Category Archives: Native Spirituality

Winter Solstice: Bring Light to the Darkest Night

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with me and your ancestors!  Let’s bring light to the darkest night!!!!

What is the Winter Solstice?

The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st of every year, it is the time of year that the north pole is tilted farthest from the Sun.  This is the shortest day and the longest night of the year!  In the northern hemisphere, December 21st is the beginning of winter (for me, the snow has been here for over a month).

What does the Winter Solstice symbolize?

For northern people living (not so) long ago, winter could be a time winter-solsticeof scarcity, famine and death.  Each day leading up to the solstice, the Sun would get lower in the sky at midday, sometimes disappearing completely below the horizon (if you’re far north enough).  Today at noon, the sun was barely above the treeline – leaving long shadows and a sunset that began at 3:30pm.

Nights in winter are long, dark and cold – tonight’s forecast is -30.  I’m grateful for the glowing warmth of my home.  I can only imagine how our ancestors felt – grateful for warmth and food.  When food was plentiful, they held feasts and ceremonies with grateful intentions.

The Sun Wheel and the Medicine Wheel look identical and symbolize the same thing.

The Winter Solstice is the end and beginning of our annual cycle through the seasons, symbolizing both death and (re)birth.  Northern cultures often celebrate the seasonal cycle of the northern environment.  This annual cycle of the seasons is often symbolized by a wheel in northern pagan cultures.  The medicine wheel in North American cultures and the sun wheel in northern European cultures symbolize the seasonal cycle of life.

All life on earth depends on the Sun.  Early northern cultures recognized the Sun’s importance to all life.

For three days following the winter solstice, the Sun will appear to rise to the same height in the sky before getting higher in the sky with each passing day until Summer Solstice.  Traditionally during these three days, a sacred fire was lit to bring light to the darkness.

How was the Winter Solstice celebrated in the past?

The Winter Solstice was celebrated by pagan cultures around the globe, mostly located in the northern hemisphere.

Winter Solstice was celebrated by the Romans with Saturnalia, the Japanese with Toji, Northern Europeans celebrated Yule and several Native American tribes celebrated Winter Solstice.

Winter Solstice celebrations typically included adorning the home with symbols of life (despite the cold winter) – like boughs of evergreen trees, winter berries, misletoe, holly and in north america also juniper and cedar.

Native American Traditions

Ceremonies to commemorate their Gods and the Sun often included sacrifices, sweat lodges, singing, feasting and the lighting of a large sacred fire.  In Native American tradition, the sacred fire was lit at sacred fireWinter Solstice on top of the ashes saved from last year’s fire.  The fire was maintained for 3 days straight.  People will take turns staying up at night with the fire.  During their time with the fire – they think about their life over the past year and how they can improve for the next year.  They focus on what they would like to achieve in the upcoming year.  They make their intentions for the upcoming year by holding a handful of evergreen leaves and then tossing them into the fire.  The intentions are believed to be carried into the spirit world with the smoke.

Northern European Tradition

In Northern European tradition, a fire is lit using the log from the yule tree.  Intentions are carved into the log and then the log is burned.  As the log burns, it is believed that the intentions are carried into the spirit world with the rising smoke.  A small piece of the log is saved in order to start the next year’s yule fire with it.

When the Christianization of Europe occured, Winter Solstice celebrations were replaced with Christmas.  As many people now know, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th.  The date of his birth was moved to correspond with Winter Solstice so that the conversion of pagans would be easier.  Christmas replaced Saturnalia and Yule but retained much of the original traditions.

When European colonization of the Americas occured, Native American celebrations of Winter Solstice were also replaced by Christmas, as many Natives converted to Christianity.

How can WE celebrate the Winter Solstice today?

In the past, the Winter Solstice was the start of a celebration that continued until the beginning of January.  Today, this time of year corresponds with the Christmas/New Year celebrations.  Many of our Christmas traditions that don’t include Christmas Mass or the Nativity – are traditions from our pagan past.

For example – the Christmas tree, mistletoe, holly, yule logs, Santa Claus and even Christmas stockings are all linked to the pagan celebration of Yule.  Even the hedonistic New Years celebrations likely have pagan roots.

