“The Circle has healing power. In the Circle…”

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“The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet.”


~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~

“Subject: Dave Chief – Obituary by his family
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005 17:38:12 -0400
From: info@leonardpeltier.org”

“…Dave Yakima Chief (Wakinyan), age 74, journeyed to the spirit world on Friday evening, June 10, in Medford, Oregon surrounded by family. A respected Lakota elder, warrior, spiritual advisor, and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Dave was born on June 25, 1930 at Rapid Creek, South Dakota. He grew up at Red Shirt Table on the Pine Ridge Reservation. His parents were Albert Chief and Hattie Fills the Pipe Chief. Dave worked for the people and for treaty rights for decades, traveling to the United Nations, the White House, the U.S. Congress, and other continents. In 1972 Dave participated in the Trail of Broken Treaties, which culminated in the takeover of the BIA in Washington, D.C. In 1978 he was in the Longest Walk from Alcatraz Island to Washington, D.C. that brought about the Freedom of Religion Act (P.L. 95-341), allowing Native people the legal right to practice traditional spirituality. In 1984, he ran in the Jim Thorpe 54-day run from the Onondaga Nation in New York to!
Los Angeles, after which Jim Thorpe’s nine gold Olympic medals were returned to his family. ” @ http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GRANNYS-NA-PANTRY/2005-06/1118787538

Please also see the book “Ghost Rider Roads” “Overall. Ghost Rider Roads chronicles the roots of AIM via news clips from old activist newspapers (Yippies Judy and Stew Albert), old stories by Robert Robideau (acquitted in the killing of two FBI agents in 1975) and moves into the controversy over the murder of Anna Mae Aquash (1945-1975/6). Ghost Rider Roads reveals the landscape of “Indian Country” from the 1970’s to current day.” @ http://ghostroadsbook.blogspot.de/

 

Shared by Moro

Art title: “Pact Of Peace v1” by artist: duckiethedonkey @ http://www.deviantart.com/art/Pact-Of-Peace-v1-123433340

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The “Cherokee legend of the two wolves, myth or fact? The possible damage from FB and other media sources not checking out their information or quotes…

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The “Cherokee legend of the two wolves, myth or fact? The possible damage from FB and other media sources not checking out their information or quotes…

 

FB memes, blogs and more quotes… without researching on knowing already, being on a meme, FB or on a blog, does that make it true? Does it take away from the story ideal they are trying to share? Not really, but it depends on the meme or source and agenda. Can or do these types of Memes and constantly reinforce ignorance by passing on unsubstantiated “bits of wisdom” ( often taking it for themselves, marking it and never giving credit to the original artist even) cause any harm or damage? In some ways, yes. We look stupid every time we believe something like this. I recently saw a really funny meme on FB that used Einstein as a quote source… .the meme was funny, point made..but Einstein never said that.

 

This is a humorous but also serious blog from a Native American (labeling him and his people in this way as if they are an object to be idealized and I do think he addresses that point) http://apihtawikosisan.com/2012/02/check-the-tag-on-that-indian-story/

“Wow, I’m just shivering with all that good Indian wisdom flowing through me now.  Give me a moment.

Okay.  I’m better now.”  

..and I laughed here and at the dialogue between the two wolves he has uploaded from this blog. 

He also goes on to share this regarding all cultures being both appreciated, idealized and objectified:

“This kind of thing is harmful

These misattributed stories aren’t going to pick us up and throw us down a flight of stairs, but they do perpetuate ignorance about our cultures.  Cultures.  Plural.

Not only do they confuse non-natives about our beliefs and our actual oral traditions, they confuse some natives too.  There are many disconnected native peoples who, for a variety of reasons, have not been raised in their cultures.  It is not an easy task to reconnect, and a lot of people start by trying to find as much information as they can about the nation they come from.

It can be exciting and empowering at first to encounter a story like this, if it’s supposedly from your (generalized) nation.  But I could analyse this story all day to point out how Christian and western influences run all the way through it, and how these principles contradict and overshadow indigenous ways of knowing.  Let’s just sum it up more quickly though, and call it what it is: colonialism.

