SPRING 2009 - March 27-29, 2009 at Atlantic Beach, NC
The Spring Full Circle 2009 theme was "Turtle Medicine" based on the old wisdom of the Cherokee teachings. The turtle traditionally represents the essence of Mother Earth as her protector. The turtle teaches us grounding with it's two homes of water and earth as it accepts all energies of life. It also teaches us to bring our energies and deep perspectives to light that connects the essence within us.
2009 is a time of shifting energies and has been described as a time of change. We will allow the story of the turtle to guide our thinking and feelings to mirror our current perspectives and true changes that we envision for ourselves, friends, and family. This is a good time for relearning the Rule of Acceptance by being reminded of values that change the way we relate to the challenges coming our way today and in the future. Turtle Medicine teachings help us to better appreciate how we use the energy of sacred stones in the Four Directions. It is a way of bringing all things together in our lives, and the lives of others in harmony and balance. We will learn about the Cherokee use of calm meditation and energy as a conscious way to be more aware of feelings and a way to simply tuck into our shell for protection. The healing energies of the ocean, like the mountains provide a critical contrast for changing our perspectives towards healing. This is a time for renewing our vision as Turtle Medicine teachings guide us into a new or renewed journey of thinking. It is a time to achieve a new perspective for healing and acceptance that Cherokee elders have described as the way of right relationships on Mother Earth. As one elder said, "This is an opportunity for us to reconnect with what we have been missing and to leave behind what we truly do need to miss as we find our new creative force (and perspective)."
FULL CIRCLE: "Medicine Wheel"
FALL - Sept. 26-28, 2003: Cherokee, North Carolina
The theme is "Coming Full Circle with our own Medicine Wheel." Based on Cherokee teachings and "old wisdom", we will create our own personal Medicine Wheel. We will reconnect with nature as we seek communications about our natural intelligence, purpose, and direction. For those who have been coming to Full Circle, it will be a culmination of many teachings. For first-timers, it will be a self-discovery and connection to their spirit guides. We will also be exploring various ways of healing.
FULL CIRCLE: "South Medicine"
SPRING - Apr. 11-13, 2003: Cherokee, North Carolina
The theme for this Full Circle was South Medicine, based on Cherokee teachings and "old wisdom". The focus was on the Sacred Seven, South plant Medicine, and activities as a way to better understand our innocence as a child in nature. The inner circle teachings focused on natural healing and protection with the elements of nature.
FULL CIRCLE: "West Medicine"
FALL - Sept. 20-22, 2002: Cherokee, North Carolina
WEST, THE DIRECTION OF THE DARKENING LAND
THE CHEROKEE STORY OF THE BEAR MAN
THE WEST FULL CIRCLE
FULL CIRCLE HEALING AND WELLNESS
FULL CIRCLE EXERCISES
INTRODUCTION This is a journey in time, in a sense without time. You are welcomed, even invited to join the circle, family if you will, of those who came before us, called our ancestors, and those we remember with honor and praise. Each of us in this circle are of Mother Earth, for she gives us life. We survive on her presence. You are in the Great Medicine Wheel of life. You are the manifestation of life from the Great One with choice. As it is known, you are the protector of life, and you are a helper in this ultimate challenge of existence and survival. You are you, with all your strength and frailness; boldness and blunder, you become your own choices. You will learn that influence and interference is just that, but you have the choice on how to use or not use either as you carve a new circle and a new perception of you as a part of "we" as the Circle of Life. This is Full Circle. This becomes your shield of truth. In the circle, we will touch and be touched by our human emotions and feelings as we touch Mother Earth. This is the traditional way of focusing our oneness with everything around us as we realize that all we really have is a perception of ourselves. In the circle, others have a perception of us as well. We are like the animals, trees, and plants, and we touch each other in some way. These things in nature communicate with us in ways and with senses we may not understand; although, our ancestors do, and they send messages to us through nature and through those chosen to hear the other worlds. You have come to Full Circle, now it is time to come full circle.
There is a circle in spirit that are our teachers from afar, and yet, the Cherokee and other American Indian elders believe the spirit exist in every leaf and flower in nature. These elders teach us to honor the drum, which is the center of Mother Earth, our heartbeat, and the beginning of our lives in the Circle of Life. As an elder said, "The Eagle feather is one of our first lessons of life. The drum is our first lesson of life's beginning with the heartbeat of Mother Earth. From there, our vision is what we make it." Another elder said, "Differences are only in our minds and our perception of things, such as the physical differences of an object. To an extreme, one person's fears may be another person's excitement. But for everything, even a simple rock, there is an imagination that paints our mind." In this Full Circle, we will look squarely at those differences and paint the picture we choose that is comfortable to us in the colors we choose, in the way we imagine it to be.
While we are here to focus on the West Medicine with the bear as our animal guide, we must go back to one of the first teachings. The Medicine Wheel reflects our way. As one elder said, "it (the Medicine Wheel) is a mirror for us to see ourselves, as there are four feelings that express ourselves in the mirror of life. We may feel fear, we may not feel at all, we may feel something special, or we may feel the presence of something peaceful with a presence that we cannot easily explain. We will return to the basic Medicine Wheel with seven stones in the center where the drum beats. There are four stones that take us to the outer circles edge in four directions from the center circle. There are 12 large stones that mark the outer circle that represents the Universal Circle.