Here are some tips you can use to bring back the ancient celebration of Winter Solstice:
  1.  Sun Symbols.  Stars were originally included in Winter Solsticewinter solsticecelebrations because they symbolized the Sun, the giver of all life on Earth.  This is why we have a star on top of our Christmas tree (and why Christianity tries to replace it with an angel).  Traditionally in my town, everyone had a yellow star in their window for the entire month of December.  It symbolizes the Sun.  Of course, Christianity has also appropriated this custom as the “Advent Star”.
  2. Sacred Fire.   Bring light to the darknest night.  The 3 day long solstice fire is likely not practical for many people today living in cities.  However, you can symbolize this solstice fire by lighting a candle every evening for three days.  You can even save this
    Advent Candles

    candle for the next year and use it to light your next year’s candles.  This custom may have evolved into the “Advent Candles”.  Another wonderful custom of ‘bringing light to the darkest night’ is to make ice lanterns with votive candles to light up your yard.

  3. Decorate your home with winter evergreens.  Evergreen trees /plants and winter berries indigenous to the circumpolar northern climate were considered special because they remained green and living during the winter.  Decorating your home with these plants symbolizes life during the darkness.  You can do this by making a wreath using evergreens, low bush cranberries (lignonberries) and floral wire or by bringing in a live evergreen tree.
  4. Feast with Gratitude.  The meal for the
    Winter Solstice Feast with Sun Symbol

    Winter Solstice was prepared with intentions for the New Year.  All food was prepared with love and positive intentions are infused into everything you do to prepare the meal.  A plate of this meal is often served to the “winter spirits”.  This brings me to my next tip…

  5. Offerings to the Winter Spirits. Winter spirits are said to be tricksters, they have the ability to play pranks and tricks on the humans.  By offering the winter spirits food and gifts, we are trying to please them so that they may spare us from their pranks in the New Year.  This custom of making offerings to the winter spirits may have evolved into leaving cookies and milk for Santa Claus.   The winter spirits in both Native American (Ojibwe) and Northern European traditions are quite similar – little  humanoids that look like elves and an old (potentially dangerous) Shaman (or magical being).  It is likely that these spirits have evolved into Santa Claus and his elves.
  6. Gift Giving.  The ultimate celebration of gratitude is GIFT GIVING!  Share your love and light!
Bringing the light to the darkest night with a sacred fire and ice lanterns.

How are you planning on celebrating the Winter Solstice?  I am so interested to hear how others celebrate this holiday.  Please share some of your traditions in the comments section!

 

 

Recognizing the Synchronicities and Developing Your Inner Compass

Recognizing the synchronicities of the universe is often the first step to discovering and mastering your internal compass.  Growing up Native American I was taught to look for signs or messages and to pay attention to dreams and intuitions.  As a young child I was already recognizing the synchronicities of the universe to find direction and meaning in my life.  Some people may know this practice as a Vision Quest.  

 

A Vision Quest is essentially when someone enters the wilderness in isolation, in order to gain insight regarding their purpose in this lifetime.  Entering the wilderness in isolation is an important aspect because it decreases the effect of co-creation.  When a person is isolated they alone, are creating their immediate environment.  This allows for their immediate environment to respond only to their energies.  The environment will be free to produce synchronicities that reflect on the individual.  When the individual recognizes these synchronicities as messages, the messages can provide the guidance the individual was seeking in first place.  

In isolation free from co-creation, the environment will be free to produce synchronicities that reflect on the individual.

 

Recognizing the synchronicities

 

This practice is not only for youth and it doesn’t occur just once in a lifetime.  The first Vision Quest is a big event because it’s when we learn to use synchronicities as an internal compass but afterwards, they can become a daily occurrence.  

Native Americans believe that certain animals are messengers from the Creator and when one of these animals is witnessed during a Vision Quest, it means they have an important message.  The individual will observe the message and then interpret it.  Messages can come from elemental spirits, our ancestors or our spirit guides.  Interpreting the message requires the use of one’s intuition and so it is necessary that one learns how to discern their Ego from their intuition.  This is often the tricky part.  Many people believe that only certain gifted people are psychics or intuitives but this is not true – everyone is an intuitive.  Most of us have learned to question or even completely disregard our intuition.  It is understood in Native American culture, that everyone possesses valuable intuitive gifts.  

Everyone possess valuable intuitive gifts

 

The practice of recognizing the synchronicities and interpreting the message gets easier with practice.  The benefit of a Vision Quest is that you can learn the difference between your intuition and your Ego relatively quickly.  During a Vision Quest it is customary that the individual has been fasting for several days and thus the Ego is mostly dissolved in this state.  Other methods may be use to dissolve the Ego such as trance (as done in the Sun Dance), the use of entheogens, meditative practice, etc.  Despite all these methods, I found the best way to recognize one’s intuition is, to use it.

