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The first calendar that North American Indians ever had was Turtle's shell.Our Ancestors watched the passing of the cycles and seasons, noting that thirteen moons passed before the same seasons returned.Grandmother Nisa (Moon) was our guide.Through her changing cycles, she told women when their bodies were fertile and when they would experience their Moontimes, or menstrual flows.Grandmother Moon disappeared and returned, showing her full face thirteen times during the year.The Earth Mother, who was represented by the Most fertile creature on our planet, the Turtle, showed our Ancestors how to mark the passing of each moon cycle.Turtle's shell bore the thirteen moons of the year inside of a frame that formed the circle we call the Sacred Hoop, or Medicine Wheel.
This unifying circle represents the sacred relationship of all life to all life.The Sacred Hoop also represented the path across the sky or orbit that was our Earth Mother's yearly journey around Grandfather Sun.The orbit of Grandmother Moon's journey around our Earth Mother is another circle, giving the Ancestors an understanding of the import of all concentric circles bringing life into unity or harmony.
These thirteen moon cycles gave birth to the legends of the Thirteen Original Clan Mothers who represent the gifts and abilities humankind can develop during the Earthwalk, or physical life.These lessons of developing human potential contain the skills that every Two-legged human must learn in order to live in harmony with all life forms.When we learn what our potentials are and develop the skills of right relationship, we can offer to share those gifts with the whole ofthe Human Tribe.Generosity is the key to working for the benefit of all living things.If we give of ourselves and of our gifts, the blessings we have received are shared.We can then expand the boundaries and capabilities of all human potential.
When my editor approached me about writing this book, I began to see the value of putting together some lessons or thoughts for each day that could educate the reader about the ways of harmony that have imbued the best of Native American lifestyles.When these concepts are honored, the ideas of living in harmony within a community are easily attainable.Many non-Native friends have asked me to include some of the unspoken rules of etiquette that our Native American community observes in order to bridge Potential cultural misunderstandings.I have done this in this text because it benefits our urban Native youths who have not been exposed to the Ancestors' ways as well as educating non-Natives.These lessons of respecting others and their Sacred Spaces can be applied to any culture, resulting in harmonious living.
I was recently surprised when one of my Mohawk sisters told me that she did not know that I had written the poems that begin every chapter in every book that I have authored or coauthored.The only exceptions carry the two names of the writers I quoted.I chose to write some of the thoughts for the day in this text with poetry because the rhythms and cadence of poetry often open our minds to different ways of understanding.Other thoughts for the day are written as Medicine Stories, and all are original.That is to say that these writings are based upon the lessons I have been taught on my path, but none of this text is taken verbatim from other sources.
Harper San Francisco wanted all original material for this book, so I decided to look at events in my life that had taught me about harmony, self-discovery, sharing, love, and more.I then asked for the Great Mystery's guidance.I called on the Clan Mothers' spirits to assist me in knowing which lessons would best represent their creed of Life, Unity, and Equality for Eternity.Then I used my gifts of storytelling and writing to express the beauty of the Ancestors' ways of harmony, creating new material that could reflect these lessons to others.I trust that these lessons, stories, and poems will assist all readers in continuing on their paths of personal healing.My personal desire, in writing this book, is that each one of you claim your right to become your vision!Earth Medicine. Copyright © by Jamie Sams. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.