Totems Of The Standing People

Today we will talk about the totems of the Standing People, the trees. These Chiefs of the Plant Kingdom are our Sisters and our Brothers who continue to provide oxygen to Earth’s Children. They provide shelter from their trunks and branches for the winged creatures of Earth. Their roots give a place for burrows for the smaller creatures and we are given materials for homes from the Tree Nation. Had you thought about the Standing People giving so much of themselves for the other creatures of Earth?

The Cherokee teach that the Standing People and all of their plant relations are the givers of the Earth. They are always giving of themselves to provide for the needs of others. Each tree and plant has its own gifts, talents, and abilities to share with the humans and other creatures of Earth. Some will bear fruit while others provide healing properties.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl (Aegolius Acadius) in a White Pine (Pinus Strobus), North America

Owl rests in White Pine
Steve Maslowski

The White Pine is known as the Tree of Peace and is believed to bring serenity to the life of any person sitting in its shade. We find gifts from the Standing People all over the world. Gifts such as spices, fruits, nuts, rope, tires, books, fabric, chewing gum, and wood for our homes and furniture. They give us shade in the hot climates and break the winds in the colder regions. The Tree Nation is always giving which is a lesson we humans can learn from.

Some lessons of different Standing People:

  • Birch is the essence of truth – standing straight within ourselves and not being deceived by forked tongues
  • Pines are all peace makers teaching lessons of harmony
  • Mountain Ash brings protection from harm and teaches to not be deceived by others
  • Sycamore teaches the lessons of reaching our goals and making our dreams come true
  • Walnut teaches about clarity and focus
  • Oak gives lessons of strength of character
  • Willow teaches us about the give and take of love and that bending is necessary for love to bare fruit

My message to you today comes from the lessons or totems of the Standing People. The message is of roots and giving. The root of our inner Self is where our strength is stored and gathered. We must nurture that in order to be able to give of ourselves freely. We should stand still like our brother and sister trees and observe what is growing in our personal forest. Weed out anything that might cause future growth to be stunted whether that is coming from inside ourselves or from someone around us.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

Walks Tall Woman In Moon Of November

The November Moon has Walks Tall Woman as the Original Clan Mother. She is the Guardian of Leadership and the Keeper of New Paths. This Clan Mother teaches us how to lead by example instead of demanding that others allows follow the leader. We learn that in order to change our life situation we must take our own actions instead of relying on others to do it for us.

Walks Tall Woman gives us the message that it is OK to be proud of our accomplishments through our own self-esteem. She also reminds us that this is different than looking at our successes as being self-important. There is a huge difference in the two. We grow to be happier with ourselves when we hone our skills. Our actions speak much louder than words so, we should be living examples of our beliefs. People then see that we are walking our truth. We learn from this Clan Mother that our reputation comes from our own integrity and not from the opinions of those around us. You might think that sounds odd but it really isn’t. If we walk our truth each day, others form a better respect for us than they would if we let their opinions mold us.

Native American


Native American Woman Walks Her Truth

The Clan Mother of the November Moon encourages us to persevere with our goals while keeping a good balance with time to rest built into our daily activities. Her most important message is for us to always Walk The Truth.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

Grandmother Spider Gets Fire For The People

Choctaw tradition tells us that when People first came up out of the ground we were sheathed in cocoons.  Our eyes were closed and our limbs were folded tightly to our bodies. It is said that this was true of all People; the Birds, the Animals, the Insects, and the Humans. Great Spirit took pity on the People of Earth. He sent help down to unfold the limbs, dry each one off, and opened their eyes to see. The world was a dark place with no sun, moon, or stars at the time so the opened eyes saw nothing. The People had to move around by touch, hoping to find something to eat that did not eat them first. They ate their food raw because there was nothing to cook it with.

A great Council was called for all the People to meet and decide what to do. The Animal and Bird People took the lead in the meeting while the Human People stayed in the back. The Animals and Birds decided that life was not good. It was cold and miserable! Can we fix this? A voice from the dark said, “I have heard that the people in the East have fire.” Many voices asked, “What could fire be?” After much discussion, it was decided that if fire was warm and gave light, they wanted it too. “But the people of the East are too greedy to share with us,” a voice was heard to say. The Bird People and the Animal People came to the conclusion that they would need to steal the fire for themselves.

Grandmother Spider volunteered first but no one listened to her tiny voice. First the council sent Opossum to hide the fire in his furry tail. He came back with no fire and a tail that no longer could grow fur.

Even though, Grandmother Spider offered to go again, the Council chose Buzzard to go next. At the time, Buzzard had lovely long feathers on his head. He planned to hide the fire on his head amongst his feathers. The People really did not understand how fire worked. So, Buzzard returned with no fire and no feathers on his head and would forever have a red and blistered looking neck.

Crow was known to be very clever so the Council sent him, next. With his sweet singing voice and snow white feathers Crow could surely find a way to get the fire. He stayed too long at the fire trying to find the best piece as is the way with Crows. His white feathers turned to black and his voice changed from the smoke into the “Caw” that we know today.

