I recently attended a workshop on Odawa Foundation Teachings, a representation of the Indigenous teachings of the culture and heritage of the Anishnabek people. It was a glorious exploration into oral storytelling and learning about the history of Indigenous tribes and clans that lived on Turtle Island (North American continent). Also known as the Anishinaabeg, they were a group of culturally- and linguistically- related First Nations people that lived in both Canada and the US around the Great Lakes. The workshop focused on the teachings that have been revealed through the Stony Lake petroglyphs.
Petroglyphs are stone carvings and rock art that has been found around different sites around the world. A little known fact about ancient histories that are passed on through oral storytelling is just how closely related the different cultural sites are, and if you expose yourself to enough of them, it is easy to see why. My theory is that most indigenous cultures and traditions are told through an anthropological and sociological lens and this highlights how stories about one’s history are shared and revealed through talking about it and sharing of lived experiences.
Well, the most simplistic answer is that the technology and tools for communication were simple and developed using the five bodily senses. The sixth sense was also incorporated through the use of a spiritual connection, also known as ESP (extrasensory perception). Oral traditions and rituals are rooted in the ancient cultural traditions of community-oriented societies in Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania.
I have had the pleasure of revelling in many different cultures and I know and trust in the similarities I have seen in how traditional and religious rites are practised and passed down from generation to generation – from rituals, ceremonies, sharing of meals to the telling of family stories.
Learning about the Odawa Midewin Society from David ‘Sunny’ Osawabine resonated so deeply with me because it is so closely linked with seeking more restorative health practices and unlocking my past lives (since childhood, I have had vivid dreams of places, people and have deep connections to certain cultures which I am exploring). The Odawa foundational teachings are very similar to Eastern yogic philosophies (Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine practices), Christian mysticism, Rastafarianism, Zulu and San cultures. The teachings are tribal, often based on being one with nature, living seasonally and living off the land in a nomadic way because foraging and being able to eat what nature provided was important before subsistence farming practices were developed. The universality of being part of nature, honouring the nature of all beings, and personal states of being; aligns with my own spiritual views as a human being living on this third rock from the Sun.
As a young child, I was exposed to the ancient philosophies and cultural teachings of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Shona, Creole and the Khoisan.
Suffice to say that being exposed to so many religious and ancestral heritages made me appreciate the complexity of how humans express their religious values as cultural norms, and it also confused me. That is because for me, there has never been a hierarchy to them and the historical chronology of the faiths did not matter to me. They just are, and people use and take what they need from them each and every one of them to make up their worldviews.
And speaking of taking and giving, there is a reverence in the teachings of Indigenous (Aboriginal) nations of North America and Asia that has been appropriated as an ‘activistic way of life’ without honouring and acknowledging the origins of these teachings.
An activist lifestyle is what I perceive when I think about the concept of living in harmony with nature and all beings found on the land and sea.
The petroglyphs were fascinating to look at and to understand how they are the first signs of pictures and ways of passing down knowledge (from primates to homo erectus to homo sapiens) that our human ancestors had to teach us about their world at that time.
I have visited the petroglyphs and cave art and carvings that have been found along the Eastern and Western Cape in South Africa, the carved stone temples in Kanyakumari, Mumbai and Goa in India. I have searched online to see other historical heritage sites in Namibia, Kingdom of Mapungubwe in Great Zimbabwe, temples in Sri Lanka and Oaxaca, Mexico and then there’s Stonehenge, and the alluring hieroglyphs of Egypt.
Needless to say, my inner child has always been an avid explorer of rich cultures, beautiful artefacts and references to spiritual and astrological connection of the people on this planet and beyond it.
It has opened up avenues of discovery for me and allowed me to really soak up things around me with all my five senses. It has been eye-opening to experience different culture’s rites, rituals and ceremonies that are all together foreign and familiar to me. That is the beauty of being a global citizen – a person who isn’t really bound to one fixed place, but seeks to belong to all of it without limitation.
I also have an active imagination and have coupled this with meditation to really harness living and creating the world I want to live in. And now, I am actively trying to breathe life into my dreams and goals.
It sounds a little crazy and can come across as madness; I know. But to be honest, being able to give myself a little inspiration and a whole lot of affirmation at a time when the world still seems quite stuck on fear-mongering, polarization and waiting for someone else to fix problems.
To me, it is all divine knowledge; magical and an unfolding of what is!
So what is igniting your bones into action?
Tell me in the comments and thank you for reading this far 🙂