Messages can come from elemental spirits, our ancestors or our spirit guides.

 

When we are trying to interpret a synchronicity, we should look for any significant features that symbolize something in your life and then try to relate your observation to your current situation.  For example, whenever I see a hummingbird I pay attention to it because to me, it symbolizes my grandmother whose spirit name was ‘Hummingbird’.  The hummingbird may flit about playfully as if to say “Hi! I love you!” or fly back and forth dramatically as if it is trying to desperately get my attention.  These things mean something!  By examining my current state of mind, my thoughts at that moment or the current state of my life, the message can be received and then interpreted.  Another example is the bald eagle – indigenous people believe that the bald eagle is the messenger of the Creator.  If we see a bald eagle soaring free in sky, that is likely a positive sign however, if you see a bald eagle eating garbage, that might be a sign that you need to take care of your health.

 

native american synchronicity

 

Recognizing the synchronicities and using your intuition to interpret them can be done by anyone, anywhere.   It can be harder to learn how to do this when you are in a co-creating state (ie near other people) but you are in no way at a disadvantage.  People that learn to recognize synchronicities in a traditional Vision Quest, will still have to learn how to do so in everyday type of situations with other people present.  

 

Once we learn to recognize the synchronicities and trust our intuition, Vision Quests can be performed in the middle of a busy city with thousands of people around you with little effort.  In fact, to people outside of the Native American culture, these daily mini-quests would look a lot like meditating (with the exception that Natives tend to leave an offering and/or have a smudge).  

The following exercise is intended for those wishing to learn more about recognizing the synchronicities in your daily life.  If you are interested in learning how to recognize the synchronicities and interpret the messages, you can practice using this exercise:

1.  Find a quiet spot. Outdoors is preferred but not necessary.  Sit comfortably and give thanks to everything you see around.  Be grateful for its presence.  Breathe deeply.  Focus on the beauty around you.  Enjoy the colours, the sounds of the environment, the smells and the textures.  

 

2.  Do not EXPECT anything.  Go into this exercise with absolutely no expectations.  If nothing happens, that’s okay.  Just keep practicing.   

 

3.  Set your intention. In gratitude, offer traditional tobacco to the Earth if you wish.  You may also burn the tobacco or a smudge stick.  

 

4.  Sit in silence, focus your thoughts on your surroundings and allow your mind to wander between those thoughts.  Keep your mind focused on the environment around you but keep your wandering thoughts on the environment surrounding you.  Think about the colour of the sky, the smell of the breeze or the cool dirt on your feet.  

 

5.  Recognizing the synchronicities.  When a sign arises, identify it and then mentally analyse what you saw.  It may take a few days to fully understand the message.  If nothing stands out to you as synchronous, try again the following day.

Being open to recognizing the synchronicities, receiving the message and having the self awareness to interpret them will help you find your own internal compass.  Recognizing the synchronicities is the first step, the second step is learning to trust your intuition enough to interpret the message.

How To Connect With Your ET Spirit Guides

I’ve been asked many, many times to describe a good method for connecting with your ET spirit guides and I thought I’d answer it here, in a post.

We all have spirit guides that are available to us when we need them and yes, we may have more than one.  I have two that have been with  me for my whole life, one my great grandmother and the other is an Arcturian, my ET spirit guide.

To be honest, I can’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t been able to feel a connection with my spirit guides.  As a child I was taught that our ancestors are always able to aid us in our spiritual journey, all we needed to do was ask.  The traditional protocol was to take a handful of tobacco and walk into the bush until you feel comfortable speaking out loud.  You will find a comfortable place to sit and lay the tobacco on the ground.  Then you would ask your question to your ancestor and wait for the answer.  I suppose it was easier for a child to learn to meditate to connect with guides because I’ve just always been able to do it.  However, not everyone was taught from a young age and some can find it difficult to connect with their ET spirit guides using only meditation.

My ET spirit guide taught me a method to connect with a Pleiadian guide last spring and I’d like to share it with you today.  This method considers astrological alignments and incorporates the native american medicine wheel.  I used this method on my birthday, May 17th and received the very information I use to interpret birth charts for starseed alignments!    That meditation and the information I received from it, conceived this whole website.

I had been aware of traditional american naming conventions that consider the position of the stars at the time of birth.  For example, if there is a significant star or constellation overhead or rising on the east horizon at the time of a child’s birth – they will be named after that star.  Also important is when significant constellations, like the Pleiades “disappear” behind the sun and are no longer visible in the night sky.  Children born during these alignments are typically named after the star or constellation.

