on who is receiving it.
I suppose it is like lighting a candle and being near that warmth and the actual flickering light and the essence of its being and magic.
Such phenomena are what we seek during this midwinter season.  We wish to find that magical light that leads us towards truly living once again.

Why is this needed light from way-showers so important?
I have always had the privilege of being associated with those who have been older than myself.  I had five great aunts who were sisters I respected who reflected much authority and wisdom in my life.  Also, great-great aunties and uncles still lived that I was able to visit and listen to and learn from.  Unfortunately, my paternal grandparents died when my father was 8 years old and my mother was removed from her parents when she was also 8 years old.  I never got to know my grandparents. Fortunately, with both of my parents, there were relatives within communities that offered support and wisdom along the way.  I am not saying they were with them on a daily basis. In fact, for many years both my parents had to forge their own pathways on their own.
However, both had help.  My father intrinsically knew how much he was loved by both his parents since his beginnings.  His older sister died young before his birth so he was extremely protected and greatly loved and pampered until his parents' deaths.  Even though my father's youthful beginnings after my grandparents' death was difficult, he always held their love dear.
My mother did not have her parents' attention as I am sure she had hoped.  There were four other children after her, and as the eldest of her siblings, she had many responsibilities living through the Great Depression.  Despite the early separation from her parents, she was taken in and raised by a relative (great aunt) who gave her the foundation she was looking for in her life.
Both of my parents instilled the value of honoring and seeking the wisdom of our Elder relatives and knowledge keepers.
My great-auntie (surrogate grandmother) who raised my mother also had a rest home business and license and I would help her with meals and also spent time with the Elders living there. Listening to histories told to me by a first-hand observer brought me to a world much different than what I knew and also instilled within me wonder, honor and respect for the survivors of history past. As I had continued on my inquisitive pathway in life I also studied and apprenticed with Elders from other indigenous communities even when I was taking graduate curriculum during my Master's program as well as my Ph.D. experiences.  I was fortunate to be mentored by the Elders I most needed.
My most favorite people and best of friends no longer live in this world today. Therefore, the light that was shown to me I hold within myself and I try to bring to others (who have the interest and desire to spend more than just a moment in my life), the essential wisdom my beloved Elders have gifted to me.  I believe these gifts are gifts from "angels" as they contain vast benefits that we do not understand or decipher until the moment the wisdom is needed.
Facts and anecdotes are not the wisdom we need today, we can pull up anything on our phones and pads.  The warmth and light from another lifeforce that is there with our participation are the power and illumination we so desperately need today.
Today I am back in my homeland state of CA living on the familiar coast.  Though not on my traditional coastlines of north-central California it is in northern California.  Ironically there are two lighthouses in Del Norte County, the Battery Point Lighthouse and the St. George Reef Lighthouse.  In addition, there are 3 other lighthouses going south in Humboldt County.  Just north of us in Brookings Oregon is the Pelican Bay lighthouse and the Coquille Light House near Bandon.  The Brookings port up to Bandon as well as the Crescent City and Eureka Port are all working fishing ports.
The lighthouse is a beacon of light during the night or in dense fog when a mariner is traveling towards land or reef or rocks near land. It indicates that there are concerns to pay attention to.  Lighthouses in the past were used for aerial navigation support as well. Today there are many electronic navigational tools that have replaced the lighthouse.  However, our coastal communities work very hard to keep our lighthouses amongst us.  They are powerful metaphors of safety, guardians, way-showers, and familiarity.  I find the same when we seek the guidance of our Elders and those who have walked ahead of us and know very well what we are going through and what we are up against on our Earth walks.  I pray I've added a little more insights as to why this Indigenous person has continued to look for the familiar light of way-showers along my travels in life. I know it resonates with many others.
And, I must remind us that we are still deep up to our knees in winter.  We still need guidance and we still need to continue walking this passage during a time that reflects there is still work to be done.
In our autumnal seasonal podcast "Our Ancient Lands", I offer a conversation with esteemed Santee Sioux/Absarookee Elder Scott Frazier from Montana. Scott candidly gives us some of his Elder reflections on the culture and our Spiritual concerns.  My dear sweet Dine sister from Arizona, and advocate for Indigenous wellness, Barbara Burnside, also illustrates within a two-part conversation her candid and very open journey of healing.  I have plans to eventually invite both to come and spend some time with us at our Fire talks here in California when the weather is kinder towards their travels.
In the next blog, I plan on sharing the work that LUTEA has been doing with more detail as it seems such a mystery for most folks.  All that is shared by our podcast guests touch on the many concerns and issues that we at LUTEA wish to contribute wellness towards.
In our monthly indigenous prayer circle, we continue to hold the light with prayers for all concerned.  May we all find the light that we need during this winter season to spring.
Thank you for visiting. If you would like to get firsthand information on our Talking Circle sessions and programs and/or receive our monthly newsletter please contact us here or at:

