"All My Relations: an expression that asserts the basic philosophy of many Native Americans, according to which plants, stones, two-leggeds, animals, sky, earth, moon, spirit helpers, ancestors and most significantly, the Great Spirit are related; good health results from harmony between all beings."
One of my best things is teaching one-on-one. I've taught groups, too, though I would say in that setting I am just OK. As a personal teacher, tutor, mentor, initiator, I'm completely at ease. Like making bouilliabaise, taking pictures, and doing bodywork, being a teacher fits, it works, it is one of my best things.
Last night, I brought a shaman into the blood of our lineage. She is a very powerful shaman who has studied with me for several years. I taught her everything I know; she in turn has shown me a great many things. It has been a fruitful collaboration.
"Bringing into the blood" is a phrase that comes from my teacher of Mongolian shamanism. Though it is a rite of initiation, it sounds more dramatic than it actually is. The first part of the ritual involves talking about our ancestors. Once we began that conversation, we never stopped, not during the shamanic walk at sunset, nor in front of the ceremonial fire, or even as we feasted afterwards.
We greatly expanded the usual definition to include ancestors of spirit and karma as well as ancestors of blood. We named tribes living and long departed from every part of this beautiful planet, we named rivers, mountain ranges, animals and weather, proudly claimed them as ancestors. We are children of earth and sky, and everything between. That isn't a royal "we" - you're a child of earth and sky, too, you know.
It's an essentially human act, naming the ancestors. We name them in the Torah and other holy books, in the great Icelandic sagas, in Russian novels and American TV soap operas. Lineage is very important to we homo sapiens, always has been. Shamans all over the world have brought others into the blood with this simple act of naming the truth: we are, all of us, inextricably interwoven with each other.
It was a gorgeous early sunset on a perfect late fall day in DC, a beautiful environment in which to remember all our relations. And so we remembered last night. We are part of the family of humans, animals, plants, stars, clouds and rock. By remembering this, we adopt one another, become family. Only when we remember all our relations can we gracefully undertake the work of mediating between the worlds. Memory is powerful, you'd better believe it.
You and I? We're related, too. Oh yeah. Shalom.