And please.  It does not matter if this sort of thing is done to or by other cultures too.  The “they did it first” argument doesn’t get my kids anywhere either.

The replacement of real indigenous stories with Christian-influenced, western moral tales is colonialism, no matter how you dress it up in feathers and moccasins.  It silences the real voices of native peoples by presenting listeners and readers with something safe and familiar.  And because of the wider access non-natives have to sources of media, these kinds of fake stories are literally drowning us out.”

 

So, all in all… Wisdom, yes… Native American? Nope…no matter what FB and other blogs says. It’s actually a Christian-style/derived parable from Minister and Evangilist Billy Graham in 1978. (info also from  http://apihtawikosisan.com/2012/02/check-the-tag-on-that-indian-story/ )

 

The various forms this story takes all over the internet from random sources that popped up during my general google search and all said it was “Cherokee proverb/wisdom/legend”:

 

Two-Wolves2 (1)

 

From: http://unbelievableyou.com/a-native-american-cherokee-story-two-wolves/

 

This one elaborates on the story even more:

(See the link at the end of this blog entry for the rest)

 

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

You might heard the story ends like this: The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on:…”

http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=927

 

“One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed“.

http://www.psychologymatters.asia/article/65/the-story-of-the-two-wolves-managing-your-thoughts-feelings-and-actions.html

 

I happen to know the artist that creates these images and she kindly lets all people have access and use to her works, which she must have done here but is originally from “Mystic Magic” on FB by Dreamweaver.

 

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http://starcovenofwiccaandwpa.blogspot.de/2013/07/have-masquerade-in-my-head.html

 

Many of us also know this one, which has been all over FB for a long time now:

 

download

 

A there is a youtube video on it even:

 

Shared by Moro

 

The opening artwork is stunning, despite it too buys into the falsehood of the source: Art title ” Two Wolves Saying’ by artist:  IrvingGFM @http://irvinggfm.deviantart.com/art/Two-Wolves-Saying-330891051

 

 

 

 

 

“Earth Teach Me to Remember”

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“Earth Teach Me to Remember”

“Earth teach me stillness

as the grasses are stilled with light.

Earth teach me suffering

as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility

as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth Teach me caring

as the mother who secures her young.

Earth teach me courage

as the tree which stands alone.

Earth teach me limitation

as the ant which crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom

as the eagle which soars in the sky.

Earth teach me resignation

as the leaves which die in the fall.

Earth teach me regeneration

as the seed which rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself

as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth teach me to remember kindness

as dry fields weep in the rain.

Ute, North American”

Prayer from: http://nativeamerican.lostsoulsgenealogy.com/prayers.htm

 

Shared by Moro

Picture from: http://hot-wallpapers.net/92-wolf-wallpaper-31-wolf-free-computer-wallpapers.htm

“You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle…”

 

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“You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance.

This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.” (1)

by Black Elk of the  Oglala Sioux from “Black Elk Speaks” as told to John Neihardt in 1961.

(This is an amazing book I highly recommend it. ❤ )

 

Who was Black Elk? 

“(Nicholas Black Elk [Hehaka Sapa] (c. December 1863 – 17 August or 19 August 1950 [sources differ]) was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) and Heyoka of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He participated at about the age of twelve in the Battle of Little Big Horn of 1876, and was wounded in the massacre that occurred at Wounded Knee in 1890)”(Check out this source for more that inspires you in your life and personal journey) (2)

 

Though it does not in any way take away from it, it is good to also note that while telling the amazing story of his people and his autobiography prior to the influence of both “White man” and Christianity, the fact was that Black Elk had already been a Christian for years. Did this affect his later interpretations and method of his own people and personal history? What do you think?