Each stone represents everything that has energy in life, from plants as helpers to the colors in the skyway. Everything in nature understands the sharing of all things in the teachings of "give-away." Man alone follows the path of greed and sharing with expectation. Therefore, he has to learn about harmony women seem to innately understand and respect with nature. However, this same human spirit acts as an "apportioner" of things and is able to organize and construct as a protector of all things. This gives the humans a place of their own; otherwise, they may not survive in nature without help from the animals. Humans are, well, just human.
As humans we are gifted with our own Medicine, as long as we follow the animal spirit of nature. In other words, we are people of the animal spirits, as they have given their spirit for our existence. This has been told to us by our ancestors. Each animal spirit having its own characteristic and spirit energy in the circle of "spirit way." Understanding of these things is through Vision Quest or seeking the way of our purpose and gifts to share with others. We learn about the way of right relationship, our true perceptions of the self, and our place in the Medicine Wheel. We learn of the Four Winds. We learn that the humans and lonely in the larger scheme of things. We learn that we have to be able to feel and to share our feelings. We learn that we are beings of light and energy like the Sun. That is why we are Eagle Dancers of the Sun, touching everything and touching nothing.
What become important is not the "I," but the "we" in our lives, because we are never really alone. Nature teaches us to create our own Medicine Shield and be the maker of our own Mask; the shield becomes our weapon of peace and the mask becomes our cover that is removed with the dance of life. We become the keepers of our own shield and the shield of those in our families that have come before us as teachers, healers, spiritualists, planters, and helpers. We think of following and humility, not leading and boasting. We finally understand that we are all Indians at heart. We earn our names and know the signs of truth. We tell the stories that our ancestors tell, and we craft our own. We learn the way of the people, and we become the people of Medicine. We finally understand the lessons of honor, respect, ceremony, sharing, dance, song, and drumming. We laugh at the Rabbit and Coyote stories as we seriously understand the energy and feelings of nature to laugh at ourselves in our own way. We learn the Four Directions and dimensions of the inner-self as we dance the story of life. We stand in harmony and balance on Mother Earth with all things in the Universal Circle. We have come Full Circle. We give thanks to our Grandfathers and our Grandmothers. We give thanks to the Great One.
J.T. Garrett, Ed.D., Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
West, The Direction of the Darkening Land
Earlier Cherokee stories told of a place in the direction of the West that was called the "Darkening Land." In the myth, "The Daughter of the Sun," it was the Sun's daughter that the Little Men took the box containing the daughter. The Darkening Land has "special spirit Medicine" where the "ghosts people" dance in a circle. If the seven Little Men could somehow have the spirit ghost touch the rods with their energy while they touched the daughter with the energized rods in the circle.
Then they were to place the daughter in the box and not opening it until they were home again. This metaphor has been used in ceremonies since earlier time. One elder said that the last "ghost spirit dance" was performed in 1924 in North Carolina to recognize this traditional ceremony. To better understand why and how this all started, the story of the Sun helps in understanding misunderstanding.
As the story goes, the Sun lived deep in the sky vault, while the daughter lived in the middle of the sky arch that goes West to the Grandmother's home. The Sun would start her journey in the early morning headed to the Grandmother's home, with a short visit at noon with the daughter. The Sun could not understand why the little people on Mother Earth would look up at her and make faces. She remarked many times to her brother, the Moon, about them squinting and never smiling at her. Moon said that he liked how the little people would look at him and smile, which made Sun very angry. She was jealous and decided to cause much heat down on the little people.
The people and animals of Mother Earth were getting sick from the intense heat, even Mother Earth was drying up with pain and parchment of her skin. A Council was called to decide what to do about the Sun causing a great fever and drying the planting fields. First they decided to make some Medicine to change two of the humans into large snakes that would sit near the door of the daughter's house until the Sun would emerge at noon. Their plan was to bite and scare her into hiding. She startled the snakes. One of them had a rattle that shoot when he was scared or during ceremonies. The light and heat was so intense when she opened the door that his rattle made lots of noise. The Sun was startled and she dropped her blanket of diamond shaped sewing patterns that her daughter had gifted her onto the snake. Both snakes were singed by the intense heat and retreated. To this day one of the snakes is called the Diamondback Rattler and the other is called a Copperhead, because only his head was sticking out from under porch when the Sun opened the door and singed his head.
The daughter came out to sit in a rocker on the porch when the quiet Copperhead slowly eased near her and bit her many times on the leg. Both snakes, or little men quickly fled back to Mother Earth for fear that the Sun would turn them into just a dry skin that she would put on her wall for decoration. The Sun came back by to have a tonic drink with her daughter that she had learned from the grandmother. She found her daughter lying there not breathing. She was so upset that she retreated and refused to come out at all. With so much darkness on Mother Earth, the.plants would not grow and some of the little people turned themselves into Owls and bats so they could see in the dark. A Council was held to decide how to take the daughter to the Darkening Land in the West so she could breath again, and so the Sun would come back out again.
