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Native American witchcraft or medicine


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#21 BirdieMcCloud

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

I'd be the first to admit that I know little about Native American practices beyond what I learned in a college seminar...and while the teacher was a legit member of a specfic tribe (I regret to say I can't remember which one), half the time he seemed like he was pulling our legs when telling us about his tribe's lore and practices. Sometimes I felt like I was actually learning something real and accurate, and sometimes I felt like the target of a grandiose joke. Maybe both?

But it's wonderful to read more perspectives, especially from different tribes! :)

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#22 Jevne

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:09 PM

Bumping this thread for those interested, as Athena appears to have limited opportunity to frequent the Forum, as of late. 

 

I hope she stops by again soon, though.  In the meantime, this is a nice, informative thread that she started . . .


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#23 melusine

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:51 AM

I'd like to bump this also... its something i'm not very familiar with but am greatly interested in.  My great grandmother was a Native American, her parents were on tribal rolls, but unfortunately she wasn't willing to talk a lot about her parents or the fact that she was "Indian." We think it was because she was treated harshly when growing up and maybe even due to her mother being forced to move because of her ethnicity.  We aren't sure.  It wasn't until around this past Thanksgiving, ironically, that we learned for sure that her parents were native and after doing some digging were able to find them in a census and on tribal rolls.  I've always been hesitant, as has my father, to claim the heritage because we weren't brought up as part of the, for lack of a better term, 'culture' and therefore don't hold that particular world view or identity... so out of respect and so as not to be pegged as one of the many, many people we meet in the area who love to claim, "oh, i've got 'indian' blood in me," we don't often make mention of it to others.


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#24 Ravenshaw

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 03:07 AM

If you wouldnt mind, Athena, I would like to talk with you more about Native American spirituality if you wouldn't mind. Thank you for this fantastic post, I hadn't run across it yet and I'm so glad this was bumped today!  :witch_bounce:


RSKHFMY


#25 witchywolf

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:46 AM

i loved your thread too Athena :) i've always had an interest in the Native American spirituality, and i'd love to see more threads about it :) 


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#26 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:56 PM

I saw no one has responded to Athena's mention of "Raven Mocker" so though I'd at least share a link and an excerpt about them.  Nasty little things by Tsalagi (Cherokee) beliefs though the concept is found in the lore and legends of many Nations.  Not to be confused with the notion of the Skin Walker (sorry I tend not to use the actual Native word as it is believed to attract their attention to do so)

 

 This is the Kalona Ayeliski. It's also known as the Raven Mocker (imitator), the worst of all evil spirits. Think of it as the “Angel of Death”. Because of this, the point man in a Cherokee attack was designated the Kalona.  Though it is sometimes referred to as a witch, that is a European term. The Cherokee call evil spirits that torment the sick Sunnayi Edahi, or "the Night Goers." The Night Goers cannot be seen except by certain medicine men. Then they may look like a person, or take the form of an animal. They come to the house at night when a person is sick, stomp on the roof, beat the side of the house, knock him out of bed, and drag him on the floor. They try to hasten death. They want the sick person to die faster and not use up any of his life span so that they can take his unused lifetime and add it to their own.

 

The Kalona Ayeliski imatates the sound of a diving raven when it arrives. All other evil spirits flee when it shows up. It steals the heart of the sick person without leaving a mark and eats it. This adds the number of years to it’s own life. The Kalona is usually invisible. Imagine how terrifying to already be deathly sick and have to worry about all this! The family will summon a medicine man to keep watch and hold it away until the person recovers. It the person dies, the medicine man will keep watch until the person is buried. After burial the heart cannot be taken.

 

http://cherokeeregis...=215&Itemid=292

 


Edited by monsnoleedra, 25 April 2014 - 12:56 PM.

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#27 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:01 PM

Just an aside note but there is something like 540 registered nations in the US and Canada alone with each having its own unique spirituality and culture.  There are some things that are similar yet dis-similar enough that you can't lump it all into a Native American Spirituality or Pantheon of Gods / Goddess and Spirits.  Factor in Central and South America and the number is probably in the low thousands.  All that still not counting the First Peoples concept and how their culture's, spiritual beliefs and things worked or influenced the current nations.


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#28 travsha

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 09:54 PM

Just an aside note but there is something like 540 registered nations in the US and Canada alone with each having its own unique spirituality and culture.  There are some things that are similar yet dis-similar enough that you can't lump it all into a Native American Spirituality or Pantheon of Gods / Goddess and Spirits.  Factor in Central and South America and the number is probably in the low thousands.  All that still not counting the First Peoples concept and how their culture's, spiritual beliefs and things worked or influenced the current nations.