“In 1904, an incident happened that, according to Lucy,…” his daughter, “… was the catalyst for Black Elk’s conversion. Black Elk was called to perform a healing ceremony for a sick child. During the ceremony, Father Lindebner, from the Holy Rosary Mission at Pine Ridge, arrived to give the boy last rites. He was angry to find Black Elk practicing shamanism and threw Black Elk and his magic props out of the tent. According to Lucy, Black Elk was not angry, but accepted the idea that the white God was more powerful (Steltenkamp 36). That same year, Black Elk was baptized, received the Christian name Nicholas and was thereafter often called Nick Black Elk by both Indians and whites…..In teaching Catholicism, Black Elk used a pictorial device that was common at the time called a picture catechism. This was a strip of paper about a foot wide and several feet long illustrating the Creation at the bottom and Heaven at the top. This pictorial was commonly called the Two Roads Map and contained many colorful pictures of humans and fanciful creatures that might be encountered on the gold road to Heaven or the black road to Hell. There were striking physical similarities between some of the images on this map and the images that Black Elk described in his vision. Black Elk interpreted his vision as a call to heal and to lead his people to a good and spiritual life. However, there was also a part of his vision that indicated that he had the power for great destruction and that he was to lead his people in war against the whites. Intelligent and practical he could probably see the futility in this and was able to reconcile his vision with the idea of leading his people into Christianity. Black Elk’s vision gave him power in the eyes of his people, but was also a terrible obligation to live up to. He spent his entire life agonizing over whether he was living up to the dictates of vision. Converting may have let him off the hook in regard to some of obligations of his vision. Lucy felt that her father saw parallels and connections between old Lakota religion and Christianity (Steltenkamp 102)….What were Black Elk’s motivations for telling his story? Neihardt said that he believed Black Elk’s purpose was to preserve his great vision and Lakota history for his people after he was gone. To the Native American people, ritual and ceremony are extremely important. The very telling of the stories was a kind of ritual that could restore and transmit the power of the vision and transfer some of the burden of his vision onto Neihardt (Wiget 211). Wiget goes so far as to speculate whether Black Elk used Neihardt to send his message to his people before he died (Wiget 214), and that he purposely tried to draw parallels between Lakota spirituality and Christianity to elicit sympathy and help for his people from the whites (Wiget 83).” (3)

 

(1) http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Wisdom/BlackElk.html

(2)  http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Black_Elk

(3) http://archive.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap7/blackelk.html

 

 

 

Shared by Moro

Art title: “Native American Tale” by artist: da-joint-stock @ http://www.deviantart.com/art/Native-American-Tale-167670912

“Spiritual Warrior”

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“Spiritual Warrior”

(From Native American Prayers and Poetry)

“Life offers us the opportunity to become a Spiritual Warrior. 
A warrior is one who bravely goes into those dark areas within 
themselves to ferret out the Truth of their being. 
It takes great courage, stamina and endurance to
become a Spiritual Warrior.

The path is narrow, the terrain rough and rocky.
You will walk alone: through the dark caves,
up those steep climbs and through the dense thick forest.
You will meet your dark side. The faces of fear, deceit, and
sadness all await your arrival

No one can take this journey but you.
There comes a time, in each of our lives,
when we are given the choice to follow this path.
Should we decide to embark on this journey,
we can never turn back…. Our lives are changed forever
On this journey, there are many different places we can
choose to slip into and hide. But the path goes on.
The Spiritual Warrior stays the course, wounded at times,
exhausted and out of energy. Many times, the Warrior will
struggle back to their feet to take only a few steps before
falling again.

Rested, they forge on,
continuing the treacherous path.
The journey continues. The Spiritual Warrior
stays the course. Weakened, but never broken.
One day, the battle, loneliness and desperate fights are over.
The sun breaks through the clouds; the birds begin to sing
their sweet melodies. There is a change in the energy.
A deep change within the self.

The warrior has fought the courageous fight.
The battle of the dark night of the soul is won.
New energy now fills the Warrior.
A new path is now laid before them.
A gentler path filled with the inner-knowing
of one who has personal empowerment.

