The Burden Basket: Medicine of Self Reliance

I personally love the Sacred Path medicine of The Burden Basket.  The message is to pull from your own inner-strength and to become self-reliant. By trusting in yourself to find your own answers and letting go of your burdens, you can conquer the world.  Our problems stop being burdens when solutions are found.

The Burden Basket teaches us not to leave our troubles at the door of another. If we rely on ourselves and our connection to the Great Spirit we learn to stretch into our own unique potential.  If we become confused and we seek counsel, we should always use the advice given.  We should not waste the time of others if we do not intend to respect and honor the wisdom given to us.  We should also know that it is not our job to solve the problems of others. In doing so, we rob them of their right to self-reliance.

While we walk through our lifetime, we only carry the burdens we wish to carry. If we find pleasure or a feeling of importance because we have so much to handle, then we need to look seriously at our ideas of self-importance.  The lesson of the Burden Basket is that we are all self-reliant and should use our own talents to find our own solutions.

Before the First People were forced onto reservations, Burden Baskets were used to gather wood by the women of the tribes. This wood would be used for cooking fires and Grandmother Fires to heat the inside of the lodges.  The heating fires were so named because the wood was small enough that even a Grandmother could carry it. The wood was placed in the Burden Basket to free the hands to gather and collect items for cooking.

Native women were not asked to bear a burden heavier than their Burden Basket could handle.  When not in use, the Burden Basket was hung outside of the home to serve another purpose.  Native American etiquette differs from other cultures and the Burden Basket played a role in a custom honored by all Tribal members.

Before entering the home, all burdens were to be placed in the Burden Basket outside. Leave your complaints and problems outside, please.  It is not polite to bring those troubles into the Sacred Space of the family you are visiting. The Burden Basket becomes a symbol of the internal strength of knowing how to keep your own counsel and not to inflict our burdens onto the shoulders of others.

It takes a strong heart to feel compassion for the burdens of others and not to take the burdens on as our own.

Burden Baskets were used for utilitarian means but also as a Guardian of the homes. Giving balance to the tribe as a whole and a reminder of respecting the happiness and privacy of those around us.

The wonderful photo of a Native American Woman with her Burden Basket was used with permission from First People.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related.

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Beverly Two Feathers

Beverly Two Feathers is my spiritual name, other places I use my Anglo name you can find me as Beverly Owens on Google +

11 thoughts on “The Burden Basket: Medicine of Self Reliance”

  1. What a wonderful post! I used this concept when walking into work for the day. No matter what happened at home, on the commute, etc. I’d leave my box of worries at the back door and head into the day with a smile and light heart. Interesting enough, sometimes when I left at night I’d forget ‘the box’ was there and drive away to home.
    .-= clouda9´s last blog ..Calling All Squidoo Chefs! =-.

  2. Having come from reading about your journey as a survivor last pm, your posts take on a new positive perspective for me. Oh I already liked them as I have stated before because I have always been drawn to this line of thinking. I don’t know whether your ancestry is Native American or whether you are just drawn to it too and it really doesn’t matter. However it is… you are publishing great value here and the merit of it is proven in your own journey… and the strength of your personal fiber is woven throughout the posts.
    .-= John Sitton´s last blog ..luvmyludwig wrote a new blog post: Shades Of Black And White =-.

  3. This concept of the burden basket is so appealing. Since I am living in a new to me space, it seems a good thought to have a burden basket in place here.
    And my being here serves many needs, including self reliance.
    Thank you.

  4. It’s interesting to see just how permeant memory has become in our everyday lives. It seems like everywhere I turn, I see something with a card slot or USB port . I guess it makes sense though, considering how inexpensive memory has become as of late…Gahhhhh… who am I to complain. I can’t get through a day without my R4 / R4i!(Submitted by Nintendo DS running R4i NetBlog)

  5. This is my absolute favorite lesson in the Sacred Path cards. Thank you for posting it so that I could share it with others : )

  6. I got a Burden basket a few months ago. It was made by an Indian woman who has a roadside stand in the mountains between Bat Cave & Lake Lure NC. She told me about it and I just had to buy it. I hung it on the wall by the back door. Which is the main entrance. If I feel really burdened, I do & say a little ritual to myself before entering my home.

  7. These are very beautiful concepts. Our burdens feels so heavy. Dealing with them by drawing on one’s own inner strength seems so sane. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of this powerful tradition.

  8. I love learning about this. I’ve seen these beautiful baskets for years, but didn’t know their story. Wonderful! So beneficial &Thank you!

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