Can Your Location Influence Your Spirituality?
I hadn’t really thought of this until recently. I had never really given any thought to whether my spiritual path had been shaped or influenced by where I lived or where I grew up. However, in recent weeks after moving from Germany to Texas I am starting to think that your immediate surroundings can and do influence your path.
I have always just considered myself a “Magpie Pagan”. Magpies are birds that are really intelligent – but take bits and pieces of anything to make their nest. This is how I saw myself. Though my early years were mostly revolved around a Hoodoo influence with a little Appalachia thrown in – I now see no clear lines. Can I easily classify how I practice? No.
While living in England my practice shifted to something that any Traditional Wiccan would be comfortable with and could participate in easily. This was not intentional – I just did what felt right at the time. While in Germany my practice changed a bit to be something that seemed a little more Druidic – but my perception of Druid. Not actual authentic Druid – but something similar.
A few weeks ago I moved to West/Central Texas. Spiritually speaking there is a very strong Native American influence here. While not completely unknown to me, and though I have always had an interest in different Native traditions, I have never taken that leap to fully immerse myself.
Could it be the environment? Could it be that the land around me resembles something of a desert that I associate certain tribes with? To be honest – I was born and raised in Southeast Missouri where there were many tribes of Natives – yet I never felt connected there. Here in Texas …. it’s different.
This is not to say that I will start calling myself a shaman and throw some random stuff in a little pouch and call it a medicine bag … because that won’t happen. But I will share a recent experience.
Four times a year a local metaphysical shop owner who follows a Native path holds drum circles, peace pipe ceremonies, and sweat lodges on her property. I had never participated in a sweat lodge or peace pipe ceremony. I decided to try it out. I attended a sweat lodge – and holy moly do you sweat. While the word ‘sweat’ is in the name — I thought it was figurative.
Something amazing happens though. I have a hard time holding concentration not just during channeling, but meditation, remote viewing — everything. I have this intent desire to analyse that I have yet to fully control. The sweat lodge is dug into the deep rust red ground of Texas with a little altar of sorts outside. Before we entered I asked if anyone would be offended if I got a deeper explanation. Everyone was happy to wait while I was enlightened.
The dugout lodge is the womb of the Mother (Earth). It is seen as a safe place to ‘retreat’ to gain the peace and environment needed to grow as a being spiritually.
At first the heat was unbearable. I thought I was going to have to leave. The smoke wasn’t comfortable. I was told by the leader that I had to separate my physical self from my spiritual self. I had to let the heat and smoke carry me to a higher plane.
I’m not going to lie. It was hard. It was hard to not cough, or wipe my face, or let out a disgruntled sigh of sweaty-ness. I bet it took 10 minutes for me to worry less about my environmental uncomforts and focus on … nothing. I literally focused on nothing. I was just going to ‘be’. Just have the experience and enjoy it for what it was. A group of people each taking a little personal journey.
Then it happened. At first I thought I was fainting. I thought the heat had gotten to me and I passed out. Then I saw colors and smelled smells. I heard speaking, but didn’t understand. It felt like I was seeing an area for what it used to be in a time gone by.
It smelled damp – which is strange for West Texas. Then I saw a river. I had no legs and wasn’t walking. I was just sort of moving as if I was standing on a skateboard and someone was pushing it. As I looked around I saw dark haired people throwing powder/sand/ash (something) into the water. A few seconds later the fish would come to the surface and the younger ones would rush in and pick up the fish.
I saw some women doing bead work and the colors of the beads was so vibrant it hurt to look at it. I saw some people skinning a beaver and heard another woman giving birth. It was a really small village not far from a river. It was beautiful. It was Missouri. It was actually really shocking.
That vision has stuck with me just as plain as when it first happened for more than 2 weeks now. I have had a vision or two involving a Native girl – but I believe that was due to a close connection of a friend of mine. This was entirely my own and I am still cherishing it.
Does all this mean that I am suddenly going to follow a Native path? No, probably not. I don’t feel it is for me. I still don’t feel a calling for that. I will, however, be incorporating some things into my practice that are Native. I will be making a smudge fan with collected feathers and doing a lot of beadwork with patterns I saw in my vision.
Basically this entire story is just a call to take a chance. Even if you have little interest! It may turn out to be awesome!
Posted on October 19, 2013, in spiritual paths and tagged Native American Spirituality, path searching, spiritually speaking. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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