Natures and Native Wisdom
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Nature's and Native American Wisdom,
from the WISDOMKEEPERS :)
~**~Gift a Friend with Grandma Edna 's Wondrous Wisdom!~**~
~Please FWD this message to friends. We need to widen our community of Souls! Thanks & Blessings, /Harvey~
WOW! Grandma Edna won FIRST PLACE in the NATIVE AMERICAN BOOK category for 2007!! Send her congratulations at firstname.lastname@example.org with a CC to me (please!) Get remaining first-printing copies on shelf NOW. Go to www.haveyouthought.com or contact Publisher George Blitch at email@example.com. EDNA, WE'RE PROUD OF YOU!! /Harvey Arden
VOICE of the HAWK ELDER by Seneca Wisdomkeeper Edna Gordon
BestBooks2007WinnerFirst-Prize for Native American books Order at www.haveyouthought.com Wholesale orders contact firstname.lastname@example.org
From the desk of Harvey Arden
Founder: ~The Wisdomkeepers Collective ~ "Bringing the Elders to the World & the World to the Elders"
Author: WISDOMKEEPERS: Meetings with Native American Spiritual Elders
DREAMKEEPERS: A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia
NOBLE RED MAN: Lakota Wisdomkeeper Mathew King
TRAVELS IN A STONE CANOE: The Return to the Wisdomkeepers
Editor: PRISON WRITINGS: MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE by Leonard Peltier
WHITE BUFFALO TEACHINGS by Chief Arvol Looking Horse
VOICE OF THE HAWK ELDER by Seneca Wisdomkeeper Edna Gordon
Excerpts from Seneca Wisdomkeeper Edna Gordon's VOICE OF THE HAWK ELDER:
E NEED CHANGES in this world, really big big changes. I'm prayin' they'll be peaceable changes, not violent and bloody ones. I'd like to see a peaceable revolution, a revolution of broomsticks instead of guns.
Call it a Broomstick Revolution.
That's right. The People pick up their broomsticks and march together and Sweep Injustice Out! Make a clean sweep, a big cleanin' like's never been seen before.
Broomsticks against Injustice. Now that'll be the day!
We'll take our broomsticks and we'll sweep Leonard Peltier right out o' prison, along with all the other innocents.
Yep-a Broomstick Revolution! That's what we need!
NOW: ORDER ONLINE AT www.haveyouthought.com
VOICE of the
by Seneca Wisdomkeeper
With Harvey Arden
All rights reserved
NOW: ORDER ONLINE AT www.haveyouthought.com
This book is dedicated to my People, the Seneca Nation, to our kindred Peoples of the Haudenoshaunee, or Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, to all the Indian Nations of Great Turtle Island, and to all other Indigenous Peoples around this Mother Earth. I send it out like an arrow of love from my heart to YOUR hearts! If other folks want to read it too, why, that's fine by me. Might be you even learn something!
This book is FULL of secrets for those who understand'm!
But always remember, the BIGGEST secret is Creation itself!
What I see
I want you to see,
so that what you see
your children will be able to see.
--Hawk ElderEdna Gordon
Edna & Harvey
ELCOME TO MY UMBRELLA TREE," says Hawk Elder Edna Gordon, seating herself opposite me at her well - weathered backyard picnic - table, gesturing with a wide sweep of her hand at the rich tapestry of overhanging branches arching all the way to the ground around us, creating a kind of natural gazebo.
She nods at the tree as at a cherished old friend, and nods at me, her visitor.
"This old tree's the whole of Creation, you know, if you got eyes to see...," she says, and her throaty voice trails away thoughtfully.
I look upward into the drooping canopy of heavily leafed branches all but encasing us.
"Like a house of leaves," I say.
"More'n that," she says, "...the whole Creation's right here in this tree, if you can see it... You're sittin' right inside o' Creation itself! Don't you see it? Can't you feel it?"
I put the palm of my hand on the rough bark of the trunk.
"I ...I can feel it, I think," I say.
"Your hand on the tree, that's Life on Life," Edna says. "This Umbrella tree here's at the center of the Universe! And so are we!"
ERTAINLY, when you're with a visionary like Edna Gordon, the Universe, the Creation itself, occupies not the background of your consciousness but the foreground. She's continually reminding me-and all of us-of the oft-forgotten fact that We Exist! that the World, the Universe, the very Creation itself is here and now with us at every magical instant-and that it's our privilege, our joy, and our duty as living beings to realize this in every conscious moment, to see it, to appreciate it, to be ever - thankful and ever - marveling at all of this unthinkable vastness and infinite particularity around us and within us. She insists that we see-and, yes, feel--this miracle that we ourselves are an integral, even essential part of this Mystery beyond all mysteries.