Seven little men were chosen to build a box with sourwood rods to touch the Spirit Ghost when they danced. They got the daughter to the West, which took seven days. The seven men each stood near the female leader of the dance to have her touch the sourwood rods that were placed in the box with the Sun's daughter. As they were returning to the middle home in the skyway where the Sun had retreated, they hear a noise in the box. They remembered the instruction to not open the box, whatever might happen. The voice said "I cannot breath in this box." The little men continued their journey, still hearing the voice call to them for help. Near the end of their journey, they were afraid she would perish if they did not give her water to drink and open the box enough for her to breath.
They hear a fluttering sound inside the box, then they heard a Redbird cry of "skwish, skwish, skwish!" in the woods. They closed the lid and continued the journey home. When they got there, the box was opened ...but it was empty! The Sun cried and mourned her daughter. The tears were flooding Mother Earth. A Medicine Man brought the little Redbird to the Sun, who told her she was her daughter. The Sun was so glad that she agreed to shine down brightest when she would see her daughter the Redbird while continuing to make the journey each day to visit the Grandmother. The little people dance with joy while wearing the brightest flowers and feathers they could find, which pleased the Sun. To this day, the Redbird is honored and believed to carry messages to her mother, the Sun for a plentiful planting and harvest season.
J.T. Garrett, Ed.D., Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
The Cherokee Story of The Bear Man
There is a story of a man that was hunting in the Smoky Mountains on a cool and crisp mountain morning. He shot a Black Bear with a large obsidian arrow that went quickly and straight to its intended designation. He was a very good bear hunter. Little did he know that this Black Bear was no ordinary bear. The Black Bear started to run, when the hunter shot another arrow into him. The Black Bear stopped and slowly pulled the arrows out and handed them to the hunter. "You don't need to shoot me anymore, because you cannot kill me," said the Black Bear, then he invited him to go back to his cave with him for something to eat. Knowing what the hunter was thinking, he said "Don't worry there is plenty to eat there, and you can stay with me for the night." The hunter went with him.
As they got to the cave in the mountains, there was something going on in the adjacent cave. Black Bear said the bears were having a Council with the chief White Bear. The hunter sneaked a peak, and the bears smelled the hunter. As the hunter retreated, one of the Brown Bears said, "Why do you smell so bad?" Chief White Bear invited the hunter and Black Bear to join them. While food was scarce in the mountains, a bear scout said there were chestnuts and acorns that were knee deep to a grasshopper in the low country. With joy, they started to dance the Bear Dance. One of the bears noticed the bow and arrows of the hunter and asked, "Can we try this?" The hunter thought he better, since he was in the presence of so many bears. They tried but the string would get caught in their claws, so they gave them back to the hunter. It was a fun time of dance and songs, until it was late and time to rest.
Black Bear and the hunter went to his cave. The hunter had chestnuts, acorns, blackberries, and huckleberries to eat until he was full. It was strange to the hunter because he could not see any food there, but Black Bear would turn around and there they would be. The hunter stayed with Black Bear for most of the winter. One day the hunter noticed that he had long black hear growing all over his body and that he began to gate and walk like a bear. Black Bear said that living in the caves would do that to you, but he knew it was time for the hunter to go back to his people. Besides, it was close to time for the grand hunting time. Said Black Bear, you know they will come and hunt me for my furn and my meat. The hunter did not want to leave. Black Bear said, "Just cover my blood with the leaves, then look back as you leave."
The next morning Black Bear and the hunter were awaken by the sound of hunters and dogs that were barking. The hunter saw the bears and started to shoot them with arrows. They drug them outside, skinned them and prepared them for the journey home. Further back in the cave, the hunters saw their long lost hunting friend, but he had long black hair all over him. So they brought him with them to return home. Before leaving he asked to cover the blood with leaves. As they left, the lost hunter turned back to see Black Bear appear from the leaves, then go back into the cave.
As it was in those days, when a hunter or a lost child was kept by the animals, they would be shut up for seven days and nights until the animal nature left them. So they shut up the lost hunter, but his wife heard the news. She begged to see him, but the watch-keepers refused. On the fifth night, she snuck in while they were asleep to see her lost husband. She took him home, but his spirit left him early one morning before the end of the seven days and nights.
Some say that he was given in spirit so the bears could continue to exist, while some say he should have stayed the seven days and nights in fasting to get the animal spirit out of him. An elder told me that sometimes this happens when the hunter kills a "spirit animal" or "spirit bear" in this case. He said the old ones taught them to sing and dance the Bear Dance or the dance of the animal they were hunting to let the animals know they were coming. Also, they were taught to give thanks to the spirit of the bears or animals being hunted and call upon the chief of those animals to ask for the furn to stay warm for the winter and for the meat to survive. As it is in nature, the animals will give of themselves for the humans, knowing that the hunters will give thanks and cover their blood with leaves so they can live again.
J.T. Garrett, Ed.D., Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
THE WEST FULL CIRCLE
Full Circle uses Inner-Circles for teaching, transition, healing, ceremonies, and meditation. It is a way to explore, inform, interact, and share in a small circle of about seven participants, while the larger circle of participants listen. West Medicine targets the following areas:
1. Self-awareness (Knowing). 2. Release or relate to fears (Being). 3. Life-purpose (Doing). 4. Elimination of discrepancy (Courage).