---------------------------

YES!!!  I get kinda pissed when people say ________ is a Native American proverb/practice/belief ect....  I always wonder "which tribe?!"  There is quite a bit of variety: some do sweat lodges, some use chanupa/pipe, some drum,  some work with entheogens like peyote, some do vision quests, some love tobacco, some dont use tobacco much......  Lots of variety!  Pushes my buttons when they get lumped together like one thing.....

 

Took me a few years of looking before I found authentic practices based on different tribes.  There's a lot of watered down generic type "healers" out there....  Now it seems like I see it everywhere though.  Slowly getting introduced to this stuff from different sources, and it is kinda like a dream come true for me....


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#29 Chloe

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:32 AM

Anyone have any good sources for Native American spirituality that isn't written by "twinkies", "plastic shamans" and "nuagers"? (Lol)

I'm really just about ready to give up on learning anything about Native American related beliefs and spirituality and just stick with European stuff. Apparently Native Americans don't have shamans, totem animals, spirit animals, don't believe in animism, have no gods, worship absolutely nothing, and get really angry when people say they do or believe any of these things. (This coming from things written by members of different tribes... a Sioux, Navajo, & some others on Yahoo Answers.) They insist all that stuff is new age bullshit and that 99% of the stuff written about Native American spirituality is from non-natives that don't know what the hell they're talking about.

Obviously, from reading this thread, I'm thinking it's more an issue of semantics and cultural pride. I've seen a lot of Natives mention that the only thing they really have left is their spiritual beliefs and even that was almost completely forced from a lot of them when their children were taken from them and they weren't legally allowed to practice their ceremonies and such. They're just not willing to share with those outside their tribes anymore, especially with cultural appropriation being the in thing right now in fashion and new age spiritually.

It's really sad though because I would love to learn more about their actual legit beliefs but I'm not sure what sources wouldn't be "new age bullshit"...

Edited by Chloe, 05 June 2014 - 04:33 AM.

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#30 Atehequa

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:02 PM

Being more familiar with the eastern woodland Algonquian speaking tribes, the term witch was not often applied in a positive manner. Of course in the many Algonquian dialects there were different names for spiritual leaders, healers and conjurers,but after these tribes came into contact with Europeans, the word 'witch' along with it's meaning was usually applied to those who used their powers for selfish personal gain, or for malefic reasons.

 

Although these practitioners were at time useful for some, usually they were feared, scorned and made to live apart from others.

 

Some of these Algonquian 'witches' kept very powerful bundles which held various magical objects and had to be 'fed' human flesh, if not the practitioner's own, then that of others. In the oral traditions of several tribes, some of these practitioners were cannibalistic.

 

Just as Algonquian spiritual leaders, healers and conjurers can be either male or female, so it was with their concept of the European word - Witch. Keep in mind this was an adopted term regarding such practitioners.     


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#31 Palemoon

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 10:30 AM

Well i was really enjoying this thread until I got to Chloe's post:

Anyone have any good sources for Native American spirituality that isn't written by "twinkies", "plastic shamans" and "nuagers"? (Lol)
I'm really just about ready to give up on learning anything about Native American related beliefs and spirituality and just stick with European stuff. Apparently Native Americans don't have shamans, totem animals, spirit animals, don't believe in animism, have no gods, worship absolutely nothing, and get really angry when people say they do or believe any of these things. (This coming from things written by members of different tribes... a Sioux, Navajo, & some others on Yahoo Answers.) They insist all that stuff is new age bullshit and that 99% of the stuff written about Native American spirituality is from non-natives that don't know what the hell they're talking about.

.................................

And now I'm confused! I knew nothing of the beliefs of the various tribes but ofc have seen things mentioned in movies and new age books, but what is the truth in it all? Is it what Athena says or what Chloe says?

Edited by Palemoon, 05 September 2014 - 10:31 AM.

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#32 Chloe

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 04:03 PM

I would trust what Athena says because she is part of a tribe but from everything I've read about it I wouldn't trust anything outside of first hand accounts from an actual NA. There's just too many hippie "shamans" who are too white and have no known NA ancestry that are writing books and blogs that should just move on with their lives.

It's incredibly disrespectful to actual NA for one thing and the information and terms they use aren't things some NA want too be referred to as.

Like the word shaman... It isn't a word that existed to NA until white people forced it on them. It might fit incredibly well for what their leaders do but it's disrespectful to them because it's basically.... It shows the whole "white privilege" thing. Seriously, if you want to feel like shit for being white just look up cultural appropriation of NA or anything else lol. Apparently belly dancing is an issue now too...

Without getting OT, some of the issues brought up are reasonable and some are just obnoxious IMHO but some NA just don't want white people or anyone without NA ancestry to have anything to do with their spiritual beliefs.

