In spiritual traditions all around the Earth, fasting has been an important part of the preparation and empowerment of those on a spiritual quest. In old times, in the Native North American tradition all young boys fasted to initiate a spiritual rite of passage to their adulthood.
They have been prepared and taught by their family and by a Spiritual Elder how to create their Sacred Circle and how to stay alone and pray in the wilderness, without food and water for several days. They have to let go the protective and nourishing environment of the community and family, to be able to connect spiritually to themselves and with the Universe. They have to face themselves and Creation alone, to find their inner strength, to become a men; protector and provider of the community and their families. To become a whole person, they have to let go temporarily of the Human World, to connect and enter in the Spirit World to find their inner truth, their own answers and a sacred vision, a spiritual guideline to their life.
In the Modern World, we are programed to live by the Books and by the will of the ones who wrote and know the Books. Live by fearing the Law and are forced and manipulated to follow the Law; the visions and the will of the unknown others, and the power of the masses, which is manipulated to believe and follow the written word and the Icon: the power of money.
We are taught that the resources to maintain our life come from other people’s belongings and the sustenance of our life, our very existence depends on them, and because of that, they have the right to decide what is good or bad for us. We are taught that time is money and life is about acquiring and spending money. We are taught to trade our life, ourselves for words and pictures, mental concepts and material belongings that define how we should or shouldn’t be, to have more power and to possess more. We are taught that we are living only one life and when we don´t follow the mass, we are alone and without real power, in an exploded, meaningless, dead and hostile Universe, or that we have to fear God and we will burn in hell if we don’t follow the Book and the knowers of the Book. We are taught to fear, dominate and exploit Nature and other people. We are taught to be like all the others, acquire, dominate, exploit and control all that we can, to feel more powerful and safe. That we are safe and happy in the Box, until we are nice and we behave. We learned to live in fear and to judge, condemn, punish and reject ourselves and others. That we should never question the true meaning of the Box that all the answers we need to know are written in the Box, and it is foolish, irresponsible and dangerous to look for answers somewhere else.
When we decide to do a Fasting Ceremony, we decide to go back for answers to the Source and Sustenance of Life. We stay alone in a remote area in Nature, to encounter and to face our self and the Universe, the Mother Earth, the Great Spirit and the meaning of our existence. We go to pray in respect, humility and without expectations and we offer our suffering to find clarity, answers, healing and spiritual strength.
Traditionally we prepare with the help of a Spiritual Elder no matter how old we are. We cleanse our self in sweat lodge ceremonies, help and support the Elder with what we can in the ceremonies. We learn about the Tradition and the fast and the Elder´s way to do it. We prepare our praying flags, praying ties and giveaways ahead. We think how we can honor and show appreciation to the Elder and to the Helpers. We ask ahead what kind of help is needed before or after the fast and if there are other ceremonies we can go to help and support.
We are fasting also to find balance and strength, to walk lighter and happier on the Sacred Red Road and that is only possible, if we go there also to give and share, not only to receive and take. The Elder and the Helpers unconditionally support us physically and spiritually during our quest. To offer material help to the Elder and for the ceremony, has to come from the heart with gratefulness and with awareness, that we exist also in the material world and ceremonies and healing have been offered by human beings, living in the material world. Traditional Spiritual Elders are not focusing on acquiring wealth and living their life in a simple way. A true Spiritual Elder will share and offer whatever she/he can spiritually and materially, when people are in need, without expectations. It is a very important part of our Spirit Journey to help them and to support them any way we can.
In old times women were so strong and balanced, that they didn’t needed sweat lodge, fasting or to Sundance. These ceremonies were conducted by and participated by only men, with the support of women. Traditionally women had their own ceremonies conducted by women and participated only women, with the support of men. Women are givers and nurturers of life. Men are protectors and providers of life. The men were hunters and they had to take the lives of animals to provide, and being also protectors, sometimes they had to take human lives. To be in harmony and in balance, they purified and healed themselves through these ceremonies. Medicine men fasted regularly to maintain spiritual strength and also fasted sometimes to find a cure to an unknown illness affecting an individual or the community. Community fasts have been held traditionally in the springtime and in the fall.
Fasting ceremonies and those who fast as well as other kinds of ceremonies are highly honored, respected and supported in Native North American communities. They are considered an honor and a blessing to the community. People that are sincere and respectful are welcomed and supported by Spiritual Elders and other spiritual people in Native North American communities without regard for their ethnic origins, in every reservation I have been to in Canada for over twenty years. Native North American people traditionally are friendly, funny and open hearted and they are willing to share unconditionally with respectful and sincere people.
In today’s world and today´s societies many women and men are equally out of balance and are affected by a stressful and self-destroying lifestyle. Native North American communities are also struggling with the same kind of problems. They have been systematically abused and they have also abused themselves, like most of us, but they have never lost their spiritual values, even during the very hard times of oppression. Their traditions are alive and have regained more and more strength and importance in their community’s life in the last fifty years. We need to respect and honor them for who they are; the first nations that lived in harmony with Mother Earth and have been taking care of this continent in a spiritual way for many thousands of years. They kept an invaluable spiritual wisdom alive for the benefit of humanity and for all life on Earth. We need to listen to them, if we truly want to heal and heal Mother Earth and if we want to create harmony and peace in ourselves, in our lives and between nations on Earth.
I would like to pass the eagle feather to you and I invite you to express what is in your heart. I created this site for you. All your comments, insights and sharing’s are welcomed. When you express your thoughts, feelings about the site or your experiences on the Sacred Red Road, please do it with respect and caring, with an open mind and heart in the benefit of all of us. This way we can share and inspire each other with our hearts. Thank you for taking your time to read the site. All my relations.
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