19 Aug Sacred Chants for Love, Healing and Co-Creation

  [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Fire-Ceremony-Chant.mp3"][/audio] Teaching on the Cherokee Heart Chant This is my commentary on the Cherokee Heart Chant as taught by Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo: [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Teaching-on-the-Cherokee-Heart-Chant.mp3"][/audio] Cherokee Heart Chant (Sung by Rachel Mann) [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Cherokee-Heart-Chant.mp3"][/audio] Sacred Vowels Chant (Creation Chant as Offered by Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo) [audio mp3="http://www.rmrestore1.dev/wp-content/uploads/Sacred-Vowels.mp3"][/audio]...

Read More

07 Dec Love Will End Violence: 2013 and Beyond

The Sandy Hook shooting and the deaths of 20 children and 7 adults strikes at the very heart of our belief in goodness in the world and at our sense of personal and collective safety.  Violence that is random, unpredictable, and targeted in a time of peace by a single individual against strangers and innocents--especially children--defies logic.  How do we make sense of this, particularly in the context of the many predictions among indigenous peoples of December, 2012 marking a great shift in human consciousness? What does it say about us and our world?  How can we understand how the great force of love--soul force--can be used to end the deep soul wound of violence we all carry?
Read More

14 Aug Odali Utugi–Hope Mountain: A Gathering of Elders

I recently returned from the Elders Gathering at the Sunray Peace Village in Bristol, Vermont. As it says on the Sunray Meditation Society web site, the village "is modeled after places of sanctuary traditional to Cherokee and other Native American nations of the Southeast.  Inspired by the Tsalagi (Cherokee) tradition, the Village is called 'Odali Utugi', or Hope Mountain."  Sunray Meditation Society is "an international society dedicated to planetary peace."  Native elders have gathered there once a year for 24 years.  I attended this event once back in the mid-90s and was excited to be returning once again almost 20 years later.
Read More

18 Jul New Book by Featured Peacekeeper, The Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo

Almost 17 years ago, I met the Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo at her Peace Village in Bristol, Vermont. I have told the story before about how I thought I was going to her retreat because of my interest in Buddhism, but instead I was captured by the magic of the Tsalagi (Cherokee) teachings.  I stayed under her direct tutelage for 3 years and then left to pursue my own healing and path. Recently, because of the Peace is the Human Way project, I have been back in touch to solicit Venerable Dhyani's support as an Advisory Board member and to include her wealth of untranscribed teachings in the website.  I am leaving next week to attend the Elders Gathering at the Sunray Peace Village and will meet her in person for the first time in 15 years.  Therefore, I was excited when notice came of the release of her new book, Learning Cherokee Ways: The Ywahoo Path. I ordered it immediately, eager to once again explore the rich teachings of the Ywahoo lineage and to learn more about Venerable Dhyani's personal story of how she was raised by her wise elders.  Venerable Dhyani says that many of her students have asked how her culture and upbringing impacted who she is and what she teaches. Learning Cherokee Ways is her response. Learning Cherokee Ways, simply put, is magical. 
Read More

21 May Connecting with Deer Spirit: the South of the Great Medicine Wheel of the New Earth

Last summer, my group of Great Medicine Wheel Students and I had gathered on Friday night at the mountain home of Larry & Charlsie Baer to start the work of the South. I was going to begin to teach the gathered students--all new to shamanic systems of healing and transformation--the magic and power of the Wheel and of a medicine bundle created by interacting deeply with the powers of nature and the forces of the elements. The mountain was stunningly beautiful in the showy, deep green of midsummer.  Even though the Baer's property is up a mountain and in the woods, most wild animals are kept at bay by their old, German Shepherd mix dog, Stoney.  Stoney is a loving yet fiercely protective presence on the land.  He greets humans with warmth and love, but makes clear to all other non-human beings that he is the boss! We began the evening calling in the Powers of the Directions, Earth, Sky, and the Great Divine Mother-Father Presence, as all earth-based ceremonies do.  I then gave a lecture about the lessons of Deer Spirit and we danced her to life after calling her energy into our own bodies.  After a satisfying evening of contemplation, mystery, and companionship, we all went to be at 10 pm tired and looking forward to the next day.  What happened the next morning--and on every Saturday morning of our 4 weekend workshops--reminded us that there is truly something mysterious and magical about the ceremony of the Great Wheel!
Read More

19 Mar The Mountains are Alive: Why I Believe in Native American Spirituality

On August 18, 1991, the day after my wedding to my now ex-husband, I woke up in a honeymoon hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia to be greeted by my husband holding up the front page of the newspaper with a photo of Boris Yeltsin dancing on top of a tank in front of the White House, the seat of government in Moscow in the now former Soviet Union.  I had recently finished a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures and had returned just a week before our wedding from a summer post-doctoral fellowship in Moscow.  During our ensuing week-long honeymoon on the island of Ocracoke, North Carolina, I was glued to the television while I watched the overthrow of the communist regime and the end of the Cold War unfold under pressure of peaceful protests by Muscovites against a military occupation fueled by then President Mikhail Gorbachev’s own ministers.  The Soviet leadership that had for decades maintained a well-deserved reputation for unrepentant brutality against and oppression of its own people, apparently relinquished the use of arms in the face of this powerful display of the innate human desire for peace and dignity.
Read More

19 Mar Walking in Balance: Sage, the Great Grounder

Welcome to Walking in Balance, a section of the Peace is the Human Way newsletter that introduces practices from Native American spirituality to help us be more peaceful, heal,and connect more deeply with ourselves, others and the Earth.  Feel free to try them out! Burning dried white sage is commonly used in Native American practice to help us connect with the Earth, to clear heavy energies, and to enter a more heightened state of awareness.  Sage (Salvia Officinalis) has long been known to have medicinal properties. It is said to be antiviral and antifungal and has other curative properties, some of which have been studied by western medicine. 
Read More

11 Mar Featured Native American Peacekeeper: Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo

The Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, as it reads on her website, is an international spiritual teacher, author, and spiritual catalyst for peace. She is a rare and precious jewel who is largely undiscovered in the Western world where messengers of peace such as Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn and the Dalai Lama are well-known.  Venerable Dhyani is a member of the traditional Etowah Band of the Eastern Tsalagi (Cherokee). Venerable Dhyani has been offering teachings of peace to any who wish to come for over 40 years. Trained by her grandparents, she is the twenty-seventh generation to carry the ancestral wisdom of the Ywahoo lineage.  She is unique as a teacher by virtue of carrying three intact streams of this ancient spiritual tradition.
Read More

30 Jan Peace is the Human Way: Native American Contributions to Healing, Peace and Living in Balance with Mother Earth

I am here to invite you to participate in creating a vision of our future in which we embrace the truism that peace is the human way.  What do I mean by this? I mean that if I were to walk in a room and ask a group of 20 people if they think violence is "normal," they would adamantly disagree and say that peace is normal and violence is abnormal. This is precisely the opposite of what happens in my univerrsity classes on the contributions and M. K. Gandhi and the Native American peacekeepers.  Indeed, they think violence is normal. Native Americans have experienced for 4.5 centuries how abnormal and destructive violence truly is.  With nowhere to hide, nowhere to run to, instead most succumbed to the desecration of their cultures and lands until the survivors were driven into prisoner of war camps often called "reservations."  Others managed to survive by assimilating or by fleeing into remote areas and retaining what they could of their cultures.  A very few, like the Hopi, retained some semblance of their lands and cultures. From out of this destruction and despair, great teachers and teachings of peace have come forth.  Peace is the Human Way is a project devoted to putting their work and messages on the same footing as the contributions of great peacekeepers such a the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thich Nhat Hahn, the Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela. 
Read More