ETA: something interesting that I did learn from reading responses from NA on Yahoo answers was about Totem Animals. Idk if spirit animals don't exist at all our they have another name for them or its only in certain tribes... From what Athena had written it seems to be another issue of semantics or specific to certain tribes... Idk, she's not on anymore so I can't really say... But, according to some people belonging to various tribes spirit animals aren't a thing to them and totem animals are basically the equivalent of a Scottish coat of arms. The animal is just a symbol for the clan and isn't even an animal always. One person mentioned that their family clan had a acorn totem.

Edited by Chloe, 05 September 2014 - 04:45 PM.

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#33 Chloe

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 04:48 PM

I tried updating my response above but for some reason it's not working so I'll just comment again I guess.

 

Anyways here's some links for what I'm referring to above about totem animals:

 

https://answers.yaho...01012633AAde2ZO

 

https://answers.yaho...09213851AAOUTyc

 

ETA: K just wanted to make sure it wasn't an issue of the links not being able to be posted. Anyways, if you look at the comments you'll see the NA list their tribes under Source. As you can see, they kind of make fun of the whole animal guide/spirit guide/totem animal thing. So... yeah. Not really sure what to think of it but it doesn't seem that those specific tribes have anything like spirit animals or choose to refer to them by something different or idk. They just say that it's a new age idea that's been attributed falsely to NA. 


Edited by Chloe, 05 September 2014 - 04:51 PM.

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#34 Palemoon

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 09:02 PM

Thanks for replying Chloe, and also for the links. Wow it is gobsmacking the crap that is out there! I had also heard of animal spirit guides and I've flicked through books on the subject, but never really studied it. I just assumed it was all true. What a crock!
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#35 Atehequa

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 08:42 PM

 

 

 

 

 

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Call it being negative,  trolling or whatever off comes off the top of one's head to discredit another's words, then there's always the alienation associated with shunning. It's nothing new when one comes among those who appropriate and misrepresent his or her culture.  
 
Our spirituality is not for sale or to be desrespectfully mocked by stereotyping or misrepresentation to serve any selfish purpose. For centuries we, the traditional indigenous people of the western hemisphere have resisted one religion's attempts to sway us from our paths and now we must withstand another.  Some of us have approached representatives of this new religion in a good way to share what we are comfortable with in sharing regarding our many diverse cultures and beliefs only to be admonished, belittled or else snobbishly  alienated. Shunned or having a door closed in our faces. We've experienced more than five hundred years of the same.
 
"The people know the people wait the people say the closing of your doors will never shut us out, the closing of your doors can only shut you in."
 
Reading at such particular venues of communication where this type of misrepresentation is extruded, a more traditional minded American Indian often comes across the bizarre as far as North American indigenous spirituality is concerned.  Of all most troubling are those claiming to 'channel our ancestors, or else having  indigenous people visit them in their own dreams. Also troubling are those claiming to be taught by indigenous elders and spiritual leaders then making infactual statements regarding ficticious teachings.  Probably like many other cherry picked ingrediants which go into the new age religion's  spiritual stew pot, various indigenous beliefs and practices are rendered ineffectively meaningless, especially when material wealth is attained from them. Our spiritual leaders assist others out of tribal obligation, not for profit or to fuel egos.
 
Surviviors survive because they have to.
 

Edited by Atehequa, 28 September 2014 - 08:49 PM.

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#36 Atehequa

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 08:44 PM

Anyone have any good sources for Native American spirituality that isn't written by "twinkies", "plastic shamans" and "nuagers"? (Lol)

I'm really just about ready to give up on learning anything about Native American related beliefs and spirituality and just stick with European stuff. Apparently Native Americans don't have shamans, totem animals, spirit animals, don't believe in animism, have no gods, worship absolutely nothing, and get really angry when people say they do or believe any of these things. (This coming from things written by members of different tribes... a Sioux, Navajo, & some others on Yahoo Answers.) They insist all that stuff is new age bullshit and that 99% of the stuff written about Native American spirituality is from non-natives that don't know what the hell they're talking about.

Obviously, from reading this thread, I'm thinking it's more an issue of semantics and cultural pride. I've seen a lot of Natives mention that the only thing they really have left is their spiritual beliefs and even that was almost completely forced from a lot of them when their children were taken from them and they weren't legally allowed to practice their ceremonies and such. They're just not willing to share with those outside their tribes anymore, especially with cultural appropriation being the in thing right now in fashion and new age spiritually.

It's really sad though because I would love to learn more about their actual legit beliefs but I'm not sure what sources wouldn't be "new age bullshit"...