With their personal battle won, they are filled with joy.
A new awareness that they are one with the Spirit beams
as they go forth to show others the way.
They are not permitted to walk the path for others.
They can only love, guide and be a living example
of the Truth of their being.”

(Check out this source for more that inspires you in your life and personal journey)
Source:  http://www.blackhawkproductions.com/poetrynative.htm

Moro

(I did not write this article in any way. I simply enjoy sharing pearls of wisdom and beauty from different sources into one source for many to enjoy. If inspired to from there, go to the original sources to discover more!)

Art title: “Native Silhouette” by artist: Sakaib @http://www.deviantart.com/art/Native-Silhouette-140155759

“If you talk to the animals…”

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“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.”
– Chief Dan George

Who was Chief Dan George?

“Chief Dan George, OC (July 24, 1899 – September 23, 1981) was a chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a Coast Salish band located on Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was also an author, poet, and an Academy Award-nominated actor. His best-known written work was “My Heart Soars.””

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Dan_George

Moro

Title of the art: “The Seekers”; Art by Delun at http://delun.deviantart.com/art/The-Seekers-356735862

 

The Woman, the Snake, and the Witch:

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The Woman, the Snake, and the Witch:

Originally a series of posts, then made into a note for this blog’s mother page of FB’s Pagans, Witches, Warlocks, Shamans and Sages, I was inspired to seek this out again and blog it because of a very sweet woman finding such correlations and discovering this for her self on my friends list.  The agenda of this series is to connect the ancient wisdom and secrets of the snake to women and how the snake was iconized and used to shun women’s rights from the light of day and banish us into shame. With this in mind, it has a strong feminist feel to it but does not, in any way shape or form meant to slander our brothers and the modern masculine gender. Times have changed for many of us in the Western world, but time has also held very still for other cultures and countries. I didn’t realize to what extent until I moved here and have seen old or sick women of supposed “no monetary” value wearing their full Burqas (or Burka) and forced to sit by the popular pedestrian areas and beg for money.

 

Women, the healers, the midwives, the wisdom innate within us and witches, yes, a very few were actual witches because of their natural abilities, watched all of it taken away by the twisting of the ancient symbol of life and knowledge, the snake.

 

Still standing proud are two snakes, representing the knowledge of medicine,  and are wrapped around the Caduceus as a symbol of medicine. This symbol connecting as ancient healers is now stripped from us as women.  We were powerless through out ancient times as we watched our rights as women ripped from us, no longer allowed to help those in need and indeed, banished by popular religions connecting the three, woman, knowledge and snake. In times past, we were instead accused and burned as witches and to this day, we have never fully recovered.

 

I am by far not the first to know this nor am I the last. Spread the love and knowledge dearest brothers and sisters, so that our legacy may not be completely forgotten in the mists of time.

 

Let’s first take a look at the various meanings, cultures, god, goddesses through out the world.

 

In American movies, snakes are pretty much used as a standard creepy-crawlies creature to get the girls to scream and the tough guy to protect them. Although they are used in this way in Asian cinema as well, there is another application: snakes don’t scare women: they are women. And it is the men who had better start running, lol.

 

So below, we have in summary the various aspects of snakes connecting them to knowledge and trees. Why, in modern popular religions are snakes demonized in connection to trees, healing, knowledge and then woman? Next we I will share with you the very same aspects of healing, shamans, knowledge, women then directly to witchcraft. Following this, how that connection was the very cause which instigated the destruction of female wisdom, healers through the accusation of witchcraft…a nasty means to an end.

 

Initially, snakes are most connected to Wisdom, then Cycles, Rebirth, Patience, Fertility, Balance, Cunning, Intuition, Awareness, Healing, Intellect, Protection, Solemnity, Rejuvenation, Transformation, Occult (hidden), Male/Female, Yin-Yang, Duality, Protection, Regeneration, and the Primal life force.

 

The serpent is often found associated with a sacred tree, perhaps guarding some sacred fruit. This chthonic serpent may be coiled at the bottom of the tree. The snake as protector at a sacred tree is seen in Biblical and Norse mythology, as well as in the tales of the Bodhi tree of Buddhism.

