Native American Spirituality : the Mother Earth's sadness over Native American depopulation
A book excerpt from the Iconoclast Press online library.
En route we gathered up all necessary supplies for our initial visit: a bag of cement, a sheet of half-inch aluminum, and some stove pipe to build a fireplace, a couple of tarps, an axe, chisel, saw, some blankets and sleeping bags, and a few buckets of food.
These supplies we loaded onto a floatplane and flew to a remote, west coast cove. There we unloaded, asked the pilot to pick us up in ten days- as there was no radio contact in the area- and watched him take off again.
The first thing to do was to scout out the area, and it didn’t take long, perhaps one or two minutes, before we were standing under one of the most beautiful, anthropomorphic, giant cedars I had ever seen. A titan, a grandfather, with a horizontal limb about eight feet up its massive trunk, and the limb itself was about five feet in diameter and which, over the next week and a half, provided a wonderful canopy under which we cooked our meals during the regular rainstorms on the coast.
Very soon after our discovery and exaltation over the tree, we found nearby an abandoned old Fisheries cabin, which was about ten feet by ten feet in dimensions, and full of refuse, but still standing square and otherwise in good fettle. We knew then that we had been guided to the place we were supposed to be, for now we didn’t have to build anything, we simply cleaned all the debris out of the cabin, tarped the leaking roof, put the windows back in place, built a very rough stone and cement fire place, with the aluminum sheet on top for cooking, cut a hole in the wall and put the stove-pipe through, and we were home.
Later that evening we hiked up one of the rivers in the area and there were so many eagles about that the sky was literally snowing eagle-down, and I ran about in an ecstatic trance of disbelief with my hat out in my hand, catching those feathery pieces of grace floating all around and never having touched the ground.
I suppose this was the universe’s answer to my often visualized fantasy of running along a beach and diving to catch an eagle feather, fallen from a passing raptor, before it touched the earth. I reckon that this was the type of waking dream which symbolized my inner spiritual disposition back then: I had not wanted to come down, ever. But as I found out, and described earlier, despite my revulsion to the flesh’s confines, the spirit has not come into life to avoid life, but to partake of it as fully and perfectly as one’s nature allows, and so to stay aloft and soar around in the distances without ever entering the body and touching the earth may be painless, but, in the end, it is also pointless.
Anyway, the soror and I stayed for our ten days in the beautiful cove, where a few sailboats ended up anchoring out a storm, and a crab-fisherman dropped his traps and gave us some of the catch, but other than that it was just the birds, the beasts, and the trees to keep us company. Thus, like all of our subsequent trips together, away from the throngs, it was a good chance for her and I to be alone together, without distraction, which is really the only time the two partners in the work can get inside each other, dig into the piles of rubble, root around for hidden goblins and magic rings, and then mirror back to each other what they have found. It was always challenging, and always worth it, such trips of ours, for without this type of cooperative archaeology there is little value but entertainment in a relationship.
More than being an important time for our inner work, it was recuperative and inspiring to live for a while amongst such virgin forest and untouched earth, and I was thinking that this is what the earth must have been like before the hordes invaded and pillaged everywhere else. But one night I was to experience a strange energy and visitation during sleep, and then a disturbing and eerie sort of requiem began playing in the ether, and I was given a dream which showed the entire area in which we were camped, in all its beauty and diversity, and then a somber voice spoke and said- “But something is missing.” And a terrible sense of unnatural absence occurred and I awoke and knew what was missing- the natives.
Never before had I understood, in this way, the tragedy of the de-population which the North American Natives suffered upon the entry of the white man. Over ninety percent of the Queen Charlotte Haidas died from smallpox or the common flu, and the rest were removed from their happy hunting grounds and placed in two villages where most of them remain today.
So now the earth was incomplete, and barren of an essential component of the ecosystem and spirit of the land. It was a funereal presence which I felt then- a loss that the earth itself had not forgotten, and continued to mourn. I know now that the world-soul still seethes with an agony as hard to approach as it is to endure.
For the rest of our time in that cove the forest felt like a home to which a parent returns after finding out that all their children had been killed in an accident; a deathly, sickening, horrible emptiness. And the Mother had shared her grief with me. And all I could do was sigh, and shrug my shoulders. That’s all I could do.
The soror and I flew out again, ten days later, but, as always, a part of us remained there, with the grandfather tree, the little cabin kept all those years for us, the flocks of eagles, and the Mother with her unrequited woe.
(excerpted from In and Of: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas)
Books by Jack Haas. Autobiography, Memoir, Spirituality, Mysticism, Comparative Religion, Poetry, Art, Photography.