A process of "Rebalancing" is used to give us permission to find our path of harmony while checking our choices when we are out of balance and harmony. In a sense, it is to restore our integrity and flow of choices for continued response to the challenges each day in our lives. As Michael Garrett says, "The path of harmony is always within our grasp. We are the music. We are the harmony; and we are the circles. Ultimately, it is we who are the source of wellness and unwellness. "
Rebalancing is more about correcting the choices or the manifestation of those choices than it is about making judgement about what we or someone else has done wrong. We want to focus on "getting it right" and following choices towards the "way of right relationship." Choices are important, because it is the absence of choice that can lead to the pathway what we call "mental or physical illness." Rebalancing or correcting the balance is something like changing the weight or position of the weight on a tire for the car to run smooth on the road.
The Rule of Opposites is a lesson in traditional teachings about the choices we make often to do just the opposite of what we intend. The arrow must shoot straight and be almost perfect in structure to hit the intended target. Anything less will do just the opposite of our intent, which is to have a crooked arrow that will not hit the target. Imperfection with the arrow and other weapons in earlier years would have meant your own life at risk. However, imperfection was built into most items of ceremony and life with things made by hand to demonstrate that we are imperfect beings. A crooked arrow was not one of those choices.
The Rule of Opposites helps us to plan and organize our lives with the choices we make. Do we want to be independent or dependent? Do we finish school or find an excuse not to finish school? Do we fact our fear or use our fear as an excuse not to progress for fear of failure? The answers may be reasonable choices to deflect or avoid our fears, and that may be a good choice for us at the time. Here again, Rebalancing is a way to look at the opposite direction or choice to reverse what has been done. Do we use an injury as an excuse to be disabled, or do correct and relearn a way to use our abilities? Do we confront our inner fears or focus on efforts to avoid them. There is a Dimension of Generosity that help us to give and to be a helper to others. However we can exaggerate our empathy and overdo or over step the boundary, or have someone be co-dependent on us, rather that helping them balance their own direction and life. There is a Dimension of Independence that allows us to be strong for ourselves and others. This is different that the person who over-reacts to situation and shows a lack of self-confidence and anger of being out of control.
There is a Dimension of Mastery that gives us a sense of competency and achievement. This is different that a person who cheats or takes the short cut while others take the time and dedication to master something. There is a Dimension of Belonging that calls for mutual trust and support. The opposite person may manipulate persons and situations to get what they want, which is usually ultimately to control or win for attention. The dimensions help us as a reality check on where we want to be in the circle.
There is a seven-step process to Rebalancing as follows:
1. Define the relationship and your view or perspective and understanding in the circle. 2. Discrepancies must be clearly defined through assessment and reality check with where you are going, what you are doing, or what the ultimate goal is in the relationship in the circle. 3. The source of imbalance is to be revealed. 4. The extent of imbalance and willingness to "be" at that level of imbalance in the relationship in the circle. 5. A strategy to Rebalance and/or acceptance of the exaggeration in the dimensions for maintaining relationships. 6. The appropriateness of acceptance and choice have to be in balance for harmony in relationships. 7. Follow-up and support that is mutual and trustworthy must be checked and monitored with feedback to reassure the value of the relationship in the circle.
Restabilizing may be necessary in every way of right relationship to have a reality check for continued harmony and balance. It may even be necessary to have "inner-circles" to explore clearing and to reaffirm intent, goals, and to shore-up feelings in the way of right relationships. It may be necessary to re-frame a situation; have a "clearing-way," or Rebalance the direction. Again, this is a choice, especially for those persons who are experiencing loss, instability, and a crisis situation. As an elder said, "Things come in their own time, sometimes. At other times, we choose when it is time to heal."
FULL CIRCLE HEALING AND WELLNESS
The dimensions of Belonging, Independence, and Generosity are inner, rather than outer in terms of influence and interference. People have the power to change if they want to. We are a process of birth, transformation, death, and rebirth. Traditional "old wisdom" in ceremonies focus on symbolic deaths and rebirths, as well as forming through us." This is a time of coming together for sharing, healing, support, and release or "give-away" as an experience of moving energy and releasing emotional bottlenecks. Traditionally it was a way for individuals to be empowered beyond their own energy level and state of being. It was sacred and ceremony was sometimes used as a spiritual opportunity. A prayer-chant with the rattle or drum with somber music was used for the coming-together. It is a shifting from the "'doing state to the being state with openness and healing." The past, present, and future were all in one time, so to speak where the circle becomes the teacher.
A "Talking Stick" is used to guide the experience, usually of laurel or sycamore. It is the "Honored One" as the group leader, counselor, or elder passes it clockwise with instructions. There is a "warm-up" and instructions as the energy is set for an inner-circle experience. It is important to understand that entering and leaving is with permission of the circle. Sometimes an Eagle or another type of bird feather is used as a talking stick, or even an energy stone such as a crystal "power stone."
Instead of a leader, per say, it is important to be a facilitator. Traditionally, the leader would be an "elder who was calm in spirit and patient in person." There may also be "helpers" in the circle who provide support. These are usually energy workers who are healers as well. The objective is "Good Medicine" and bringing about harmony and balance. There are exercises that are sometimes used such as:
The I-Me (W-E). The story of Jim-nik and Mi-kih or Jim and Mike is used to show how one is dedicated to planting and caring, while the other just wants to get it done so he can go play ball or fish. The "I" becomes the projection of not listening or being selfish, while the "Me" is the inner person. This is a reality-check group approach to clarify our actions and reactions.