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Beauty of Transformation

California Redwoods

One of the most referred to words that describe the Indigenous is transformation.  Why?  Because the original people were participants and observers of the Earth.  And, the Earth within the not-so-distant past held a strong presence to all living beings. I say not-so-distant, because the United States has been existent for only a mere 243 years in comparison to the thousands of years that the Indigenous lifeway was prominent not only on Turtle Island (north and south America) but in all the indigenous regions that have been colonized by the dominant forces of "civilized" Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  To be more honest about the colonial aggression, the finger is pointed at an elite minority of national rulers who use propaganda and subliminal tactics (on every communicative level) on their own people to manipulate their ideologies.  Thus a brainwashed prejudice populace thrives on competition (Darwinian influence) accelerated with hate methodologies so that they can feel or believe they are the best and therefore have the right to conquer and dominate all others. (Totally against all spiritual ethics).  

I must offer some context here.  For this discourse, I reference my Indigeneity to my North American Indigenous Ancestors of California.  My maternal grandmother was a Tamlko (Coast Miwok/Pomo) aboriginal woman from California and my maternal grandfather was an aboriginal man of the Shasta/Modoc peoples of California.  Many of my ancestors have more than 243 years of turbulent history, some began in the 1500s.   Hundreds of years before "California" there were no distractions and influences that contribute to mental health problems such as stress i.e.,  employment, property, taxes, education, and religion.  I know it sounds strange or even unimaginable (unless you reference John Lennon's "imagine") Like how could there be such existence without the former?

Well, there was. There was a structure and lifeway that focused on the Earth and its Spiritual force and the spiritual force that each living being exuded and responded to. This presence I term 'unuuni 'unu (Great Mother) in my ancestral Tamal Machachaw (Coast Miwok ancestral language).  It was even observed stronger then because the changes in the land were only brought about by the Earth and her need for change.  The energy was strong and the flow and its presence were unmistakable. People were more spiritually inclined as well as metaphysically adept. There were no dams, no harnessed electricity to manipulate the natural current and pulse of the Earth.  There were no organizations that held false power over the people.  Instead, there was a Spiritual energetic force that defined itself individually to each person as it was each person's responsibility to find their connection to it and thus their lifeway.
When people are participants and observers of the Earth's changes and seasons they are very adaptable and understand the reality that all things change.  There is no mindset that the environment must be made to be controlled in order to suit the needs and comforts of the ones desired to settle in the region.  People flowed with the energetic changes expressed by the elements and the seasons of the Earth.  When the season changed to shorten the days and lengthen the nights then people changed as well.  They did not invent tools to make them continue to do what they were doing before the change.  They transformed their lifestyle to the demands of the spirit of the season.

As I write this, the season is called the fall season. Perhaps because one of the main features of the season is the shedding of leaves from deciduous trees.  If you have trees in your region you will start to observe the fall's spirit. That is another topic as there are fewer and fewer trees on the planet and less to teach us the ways of the seasons.
One of the main downsides of the fall for most contemporary folk is accepting that the summer and the fun and easy times have come to an end. Now is the time is to go back to school and put our noses to the grindstone and be occupied mostly indoors for the most part of the season.