Find your starseed markings in your birth chart using my ebook The Starseed’s Compass: A Guide to Identifying Your Soul’s Origins.  The ebook lists starseed alignments for 12 star systems!

Astrological alignments are useful when you are trying to connect with ET spirit guides.  When the sun and the earth are in line with a star system, it is easier to connect with an ET spirit guide from that star system.  So for example, if you wanted to connect with a Pleiadian guide, you would attempt to do so on May 16-20 when the sun and earth are in line with the Pleiades.  On these days, the Pleiades will appear to be behind the sun, so where ever the sun is in the sky, that’s where you’ll find the Pleiades.  It is best to meditate in the daytime during the Pleiades alignment in May to best optimize your results.  I like to incorporate my native traditions, so I always meditate when the sun (and therefore the Pleiades) is directly above my head or when I am watching the sun set or rise.  If you meditate when the sun is directly overhead, focus on your crown chakra during the meditation.  If you meditate while you are watching the sun set or rise, focus on your third eye.

The earth and the sun are also in line with the Pleiades in November when the sun is in opposition to the Pleiades.  During this time, meditation should occur at night under the stars.  Locating the Pleiades star cluster in the sky and orientating yourself so that the star cluster is either directly above your head or so that you are facing the star cluster as it rises above the horizon or sets below it.

The medicine wheel is constructed out of granite rocks containing ET spirit guidesquartz veins (at least in my part of the world) and is essentially a large grid that is orientated towards the four directions.  The medicine wheel can be used to orientate oneself to the cosmos.  Constructing a medicine wheel isn’t necessary but being orientated towards the star system you’d like to connect with is necessary for this method.  Also, the use of a crystal grid is highly recommended.

 

A Starseed’s Meditation for Connection with ET Spirit Guides:

 

  1. Choose the star system you would like to connect with

Before attempting this meditation to connect with ET spirit guides, you must first decide which star system you’d like to connect with and then plan your meditation to occur during that star system’s alignment with earth.

2. Choose when you’d like to meditate

There two alignments per year for each star system: one where the star system appears to be behind the sun and another when the star system is opposite the sun.  Which alignment you choose will determine whether your meditation will occur at night or during the day.

Here is a list of alignments with some of the more ‘popular’ star systems:

The Pleiades – alignments occur on May 16 – 20th (daytime meditation) and November 16-20th (nighttime meditation).

Orion – alignments occur on June 3 – June 21 (daytime meditation) and December 3 – 21 (nighttime meditation)

Sirius – alignments occur on July 4-6 (daytime meditation) and January 4-6 (nighttime meditation)

Arcturus – alignments occur on October 16-18 (daytime meditation) and April 16-18 (nighttime meditation)

Lyra – alignments occur on January 4-20 (daytime meditation) and July 4-20 (nighttime meditation)

Vega – alignments occur on January 6 (daytime mediation) and July 6 (nighttime meditation)

Andromeda Galaxy – alignments occur on April 17th  (daytime meditation) and October 17th (nighttime mediation)

Andromeda Star System – alignments occur on April 3rd – May 3rd (daytime meditation) and October 3rd – November 3rd (nighttime meditation)

3.  Find a peaceful location to meditate, preferably outdoors.

For this meditation, I have a favourite place located in the bush that has been used by my ancestors for generations as a ceremonial ground.  Our medicine wheels are located here and it is a place where I feel comfortable and safe, yet powerful.  You’ll want to find a place that allows you to feel the same way.

4.  Orientate yourself to the star system you wish to connect with.

You can easily locate the star system if you do the daytime meditation because it will be located behind the sun.  Arrange yourself in a comfortable seated position so that your third eye is facing the sun.  Alternatively, you can meditate when the sun is directly overhead so that your crown chakra is facing the sun.

If you are doing the nighttime mediation, you will need to locate your star system in the sky.  Arrange yourself in a seated position so that your third eye or crown chakra is facing the star system.

5.  Build a crystal grid around yourself.

For this step, I basically sat in the middle of my medicine wheel but you can build your favourite crystal grid around yourself and it will work in the same way.  Any crystal grid will work as long as there are four crystals that correspond to the four directions.

6.  Meditate.

For this step, I follow traditional protocol.  I give my offering of tobacco, I introduce myself by my spirit name and I state my intention.   And then…. still and quiet.

 

I hope this method helps you to also connect with ET spirit guides!  Thank you for reading!