The Haudenosaunee people (Iroquois Native Americans) had a very different relationship with Mother Earth than we do today. Interestingly, in ancient healing systems, like Native American medicine and Chinese medicine, going back to “the Mother” or Mother Earth, is a big part of healing, whether emotionally or physically. We all have experienced this when we take a walk in nature, in the sands and oceans, the mountains and forests, the parks, and our backyards. We can feel something changing inside of us.
Deep inside, we have a knowing that this is a kind of healing.
The Haudesonaunee women were the original farmers because it was believed that since they grew life inside of them, they had an intuitive knowing about growing life from our Mother Earth. The men had the role of hunting, with the forest as their work domain. Together, they knew that to tend to our Mother properly, we needed honor balance. This meant that if we were to take something from our Mother Earth, we were creating a disturbance (whether farming, fishing or hunting) that required balance.
Three Sacred Practices Helped Balance this Disturbance:
- A thanksgiving ceremony (or raising of the spirit) was conducted to bring balance between the giver (e.g., a plant or medicinal herb) and the taker (e.g., a human). The intention of the ceremony was to allow the taker and the giver to connect spiritually, giving thanks for the gift of one spirit being given to build the strength and spirit of another. It was believed that the giving spirit received strength as well, through the taker’s gratitude and honor, so that balance was restored.
- The people only took enough to meet the needs of their family, while leaving the rest for the next 7 generations of the species and of humans.
- Whatever they took, they used all parts, 100%, with no waste.
I wonder sometimes, in our modern lives, if we can apply these principles of balance — not just to Mother Earth — but to all of our lives. There is a kind of formula here that holds the key to healing more than just our Mother Earth. Through the principle of balance, we can heal our bodies, minds, spirits.
As you think about your life, are you:
- Balancing giving and receiving – setting boundaries so that you have a balance of work/rest & play, of self-care and caretaking, of saying yes and saying no, of nourishing vs. depleting thoughts and actions, time spent online and time spent “offline.” Being alone and being with people.
- Finding the meaning in your life, expressing gratitude – even for the things that seem ordinary on the surface.
- Connecting with all of life – feeling your connection to all people, plants and animals, knowing that we are all one, part of the cycle of life; and we all deserve honor and reverence.
Taking some time to put your feet on Mother Earth and feel her healing energy.
I really feel like balance is the foundation of love. When we feel balanced, it’s easier to feel love for ourselves and all living beings. This is a grassroots effort. The more of us who practice balance, the more we can bring the energy and actions of balance into the world around us. The more we can grow love.