The Healing Circle (E-W). This is a special circle for energy work with support to a small group that is an immediate reaction or decision to "heal one's self" with guided energy work. There is usually a prayer chant with visualization or hands-on healing or energy work. Exercises such as "the energy ball" and "hands-together-apart" or "hands-up and hands-down" are used to practice and visualize energy involvement and used individually and within the group. Another exercise is to "move energy, around the circle while visualizing the flow in one direction, then in the other." Visualization can also be used to send negative energy to Mother Earth, while drawing or filling energy from the Universal energy of the Sun and the Skyway or "Thunder Beings."
The purpose of the Healing Circle is to facilitate the healing process, which can take place after the energy circle work. The intent is to facilitate harmony and balance.
Friendship Circle/Dance (E). The circle activity that moves like the snake and spirals around until it comes to a stop in the middle is fun for children and adults. It is a reminder of being child-like in holding hands and to reinforce friendship in the circle. The drum usually starts very slow, then increases tempo as the "head person" leads the circle. There were several ways to have and lead the Friendship circle and dance around the traditional fire in earlier years. It reinforces "coming-together" of participants in the friendship circle.
Mirroring (S-N). It is a way to restate a person's position as unconditionally true and emulating the same position. Exaggeration can be used as a reality-check, while awareness and understanding are the goals of a Mirroring exercise. It is also a way to play on the Rule of Opposites. The objective is to clarify, re-frame, and then mirror back a new perspective for the person or the group to ponder and accept or reject, based on their own choice.
Split-Self Technique or Approach (S-N). It is a role-playing approach that has the leader or someone else in the group acting in the role of the person with a discrepancy. in some action or opinion. The leader may "hear" something said or not said (non-verbal) in the group such as "I'm kind of lonely or Nobody cares what I think." That is played-out by the leader or someone picked from the group, which is usually setup in advance. The person then reinforces or counters the statement to clarify the discrepancy experienced. The self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and behaviors then are discussed with regard to choices and how it affects others feelings.
Renaming (W). While naming is a traditional ceremony and cultural way of American Indians, Renaming is a way that everyone can see themselves another way by choice. Words with names also has to do with our own feelings of worth. A name can be changed, such as the Cherokee using names to describe something about a person or an animal name. The question is asked, "What would you rename yourself, if given permission or simply choosing to do it?" Names such as with children can be detrimental to children, such as Fat Albert.
FULL CIRCLE EXERCISES
There are several exercises that have been given names from the traditional way they were used or from a Cherokee word with that meaning.
Sharing a Meal. The traditional and cultural way of preparing and sharing food with "coming-together" is a family, clan, and tribal group activity. It shows respect for the cultural gathering and an opportunity to "let your hair down." It is also just to have people feel good.
The Talking Circle. This is explained above.
Time-perspective. This is an assessment and therapeutic approach to share and find mutual understanding within the group. It is the current perspective that is a springboard for discussion and for defining the discrepancy of the person and/or the group. The discrepancy is about the knowledge of the self from past experience and ways of coping, the present view of self, and the goals of the future for the self or the group. These components are interrelated and inter-functioning that influence the goals and sense of purpose that come "full circle." This time-perspective is: Knowing (self-awareness)-past function Being (inner-circle)-present function Doing (life-purpose)-future function Questions are asked about past (best things that have happened to you and what did you learn); present (how you see yourself, reality-check, how you are framing it or discrepancy, what is working for you.); future (what it holds for you and what you look forward to).
The Four Directions. East: Something changing towards more at one with self, others, and environment. South: Something found that brings out the child in you or you enjoy. West: Something you are doing to increase self-awareness or improve life and work. North: Something you are doing to find inner calm or relaxation and wisdom learned to share with others. The group answers these questions: 1. Belonging (E)-Who or what are you a part of? 2. Mastery (S)-What do you enjoy doing/well? 3. Independence (W)-What do you believe or what is important to you? 4. Generosity (N)-What do you have to share?
"Transitioning." This approach is more in-depth in sharing an understanding of the source and extent of imbalance. The transition is what a person has experienced in coping and views helpful in dealing with a present situation or discrepancy. Clarification is used to "help" a person draw parallels or connections and recognize patterns or separation of thought, feelings, or behavior in dealing with a difficult experience. Questions are asked to have the group remember a tough experience and how they "transitioned" through it.
Natural Consequences. This approach is used with "Transitioning" for more in depth understanding of source and extent of imbalance or disharmony. "Transitioning" seeks parallels between past experiences and the present. Natural Consequences draws on how a person or the group has integrated the new experiences of past and present. The purpose is to increase self-awareness, further clarification of life lesson and purpose, and a better understanding of change and opportunity for choice. Questions are asked to consider what would be different (discrepancy) if something else had been done, or what are the negative consequences (discrepancy), or what would happen if ....? Sourcing. This is an approach to "Rebalancing." What is our source of fear, knowing that a certain action or reaction has a purpose or function. The person or group decides a particular experience that stimulates a negative thought/feeling/behavior, then it can be changed to a positive situation. This is put into words about what you are saying to yourself. The questions are asked to clarify what makes one afraid, what purpose or function it serves, and what choice a person or group wants to do about it. The person or group also considered the consequences. This allows for a deeper understanding of the fears and guides choices to focus on an attitude towards positive living rather than avoidance or deflection. This is in an effort to deal with discrepancies and to "Rebalance."