However, for many of my ancestors, it was harvest time that lasted through to the winter.  There were many opportunities to continue to participate out of doors.   The added aspect of fuller participation is upfront education through life experience. During the fall time, we are given another aspect of growing a relationship with the Earth as well as with those we live with and love.  As the leaves fall down to the Earth we return to those we are close to.  We stop growing and pushing forward in our lives because the body does not have the vibrancy it once experienced in the last season
We do not have to live in the past to understand this phenomenon.  We must change and transform our ways in order to be with the flow of life.  If not we get sick.

In fact, this is a time when my ancestors looked at death in the eye more frequently.  Perhaps the weaker and older ones who were suffering chose to leave the Earth at this time.  Just in the participation of the earth, children would observe death reflected in nature.  Questions were brought to the family and Elders to discuss mortality.   Nothing was hidden in such a world.  And who but those we trust conveyed the mysteries of the world to allow us to accept our lifeways in it with love and understanding.

However, today with all of our peoples under the dominance of colonization we seek to shelter our children from all the uncomfortable aspects of life.  We want them to be completely safe and comfortable. We induce so many distractions to deter loved ones from experiencing some of the facts of life.  I know even in our Native communities our younger parents shelter their children and adamantly demand that anything negative from the past is not given attention at our gatherings even at our GONA* events where most children attend.  They feel that they will find out about traumas and losses that our communities suffered sooner or later.  The most desired choice of exposure is later, and usually by someone else.  Wouldn't it be most beneficial for the child to hear about death, tragedy, and grief from someone they trust?  Even though it will be painful no matter how it is delivered they have the support through that transformational knowledge?  They would at least be in an environment that is familiar and one that supposedly makes them feel cared about?  Instead of someone that has no connection to the culture or family telling the stories from an outside perspective?  Wouldn't that child be confused and angry that they were not told such things about their own histories or family from someone they trusted?  This applies to all of us who have loss and trauma in our histories and families.  We all have issues, and instead of confronting them most of us keep dark and difficult concerns buried, or locked up and hidden away until the spirit of that history decides to rise up to be heard to heal.  *GONA (Gathering Of Native Americans).  A Program subsidized and funded by the Federal Government Program SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration).

" Cosmic Connection" graphic rendition of Medicine Wheel. D Marcus

And, the final ingredient to this scenario is that no matter what avenue one goes towards to seek answers to the darker mysteries of life such as death, birth, trauma, loss, and grief the spiritual ingredient, which is a fact of life is left out, unless one is exposed to it through Elders and family who live by spiritual ethics.  To transform, and transgress beyond the trauma to wellness, one must have a strong lifeway attached to the spiritual and many times it is cultural so support and love are found along the way.

As a young child in the 50s, propaganda from the media-induced the ideology of convenience and pleasure.  Every story had a happy ending.  Hence I grew up wanting and believing only in happy endings and as we all know, endings are not very happy until years down the road when we may come to realize that the ending was indeed very necessary to grow and live a more fulfilled life.
As an indigenous researcher, my journey has shown me that in order to grow and have a fulfilled life brought about through transformation one must have a very strong support system with a link to a recognized and existing spiritual lifeway. Then any transgression is a willingness to walk through a fire walking process, (a metaphor used for warriors).  This is not just for battlefield warriors, though some of us have gone through or come from battlefields.

A very powerful concept from an Indigenous perspective is "acceptance" in change.  Therefore, the idea of death and renewal is celebrated in many indigenous cultures.  I believe the beauty displayed by the vibrant gold, reds, russets, and rich earth siennas and forest greens incite the richness of transformation as well as the diversity of Indigenous peoples who can learn to live together and come together.

In Our Ancient Lands Podcast, Indigenous Pasifika Refections I interview Ruby Faagau regarding concerns and issues pertaining to Pacific Islander communities within the United States.  Ruby touches on some of this blog's topics and others that deal with immigration laws and reference for support.  Many of our relatives and ancestors have come to this land and had to adjust "change" their own identities.  My husband Marcus's family immigrated from Poland during the 1st world war and chose a different spelling for their last name thus a loss of past connections.  My Californian Indigenous ancestors were given European and/or Mexican names to transform into the existing dominant community.