"Yep, it's all a Mystery. A Holy Mystery," Edna says, "No matter how far you look, that's all you're ever going to find at the end of your lookin'-a Holy Mystery."
"But how are we individual human beings essential to that Mystery....? " I ask.
Edna smiles that radiant smile of hers. With her bare toetip she lightly taps a tiny bloom in the grass at her foot.
"Is a flower essential to the Universe?" she asks, "Some folks'll tell you, ‘Oh, no It's just a flower! It lives and dies in a day or two. What does Creation need that silly little flower for?' "
"Well, I tell you, that little tiny flower...you see it there by my toe...that little white one, no bigger than an earring... That flower is essential-that's right, I'm telling you, essential-to the whole wide Universe, same as you and me and everybody else. We're ALL essential, each and every one of us!
"Why, without that tiny little flower there it'd be a different Universe, a different Creation, not this one we have. D'you understand? So THAT's a mighty power, don't you think? One little flower can change the entire World! Just like one person can!"
She chuckles, amused at her thought.
OME might see a ‘quaint little old lady' here. But of Edna Gordon I can tell you from years of personal observation: quaint she ain't. No, in this diminutive octogenarian-maybe 5'2 on her stretched-taut tiptoes-I see a fearless warrior against injustice, a bold partisan on behalf of Mother Earth, an implacable defender of her People and of ALL indigenous Peoples.
I see her also as a natural-world philosopher, or Wisdomkeeper, a kind of aboriginal existentialist....but not the Sartrean Existentialist of the 1940's, whose tremulous confrontion with the naked Being of a tree's root (as in Jean-Paul Sartre's novel Nausea) elicited terror and spiritual nausea.
No, in Edna's world, a tree's root or a tiny flower or a red-tailed hawk in flight or a sudden windstorm elicits not fear and angst but joy, celebration, total communion with and immersion in the wonder of being in this world-the wonder of Being itself, of the whole vast living Mystery of Creation. Edna radiates that wonder, that devout appreciation, that thankfulness, that celebration in every word of this little book.
FIRST MET EDNA GORDON some five or six years ago, when I was (alas, unsuccesfully) trying to create a website-dreamkeepers.net-that would be the digital portal to an ever-growing constellation of personal websites for and by indigenous Elders. It's motto was "Bringing the Elders to the World & the World to the Elders."
Itself the successor to another (alas, equally unsucceful website named wisdomkeepers.com, dreamkeepers.net was to be the cumination of more than a quarter-century traveling among and working with indigenous peoples, begun while a staff writer for 23 years at National Geographic magazine, and continuing after my 1991 ‘retirement' in such trade books as Wisdomkeepers: Meetings with Native American Spiritual Elders and Dreamkeepers: A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia.
One day I answered the phone. A rough-gravel woman's voice said:
"You Harvey Arden? This is Edna Gordon. I got some books for you to publish..."
"You do? Books you say? How many books?"
"Oh, maybe ten, maybe thirty."
"Hmmm... Really! Paper books? I'm trying to create a website for the Elders, but I've never published a book-though I've had half a dozen of my own books published. You're maybe talking about a digital online book?"
"Nope, a paper book...a REAL book! I got thirty of'm. Maybe forty!"
"Had'm printed myself. Got a few copies each. Whaddayou charge?"
"We don't charge anything to Elders at dreamkeepers.net, but we don't publish books-certainly not paper books."
"Well, you WILL!"
AND SO, against all odds I might have given at the time, here is Edna's book Voice of the Hawk Elder-to my mind, an incandescent torch to light our way in these dark times.
June 1, 2006
VOICE of the HAWK ELDER
ES, THIS IS MY VOICE. These are my words. My good friend Harvey has helped me sort and arrange them, like he's done for lots of good people over the years, even back when he wrote for National Geographic. He fixes my spelling and spruces up my grammar here and there, though I tell him, not too much, Harvey ! I want folks to know who I am and how I really talk and what I'm really like. Don't make me some saintly old lady come down from Heaven on a moonbeam spoutin' high-flown words.
Me, I'm just me, Grandma Edna Gordon, Hawk Clan Elder of the Seneca Nation, Six Nations Iroquois. I just turned 85, and am tryin' my darndest to be a good person. Sometimes I succeed, but don't stay around me when I get mad! I'm a raging hawk!