Reframing. Based on lessons learned about the Rule of Opposites in Full Circle, "Reframing" uses perspective as a tool in the process of understanding and the choice to change. The questions include: What if?, Could it be that?, Have you ever thought about?, Is it possible?, Maybe?, What would it mean if? Ultimatley, perceptions of choice affect choices made. "Reframing" is a way to confront and offer alternative ways of perceiving things with a subtle invitation to choose what is the "Good Medicine" choice, so to speak.
FULL CIRCLE: "East Medicine"
SPRING - May 17-19, 2002 Cherokee, North Carolina
The year 2002 is the lesson of the Eagle, which is strength, commitment and compassion. The Cherokee wisdom of the East is related to the Sun, light energy and beginning of life. Participants will learn about the East plants and "helpers" of male and female energy in healing. There will also be a special "clearing-way" ceremony on the mountain to celebrate life.
FULL CIRCLE: "North Medicine"
FALL - Oct. 5-7, 2001 Cherokee, North Carolina at the Holiday Inn
Each date begins a 7-day cycle
October 17 - A Time for Life Planning Make decisions for self about things that are “dragging you down.” I am ready for something. Ask yourself, “what.” October 24 - Time of Love Medicine About making new, and renewing old friendships. Be worthy of having a friend. Am I of that state of mind? Am I worthy of being/having a friend? Feel it, then, it will be. This is an “I feel worthy time”. November 5 - A Special Day Mental health day Take 24 hours for yourself. Be alone (Re)create your walk on Power Mountain, or somewhere else, or take a walk. Feel, sense; everything is a gift. Put everyone and everything else on hold. Just be - and you will realize the gifts you have received. A focus day.
November 24 - A Clearing Cycle Time of choices Put yourself first Find a sense of where you are Something good is coming around the corner. A time for integrity and wisdom Speak with like minds (integrity and wisdom) Don’t talk with people who are negative or who will bring you down.
December 1 - Time of Starting; Renewals Don’t move things, but allow things to move around you Don’t worry about what’s going on around you. Don’t let outside influences or interferences affect you Be in a calm place; be the oak tree with roots in the ground “Toot your own horn” - positive attention to yourself Time to forget some things Time to forgive some things Time to pay attention to you as a whole; family Look to the stars and give thanks.
December 10 - Time for a Change, a New Look Create a new you [in moderation...$$ (smile)] Be ready for new and positive changes The minute you change, expect others to change how they react to you.
NEXT FIVE MONTHS: Don’t “sit on your hind horse.” Seize the opportunity While things are flying around, stand back with calm and assurance and don’t let anybody get in your space. January - Time of calm. Get in your place and stay calm. February - Time of warmth. Keep yourself warm and calm. No coldness from others. March - Time to get out of your shell. Renewal. New life, new friends. April - Calm rains will bring you to your Crystal Lake. Find yourself. Don’t let other rain on your parade/life. May - Time of personal freedom. Connect to the stars. Time of intuitive observations. Follow your gut. You ARE you. Focus on others. You are a helper, now be a helper. Plant flowers, trees. Renewal
A Prayer “Oh Great One, may we always seek to walk the way of right relationship, in harmony and balance, being a keeper and protector of Mother Earth. Wa-doh!” JT Garrett Ed.D, Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
FULL CIRCLE: "Natural & Plant Medicine"
SPRING - May 4-6, 2001 Cherokee, North Carolina at the Holiday Inn
Purpose of this Full Circle:
NORTH: Bring helpful information and resources to the circle of friends on natural and plant Medicine
SOUTH: Provide participate activities for learning and sharing enjoyment
EAST: Focus on a positive healing experience that will transcend to everyday life
WEST: To provide a resource of seven herbal products for the individual's Medicine Bag. This include natural helpers as well, such as stones, song, dance, and new products.
COUNCIL OF WOMEN
MEMBERS: Sue Conklin, Jeanne Stacy, Jeanie Campbell, Lynda Ruf, and Elane Lang
Activity is to teach respect for female energies and what must be valued for the survival of life here on Mother Earth. Plan an activity for Friday and Saturday night. The Council will plan a gifting and recognition of the elder women as Beloved Women. One person will work with someone from the Men's Council for a joint activity for Saturday evening. Planning and involvement of the Full Circle family can begin before Full Circle.
COUNCIL OF MEN
MEMBERS: Ben Perchik, Ron Patrick, Bill Hund, Mike Ruf, and Chick Reeder
Activity is to teach responsibility of the male energy for honoring and protecting Mother Earth (and women). An activity could be planned for Friday and Saturday night. The Council will recognize the elder men or Beloved Men. One of the men will work with someone from the Women's Council for planning a joint activity for Sat evening. Consider the role of men in earlier survival of the family and tribe.
