Raccoon As A Native American Totem

One of the creature teachers that I am getting medicine from right now is Raccoon.  In Native American teachings the totem of raccoon is about being a generous protector.  As I became aware that this little Robin Hood of the animal kingdom was working with me in my East Direction and most specifically in tandem with the Council Fire of my Sacred Path, a magical and wondrous connection has been made.  I’ll share that with you a little later in the post.

When we realize that brother or sister raccoon is acting as a messenger spirit for us, we are asked to contact our inner warrior and to become a protector and generous provider for those in need.  While other creatures in the animal kingdom will fight each other for the best of the kill or food source, Raccoon practices giving back to the source of strength, guidance and protection.  A raccoon will provide for the others of its group before taking anything for itself, showing no sense of greed.  There is an almost mystifying ability in raccoon medicine that teaches us to assist those in need without allowing them to become victims or dependents.

Raccoon - The Three Amigos Mug
Raccoon – The Three Amigos Mug by Tberling at zazzle.com.

As my regular readers know, I have posted recently about my journey on my Sacred Path and the lessons that I am being taught about the Council Fire, Taking the Shawl, South Shield, and Medicine Bundle.  Last Sunday, as I outlined my future posts I made a note to do a post on Raccoon to post today.  As I studied and meditated last week about Raccoon and how it is working in my life, a most miraculous connection came to be and I don’t think it was a coincidence.  I believe my Spirit Keepers have been preparing me for the events that evolved last week for some time now and my path crossed with some truly Generous Protectors. People who are looking out for the good of others with no greed in their hearts.

My attention was first called to an article written about Pine Ridge Reservation and the conditions that the Lakota are struggling to overcome. That article broke my heart and a voice spoke to my soul that I must do something. I’ve learned to listen to those messages when they come so strongly! My next step was to visit one of the charitable organizations that was mentioned in the article, One Spirit and offer some of my time and energy to help them and the Lakota People. All the pieces started to fit, as I then learned about the needs of Donna and Billy Jumping Eagle and the children they provide a safe house for on Pine Ridge Reservation. That knowledge prompted me to write my post from last Friday asking for your help.

Remember last week when I posted about the Medicine Bundle and to look at my Allies and Supporters? My heart has been warmed by the response of my Allies (you know who you are!) with the support they have shown for the Lakota People at Pine Ridge and One Spirit. Bless you for helping me to get the word out and for your donations!

I am honored and humbled to have Raccoon sharing its medicine with me and bringing the message that “We are all related” so alive on this leg of my journey. Since this blog’s inception I have shared that message at the end of each post. Is it a coincidence that it happens to be a Lakota saying? I think not…

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ Lakota for “We are all related”

A Plea For Help For Lakota Children

I am writing today with a plea for help for a cause that I think is most important, Jumping Eagle Safe House needs our help. Most specifically the children who are living at the safe house and Donna and Billy Jumping Eagle who provide the home for children to live in need our help.

The Jumping Eagle Safe House is located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Lakota are 7 bands (tribes) that make up one of the 3 major sub-divisions of the Sioux Nation of Native Americans.  Pine Ridge Reservation has been reported to be the poorest area in the United States.

I have recently become a supporter of the  charitable organization One Spirit who have earned the trust of the Lakota with several programs that assist the Lakota people in preserving and revitalizing the Lakota culture, language, and self-sufficiency.  This charity also works at meeting the basic needs of Lakota families, children, and elders. They strive to cultivate an intercultural relationship that recognizes that we are all related (Mitakuye Oyasin) and that Native Americans are an equal and valued part of our society. One Spirit is a group of volunteers which means that no one gets a salary from the donations that are made…it all goes to meet their mission statement and actually provide real help and support.  I don’t know about you but that really means something to me to know that!

Donna and Billy Jumping Eagle provide a safe haven for up to 20 Lakota kids to live when it is not safe for them to stay at home on the Pine Ridge Reservation. These children have different reasons for being there. It might be that there is no room left at their family home, it might be from their environment being riddled with alcohol or drug abuse, it might be that there is violence at their family home. At Jumping Eagle Safe House the children are loved and kept safe. They are encouraged and required to attend school. They are encouraged to keep in contact with their parents. The kids have not been removed from their homes by a social agency and the parents are fully aware of where they are and can have contact with them, in fact, it is encouraged. The kids are taught about horses which is an integral part of their Native American and Sioux culture. They are visited by Elders and taught the oral traditions that they need to know.

Here is my plea to you today; Donna, Billy, and these children need our help. One Spirit has pledged to build a dormitory for Jumping Eagle Safe House. This summer children from the ages of 10 to 17 were sleeping on the deck, in abandoned cars, and under trees at the house. Winter is coming and some of the kids will have to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags provided by One Spirit. As much as Donna, Billy, and One Spirit have done to help these kids the conditions need to be better. One Spirit wants to make that happen. There are no State, Federal, or even Tribal funds that go to Jumping Eagle Safe House! Our donations can help to get the dormitory built.  A donor/supporter has agreed to match the money donated up to $40,000 so there is a potential to raise $80,000 to build the dormitory.

I know times are rough for most of us right now, it is even harder for these kids. No donation is too small to offer your support for this project. A $5 donation becomes $10 – a $25 donation becomes $50 due to the generosity of the matching donor. You can visit the website of One Spirit and make your donation through PayPal or get the address to send a check.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

I also want to note that the image of children in this post is not from the Safe House, it was a public domain photo that so appropriately was titled…The future of Pine Ridge Reservation.

White Buffalo Calf Woman Legend

White Buffalo Calf Woman, to many, is a sacred woman. Some might call her a prophet or a messiah. She is a central figure in the Lakota religion or tradition. White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the extended Lakota nation of the Teton Sioux their “Seven Sacred Rituals”.

The ancestors tell us that  long ago there was a time of famine. The chief of the Lakotas sent out two scouts to hunt for food. As the scouts traveled they saw a figure in the distance. As they approached they saw that it was a beautiful young woman in white clothing. One of the scouts was filled with desire for the woman. He approached her, planning to embrace the woman. If he found her pleasing, he would claim her as a wife. His companion warned him that she appeared to be a sacred woman. To do this would be a big mistake. The scout ignored his advice.

The companion watched as his friend approached and embraced the woman. A strange white cloud covered the pair. Then the cloud disappeared and only the mysterious woman remained. The remaining scout was frightened but the woman beckoned him forward. She told him that no harm would come to him. She pointed to a spot on the ground where the other scout’s bare bones lay. She explained that the Crazy Buffalo had compelled the man to desire her, and she had annihilated him.

The scout became even more frightened. The woman explained that she was Wakan and his weapons could not harm her. She explained that if he did as she instructed, no harm would befall him and that his tribe would become prosperous. The scout promised to do what she instructed. The woman told him to return to his encampment and to call for a Council and to prepare a feast for her arrival.

The woman’s name was PtesanWi which means White Buffalo Calf Woman. She taught the Lakotas many sacred rituals and gave them the sacred pipe which is the holiest of all worship symbols. After teaching the people and giving them her gifts, PtesanWi left them promising to return one day. The People would know she was coming when a white buffalo calf was born.

The image of White Buffalo Calf Woman above can be purchased at AllPosters.com.

My next post will talk about the coming of White Buffalo Calf Woman…

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related