 

Ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, Scandinavia, Greece, and Pre-Columbian America, to name just a few, all shared the symbolism of the snake in their religion and folklore. Snake gods and goddesses are seen throughout different ancient cultures such as the Greek Medusa with snakes for hair, or the Minoan Snake Goddess, or the Sumero-Babylonian Enki, the Serpent Lord of Wisdom and trickster god. They are significant deities with fierce and fearful power.

 

Snakes were an extremely popular representation of deity, of magical powers, and of regeneration and life. Indeed, serpents are life-giving and life-affirming. The Arabic has related words for serpent (hayyah) and life (hayat), both coming from the same root with the implication of the serpent being a life-giver.

 

Mythological Snakes Hold Opposite Interpretations.

 

Serpents represent both good and evil in mythology. Worship and fear of serpents has been seen throughout religious history, as the snake represents a male, a female or androgynous god. Throughout the world the serpent may symbolize opposing qualities to different peoples, such as death, destruction, rebirth, authority, sin, trickery, temptation, wisdom, prophecy, mystery, fertility, healing, medicine, poisoning, warning, renewal, mortality, and immortality.

 

Snakes serve as guardians in folklore. Symbolically they can represent the earth and the underworld. Snakes are thought of as secretive and are equated with the hidden and most sacred aspects of religion. Early religion used the serpent as a phallic symbol, and also as a symbol of the mother goddess. Their forked tongues are thought to show duplicity, and their words cannot be trusted.

 

Cosmic Serpents:

 

Much folklore worldwide depicts a great serpent that encircles the world. In this case where the snake swallows its own tail to form a circle, it is known by the Greek term Ouroboros, although the symbol first appeared in Ancient Egypt. Such a cosmic serpent is found in the Norse Jormungandr which encircled the world in the deep of the oceans, swallowing its own head.

 

The snake also inhabits the subterranean earth or the underworld, where he is a guardian of sacred entrances. Serpents are found throughout Egyptian mythology, usually as females. The cobra is a symbol of the goddess from antiquity and appears on the crown, the Uraeus, and in the hieroglyphic names of female goddesses. The cosmic chthonic serpent of Egypt is a male, however, known as Apep. Apep, an evil demon, represented darkness and chaos. Apep, who appeared from the Middle Kingdom onward, was considered the enemy of the Sun God, Ra.

 

The Egyptians practiced many rites to aid the god Ra to make his successful journey through each night undefeated by Apep. During the New Kingdom, the serpent Apep became associated with the god Set. The great antiquity of the place of the cosmic snake against the solar god was found in Egypt with a snake figure shown as an enemy of a solar deity. This was depicted on an ancient pottery bowl, now in the Cairo Museum (Naqada I, ca. 4000 BCE).

 

As a Native American Indian symbol (depending on the nation/tribe) the snake can be a masculine symbol, associated with the phallus of lightning which is considered a medicine staff of tremendous assertive power. Other tribes lean in the direction of feminine attribution for the snake and pair it with mothering (creation), and lunar (moon) symbolism.

 

Whether raising itself in masculine authority, or encircling the Earth in a motherly fashion the snake symbol of the Native American’s was highly regarded; utilized in ritual to invoke an element of pointed focus and weighty influence.

 

The ancient Celts were extremely nature-wise too, and approached snake symbolism from the behavior and life cycle of this magnificent creature. From the Celtic perspective, the snake was a symbol of secret knowledge, cunning and transformation.

 

Further, the snake Celtic symbol comes from observations of the European viper (also known as the adder) which is the only (along with the common grass snake) species able to tolerate the colder climate of the ancient Celts.

 

In the keen Celtic mind, snake symbolic meaning of transformation came from the shedding of its skin. Physical evidence of leaving its form behind (casting off the old self), and emerging a sleeker, newer version made the snake a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal.