EARTH & WATER COUNCIL
EARTH CIRCLE: Jeannie Adair, June Read, Blair Caudle, Rebecca Van Der Goot, Dale Stacy
WATER CIRCLE: Tess Talon, Susan Auger, and Keith Davis
The Earth & Water circles are special inner circles for learning and sharing of survival ways. These were focused and skilled activities used traditionally for improvement and competition. Stories, personal experience, and show & tell can be used to emphasize learning without interference. A talking stick can be used, or interactive within the inner circle first, then bringing in the larger circle. Dance and movement, song and instrument, and pictures/visualization/vision might traditionally be used. On Sat or Sunday morning, plan to have a healing activity for Mother Earth and with water.
EARTH & PLANT COUNCIL
MEMBERS: Dee Weimer, Uwaya Erdmann, Peggy Adair, Simon Ferguson, and Julia Blackwell
Mother Earth provides natural and plant "helpers" for food, medicine, and healing. This council will focus on bringing this information to participants. In a traditional way, this is done with inner circle sharing that focuses on choice, not persuasion. The focus is also on encouraging seeking. Plan ways to show, then use an inner circle to answer questions asked by the larger circle. "Helpers" include plants, trees, stones, gifts of nature, and ways to create calm, and healing. Song, dance, drumming, crystals, feathers, and any of nature's gifts can be used for teaching.
ORIGIN OF DISEASE AND MEDICINE
Cherokee story: Ref: Mooney, Eth. Ann. 19, pg 250-251, Myths of the Cherokees, modified, based on story told by Cherokee Elders.
There was a time when all animals, birds, fish, plants, and all creatures lived in harmony and balance. All was at peace and all could communicate with each other as friends. Each had their own purpose in protecting Mother Earth and in being a helper. Then came the human beings. Of course, the animals and other creatures gave of their spirits so the humans could exist in this life form. Before that, they were thought to be only stars in the sky vault and without form, but light that glowed from the Great One in the Universal Circle.
As the Old Ones told it, the human beings learned to use their minds of will and choice to invent knives, blowguns, spears, hooks, and bows to hunt and kill with ease. The human beings were not very considerate of the frogs on the ground or the worms they stuck a hook into to catch the fish. All creatures came together, except for the human beings for a Grand Council.
Bear was the first to speak in council that was held at Mulberry place under the "Ku wa` hi" mountain. Old White Bear was the chief of the Bear Clan. He was thought to be large in statute and very fair in dealing with these matters. Each complained of the human beings taking more that each shared for their survival. Bear had given of his meat and skins for warmth of the human beings, but they wanted more than Bear could bare. As a matter of fact, Bear and his friends wanted to go to war against the human beings. Their weapon of choice was the bow and arrow, but Bear could not pull back the string with his large claws. Old White Bear objected, saying that Bear could not cut his claws for going to war because he needed his claws to climb trees for food.
Deer was the next to speak in council with Little Deer as their chief. They vowed to give the human beings rheumatism for every hunter that killed without having ceremony and sharing thanks. Deer being very swift could follow the hunter back to his home, if the hunter did not ask for permission to take the life of the deer and share thanks in the appropriate way to honor the spirit of Deer. Most in the Great Council agreed with the Deer Clan.
Fish and Snake spoke next in council, while the Whale and Rattler represented their concern. Of course, Snake said that he could use a venom and bite the human beings. Most agreed with this action to protect themselves. Fish said they were tricked by the human beings, knowing that they really like worms. Both Snake and Fish said they would come into the dreams of the human beings so they would get sick or afraid.
Bird and the small insects said they had an agreement for survival of their young, but the human beings did not honor the balance cycle of the birds and the small insects. Hawk and Grub worm represented the concerns by suggesting that the lives of the human beings would be taken every time they would kill the bird for food or crush the insects under their feet. Most thought this was too revengeful. Bird reminded them of how the hunter would place him on the fire and burn his tiny feet. Even Frog spoke of being stepped on to the point that his back was rough from the sores on his back. He wanted to place sores on the skin of the human beings. Squirrel told of the story of how human beings would shoot him with an arrow, then cut his tail off and wear it on his head. One could tell that the anger was very strong in council. All the little animals complained about the cruel deeds of the human beings.
One by one, the animals and others in council thought of diseases to give the human beings. Some of the diseases would just make them sick, and other would result in death. Once this was decided, they all said, "Wah Doh!" [Thanks!]
It was time for Plant to speak. She was filled with concern and compassion for the human beings. Reminding all in council that like Bird, the human beings worked in the planting field to have more plants, shrubs, and trees. Plant said that they would provide herbs, tree bark, grasses, and mosses to provide a cure for everyone of the disease named in council. Plant said that she would respond when the human beings called upon them for help, as intended by the Great One for all things in harmony and balance. All plants, even weeds would have some medicinal purpose to be a helper to all human beings. To this day, the plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, mosses, and even the weeds have a special remedy as medicine to cure and to be a helper to all the diseases and illness of the human beings.
J.T. Garrett, Ed.D., M.P.H.
Earth Teach Me
Earth teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light...
Earth teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory...
Earth teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning...
Earth teach me caring as the mother who secures her young...
Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone...
Earth teach me limitation as the ant which crawls on the ground...
Earth teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky...
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall...
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring...
Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life...
Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep with rain...
