‘Hearth Culture’ Posts

 

Original Hearth Culture Essay

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This essay was not approved for the DP, but I am keeping it here for my own reference.

As explained in my “about” page concerning this dedicant’s journal, I technically pull from many different hearth cultures. My patron, Athena, a Greek Goddess of war and wisdom. My Grove, CedarLight, mainly Celtic, with some dabblings in Norse. My other patron (I’m not worried about being politically correct here), I’ve been exploring Odin, also a God of War in the Nordic culture. And then there’s the lifestyle and purpose in which I choose to serve, which is strongly Native American. When it came time to write an essay about one ore two of these, it was a bit of a task choosing which one.

But the one with the most influence, is surely the Native American.

I feel the need to include a disclaimer on such a topic though. I am part Cherokee, and am even learning to speak Cherokee, but I was mostly raised a plain white farm girl. I have never lived on a reservation, I’ve never been taught by an Elder, and I don’t claim to be a teacher or expert on Native American Spirituality. I’m a student seeking knowledge in the most respectful way possible. I am fully aware that most Native Americans do not like the neo-pagan movement and it’s ability to cut and paste spiritual concepts from different cultures and make it their own. I’m aware that most people make a mockery of any type of religion or spiritual practice that is not of their own roots and culture. I’m also aware that if I’m going to learn a spiritual practice and live that way of life, I need to learn from the source.

I -have- been in semi-regular contact with a Lakota-Sioux elder from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Before that most of my study has been from books with a very cautious eye, as well as the teachings of my father. I do hope to eventually live near a reservation so that I can correctly understand the culture of the original America’s, as I would do for any culture I had interest in.

I chose this particular Hearth Culture because of my ancestry, because of my strong warrior roots, and because of my strong survival instincts, all which are (in my mind) intertwined with this way of life.

That being said, my choice of culture is probably one of the most difficult to integrate into ADF style liturgy and mindset. There are so many different tribes that worship many different ways. A lot of private experimentation and research is in order to even match the two styles of worship.

Almost all Native American tribes acknowledge some form of the Earth Mother and Sky Father. There is an embedded balance there, much like in neo-pagan worship. You could even compare some types of Native American Deity to Wicca, in the fact that they see the spirit as all encompassing of both male and female energies. In the Sioux tribe, their term for the great spirit is Wakan Tanka, yet they also hold reverence for the White Buffalo Calf Woman who came to their ancestors and gave them the 7 rituals of the Lakota people as well as the peace pipe.

This gave me a little room to work with, if I was to try and integrate Native American spirituality into ADF style liturgy.

But the reality of it is, I don’t see the need or have the desire to combine the two cultures. My spirituality is more of a way of life, how I live each day, rather than trying to cram it into another cultural style. I may go worship in a Celtic fashion 8 times a year, but everyday I live and breathe the way my ancestors have instilled it in my blood. I worship the Earth Mother and the Sky Father by teaching myself the skills and method in which my ancestors used, such as brain tanning, archery hunting, and not being wasteful in anything that I do.

That’s the purpose of all spiritual worship, to learn from the past and to live the best life that I can through a moral code.

(Word Count: 685)

 

Exploring a Hearth Culture

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As explained in my “about” page concerning this dedicant’s journal, I technically pull from many different hearth cultures. My patron, Athena, a Greek Goddess of war and wisdom. My Grove, CedarLight, mainly Celtic, with some dabblings in Norse. My other patron (I’m not worried about being politically correct here), I’ve been exploring Odin, also a God of War in the Nordic culture. And then there’s the lifestyle and purpose in which I choose to serve, which is strongly Native American. When it came time to write an essay about one ore two of these, it was a bit of a task choosing which one.

When I had originally written this essay, I did so for the Native American culture. It meant a lot to me to do so because of my strong Cherokee heritage, but was unacceptable for the purpose of the Dedicant’s Program because it was not indo-european. So I was forced to choose a separate culture for this purpose, but I accept any challenge, and was glad to do so.

The requirements say that need to give a brief account on my efforts to develop and explore a spiritual practice, drawn from a culture or combination of cultures.

Despite not being Hellenic, my next strongest spiritual affiliation is with Athena. I’ve been to a Hellenic ritual or two, but must say they aren’t my style. To me they are very dry, with little room for the “back to the earth” type of spirituality that seems to embrace me so.

Since I am not well-versed in the Hellenic tradition, and am honestly not that interested in it, I will speak on my relationship with Athena and its history and how it reflects in my day to day life.

When I was 12 years old, which to note is the age I stopped going to my Baptist church, I was in a class that was studying Mythology. We were reading all of the old Greek myths, which are some of my favorite stories. One of our class projects was to take the essence of one of the Greek Gods, but which Greek God you represented was chosen by your classmates, based on what type of personality you had. I was chosen as Athena, thus my journey started.

Since then she’s been fairly adamant in my life, and is always there in the foundation of everything that I do. My thought process, my pioneering will, even anger have all been influenced by her in some way.

August of 2006 I had a rather large omen from Athena, when a Great Horned Owl was brought into my life. It had been coming after our chickens and killed off many of our guinea fowl. Eventually it got itself caught up in one of our cages and my father and I caught it. I was able to take some pictures of this incredible omen, and just being able to be face to face with such an amazing beast was very spiritual for me.
http://tawodi.org/2006/08/07/the-owl/
http://tawodi.org/2006/08/08/more-owl-pictures/

What amuses me the most is my totem has always been the red-tailed hawk, which in the mundane world, is the polar opposite of the Great Horned Owl. They share the same territory, but where one is a day feeder, the other is night. The Great Horned Owl will even take over the nest of the Red-Tailed Hawk.

So I remember my place, and now realize that both have spiritual significance with me.

Having both spirit animals and guides in my life create a significant balance for me spiritually. The Red-Tailed Hawk is my totem, and my sun sign in the Native Americn zodiac, just as the Great Horned Owl is a symbol of my patron, Athena.

Athena is not just another War Goddess, and even as a War Goddess she represents more of strategic involvement. Her influence in my life has been one of strength and strategy. She’s also said to have given the world math and numbers, which was a big influence on my ability to reach the point I have with my finances. Even my Grovemates come to me for financial discussion and advice, and I’ve received letters from my online journal giving thanks for inspiring them to take hold of their financial future. It may seem like such a minute thing, but inspiring people to better themselves in the mundane world financially is a path that I seem to have been given.

I’ve reworked a small invocation to Athena to be used when we have our monthly Grove meetings, as some of them can be fairly negative and Athena is often a Goddess of Justice:
Blessed Athena. Give us the wisdom to listen to and hear other’s opinions. Help us find the common ground so that all may be free of dispute.

Justice and Fairness are a large part of my warrior path, even though I am not particularly involved in the Warrior’s Guild. I think both are potent parts of my spiritual journey as a Warrior.

(Word Count: 830)