'M HONORED Harvey 's chosen me to work with. Or am I the one did the choosing? . Harvey 's a helper, and that's a holy thing to be. People'mselves aren't holy. But what they do can be holy. Living a holy life, that's what life's for. Helping others, fighting injustice, standing up for the People, saving our Mother the Earth-those are holy things to do.
But always be sure to remember, it ain't you yourself who's holy. People are just people. If God'd wanted'm to be holy, he'd have given'm wings and set'm up on a cloud somewhere playin' a big gold harp.
Sounds pretty boring to me. Me, I'd rather just be a human being. I'm thankful that's all I am or need to be. Being human, that's a tough enough job for me.
SED TO BE I KEPT QUIET. I let my husband Hannibal do most of the talking. He was a spiritual leader of the Seneca Nation, though he wasn't a chief, just an ordinary man, a Wolf Clan Elder. When Hannibal talked, folks listened. He spoke from the heart and they listened from the heart. He changed their lives, like he changed mine. Hannibal made this world a better place, and that ain't easy to do.
Hannibal also wrote poems like me, and I include some of his poetry in these pages. To tell the truth, his thoughts and words are so mixed with mine I can hardly tell'm apart anymore. No matter. They're all one piece.
Now Hannibal 's gone on ahead and left me here awhile to carry on alone-though my son Richard's always here for me, like his Dad was. So I've raised four kids, and helped with more'n a few grandkids as well. I love every one of'm for their own selves.
That's how we all need to be loved. That's how God, the Creator loves each of us. He created us and he loves us, each one of us for our own self.
HESE WORDS, these poems, these thoughts come to me like falling leaves drifting into my lap. I study each leaf, each thought, then the autumn breeze carries them away. A few I write down, if I can remember'm. Others are gone forever. Once again, no matter. More'll be drifting down into my lap any time now. There's always another breeze, and there's always another poem.
Here's a little leaf-poem that drifted into my lap one day not long ago when I was out walking in our meadow and a hawk flew out of the woods high over my head, making that high-pitched squealing sound they make.
It's a just a little poem, a very simple poem, but I like it. Some other leaf-poems follow.
IF I HAD NEVER BEEN BORN
If I had never been born,
what would there be
instead of me?
A young girl? A yellow rose?
Oh, yes, a hawk!
A hawk there'd be
instead of me.
SEEING WITH VISIONARY EYES
Take my hand, this weathered branch,
and walk with me along Life's Pathway
in this, my land, my sacred land.
I'll not lead... nor you.
Creator shows the Way.
Side-by-side we'll walk, just we two.
Yes, you and me. You'll see. You'll see.
With visionary eyes you'll see.
So don't be shy, dear friend.
Take my hand and let us make our visit.
Even now the spirits come, Creator-sent.
As we, too, are Creator-sent,
if we but knew.
Look there! A Hawk!
She flies before our eyes,
a red-tailed miracle.
She flies within us, too, you know.
Use your inner eyes
to see how she flies.
I am spellbound when my eyes
capture the height of a mountain.
I wonder, would my dreams reach so high?
If I could challenge the towering mountain
and look down into the valley below,
would I be satisfied with the green pastures?
When I follow a cool, winding brook,
I often ask, "Just where does it end?"
And I wonder, "How far in life could I go?"
I sit and listen to the lapping of the sea.
now peaceful, now angry,
like my heart within.
On the beach I find a shell and put it to my ear,
and within I hear roar of the whole ocean,
the roar of my own heart.
"The more selfish you are
the smaller your world becomes.
You make yourself smaller
by being selfish."
ACCEPT THE SHADOW-SIDE WITHIN
Deep in the well of the Soul
the shadow-side of yourself,
cries out for release.
Deep in the savage-side of the Soul,
your darkest Self
sings your Death Chant.
Deep in the Soul's twilight,
where clouds are passing by,
and souls are marching on,
you pray, one day you, too, will belong.
Accept the shadow-side within;
Accept your whole Self.
Transform those inward demons
into the Warriors they are meant to be
For you are made of dark and light,
of sun and shadow,
of good and, yes, of bad.
You need them all.
You are them all.
A Child's Prayer
for the feast we share.
for blessings great or small.
for the Great Spirit's tender care.
for the love He gives us all.
MUCH MORE TO COME!
ORDER ONLINE AT www.haveyouthought.com
or To pay by check, please make check for $20 (incs s/h) out to ' Have You Thought ' with 'Hawk Elder book' on the 'for' line, and send it to the following address:
Have You Thought
P.O. Box #841912
Houston, TX 77284
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To contact Edna directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
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