O you, almighty creator,
May now be restored universal harmony.
May you renew all my being in harmony and beauty.
Let me be enlightened and protected by the force of your universal harmony.
To you, I offer my sorrow, my troubles, and all that is hindering me.
From now on, let everything be harmonious.
Let all be in beauty.
O you, creator of universes, you are my only companion,
It is only according to your will that I walk,
And by your sacred path I am restored and renewed
Walking in beauty.
With beauty in front of me, I follow my path,
With beauty behind me, I follow my path,
With beauty above me, I follow my path,
With beauty all around me, I follow my path,
All has become beauty again,
All has become harmony again,
All has become balanced again,
All has become perfect again."
(Morning prayer of Diné’h – Navajo)
There is today a great interest in the cultures of indigenous people and Native Americans. But our perception of those cultures is mostly based on stereotypes. We imagine Native Americans to be “savages”, living entirely united to nature, linked to a distant past of humanity, leading a life diametrically opposed to modern civilization. Or we see them as wise men, shamans, living in direct communication with animals, nature and disincarnate spirits. But those romantic depictions are mental images, created for instance by the Hollywood film industry, with movies like “Little Big Man” or “Dances with Wolves”. These images have spread through western culture and they conceal the actual reality.
The names by which we know Native American peoples, such as “Sioux”, “Cheyenne”, or “Navajo” are not their real names. They have been given by those who have colonized them. Native American people remember that they have been created to accomplish God’s thought. For this reason, they call themselves “the authentic people”, “the true men”, or “the authentic men that walk on earth”.
For those who have been directly in contact with Native Peoples’ thought and spirituality, the reality is very different from what is depicted in movies and novels.
We often represent Native American spiritualities as shamanic religions aiming to master the forces of nature in connection with animals and plants. Actually, according to Amerindian wisdom, divine thought has created the world around us. Men living in this world, created by thought, are themselves, thoughts of God. Human beings have therefore a great responsibility, because human thought still carries the signs of divine thought and continues the work of creation of the world.
The founder of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner said on this matter, that Amerindian thought has been kept undamaged in the 20th century to serve as a counterweight to western thought, for the moment when western thinking will become totally crystallized, automatic and devoid of life.
Native American spiritualities, in their purest form, are a religion based on humanity’s primordial type, original humanity. When talking about the consciousness of first peoples, or primitive peoples, many believe that this consciousness of humanity’s beginnings was crepuscular and that, in general, Amerindians’ consciousness is strongly linked to nature. Native Americans believe that their spirituality is in direct relation with Nature, with a capital N, in other words, Primordial Nature. This is built on a complex system of myths that relates the creation of earth, skies and man, and how the human being connects with divine creation.
Daily life activities and spirituality are woven together, in the way wool threads are woven to make a beautiful carpet. Actually, our thoughts weave all things into the great fabric of life, transforming them into a path of beauty and harmony.
According to Christian cosmogony, there once was a paradise, an Eden, a pure alchemical field of life development. This pure field was given to a human being, so that he could express the glory and beauty of God’s thought. The man of origins, the first Adam, was still walking “in God’s hand”. His goal was to lead a purely spiritual life, even though he didn’t possess anything material. There was a way to return directly to God, without priests or churches, through daily life, a life expressed in the kingdoms of nature, in landscapes, natural elements, plants and animals around men.
This path could be called “the first path”. It is still kept today by the interior schools of several religions, particularly those of Native Americans. The “first path” is the direct path to God, a way that guides men, their soul and spirit towards the one spiritual goal.
When the thought of Origin touches men directly, human thought comes back to its purity, its balance and its original harmony. The primordial type comes back to life, human thought reflects divine will and the universal circle is shaped again in perfect harmony. It is the path on which, according to ritual Amerindian terms, men “walk in beauty”.
For those who walk that first path, great forces are liberated. And in dawn’s light, the natural field, that has been an enemy for so long, becomes the most beautiful of harmonies. From the four directions of the universal circle, a perfect unity is shaped. Divine thought is expressed again through life behavior and actions of such men. For Native Americans, this universal circle is God’s first representation. Circles are the expression of God’s thought. The world is made of circles, vibrations and cycles. Everything starts from the origin, delineates a large circle and comes back to the origin. In the same way, the sun rises in the east of the white dawn, rises up in the blue to the zenith, directing towards the south, and portrays a large circle in the sky. When night comes, the sun lies down in the golden splendor of the west, disappearing in the dark starlit night, where its central presence is marked, in the direction of the north by the polar star, the star around which all other stars also delineate a large circle.