Pine Straw Dance
First we must understand the importance of the Pine Tree, which grows, in our Earth Mother. In Cherokee tradition the story goes like this:
"Long ago, when the world was new, there were seven boys who used to spend all their time down by the townhouse playing the gatayu'sti game, rolling a stone wheel along the ground and sliding a curved stick after it to strike it. Their mothers scolded, but it did no good, so one day they collected some gatayu'sti stones and boiled them in the pot with the corn for dinner. When the boys came home hungry their mothers dipped out the stones and said, "Since you like the gatayu'sti better than the cornfield, take the stones now for your dinner."
The boys were very angry, and went down to the townhouse, saying, "As our mothers treat us this way, let us go where we shall never trouble them any more." They began a dance-some say it was the Feather dance-and went round and round the townhouse, praying to the spirits to help them. At last their mothers were afraid something was wrong and went out to look for them. They saw the boys still dancing around the townhouse, and as they watched they noticed that their feet were off the earth, and that with every round they rose higher and higher in the air. They ran to get their children, but it was too late, for they were already above the roof of the townhouse-all but one, whose mother managed to pull him down with the gatayu'sti pole, but he struck the ground with such force that he sank into it and the earth closed over him.
The other six circled higher and higher until they went up to the sky, where we see them now as the Pleiades, which the Cherokee still call Ani'tsutsa (The Boys). The people grieved long after them, but the mother whose boy had gone into the ground came every morning and every evening to cry over the spot until the earth was damp with her tears. At last a little green shoot sprouted up and grew day by day until it became the tall tree that we call now the pine, and the pine is of the same nature as the stars and holds in itself the same bright light." -pp 258,259 James Mooney
For this reason the straw from this tree must pass to the female energy of the Circle in acknowledgment that honor is being given to the female for her headship on our earth mother. She bares all things and yet bestows unconditional love and can endure much more pain than a man can even began to conceive. Therefore, we of the Men's council would request that the women's council to accept this offering of pine straw in our dance.
The dance represents the interchange of energy between male and female and our own oneness or wholeness within the circle of life. As the drum is the heartbeat of our Earth Mother and tradition, as always has had the male as drummer and dancers closest to the drum, we will start our dance in the same format in respect for our Elders and tradition. The dance will begin with a tradition style song, the women will be on the outside of the circle as least six to seven paces back from the drum, doing a simple one-step (toe-to-heal) in place and rising their arms and hands to the sky. The men (holding pine straw) will dance clockwise four (4) times around the drum using the same toe-to-heal step. After the four (4) rotations have been made around the drum, the men will take two (2) steps back placing us in the present. Dancing towards the drum represent moving into the future out of the past to the present and on into the future. Dancing away from the drum represents moving to the present with two (2) steps and back four (4) more steps into the past in memory and honor of the six Pleiades. As the men dance to the present the women move to join them. At this position all dancers are in the present. The men will exchange the pine straw and join hands with the women, try to be equally spaced and dance a friendship dance around the circle one (1) rotation around the drum in a clockwise direction. Then release hands and allow the women to dance two steps towards the drum and four (4) women to the drum as drummers in honor of the four (4) directions. After the women are in harmony with the drum, the women dancers are to dance six (6) rotations around the drum in a clockwise direction, gifting Earth Mother a little pine straw for each rotation around the drum, once again in memory, as the men dance six (6) rotations around the drum in a counter-clockwise direction with thought of forgiveness from Earth Mother, feeling her pain and praying for her healing. Once each has completed their rotations around the drum, may the two circles join again by holding hands and dancing the friendship dance in a clockwise direction as close to the drum as possible, but this time dance two (2) rotations around the drum in unity as human beings and as ONE.
I'M GOING FISHIN." Really means..."I'm going to drink myself dangerously stupid, and stand by a stream with a stick in my hand, while the fish swim by in complete safety." "IT'S A GUY THING." Really means...."There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical." "CAN I HELP WITH DINNER?" Really means...."Why isn't it already on the table?" "UH HUH," "SURE, HONEY," OR "YES, DEAR." Really means....Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response. "IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN." Really means..."I have no idea how it works. "TAKE A BREAK, HONEY, YOU'RE WORKING TOO HARD." Really means...."I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner." "THAT'S INTERESTING, DEAR." Really means...."Are you still talking?" "YOU KNOW HOW BAD MY MEMORY IS." Really means.... "I remember the theme song to 'F Troop, the address of the first girl I ever kissed and the Vehicle Identification Numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday." " WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU, AND GOT YOU THESE ROSES." Really means.... "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe." "HEY, I'VE GOT MY REASONS FOR WHAT I'M DOING." Really means.... "And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon." "I CAN'T FIND IT." Really means.... "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless." "WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME?" Really means.... "What did you catch me at?" "I HEARD YOU." Really means.... "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well the next 3 days yelling at me." "YOU KNOW I COULD NEVER LOVE ANYONE ELSE." Really means.... "I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse." "YOU LOOK TERRIFIC." Really means.... "Oh, God, please don't try on one more outfit. I'm starving." "I'M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE." Really means.... "No one will ever see us alive again." "WE SHARE THE HOUSEWORK." Really means.... "I make the messes, she cleans them up."
J.T. Garrett, Ed.D., & Michael Garrett, Ph.D. Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians