In October, 1993, I had become an ordained minister, practicing Christianity through a denomination called New Thought. I studied Native American spirituality, as well, and became fully immersed in its beauty and culture. Drumming circles were very popular at this time, spreading across the United States to bring mainstream people into Native traditions and teachings.
My first husband was born in Wapato, WA. The Wapato Indian bloodline was on his Father's side. His Father looked Native American and my husband, Larry, showed it in his face and coloring, as well. Larry had died in 1976 due to a senseless automobile accident. As I was learning about Native American traditions, I felt in my heart that it was creating a spiritual link to him.
As a minister, I found that I loved hosting healing circles for women. We gathered on my property weekly for one year, sitting on blankets around a ceremonial fire. We honored Native traditions and each of us emotionally grew and healed in the process.
The photo above depicts my own blanket and the spiritual tools I made myself. There is a rattle made with hide and wet sand. The seams were sewn with hide and needle. When the sand dried, it was removed, leaving a hardened shell. Different sizes of small beads were inserted and a length of driftwood from the beach became the handle. I painted my totem animal on the rattle to complete it.
There is a wooden mallot (hardened rubber ball) on the left in the photo. I covered it in leather and then beaded around the neck and on the handle. I used it to play my Native drum, another item I made and painted. The Talking Stick (left) became an object that each person used when they shared what was in their heart at a circle. As long as someone held the stick, they claimed silent attention and was not interruped or given advice. It is said that we know our own truths within, that we must learn to become quiet in order to hear the inner voice, and allow ourselves to speak only those truths. In summer months, I hosted monthly circles for men and women. The Talking Stick was used on those nights, too. It is made from a tree branch, covered in leather and beaded in traditional colors of the Medicine Wheel. There are feathers attached to it, as well.
Native American tradition teaches us to walk in Beauty. This means consciously looking for good, for lessons and Truth, for balance in our lives. To this end, we are One, you and I. We are part of all living things and everything that lives has spirit.