In addition, Our Ancient Lands will be featuring in the upcoming months during this season, Barbara Burnside a Navajo warrior woman, who facilitates prayer walks for wellness.  She offers insights from an Indigenous perspective as a living example in order to live a good Indigenous life.  Stay tuned.

In the support work I service, the most powerful change in transformation I have found is having the strength to see that what was once something fulfilling much like a medicine, has now become a poison and no longer beneficial to our present lives.  When an individual can willingly let go of the coveted and used-to adornment (which can be people, place, objects or occupations), they are completely free to transform into what the Creators have had planned for them all along.  Another term in contemporary lingo is to "reinvent oneself".

Some of us are forced to change by circumstances that were truly residuals caused by the advent of ignoring the pulse of our lifeforce connected to the reality of the Earth.  When we can take the initiative with the consciousness of the pulse of change on our own, we can truly experience the beauty of transformation.  No psychoanalysis or medical physician can offer such healing.  Psychology and western medicine is a new science in the Western colonial environment.  Indigenous healing has been practiced since the dawn of humanity.

Today we can still observe the Indigenous cultures transformative beauty within art and music expression.  Materials that can not be resourced today or would be detrimental to the sustainability of their existence and the planet, are replaced by new contemporary materials to continue to bring forth the legacy of the aboriginal presence on the earth.

To hear more about this topic and conversation stay tuned to listen to my conversation with Scott Frazier with more of our conversational musing at Our Ancient Lands podcast in the upcoming months during this seasonal series.

If you are interested in an Indigenous approach and perspective on support through trauma, loss, grief and addiction concerns contact us at our website to be on our mailing list or follow our Facebook page

If you are interested in our future Fire Talk events in Crescent City CA while visiting the Redwoods add your contact information to our mailing list and subscribe on our website: or visit at our Facebook page:

Blessings during our seasons of change and transformation. May we understand more of our environmental relatives' teachings and learn to accept our place with them on Mother Earth.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Height of Summer, Harvest Blessings and signs that remind us who we are.

photo from Ian 'OBrien Midday Sun

Summer is a very special time of year for me as it is the time that I entered into this world.  It is also the time my daughter came to Earth.
It is a blessed time for us to acknowledge our lives here and now together.  I must add my husband was born in the summer as well as one of my dearest friends.  All of us within a few weeks of each other.  Hence I believe (and I am grateful to the Creators) that our life force energy at this time is being heightened for renewal to celebrate each other.
I am the eldest of my siblings and my daughter is the only child, also considered the eldest position at birth.
Why am I going on with this birthday stuff?
Well, I have been reflecting on this subject ... and lately, in the social media, information is acknowledging non-Western traditional celebrations.  It is good to see Lughnasadh insights and perspectives on the internet at the beginning of the month.
I have always respected the Celtic Lughnasadh observance and celebration as I feel it is significantly appropriate to this time of year.

My understanding of the consciousness of Lughnasad was through the first Pentecost, the Judaic Pentecost Shavuot. Shavuot takes place after Passover in April, much of its significance and Philosophy reflect this time of year for me. Shavuot is one of the major Jewish harvest festivals that coincide with Lughnasad’s first harvest acknowledgments. From what I remember in my undergraduate World Religious Studies, the Jewish Pentecost asks of the firstborn male child to come forth to the Temple during the Shavuot celebrations to dedicate himself to God and to receive the blessings from the community through the ceremony by the Rabbi. Much like the Catholic confirmation significance. Such is the similarity with pagan observances, that what the Earth teaches, we seek to embody as well, and this is the renewing of our lives and the tremendous reality that we are in the flow of the magnificence of life.

