The Big Seven Sacred Rites
Chief William Hoff – Nuda Yonv
Walelu Township Tsalagiyi Nvdagi Tribe
Ayelvnudvhnadegv; Health; that we may all live with Good Health.
In order for everyone to live with good health, we must individually approach this teaching with a holistic (Nigadv) and balanced (Nutiyvna) attitude. Each aspect of our whole being needs to be addressed. This practice involves working with and bringing into harmony all phases of our make-up. Since we are comprised of five different aspects, they should each be given attention. The five parts or aspects to our whole being include, the Mind (Odanvdv), Emotions (Adatelvsgv), Body (Ayelv), Spirit (Adanvdo), and Soul (Galvquodi Adanvdo).
Just as it is necessary to feed and properly exercise our physical bodies to be healthy, so must we feed and exercise every level of our other aspects. Positive and healthy things can also be brought in to fuel and exercise our minds, emotions, spirit, and soul.
Only by going within can we find out exactly what is right for us. We cannot rely on others to give us a formula for total individual health. We have been given the tools to find for ourselves personally how to heal, feed, and use our own aspects. The separate parts can be viewed and the rifts between them mended before they lead to even worse splits. Remember the rifts or splits between our aspects are what eventually cause sickness, disease, chemical dependency, and even premature death. We are the only ones in control of our own wellbeing.
Others may try to control us temporarily, as well as certain life situations. Ultimately, we are the ones with the deciding factors. All things in life are the result of choices. The choices made by others can affect us, but the positive choices we make for ourselves and play through with in our reality, are the ones that count. When we know what is best for our personal path then we can put this knowledge to work in our everyday lives.
The five aspects are very intricate and delicate. Be careful to put into action an intricate yet delicate program that will benefit your Whole Being. You might combine walking or jogging with daily meditation along with morning prayers with sacred tobacco and going to water? You could even add something like writing down your feelings and thoughts in a journal each night.
Once we make a commitment to uncover and follow a personal overall healthy regime, then much help will be sent to us on our life’s journey. The Great Spirit (Yowa) blesses all who make a True heart felt effort.
Unanelotanv; Generations; refers to the generations or stages of Life. Infant (Ayoli), Youth (Advsgi), Adult (Utana), and Elder (Udvsonvhi) are the four stages of Life. All things in this Universe flow in cycles. Our lives are no different and in fact are a perfect example of the universal cycles.
The four major cycles of Life we can also think of as four hills (Nvgi Digadusi). We must climb each hill or complete each stage, conquering the obstacles in our path and learning and growing, before we can travel on to the next hill.
Many times history repeats itself. This is simply the cycles of Life and of the entire Universe unfolding before our very eyes.
On the first hill we experience Infancy (Ayoli). We are totally dependent upon others for our care and wellbeing. This stage will influence us for the rest of our lives. Positive or Negative energies during this vulnerable time will stay with us throughout our Life Path. We instinctively fight to overcome the obstacles and learn to communicate and become mobile and independent.
The second hill is Youth (Advsgi). This usually is a very difficult and emotional time in our development. Most of the obstacles at this stage are self-inflicted, since many young people think they are invincible. It is important to learn about responsibility at this point. Acquiring good work ethics and skills as well as learning traditional Tsalagi values, spirituality, and culture is vital for our survival.
The third hill is Adulthood (Utana). Hopefully we are balanced (Nutiyvna) and have gained enough Wisdom (Agadohvsdi) to assist the younger folks in their Life paths. It is our turn to help bring new Life into the world and to provide a positive start for them. We should be good examples and willing teachers, showing them the sacred ways and supporting them on their paths.
The fourth hill of Life is Elder (Udvsonvhi). At this stage we should be honored and respected. We ideally should be free from much work, enabling us to spread Wisdom to others. The lessons we have learned from a lifetime can be passed on to the Youth. Elders are the greatest and wisest teachers of all. They should be treated as such at all times. Toward the end of our climb, we might need assistance again, similar to the beginning of our lives. History repeats itself and the cycle ends as it begins only to begin again.
An important part of the Generations teaching is to understand that whatever we do in our Life Path will affect the next seven generations of our people. It is a good idea to keep this in mind at all times when making choices and in everything that we do. It is hard to imagine what the next seven generations will have to live with but the work we do now to improve our world situation will make a difference to each generation yet to come.
Teaching # 3
Alihelitsidasdi; Happiness; is what all People are in search of on their Life Path (Galohisdi).
To find the answer for happiness on our individual path, first we must meditate. Looking within our soul self can bring much insight. Happiness is different for each one of us and personal answers can only come by searching the depths of our inner and higher selves.
This teaching is not to be handled lightly. Many people go through their entire lives pretending to know what happiness is, only to find that they never really attained happiness at all. It is easy to create a false face or mask in an attempt to convince others we are happy. We cannot fool the Great Spirit, our true selves, the Good Helping Spirits, or Mother Earth.
Happiness can only come to us after we take control of our own lives and find our own special and unique Pathway (Galohisdi). Bringing joy from within our deepest beings will fill our lives to overflowing, spilling it out into the Universe and affecting All That Is. This is the look of a true face. Only then can we drop our mask or false face.
Real heart felt happiness is very contagious, spreading like wildfire everywhere we take it. It can lead us down our true paths and it can help keep us balanced (Nutiyvna) and on track, walking our own sacred personal path in Life. Happiness is the great harmonizer balancing out negative energies everywhere we encounter them. We cannot be serious all of the time, we must be able to laugh at ourselves and let go and play.
Once found, our individual happiness should be carried within our hearts. Remember never to step on another’s happiness. During these difficult world times using and spreading happiness can be a very powerful commodity.
Teaching # 4
Service to Others
Gadugi; Service to Others; is a teaching that represents the very center of our sacred hoop and the very root of our beliefs as Tsalagi people. Helping others and being of service with no expectation of repayment is our greatest gift to Yowa (Great Spirit), ourselves and the entire Universe.
Selfless acts of care and love embody the sacred life ways that all people have followed from the beginning of time. This single teaching has been the basis for our medicine societies (Anidawehi), warrior societies (Aniayastigi and Anigitlugvhita), as well as the entire Tsalagi seven clans system (Ugaya).
By dedicating ourselves to helping others we can change the flow of negative energy surrounding us. I believe it is the way to help balance the scales of Creation so to speak and push back the destruction of Mother Earth (Etsai Elohino), the sacred elements (Air – Unole, Earth – Elohi, Water – Ama, Fire – Atsilv), and ourselves.
If we can alter dominant society’s focus with the Self (I) and materialistic comforts, then we can bring many people back to the sacred circle or hoop. Directing our views toward all living beings will go a long way for overall holistic healing. We can each be a good example and we can take active roles in the care of the elders and teaching of the youth. Don’t wait to be asked to help. Assist wherever service is needed. The responsibility belongs to all of us. Being diplomatic and putting our personal feelings aside can sometimes do the most good for all.
The whole meaning and understanding of the word TRIBE comes from the practice of Gadugi or Service to Others. Blood ties and Clan membership are very important to the Tsalagi but families are formed when like-minded people come together in service to others. Putting selfish wants aside for the good of the whole is how our ancestors from every ancient traditional culture formed their Tribes and this is how we are rediscovering ours today. Many people reach a point in their lives where they can no longer help themselves. These people are crying out for help through their very souls. As True Heart (Adanvdo Equa) Tsalagi and as Tribal Members, we must hear these cries. It is our job to listen from our hearts and then take action.
We each receive so much from the Universe and the Great Spirit and it is time we return equal amounts of energy and gifts back into Creation. Gadugi can be our individual way to ensure the wellbeing of our next seven generations.
Teaching # 5
Eluwei; Silence; listen and observe the great silence, find peace within.
Going to our most sacred spots, closing our eyes, emptying our minds and opening our ears is how we access the great silence. There is a place within each of us where we can hear with all of our senses. The answers to every life question can be found in the calm inner silence.
Eluwei is a method or practice of meditating that involves the use of each of our senses. The Universe is able to speak to us when we clear all other thoughts and sounds and chaos away. We have been given the gift of obtaining the highest answers possible by entering the silence.
With all of the distractions and chaos in our lives today it is important to take a vacation from the constant commotion and noise. Many people talk, talk, talk just to hear themselves, but they never really say anything. Leaving our everyday world to listen is the only way to truly hear.
This sacred teaching can guide us on our individual paths and transport us back home to the Universal Life Force Center. The answers given to us during Eluwei are the voice of the Great Spirit (Yowa).
Teaching # 6
Udadolitsati; Compassion for Life; have pity on us Great Spirit, for we are all related and connected.
Compassion for Life (Vlenidohv) is an important teaching that can be found in all traditional spiritual and religious belief systems. To understand this concept, first we must realize how delicate and sacred life truly is. Scientists will never unravel the mysteries to the miracles of Life.