 

As far as the occult (hidden) symbolic meaning in Celtic and other cultures, this can be connected to the sleuth-like ways of the snake.

 

Disappearing in colder months and summoned by the sun marks the snake’s connection to the shadow worlds with its successful ability to live within the dark realms for extended periods of time. Alternatively, the snake softly moves into the embrace of the sun, and so it encapsulates the ancient magician’s creed of moving in perfect rhythm of natural forces.

 

In Eastern Indian myth the Sanskrit word for snake is Naga and these are associated with the element of water. Picking up water’s symbolism of emotion, love and motion, Nagas in this light are considered a feminine aspect and embody nurturing, benevolent, wise qualities.

 

To wit, the practice of Nagayuna in Eastern Indian alchemy seeks to achieve loving harmony between the physical and ethereal. Simply put, all of us striving to better ourselves by calmly easing into places of personal balance within the cosmic balance of the whole are practicing this ancient technique.

 

Snake tattoo symbolism varies according to the bearer of the mark. For example, My frien has a back piece depicting two serpents (nagas) wrapped around the seven prime chakras down the length of her spine. This (to me) incorporates the kundalini power available to all humans.

 

Additionally, this entwined snake imagery hearkens to the caduceus, in which the staves of Asclepius are made of two polar (and copulating) serpents which symbolizes balance, equanimity, union and regeneration.

 

We have looked at many things so far to really look at the histories, cultures, deities, and meanings behind snakes and how they are connected to women, more often than not, wisdom, healing and even the connection to sacred trees. I have been building up to this to help people understand why the most popular prevalent religions shame now both women and snakes, dismissing the knowledge and the healing wisdom within women and dismissing our rights,  subjugating us through the ages. I am using the well know myth connection of the snake as the archangel Lucifer…both the most beautiful creatures in heaven but both banished for “pride”, the snake into the sacred tree of knowledge and the using of the icon Eve to bring down and shame all women in connection to all. This is propagated one way or another throughout all modern popular religions and shaped the way many cultures and societies viewed and treated women. Then came the inquisition and the witch trials. Don’t think for a second that there was any real “religious” reason for what they did, but instead used these associations as a means to an end. Let’s look at its history and how it has affected us in our modern society and still even today.

 

“By the early 1970’s feminists were becoming aware of a variety of race women were abused or treated unjustly by the medical system. As healthcare professionals, women were largely confined to subordinated roles as nurses and aids. As consumers of care, we found ourselves we found subjects insensitive and hazardous treatment; unnecessary hysterectomies, over-medicated childbirth, insufficiently tested contraceptives, involuntary sterilizations, and the almost universal condescension of male doctors.

 

We were not supposed to know anything about our own bodies or to participate in decision-making about our own care. As girls, the women of our generation had grown up thinking of their reproduction organs as the unmentionable region “down there.” In the Ladies’ Home Journal, which many of our mothers read, the medical advice column was entitled “Tell Me, Doctor.” Women who asked too many questions or insisted, for example, on “natural” childbirth, frequently found themselves labeled, right in their medical records, as uncooperative or neurotic. Serious complaints were likely to be dismissed as “psychosomatic” and attributed to women’s assumed suggestibility.

 

We were beginning to suspect that women had not always, in all circumstances, been so disempowered with respect to their own bodes and care. After all, medical technology and the medical profession that monopolized it were relatively recent historical developments, and yet somehow our female ancestors had, however imperfectly, negotiated the challenges of the female life cycle.

 

Sometimes, in conventional histories of American medicine, we found tantalizing references to a time when women predominated as healers – but only as an indication of how “primitive” American society was.

 

There is now wealth of information about women as lay healers, midwives, and “doctresses” in early America and their subsequent exclusion from formal medical education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. If anything, even more information has become available about women as lay healers in early modern Europe, and their fates in the witch persecution of the time – enough to tempt us into what could be many rewarding years of study.

