Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Monday, August 04, 2008


restoring balance

Re-Posted with permission.
By HinTamaheca
In the way I was taught, most everything about a traditional Lakota spiritual lifestyle and ceremonies are about balance.
When I was much younger, there were spiritual interpreters and healers that served the people with the resources they had on hand. That was the responsibility they accepted. If someone came to their door and needed food, they gave it away, even if it meant they would go without. If someone needed a healing ceremony, and they didn't have enough wood for a fire to heat stones, they would break apart some wooden furniture.

I was taught that true traditional healers give all they have, with no expectation for anything in return. However, in many traditional Lakota ways, there is a cultural value that no one goes without. Therefore, since it was known that spiritual interpreters and healers would be giving all they had to benefit "the people", including the gift of the knowledge and abilities they are provided by the spirits to help heal, the community looks after them and sees to their needs. This is why when I was younger, if a person asked a healer to do a healing ceremony, then the person who asked would have provided the food, the wood, and whatever else they were capable of providing, to lessen the burden of the healer, and restore balance.

The extended family of the person who asked for a healing ceremony, would then pool their resources to help out also. Sometimes this would have been in supplying food, water, wood, pots & pans, sometimes it was the labor to cook the food, sometimes it was just being there to help pray.

The point is, that in the old days, it was my experience that spiritual interpreters and healers would never ask for anything. Usually, "the spirits" would not continue to work with healers if they did. It was up to the community to provide what was needed, if they could, because they knew it was the right and traditional way to do so. Frequently, people in the community would just stop in to visit healers, spiritual interpreters and elders, to bring groceries, because these people were providing a service to the community, and to give-away to them helps to restore the balance.

If there was a time when a healer was needed to travel some distance, the person asking for his help would frequently pay for his gas, or go and get him, and bring him back. Again, not as a requirement, or a request from the healer, but as a traditional way of helping out and restoring balance.

When a healer has performed a service, say a healing ceremony is done and the person gets well, a traditional healer does not expect, nor does he ask for any compensation.

However, if someone you loved was dying, and they were returned to good health, what would it be worth to you? Would it be right to accept the healing and walk away, or would you give something of equal value?

Unfortunately, now-a-days, many do not know the full extent of the traditional ways of doing things. They expect to be served by spiritual interpreters or healers without restoring the balance and giving something back. Reciprocity is not taught as much anymore, partly because the sense of community has deteriorated.

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