Native American - (influenced by Black Elk)

Excerpt from Chapter 14 - Evaluating Spiritual Disciplines

* Native American - (influenced by Black Elk)

Much of the tradition that is used today by Native American groups has been strongly influenced by Black Elk. But most people do not realize that Black Elk was a Christian missionary for the last decades of his life and reportedly used his native rituals and ceremonies only on weekends when performing for the tourists. He raised his youngest children as Catholics. (His daughter spoke out about this later in her life.)

Personally, I find the teachings of Stalking Wolf (see Chapter 12) to have far greater relevance and validity than other Native American teachings. Stalking Wolf practiced his native-American-based spirituality for the entire nine-plus decades of his life. He clearly saw the potential traps of rituals, meditation, ceremonies and sacred objects. He placed high value on vision quests (and to a much lesser degree sweat lodges) as sources of spiritual wisdom. What he did not find to be of value, he did not teach. His teachings were noticeably lacking in any words about two currently popular activities of Native American groups, sun dances and "spiritual" drugs such as peyote, mushrooms and mescaline. I believe these two types of activities are (far more often than not) traps for those participating.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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