 

First, on the matter of the number of women killed as witches, we used the estimates available to us at the time – scholars accepted figures of one million or even much higher. Although the body count will never be exact, historian John Demos writes that recent studies yield estimates that “fall in a range of 50,000 to 100,00.” Demos adds that, “These, in turn, were just a fraction of a much larger number of suspects….”

Second, we should clarify the role of the European medical profession relative to church and state. Witch trials represented extraordinary cooperation (and sometimes conflict) among all the dominant institutions, including both the legal and medical professions, which were heavily dependent on approval from the highest authorities. It was the medical profession that provided the courts with expert testimony: for example, Paulus Zacchias, the personal physician to two seventeenth-century Popes, authored a seven volume treatise called Medico-Legal Questions to demonstrate ”where medical knowledge could inform Canon Law on such issues as…the causes of foetal death, types of madness, poisoning, impotence, malingering, torture, [and] witchcraft…”

 

Physicians benefited from the suppression of their competition: In the European cities where they congregated, they practiced in a market filled with lay healers and empirics. In London, in 1600, there were fifty physicians affiliated with the College of Physicians (a stronghold of Galenic medicine), outnumbered by some 250 mainly unlicensed practitioners (not including surgeons, apothecaries, midwives, and nurses) who made a living. In 1581, the College of Physician, which claimed the right to regulate medical practice in London, attempted to prevent a lay healer named Margaret Kennix from practicing – but Queen Elizabeth had intervened decreeing that “the poore woman should be permitted by you quietly to practice and minister to the curing of diseases and wounds, by the means of certain Simples [herbal remedies] in the applying where of it seemth God hath given her an especial knowledge, to the benefit of the poorer sort…” Such protection for her favored few was not to last after Elizabeth’s death in 1602.

 

We stand by our assertion that male physicians were both more dangerous and less effective than female lay healers. Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) himself a scientific originator, thought that “empirics and old women” were “more happy many times in their cures than learned physicians”. The conservative philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) concluded that he would “rather have the advice or take physic from an experienced old woman that had been at many sick people’s bedsides, than from the learnedst but inexperienced physician.”

 

Third, we made the assumption that witches may have met in “covens” or other organized groups, and we referred to Margaret Murray when we said that “some writers speculate that these may have been occasions for pagan religious worship.” Murray’s research has since been discredited, and today most scholars seem to agree that the beliefs of women who were executed as witches cannot be differentiated from those of the rest of the population, and most were avowedly Christian. Some pagan religions or remnant did survive in places but the connection between this and women accused of witchcraft remains unclear.

 

Another point worth revisiting concerns the religious wars in the background of the witch hunts. We wrote: “…witch-healer’s methods were as great a threat (to the Catholic Church, if not the Protestant) as her results, for the witch was an empiricist…” we can no more do justice here to the conflicts of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation than we could in a short booklet. But it should be noted that while Protestant fought the Roman Catholic Church, they tortured and executed witches too.”

 

From the Book: Witches, Midwives and Nurses-a History of Women Healers (second edition)

By Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English copyright 1973

 

Much work has been done to support this in the decades that followed, but it still completely altered our society and our world. Even in modern times, though amazing efforts have been made to counteract this…it is nor ever will be enough for what they have done, not to a culture, not to a country, not to a group of people belonging to a specific gene pool but to the entire female population. the treatment of atrocities still goes on today in our culture, under the curtains of political correctness and in other cultures and societies, it is blatant and lawful, even encouraged.

 

Moro

 

Note: This article was done sometime ago and several contributing sources were not appropriately given credit. I do apologize for this and if you happen to see a source that you recognize, please feel free to let me know so that I may also look it up and give them credit.

 

Regarding the Art: I must tell you this was a difficult original owner to track down because it is such a popular altered wallpaper nowadays. Even when I found it originally, it was from Nexus Desktops. I am glad to have found the original artist and very happy to share her link to this great piece.

Art title: ‘wrath‘ by pieceesnp @ http://pieceesnp.deviantart.com/art/wrath-138460567?q=gallery%3Apieceesnp%2F1054735&qo=26