Re-membering Tradition in Changing Times
In the opening number of the Musical Fiddler on the Roof Tevye, the main character sings about the role of the social classes in his village. Tevya gives voice of how the traditional roles of people like the matchmaker and the rabbi contribute to the village. In the singing of the song the major theme for the show is established. How can the village continue their traditions and keep their society running as the world changes around them?
Tradition and its relevance to culture, nature, and self has been a constant matrix for mankind since the dawn of our indigenous cultures on our planet. Indigenous cultures around the world have long recognized that the only constant is change. Among our tribal peoples the shamans, medicine people, and teachers are known as masters of change. The shamanic traditions practiced by our indigenous peoples have served as a reminder that utilizes nature and ritual as a buffer for change. This knowledge is supportive of such occurrences, so rather than denying or being overwhelmed when these shifts occur they are embraced.
The world we live in today is transforming exponentially through the technological explosion of innovation and creativity that is taking place. An endless stream of information and images perpetually bombards our consciousness. We have evolved into mult-tasking beings within an environment that discourages stillness, reflection, ceremony, yielding, and nature. We live in a society that rewards the ego, the warrior, the corporate mentality, and those that profit from the destruction of the planets natural resources. I believe that our survival in the twenty first century is dependent on our ability as a people to become more capable as a people of handling change. The ways in which we cope, manage, resist or creatively approach the spiraling momentum of change in our lives is the key for re – membering who we are and why we are here.
Today we have the opportunity to renew our selves, our culture, and the natural world. We have within us the ability to stabilize our lives and the earth that nourishes and supports us. Even though we are in the midst of a never-ending stream of flux within our awareness. When we look to the past and the rituals, ceremonies, games, and festivals of our indigenous cultures around the planet we can recognize that their traditions are living on. The traditions of our native peoples continue to provide a backdrop of continuity and have served to integrate their societies. It has cushioned them against fragmenting during times of dramatic upheaval.
Our indigenous people around the world have faced an endless onslaught of death, destruction, and forced change within their cultures. They have been conquered and subjected to the most grievous crimes against humanity. Yet in the face of all these inequities and the diminishment of their populations they have survived! They have survived because their traditions, ceremonies, and rituals have been practiced, honored, and handed down from one generation to the next. Our indigenous people believe that everything is alive and all should be honored for its contribution to the great cycle of life. Rituals are observed for the sun, the moon, the water, the soil, and the air. The solstices and equinoxes are recognized in ceremony and are connected with the seasons within our own being, as well as the environment. Marriage, Birth, Rites of Passage into Adulthood, Special Festivals, Death, and many other transitional times are special times of ceremony within the community. All within the community are given a voice with decisions and opinions during a council process. A ceremonially talking piece is passed to each member within the circle who can speak his or her hearts uninterrupted. The elders are revered and esteemed as holders of great wisdom and teachings. They are taken care of, nurtured, and loved by all of the community.
We as a people in a time of unprecedented evolution in our lives can learn these lessons from our indigenous relatives. For we are all indigenous people, as we are all children of this earth. Our world has become smaller and we have become a global village with the ability to communicate with our fellow villagers around the world instantaneously. The villagers in Fiddler on the Roof survived by keeping their traditions alive. It is my belief that we as global villagers survival is dependent on re - membering our own indigenous traditions and learning from our native peoples, by bringing earth honoring traditions into our hearts and our experience everyday. We can all find ways to bring ceremony into our lives and our community in our own unique ways. We can learn from our indigenous teachers and elders. We can respect the land and our fellow travelers on this earth walk with peace, brotherhood, and integrity. We can speak our truth clearly and honestly. We can walk with an open heart and a love for all life on our planet. For we truly are all one. We can be the change we want to be in the world.
On a personal level I connect with indigenous traditions in today’s world as a Pachakuti Mesa Carrier, an earth honoring tradition in Peruvian Shamanic Teachings. My mentor don Oscar Miro – Quesada has a saving I a feel is very powerful for us today. “ Right Action Born of Compassionate Spiritual Wisdom Unites. “
It is my belief that practicing traditions that honor our beautiful earth in a heartfelt selfless manner is the wisdom that is required for uniting our global village and walking peacefully in a changing world.