The Medicine Man

Native American Mysticism

 

One area of spirituality often ignored by the wider world is the Native American.

 

The Native American mystic is often known as the Medicine Man, principally because of his power to heal, but also to communicate with the ‘supernatural.’ A continuation of the early shaman, endemic to most tribal societies, he also bears many similarities to the guru.

 

The ‘Medicine Man' most likely survived from before the migrations across the Bering Strait over twenty thousand years ago. Mystical apprenticeship: Such a mystic is thought to be chosen by the ‘spirits’, indications of an ability to communicate with them beginning in childhood.

 

Continuing visions and omens will lead to the child being taught by an existing mystic. A right of passage for the growing mystic will be his first vision quest, of which he will have many in his life.

 

Such quests happen after a period of asceticism, such as going to a remote place to meditate. Another method is the sweat lodge in which saplings are covered with blankets and hot stones placed within. The mystic will go inside and pour water on the stones, his sweat causing purification.

 

The vision quest: During his visions he will meet his guardian ‘spirit.’ Granted a dream or vision of this spirit, it will usually be in an animal form and will grant the mystic special powers. He will be taught a spirit song and given a number of talisman - eagle feathers, shells, animal parts.

 

These bestow the mystic's new powers and represent omens. They will be kept in a sacred bag known as his medicine bundle. The mystic will, of course, become much more than a relationship between himself and the ‘supernatural.’

In classic tribal style, he will also be the bridgehead between his tribe and the guardian spirit. Ritual life: In this sense, he is responsible for the tribe's culture and well being.

 

He will be the storyteller who tells of the tribe's origins as told by the guardian spirit, and he will be the symbol of totems, giving the tribe identity and a moral code through animal or plant representations of natural phenomena and events.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)

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