I feel most satisfied in everything I do when all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. It’s the need for balance in me that makes my life more full-filling when everything is in balance. I think that’s why the sacred trine of all things is so special to me. The three realms, the three worlds, and the three kindred’s all fit together in a cosmological puzzle that just makes sense.
The Three Kindred inparticular often take precedence in daily piety and practice. Every day I am influenced by the Shining Ones, the Nature Spirits, and the Ancestors.
The Shining Ones, or Deities/Gods, take on a role of inspiration and the need to serve in my life. They show me the path in life that I am to take in service of the Gods. They are the Elders of a thousand names remembered and a thousand names forgotten.
My worship of the Shining Ones involves dedication to their service. It is rare that I ask for blessings in return, as I often opt to deal with situations as they arise, much like a challenge. They are thought of as separate beings, as well as pieces of my inner self that I need to learn to harness and acknowledge. Their spiritual aspect is often the aspect within myself that I look at during worship. What do I need to improve in order to create balance and harmony in my life?
For instance, Athena, great Goddess of war, wisdom, and she who gave the world mathematics and numbers I see as a being who encourages independence and self-sufficiency. She became the most prominent when my divorce was finalized and I realized I was finally standing on my own two feet. I was making smart decisions in my life and financially, I was making strategic plans and I was fighting to make my way my own. That is what she taught me, and that was the path she set me on.
I do make it a point to honor all of the Gods, as they all serve a purpose in my life, despite my dedication to Athena.
Sometimes I even find myself honoring the Gods as a single entity or Greater Spirit, even though I am honoring them all individually. This comes from a habit instilled in me from Native traditions, and though conflicting, I’ve found that it works out in my spiritual path.
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The Nature spirits, or “Noble Ones”, are my guides throughout my path in life. When things seem chaotic and out of place, just being outside and absorbing myself in the “now” and observing the life around me brings me back into that ethereal state of calm and collectiveness of what is most important.
The Nature Spirits are beings that I share respect with on the land. I don’t really categorize them all as non-physical, but as non-physical and physical. Many times I’ve experienced the physical presence of the spirits of the land, such as when the Great Horned Owl came to me and my father which I spoke of in my essay on the virtue of Vision. Or when the baby red-tailed hawk fell from the tree, and my father and I nursed it back to health out of respect for the creature.
The owl was of particular importance to me, as my patron is the Greek Goddess Athena. It came to me during a time where I had recently made big choices in my life, and started on a brand new path; unsure of where I was going or how I would get there. And with the owl being the polar opposite of my totem, the red-tailed hawk, I now knew that my life was coming into balance.
Much Native American culture is based around honoring the spirits of the land, more so than most cultures. Even when hunting, there was a huge respect for the prey, and it was necessary to honor the animal spirit before killing it to sustain the tribe. Many of the animals found in the world had their own symbolism attached to them, should one enter your life. Therefore all animals were revered and honored.
The non-physical Nature Spirits are often categorized as the faeries and elves of the world. Not in a Tolkien sense, but in a spiritual sense. Those little unexplained beings that we honor and often acknowledge when our car keys go missing.
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The Ancestors or “Mighty Ones” are my teachers, in that the path that I walk on also follows in their footsteps. Everything that I am was born from them; the world and life they created before me. I learn from their lessons and their strength, and they’ve come together to make me my own unique entity.
My father and I honor our ancestors in many ways. We have a wall of pictures in our kitchen of family members, dead and living. We frame pictures of our immediate family in our living room to serve as reminders and to honor them now that they are gone. My father even tries to remember to write old stories about growing up with his family, as I do keeping my online journal now. Hearing such stories makes me connect to my ancestors a little more each time.
Though the Ancestors are not often spoke about in Native American culture out of respect, they are honored and regarded highly; so much that you could not pass over the Grave of a fallen warrior, as it would be considered desecration.
I try to retrieve information from family members regarding our ancestry and genealogy. You’d be surprised at how difficult it is to convince people to share this information. I can understand wanting to keep it sacred, but to gather it and then not share it seems like a dishonor to them more than anything.
I also carry an ancestors altar at the bottom of my trine altar explained in my home shrine essay. In this lies remnants of relatives, symbols, and memories to honor those who came before me. I hope to continue to collect such memories, and to honor my blood and my teachers in a way which they deserve.
Many times I go to the grave sites of my ancestors to honor them as well. Sometimes to have a picnic with them or to just feel their much-needed presence. And lately I’ve taken it upon myself to use my digital recorder to record my father when he speaks about the good old days, as I know these tales will become a treasure in their own right to my children.
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(Total Word Count: 1097)