Grandmother Spider used her loudest voice this time, “PLEASE, LET ME TRY!” The Council felt that she would fail too but were willing to give her a turn. Grandmother Spider walked toward a stream where she had found clay. She created a tiny clay container with a lid that fit perfectly.  She placed a tiny notch for air in the corner of the lid. Placing the container on her back she spun a web all the way to the East. Grandmother Spider walked on her tiptoes until she came to the fire. She was so small that no one noticed her. She placed a tiny piece of fire in the container, covered it with the lid and used her web to get back to the Council. “Grandmother Spider brings no fire.” the People cried because they could not see anything.

“No,” she cried, “I do have the fire!” She gently took the pot from her back, lifted the lid, and the fire flamed up into the air. All the Birds and Animals began to confer as to who would get this wonderful warmth. Bear burned his paws on it and decided fire was not for animals. The Bird People saw what happened with Buzzard and Crow and decided it was not for them. The Insect People were intrigued with the beauty of the fire but wanted no part of it for their people.

The Human People were not very well thought of by the other People of Earth and had remained quiet through the proceedings. They asked if they could have the fire with Grandmother Spider’s help. So, Grandmother Spider taught the Human People how to feed the fire with sticks and wood. She showed them how stay safe from the fire and not to let it spread. Grandmother Spider taught them how to use the fire to cook their food and make utensils from the clay using fire.

I shared this legend with you today because when fire is used responsibly it provides us with warmth, light, and cooked food. When used negligently it can cause devastation. Last week, some children were playing with fire and caused one fine woman who many of us admire to experience A Total Loss to her home. Perhaps we can all find that inner flame inside us that sends the warmth of human kindness to help Susan and her family recover from this tragedy.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

Crochet And My Native American Totems

Sometimes when I am contemplating the medicines to be learned by my own Native American Totems, I will work on a craft that will help me reflect on what I am supposed to learn. Recently, the craft of choice was crochet. I really had a difficult time finding a crochet pattern that I thought represented even a somewhat Native American theme. I have been crocheting for several decades now; so, I designed my own crochet pattern for an afghan to have in our home.

I decided to create a pattern that honored the Medicine Wheel by using colors found in the wheel and by separating them with a complimentary color that represents Father Sky where the winds of direction blow.

You might be thinking what does crocheting an afghan have to do with totems, Bev? Well, remember that a totem is the spirit of an animal, mineral, plant, or living part of Mother Earth that works with us to give us medicine or a lesson about life. It is not enough to come to realize that a totem or spirit is working with you. Once you realize that you have lessons to learn and areas to work on in your life, you need to work with the spirit and reflect on what it is you can work on to be a better person.

One of my totems is telling me to take it easy or relax more and not work so hard. One of the ways for me to relax is to crochet. It is very therapeutic for me, personally. I enjoy creating something from nothing and while crocheting I usually ponder some of those thoughts that are crowding my sub-conscious.  After I designed the pattern for the Medicine Wheel Ripple Afghan and started to work the design with the yarn, I found myself meditating on the directions of the Medicine Wheel and what we learn or the medicine we receive from each. It was a way for me to clarify and comprehend some paths that I need to walk on.

Crocheting may not be your cup of tea and that is OK. What I am suggesting to you is to recognize a totem that is walking with you right now and then think of an activity that you can do that will allow you to meditate on the medicine it is trying to give you. I think you will find that you will be more at ease with your inner being if you do.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

July Moon Teacher Loves All Things

The July Moon gives strength to the teachings of “Loves All Things”. She is the 7th of the Original Clan Mothers. She is the Mother of Unconditional Love and All Acts of Pleasure. This Mother is the Keeper of Sexual Wisdom and Self-Respect. She exemplifies the warmth of the feminine within us all. Loves All Things is the Guardian of the Needs of the Family.

Loves All Things taught the first humans and those of us who followed how to use respect, trust, and intimacy in all our relationships. No matter if it is between male and female, family, or friends these do apply to all relationships that we encounter in our journey of spirituality and physical walk.

woman and child profilecard
woman and child by dawnmcininch

The Mother of the July Moon reminds us of the importance of loving all aspects of our lives. We are awakened by her to the importance of loving the lessons of life that we are given, even the difficult ones. Loves All Things tells us to love our physical being that houses our souls, also.

We learn to be a loving woman, a nurturing mother, a sensual lover, and a trusted friend from the feminine wisdom of this Clan Mother.

Loves All Things reminds us of the importance of forgiving ourselves and others in our lifetime. She wants us to develop an acceptance of our fellow Sisters and Brothers on Earth along with doing away with being critical.
The most important lesson from this ancient Clan Mother is to “Love The Truth” in every aspect of our lives. What lovely messages we receive from this most gracious and loving Mother of the Moon. Some of us find these lessons simple and easy to follow as women and yet others we need to work on during our journey to a better balance of our feminine spirituality. What we find in the Sisterhood of Humanity is that we can find the nurturing from the other women in our lives. Let us not forget to love all things in our journey: the good, the happy, the sad, and the difficult. There are lessons in all of them for us and when we learn to love the truth in each lesson we find a wonderful balance.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related