Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Live and Learn

Sacred knowledge, archived in aboriginal cosmologies, begins with long, careful observation. This keen awareness is honed by trial and error, discussion and reflection, as well as vision and insight.

An example of a first step toward sacred knowledge is the relatively recent scientific discovery that all things are connected. I remember the revelatory delight of a neighbor who returned from a summer nature school with her daughters, telling me about the connections abundant in the ancient forest where they'd camped.

Understanding that this insight is merely the trail head of a long path to wisdom, allows us to be persistent and patient, knowing that one has to pace oneself as well as make many choices along the way. Seeking regular guidance is also a good idea.

Once a critical mass of knowledge and understanding has accumulated, it is wise to document and archive this information for others to make use of. Given the state of the world, we don't have the luxury of starting from scratch.

One civilization that has taken this task seriously is Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. Zuni Pueblo protector societies meet regularly to discuss threats to their social harmony and well-being, and develop means of guarding against poisonous ideas -- be they economic, emotional, intellectual, medicinal, physical, political, or spiritual.

The Zuni means of preservation of memory of these tools of survival are recorded in their architecture, food, pottery, and regalia, enabling them to adapt and endure without sacrificing their core values.

For those of us who are relatively new to this continent, I find this instructive in the need to develop our storytelling through art, ceremony, dance, oratory, and ritual, if we, too, are to adapt and endure. In a simple sense, we need to live and learn.

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