According to Native Americans, a long time ago, the world was limited to a large circular lake, totally calm and still. Around that lake, there was nothing. Nothing existed then: neither the sky, nor the earth, nor the stars, nor vegetables nor animals. Human beings only existed as possibilities. There was only the thought of the creator, gliding above the lake like a bright sun. One day, the creator let a stone fall in the lake and concentric waves started to spread from the center towards the banks of the lake. The waves on the surface of the water became waves of life for the mineral, plant and human kingdoms. Mountains emerged, rivers and oceans were filled and clouds appeared in the four directions. Solid ground was created with its sacred places and it began to delineate a large circle.
Plants started to grow on earth. Corn plants appeared and prepared themselves to feed humans. Above earth, lights appeared; the sun and the moon delineated large circles, then the stars arose. Seasons appeared with their series of cold and warm periods.
Animals with multiple shapes started to walk in large circles on earth around the circular lake. Buffalos galloping in immense plains, eagles flying in circles, always higher towards their creator, bears following the rhythms of the awakening of spring and the sleep of winter, salmons following the great circle of streams and rivers.
Then humans appeared. A wind started to blow from the clouds surrounding the circular lake. From that blow, First Man and First Woman were shaped. First Man had a rock crystal with him. With a ray of sun, he made a fire. First Woman prepared her camp with a circular hut. She had with her a turquoise stone. She rubbed the stone and a fire emerged. Then, far away, she saw the light from First Man and came closer. They decided to live together and it was the beginning of all human civilization.
After a moment, the waves caused by the stone were spreading and reached the banks of the circular lake. Then, they started to spread back, from the banks of the lake towards the central point where the stone had been thrown. It was the beginning of the second phase of creation, the return of all things to their origin.
Little by little, animal species started to disappear, plants became scarce, and mountains came closer to each other. The world became smaller, men and women had less space to live and they had to learn to live together and understand their differences. The four races, with their black, white, yellow and red colors had to unite to form a single people.
All that was living had to learn how to come back to the center from which everything had come to life. All would resolve in the central point, all would be united again, because the surface of the lake was to be totally still again. It would be the end of a cycle of manifestation, in the waiting of another cycle.
In this Amerindian tale of creation, the world describes a large circle to come back to its original point. In other stories, men give their name to each animal. Human beings were supposed to be the intendants and protectors of all kingdoms. In the Bible, in Genesis, it is also the first man and the first woman that were supposed to make the domain of original life bear its fruits, the garden of Eden with its four streams of life.
You probably know those myths of world creation, of the original paradise. You have seen them represented in images and have read depictions in books. But it is totally different to read the description of a place in a book from seeing it in reality. That is why a direct contact with Amerindian philosophy is almost always a psychological and cultural shock for modern western people.
The primordial Source from which everything comes expresses itself directly through radiations, not words or writings. It is like the divine sun that sends its rays to illuminate our world and its humanity.
Jan van Rijckenborgh, founder of the School of the Golden Rosycross – a modern Gnostic spiritual school – represents Amerindian wisdom through the character of Hiawatha. Hiawatha is the personification of the highest life, the best and the most noble. When Hiawatha kneels towards the rising sun, like thousands of Amerindians everyday for their morning prayer, he consciously connects with the Eternal that lies behind all appearances. It is a direct link with the state of consciousness of the original man. The rays of the rising sun penetrate deeply to the bottom of our heart, they go through all the layers of consciousness and subconscious mind, and they reach the original source of all life.
To end this presentation of Amerindian wisdom, let us quote a Navajo prayer (an extract from Navaho myths, Prayers and Songs by Matthews Washington).
“We believe in universal thought. Everything, entirely everything, originates in thought. Thus, having true daily purity of thought is the beginning of every spiritual path.
Human beings, animals, plants, our mother earth, the sun, the moon, the celestial bodies, our father the sky, all participate in the same spirit, all have an intelligent life. Each of them has its specific form and work to accomplish, according to the form-thought of the creator of all things that gives to each its own melody and its own vibration.
We believe in the duality of all manifested things. Everything that exists in manifestation has its opposite. All things have a positive and a negative side. Our world is a large circle where everything is interconnected. The universe has a consciousness and we are part of this consciousness. It expresses itself through a universal thought. Thought is at the beginning of all that exists. The air that we breathe in and out, the water that we drink and release, all that shapes our body, all is in a great circle of transformation, through ourselves, for thousands and thousands of years.
The goal of life for us is not to worship an external god, but to walk everyday in beauty. Our prayer is not every Sunday in church. Our prayer is our internal state of being. We are praying at every instant of the day, in our daily life, in the simplest moments. Praying is a way of being, a way of living in peace, balance, and harmony.
That is how we walk the large circle of life.
That is how we walk in perfect Beauty until Eternal Life.”