Religion, Research & Respect
This week for the letter “R” I decided to take on three words. A bit much I know but I really was looking up videos on Native People’s religious practices for a page I support on Facebook called “Golden Phoenix Society” Page. This is for the group I belong to. We are a collection of individuals on very different paths. As part of my job as “Web Presence” I try to post articles, videos and information around the different earth based religions out there. This is where my first “R” comes in.
Noun: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
Details of belief as taught or discussed.
As an eclectic group we have various religions represented. For example we have BrahmanSpiritualism, a religion focused on balance by using meditation to bring one’s self into that balance. We also have followers of the Native American Traditions, Solitary & Eclectic Wicca as well as Kemetic Orthodoxy. I am a devotee of Hecate, who is a Greco-Roman Goddess, sometimes adopted by modern Wiccans as the Queen of the Witches. So we have a wide variety in our group. Taking the time to learn about our members and making each feel welcome led me to my next “R”.
Noun: The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
Verb: Investigate systematically.
I spend many hours looking at videos on YouTube and reading articles on each path. I try to discover new paths and post those on the page. I also try to find different takes on each path so that we can do what we intended with this group, share knowledge and information with each other. While searching through all the videos trying to find good educational ones to share, I made a horrible mistake. I read the comments. Which led me directly to my final “R”.
Noun: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Verb: Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Having respect for someone is a two way street. Looking into the world of another culture and learning about that culture with honor and respect is what I strive to do. I am not looking to steal your culture, only learn from it because I value it. I see the comments from both sides people involved in the culture and those outside. In this instance, I was looking up information around the “Native Medicine Wheel”. In these videos and I’m amazed at how when learning about connecting to others using all four aspects of the Medicine Wheel, I see words thrown at each other, hate filled speech from a broken spirit. Words filled with anger and hatred for someone who is trying to understand and deliver the beauty of this wonderful culture to the world with words like “Another stupid White Man” or “They just need Jesus” listed in the comments. Really?
I have a very interesting prospective here. When my maternal ancestors came to the country and traveled down from Virginia to North Carolina the wagon train was attacked by Native People and only one person survived. But for that one survivor my entire family would not be here. On the other side, my Paternal side, we have a common Native ancestor however when doing my family tree I was greeted with bigotry and hatred with comments like “No one here f*cked no injun”. Honestly, I was really told that. Unbelievable!!
I started on my daughter’s paternal side and found out that her Great Grandfather was ½ Native from Alabama, however his mother passed away. When the “new” mother, a white women came into the family she kicked him out at 13 years old. She called him ½ breed and destroyed every picture and document around his mother’s true identity. His tribe, culture and heritage lost forever by ignorance.
In order to avoid repeating history we as a people must learn from it. We must understand that we have the power to change the world. We can open doors and we can close them. Taking the time to comment on something with a negative is just reinforcing the negative aspects of the event. I’m not saying that we should approve of Thanksgiving or think that Billy Jack is a great representation of the Native Culture, however I am saying that just because I’m a mixed breed chick with German, Irish, Scottish and yes, even Native blood, doesn’t mean I’m disrespecting you because I want to learn about your culture.
My grandmother told me years ago and it still holds true. If you can't say something nice, don’t say anything at all. It goes back to my core belief.
“I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Religion, Research & Respect my three “R’s” for the Pagan Blog Project, if you take nothing from this post take one thing, I honor that place in you, and when you are in that place and I am in mine, we are one.
Namaste & Blessed Be