I can not stop here as this observance and connection is also reflected in my California Native American culture within many of the ceremonies in the summertime, but especially in the Flower Dance Ceremony. The Flower Dance Ceremony is observed throughout Indigenous California communities that have returned to their traditional practices.  It is an honoring of the Feminine Sacredness. I also believe it is the acknowledgment and the community's support towards the young woman's conscious dedication on her sacred path with the Creators.  Many ethnographers and anthropologist have researched our peoples and referred to this ceremony as a puberty rite of passage.  However, if we can reflect on Lughnasadh and Shavuot, there is indeed an outer occurrence (first fruit/harvest and menses) that indicate a phenomenon is occurring amongst us. A blessed and sacred occurrence. A flower's budding is so precious because we can anticipate its beauty in its fullest bloom. The beauty of its bloom to maturity is assured because we know when we make the effort to cultivate and support its preciousness, beauty will be. Such is the power and significance of this time. We are bearing witness to the unfolding of such valuable and needed possibilities for us all. As a community, we must encourage and support with as much sincere effort as possible to demonstrate our appreciation and love to this new first offering. Whether a young initiate or our first fruits of the harvest, it is an honor to have their pure and blessed presence in our lives.

I must interject that the Green Corn ceremonies are very prevalent in Indigenous communities within North America as well.  Maise is a life-sustaining environmental relative to many North American Indigenous communities. Maise is easily comparable to wheat’s value in the European Celtic Lughnasadh's festivities. Both relatives are life-sustaining agents from Mother Earth embodying the Feminine life spirit we all belong to.  The women in our Native cultures are honored during such times as we are also life-givers.  During the Green Corn Ceremony, those that participant undergoes a purification process through fasting and prayer.  (Indigenous renewal participants traditionally go through a fast and an inner reflective sojourn) The ceremony suggests that the world as well as we are being renewed.  Thus, a time to forgive others and make amends so all is clean and new in our lives open our future towards the potential to grow into a rewarding experience.
To establish a lasting impression, these celebrations and acknowledgments did not happen in one day as we are so accustomed to practice in Western society.  In western civilization, a holiday is observed very much as a “high”...  Usually, our holidays occur within a 24 hour period and then are gone. The “down” from the experience comes very quickly and inwardly there is a deep sense of unfulfillment.  It is quite the opposite within traditional Indigenous communities and their celebrations. Acknowledgments of change and the honoring practicing celebrations take weeks. From an Indigenous perspective and from one that was once an Indigenous doctoring ceremonial singer, the event took many days. The typical contemporary traditional ceremony takes approximately 4 days.  However, the larger observances that I remember took at least 10 days.
Hence, the length and the process facilitate life-changing potential and a rebalancing of one's life with the sacred within ourselves.  I believe everything is sacred, we must learn to make our own life balanced to resonate with what is already sacred all around us.
Therefore, I am very grateful that I can observe and acknowledge my garden's first harvests and acknowledge my own, as well as my loved ones' renewal during our birthday celebrations. But, also to know that we all have the opportunity to rededicate our sacred selves back into our lives along with what our Mother Earth is continually showing us.
If we have a chance to visit an Indigenous community and be a part of a renewal celebration let us do so to be reminded of what that is for ourselves.
Coming up soon is the annual Yurok Salmon Festival in Klamath, CA. There will be much to explore with the culture and with the festivities.
Photo from the Regional Parks website

I recently attended a public Tolowa event here in Del Norte County in the Hiouchi Forest.  The Elders and Culture Bearers shared songs and dances from the Brush Dance, a traditional healing and renewal ceremony. Today Native American communities offer many public events.  As most of the ceremonies were traditionally open celebrations for everyone to partake.
When I was young our ceremonies were underground and unless you were from the families that put on the ceremony or participated as a dancer or singer you would not be invited.  The reason for such secrecy is attached to the historical genocide that my ancestors experienced. Unfortunately, the massive details of that history have been whitewashed in the contemporary historical context.  Nonetheless, it is all there if you wish to discover it through the internet and social media. You needn't work hard to find it.
Regardless, we do not need to attend any outward event or practice, as the renewal of Mother Earth continually occurs.  As long as we are alive and wish to walk what we call the "Red Road." We will find that renewal within ourselves. (There are many definitions attached to the "Red Road" but for me, it is the path to the Creators.)
I am grateful to have been able to honor this special subject and time here with Flicker's Drum Beat. Healing and renewal are the fundamental aspects of the work the I am dedicated to through L.U.T.E.A.
If you are interested to find out more or to attend our events please follow LUTEA  on facebook
There you can keep abreast with our wellness programs and talking circles.
If you wish to subscribe to LUTEA's newsletter please visit  If you are on our mailing list you will find all information and upcoming events first hand as well as insights into future plans, projects, programs, and activities.  Especially if you would like to be more a part of our work together.
For insights on Indigenous Culture and Elders visit "Our Ancient Lands".  This month I visited with my friend Scott Frazier, Elder, Knowledge Keeper, Artist and Scholar from the Santee Sioux and Absarokee (Crow) nations.  "Musings with Indigenous Elder Scott Frazier"
We'd like to have Scott come out to Del Norte and do some Fireside Talks sponsored by LUTEA.  Again if you are interested please sign up on our mailing list.
I also produce another podcast "Art and the Divine" and Scott is featured on this month's podcast with Indigenous Metis Artist Lisa Du Fresne.

