Manataka American Indian Council
The Cherokee Full Circle:
A Practical Guide to Ceremonies and Traditions
by J. T. Garrett and
Michael Tlanusta Garrett
A comprehensive overview of Native American spiritual principles and their application for personal spirit-healing. *Includes traditional sacred exercises, teaching tales, case studies, and suggested rituals for individual and group healing. *Outlines the core principals of Native American traditional values and teaches how to apply them to the contemporary path of wellness and healing.
Publication to coincide with annual Full Circle gathering in September 2002 The Four Directions, the four seasons, and the four elements that make up the sacred hoop of the full circle must be in right relationship with one another or disharmony will result. Native American ritual has always emphasized the restoration of balance through ceremonies that provide a forum for learning, transition, and expressions of personal growth. Now Cherokee authors J. T. and Michael Garrett share Native American traditions to explore interrelationships as a tool for growth and transformation.
Cherokee Full Circle gathers techniques representing Native American cultures
from across America-stories, exercises, and individual and group rituals-to
teach the inherent dynamics of right relationship and apply them to the healing
path. The authors provide a comprehensive overview of Native American spiritual
principles and traditions and demonstrate how these ideas and methods can be
applied universally to deal with life's situations-from depression and grieving
to finding purpose and establishing positive relationships.
Bear & Company
200 pages, 5 3/8 x 8 1/4
Paper, $19.95 + s/h
From the Introduction
Long ago, the wise old chiefs and the wise old women taught the children how to grow up and to love one another. All the land belonged to all the people and all the children felt that every man or woman was a father or a mother. So there was no hurt child wandering alone and unloved and there was no old person who did not have people who looked after him or her. When the young, strong hunters went out to kill buffalo or antelope or deer or elk, they would bring back to the old people, and to the widow and the weak, the best of the meat. So there was goodness and a common purpose among the people . . . [who were] in tune with something far more wonderful, the Spirit of Life.
Native Americans have always stressed the importance of cultural ways and traditions as taught by the elders from our ancestors. Attitudes and behaviors associated with various Native American values have been expressed by Riles as follows.
Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
There is a sense of belonging in being a member of the group and in not being placed in a position above or below others by being singled out; improving on one's past performances is encouraged, though not to the detriment of the group.
The needs of the group are considered over those of the individual. Consensus is sought in times of decision.
Boasting and loud behavior that attract attention to oneself are discouraged. Personal achievement and humbleness go hand-in-hand.
People are not meant to be controlled or manipulated. One is taught not to interfere with the affairs of another by asking questions or offering advice.
Silence should be comfortable as it is a reflection of self-control, endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence can also be used to mask feelings of discomfort in the presence of others in order to determine what is expected.
The ability to wait quietly is considered the quality of someone possessing a great deal of inner strength and wisdom.
The ability to share and give freely of such things as property and food reflects a sense of connectedness with the group and the Circle of Life.
Universal interdependence dictates that for everything taken something must be given in return, in order to maintain harmony and balance.
Humor is used among trusted persons to connect and relate.
Moderation in speech
Ideas and feelings are conveyed through behavior rather than speech. Talking for the sake of talking is discouraged.
Emphasis is placed on the feeling component rather than the verbal one.
Avoidance of eye contact
Avoiding prolonged direct eye contact is a sign of respect. There are appropriate times for looking at respected persons.
Listening skills and keen perceptive abilities are emphasized as evidenced by the importance of storytelling and oral recitation. Insincerity is easily detected.
Nonverbal messages as relayed by facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice are easily perceived and understood. Children learn through observation and patience.
Any topic can be spoken of in terms of legends, anecdotes, or stories that relate a specific idea or feeling through metaphor and visualization. Thoughts and action emphasize similarity to other relevant situations through the use of images.
View of time as relative
Time is constantly flowing and always with us. Things are done as they have to be done; events begin and end when everyone is ready. Time is not "to use us" but "to be used by us" since it has no beginning and no end.
One lives each day as it comes. We should be more interested in "being" in the present than "becoming" in the future. Everything has its place.
Veneration of age
Wisdom comes with experience and age. Tribal elders are treated with great respect and dignity; their knowledge and abilities are utilized for the continuance of the circle (family, clan, tribe).
Respect for nature
Humankind and nature are thought to exist as one-in-the same. Lifestyle is formed by living in harmony and balance with nature. Disharmony arises from breaking the balance with nature, whether it be in the mental, physical, or spiritual realms.
Spiritual practices emphasizing harmony with nature and the entire Circle of Life pervade every aspect of a person's existence.
Importance of the family
"Family" denotes a relatedness experienced with all aspects of nature and other living creatures, including blood relatives. Emphasis on extended family provides support and a strong sense of belonging. "Fictive kin" are often claimed as legitimate family members.
Holistic view of health
Illness implies an imbalance within a person or between a person and his or her universe. People can either be "in step" with the universe or "out of step" based on lifestyle and choices.
Information about one's family is not freely shared. Personal and family problems are generally kept to oneself, in part due to hesitancy about how one will be received by others.
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