Many people today take life for granted, not considering the whole process of it all. Universal Life Force Energy (Nulinigvgv Igvwanadalegi) is breathed into simple material elements, causing them to grow, change and form living things. The spark of energy or Sacred Fire which is the Soul itself is contained within the shell of a material earthly body. This all takes place so that an individual spiritual path can be experienced and ultimately achieved. These miraculous acts that give Life are the ties that bind all living things together. They are how we are all related and connected. The Fire of Life for each of us came from the same place making us all one and part of the whole. Understanding this teaching will enable us to coexist with all living things in peace.
We should have compassion too for those who do not conceive this simple, yet profound idea. Many people cause great negativity that affects everyone because they have forgotten compassion. They have lost their connection to Life.
Hunting is a good example of demonstrating compassion for Life. Taking the lives of our animal relatives should not be viewed as trivial. When Yowa placed the original care of Mother Earth into the hands of our people, they were given the proper ceremonies for taking the lives of the animals. Hunting was intended for the sole purpose of survival, not for sport or for fun. Each sacred life that our ancestors took was mourned. The animals were honored and prayed over for their safe journey to the Spirit World. Offerings were made in the memory of the deceased life and they were thanked for allowing the people to live through their ultimate sacrifice.
Life cannot be taken for granted without serious consequences. It is sacred and should be treated as such at all times. There is a fine line between Life and Passing. That line can easily be cut or broken at any time. Have and demonstrate Udadolitsati or compassion for all life and pray for the compassion of your own.
Teaching # 7
The Seven Sacred Powers of the Universe and of Life.
The seven sacred powers of the universe are what allow Universal Energies (Nulinigvgv Igvwanadalegi) to flow in their right time and place.
The first power is above (Galvladitlv) or the skies. This direction represents the Great Spirit (Yowa). This is not to say that the Great Spirit only lives above us like the popular religious idea of a god who is separate, looking down upon us and judging from on high. The Great Spirit, from a traditional Tsalagi spiritual standpoint, is above us, below us, in front and behind us, side to side of us and most importantly within us. To name just one direction for the focus of this power our ancestors chose above or ga-lv-la-di-tlv. The sacred color that represents this direction is Yellow.
The second power is below (Eladitlv) and represents Etsai Elohino or the Earth Mother. This is the direction in which we were born. Ironically this is also the most commonly abused direction. Much of society today has taken themselves out of the cycle of all living things upon the Earth. They no longer are concerned with their Mother’s health. The Good Mother Earth is getting sicker and sicker and is angry that her children have forgotten about her. Human beings repay Mother Earth who sustains Life with destruction. Many people even treat their own human birth mothers with the same disrespect and in a similar manner. The sacred color that represents this direction is Brown.
The next four powers are known as the Spirits of the Four Winds or Nvgitsuhulai and they work together as Good Helping Spirits to assist us on our sacred paths. Each spirit or power is associated with one of the cardinal points; East (Digalvgunyi – It comes from there), South (Ugalayai – Warm there), West (Udiligvyi – It goes down there), and North (Ayastaluyi – Ice there). The sacred color that represents each of these directions is; East – Red, South – White, West – Black, and North – Blue.
The seventh power is within (Hawiniditlv) and it represents our higher self or the sacred Life Force at the center of our being. Within us dwells our Soul or Galvquodi Adanvdo and this is that spark of light or sacred fire that the Great Spirit breathed into us to give us Life. Our Soul is part of the Great Spirit and it is part of the whole. Human Beings are Spiritual Beings in material Earthly bodies so we have a dual nature both spiritual and material. This is why we must strive to remain in balance and on our sacred life path. The sacred color that represents this direction is Green.
To better explain how the seven sacred powers of the Universe converge together to do their work I will use my own experiences and healing techniques as an example. When I call on the Nuwati Equa that resides in all living things, I am able to gather energy from above, below, each of the four cardinal directions and from within. The energy builds and moves in from all directions. As the energy descends from above, and comes up from below, it meets in the center or within where the Good Helping Spirits of the Four Winds add their energies to the mix. The great surge of energies from all sources begins to swirl and mix together like a whirlwind. This whirlwind of Universal Energies enters my body and can be translated as healing energy, a voice for singing the sacred songs, or speaking to and teaching others.
When we understand where the seven sacred powers come from and how to use them on our life path then we will have greater insight into the inner workings of the Universe itself. It is possible for each of us to call on the Universal Powers that flow all around us and within us for help and for our own well being.