 

 

Cultural Genocide 
Christian missions and newer troubles 
Steadily stealing away our sense of being 
Conquered, contained and forced to convert 
Some of us still cling to what we have left 
Surviving cruel priests and maniacal ministers 
Churches of Spain, France, England and America 
 
Old Adversaries 
Founding fathers cloaked in Christianity 
New Age purveyors, seemingly in the church's shadow 
Turning their attention upon our ancient homelands 
Seeing us as obstacles as do now their descendants 
Having us either killed or methodically assimilated 
Starting before George Washington and continuing today 
 
Capitalistic Supremacists 
Now forcing a new religion upon us all 
Specially crafted to fill needs and coffers 
The clergy of grifters, hucksters and frauds 
Beholding to a greedy god's all seeing eye 
Stirring in impure and artificial ingredients 
Not all that picky, they will stew Christians 
 
Spiritual stew 
A huge, shiny new age trade kettle 
Cooking fires fueled by bones of their dead 
People's knowledge and beliefs stewed into lies 
Adding in the choice cuts of our spiritual being 
Spiced with gaudy trappings and counterfeit objects 
Carefully tended by chain restaurant managers 
 
These charlatans 
Plastic shamans and medicine people 
Still robbing us as did their ancestors 
Shameless greed, never are they satisfied 
Of privileged lives and gluttonous appetites 
Quack swindlers and their attack dog acolytes 
Prodding old wounds, they mock our beliefs 
 
Their temples 
Once inside they all look the same 
Measured unfairly according to status 
The love and life within a caste system 
Their perpetual ascent to the top of nowhere 
Spiritualists channeling fictitious native spirits 
Feathers, wolves, buckskin and buffalo hide dreams 
 
Positive energy
More like cannibalistic hags passing gas 
Against a backdrop of mute sylvan greenery 
Plastic shamans along with propaganda priestesses 
Aside from evil spirits, mouthpieces and vestments 
Little different from the Christian missions of old 
The great lie over truth, reward and punishment 
 
Rainbow Chiefs 
Deviant warriors defending their pots of gold 
And flocks of white sheep all bleating the same 
Chants, mantras, or anything else they are told 
Watchful shepherds who have a taste for mutton 
When not preying on us they will eat their own 
Their cloying scent transcending space and time 
 
Uncle Tomahawks 
Sell outs and those of sordid convictions 
Spreading the great lie, they whore for glory 
What they have been tricked out of is tainted 
Knowledge that these new age charlatans misapply 
Attempting to cheaply sell what never should be sold 
We will contend with these traitors in the next world 
 
Remaining indomitable 
Although many of us do good just to exist 
Some still enduring their lot in stoic silence 
Others snarl, growl and howl at this violation 
The plastic shamans, grifting and card turning 
Mockingly unable to summon our revered ancestors 
Sometimes successfully seducing our weakest kin

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#37 travsha

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 05:24 PM

If you want to learn Native practices, you gotta find someone that practices them.  The books just dont really do it justice.  Lots of people still practice native ceremony, and the ceremonies are very effective.  Sweat lodge, chanuppa, vision quest, plant medicines, drumming and dancing, story telling - these are the practices to learn (not necessarily all of them, but at least one).  While many people are wary of sharing practices, some people are grateful for the chance to share.  While I have some connections into North American practices, most of my experience is with South American natives like the Shipibo and Q'ero - both of the groups love to share their culture and are extremely grateful for the opportunity.  There are still some fakes, but plenty of real people too.  

 

I will say, I know of one really good book about the Q'ero tradition that I can recommend.  From the time I have spent with the Q'ero personally, I can say this book is pretty accurate.  It is called "Masters of the Living Energy".  It shares their philosophy about life and energy first, then has a couple exercise you can do yourself (like dispatcho offerings and working with your energy bdy n their style).  

 

Also, I will say - in the tribes I have worked with, the shamans dont all work the same way.  They share the same underlying philosophy, but they all practice just a little bit differently, because their personal practice is based on the spirits they work with specifically.  Sometimes two practitioners will seem pretty similar, and sometimes they are pretty unique in some ways as well.  


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#38 Atehequa

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 10:21 PM


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#39 Atehequa

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 10:37 PM

It's always this way when an NDN shows up on a New Age or Pagan thread about "Native Americans"

 

'Set your phazers on shun'

 

It's okay for non-NDNs to  talk about us, but not okay for them to talk with us.

 

Our medicine is still powerful enough to allow us life in this world. 

 


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#40 Levinthross

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Posted 24 August 2015 - 08:58 PM

*bump* as a practitioner of hoodoo and someone of some pretty varied ancestry does anyone know of any native practices roughly related to the hoodoo black cat bone ritual or the more known toad bone rite? in my family its recognized that some folks can commune with a certain animal and obtain a fetish that gives them a grip of different abilities associated with that animal while also giving them some protection as well as the ability to go forth in that animals form at night to me it speaks of alot of varying practices but I was wondering if there was a term or category for it in native lore?
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