I pray that the Earth and her blessings will remind us to take this opportunity to make a personal commitment to renew ourselves and to rededicate our lives towards the Creators.  Reconnecting ourselves to the great mystery is the perfect pathway or road guaranteed to offer to us the blessings of balance with much more peace and contentment in our lives.

LUTEA Facebook Page 

LUTEA website

Our Ancient Lands Podcast 

Divine Inspirations Podcast

Divine Inspirations blog

Friday, June 21, 2019

Honoring Our Relative Flicker Heralding Summer Solstice Blessings

Photo from the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming

We have been honored witnessing Michael Lane's journey on the Longest Walk during the spring season.  We continue to support the walk by visiting his facebook page as well as the Longest Walk We Shall Continue Facebook Page as the walk does continue through to July 15. Micheal is continuing his walk as well as preparing for a Ph. D. thesis defense.  We wish him success and a great experience during his upcoming defense.
We are now commencing into another season and attention.  Our Ancient Lands Podcast series will continue for this month to highlight more insights on Long Walks through history and also feature other Long Walkers and their attention to healing for wellness.
Many Blessings upon us all during our new Summer Season.  Summertime for many Indigenous communities in North America is the highlight of the year.  It was a time for visiting relatives not seen for at least a year.  Gatherings took place in epicenters where many communities converged.  In the plains, pow wows were held.  For communities like my Tamako and Southern Pomo relatives in California, our ancestors would gather in the Marin area, (in particular, Olumpali a traditional ground for intertribal connectedness) and trade and join in ceremonies.
The traditional Plains sundance ceremonies are enacted primarily during the Summer solstice as well as many other Indigenous ceremonies and gatherings across the continent.  In California, I remember as a young woman participating as a singer and attending the Big Head Dances at the Point Reyes Round House. The ceremonies would last at least four days and nights straight through.  Bear Ceremonies are also practiced in the summers, much like the Buffalo Dance/ceremonies and Sundance Ceremonies in the Plains regions. Generally not on Summer Solstice, the Green Corn Ceremonies and Stomp Dances in the Muscogee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Caddo, Cherokee, and Eastern Woodlands Indigenous communities were held in the Summer season.
Though the ceremonial calendar opens up in the Spring for the year, it is during the Summer where most folks are more available to gather as well as the terrain was more user-friendly for travel.
The messenger that would awaken the environment and our sense of communion is the Flicker in California and woodpeckers in general. However, the bright Flicker's feathers incited exciting new opportunities and the anticipation of participating more fully.
Vincent LaDuke, an Anishinaabe author, who was known as Sun Bear wrote The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology (1992). The book was compiled from a vision of LaDuke's that illustrated an indigenous perspective on an Earth-based astrological system similar to that of the Asian astrological system that emerged from Buddhism.  However, LaDuke utilized the indigenous knowledge of the Medicine Wheel instead. Like all calendrical systems, the year is broken into 12 sections that are personified by North American animals and designated to the seasons and months.  Today there are many followers of this system as well as astrological software programs based on this system. LaDuke's designation for the animal totem significant to the Summer Solstice is the Flicker/woodpecker.  As the Flicker is endemic to the Americas, it is logical to pay heed to an indigenous interpretation.  It is interesting that Ted Andrews book, a New Age clairvoyant based his book Animal Speaks (1993) upon the Earth's Spiritual relationship to humans through animals after LaDuke's book.
According to LaDuke, the Flicker is the messenger of the summer with a strong presence from the Summer Solstice to the latter portion of July.  The indigenous traits are similar to the western astrological traits of Cancer zodiac personality, that the Flicker exemplifies attending to the emotional nature within a solid home base to find its intelligence. The Flicker personality totem offers strength in nurturing to the young and others in need, lavishing them with love and giving them a deep sense of safety.  The Flicker associated personality must have a safe and harmonious environment to live in.  They are not complete within their environment unless they can share it with those they love as relationships are highly important to them and they spend much of their energy in maintaining good relationships.  Though emotional because of a highly developed intuitive talent, they are also courageous.
