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Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies Paperback – August 1, 1997
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From Library Journal
Native Americans believe that animal spirits can ultimately influence everyday lives. Lake-Thom, a healer and a descendant of three Native American tribes, combines his own experience, work with tribal elders, and readings from folk tales to explain the significance of good- and bad-luck symbols to these tribes. For instance, the hummingbird is considered to be a good-luck messenger that can carry a person's prayers to the Creator; in contrast, the owl is considered a sign of bad luck and a messenger of death. In a clear and straightforward writing style, the author defines symbols such as the turtle, bear, and coyote for Karuk, Seneca, and Cherokee tribes. He also includes several chapters on how one can get in touch with animal spirits through active participation in ceremonies and establishing sacred places. There is a helpful index and accompanying sketches. Recommended for public libraries.?Vicki Leslie Toy Smith, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Lake-Thom, a healer and a descendant of three Native American tribes, combines his own experience, work with tribal elders, and readings from folk tales to explain the significance of good- and bad-luck symbols to these tribes… Clear and straightforward.”—Library Journal
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I took the time to do the exercises with the stories that were told and after I looked back at what I had written, it was like an epiphany. I had to read some of them several times, which he recommends you do anyway, and I was like, "I get it!" I was able to make the connection on most of them. A few of them, I am still thinking about.
In the book, he talks about birds, animals, insects, reptiles and what they mean when you see them and how to handle them if they make a sudden, unwanted appearance inside your house. I will give you two examples of my own personal experiences:
Just yesterday, I was standing out in my garage smoking a cigarette when a tiny little spider lowered himself into my line of vision. My first instinct was to give him a fatal thwack. But no. After reading that part of the book, I knew he might be trying to tell me something. Spiders are messengers so as insane as this is going to sound, I asked him what was going on. Of course, he didn't answer me but now I am looking for something that I may have blown off before. He lingered there for a minute then he went back up and I haven't seen him since. But not all spiders are good.
Another thing that totally made sense to me is the section on cockroaches. Never in my life had I had to live with cockroaches until I bought this house and then they came into my house from next door after the exterminator had gone in there and done his job after the slothful people who'd lived there before had been evicted and moved out. We definitely had a problem with them so we called the exterminator...twice. He came and he did his thing and they were gone for a little while but then they came back but not as badly. We took matters into our own hands then and got ourselves some Roach Prufe and sprinkled that around. That seemed to do the trick, too. But while all of this was going on, people were coming and going out of our house and some of them weren't the good kind of people. Once we got rid of the bad people, the roaches went away. A few of them were friends of our sons and one was a person who just pretended to be a friend of my mine and my husband's. Once these people were out of our lives, the roaches were gone and we haven't seen any since.
I took this book very seriously and I learned so much from it. I now understand the sacredness of certain places on Earth even though I had a great idea before. I understand how we are all connected which really wasn't a revelation to me but this reinforced it for me. I no longer think that animals are a step beneath us. They are our equals and they are our relatives and should be treated with respect. They will talk to you if you choose to listen. Nature will talk to you if you listen.
I also understand some of the ceremonies and someday hope to make my own medicine wheel. I also want to dream creatively. All of this and more is in this book.
Yes, I am part Indian but probably not enough to make a big difference. But you don't have to be to understand this book. You just have to open your mind and your heart and be open to what's being said. Some will think it's hokey or just a big put-on but these stories have been passed down from generation to generation and have substance and standing.
This is a life changing book and I know I will be referring back to it often.
While I'm preaching this, I guess I would recommend Native American Wisdom, too. My oldest son is 11 and just got done reading his copy of Native American Wisdom and told me it was probably the greatest book he's ever read. Native American Wisdom is required reading for both of my sons when they turn 12 and I'm thinking I might be adding this book to their short list of required reading.
So many people convince themselves and others that a fish in a dream always means this and a crow always means that. Oftentimes there is similarity but you'll have your own meaning for some animals and events. Love this topic.