I do know the Flicker is a very sacred bird within California indigenous traditional culture. The Flicker's feathers owned by a "doctor" was a very powerful surgical tool. Those that wore the Flicker feathers in their dance regalia were given the ability to heal through their dance. Also, the Flicker and its association with its pecking sound were considered the master drummer for many indigenous peoples. The Flicker's connection to the drumming is the connection to the heartbeat and to the Earth and her heartbeat and rhythms.  Hence, the drummer that drums into being a new season, and especially that of the summer.
According to LaDuke, the chalcedony stone carnelian was associated with the Flicker because of the color red (referring to the Northern Flicker who has reddish wing and tail feathers) and also to its association with the heart. LaDuke inferred that Indigenous mothers would carry the carnelian close to their hearts so that their hearts would remain true, healthy and open to their children.
It is known that the Flicker is in the category of creatures that mate for life and are dedicated parents, both care respectively for their young. They are migratory birds that at present quickly declining in population numbers along with many migratory birds. The factors leading to this reality are environmental relating to pesticides and the removal of forests and trees.  In addition, we humans in our secluded environments use pesticides on our lawns. Also, there are concerns with the inundation of feline populations that prey on birds.  Unfortunately, it is a practice in our society to clear out our natural environment to heavily manicure and manipulate our properties for the designs of our dreams.  It is during the summer that the Flicker forage for their food on the ground.  47 percent of their diet is ants, snails, and beetles. Presently they are finding less safe places to stay when they migrate to Mexico and Alaska.  Many are not surviving the journey.  Bird conservationists are urging us to build birdhouses to help our winged relatives find safe shelter on their migration paths. LUTEA's summer newsletter has some links to some of the information mentioned to support our feather relatives.
I pray that some of us take a stand for advocacy supporting our little migratory friends so they can continue to have an opportunity to live a good life here on Mother Earth.  We are all woven together and we can surely see what our beloved Flicker is traveling through that so many of our brothers and sisters are as well. There is a housing shortage in California, as well as many places, are becoming unsafe environments in which to live.
When we return to our heart and exert our spirit like the Flicker as a drum that connects to our hearts and to our Mother the Earth we can make a change not only for our relatives but for ourselves. Like our beautiful little Flicker, we can have harmonious environments and relationships that will last a lifetime holding love and blessings for all that come within our home base environments.
During the summer season in California, I have no doubt my relatives are enjoying one of our favorite berry the Strawberry.  It was traditional that we did not eat the berry that announces the seasons change until it appeared upon the earth and before we could consume it we held our Strawberry blessing ceremony.   After, strawberries were the most delicious in the world.  Today within Indigenous California communities, the public can attend Strawberry festivals offered within Indigenous communities.  I pray we enjoy our plant relatives and medicines of the summer.  They are such blessings especially if we grow them ourselves as we have created such a relationship with them (love).  I always look forward to seeing those I love dearly during this time of year.  I honor and celebrate the lives of two of my favorite people born during this season as well as I, my husband and my daughter.
My prayer is to be like our little relative the Flicker striving to live for right and good relations.  Thank you for visiting Flicker's Drum Beat.
Wishing you a blessed, loving and nurturing Solstice and Summer Season.

Walli Ka Molis


Thursday, May 9, 2019