Numbers have always played a significant part in traditional Aboriginal life. Many aspects are seen in terms of four. The Sacred Mystery, the source of all creation, reveals itself as the Powers of the Four Directions and these four powers provide the organizing principle for everything that exists in the world: the seasons, the races, the elements of the universe, the stages of life, the emotions and aspects of human behavior. The medicine wheel, which is symbolized by a cross within a circle, is a ceremonial tool and the basis for all teaching wheels.
The Power of the Four Directions is implied whenever a wheel or circle is drawn. Since traditional Native cultures view life as a continuous cycle, life mirrors the cycling of the seasons, the daily rising of the sun. The medicine wheel incorporates the Powers of the Four Directions and the interrelatedness of all things.
The Ojibwa story of the Seven Grandfather Teachings was passed down from parent to child for many generations. The Teachings share some of the Traditional values of First Nations people and encourage us all to love and respect one another. The story goes…
The Creator gave the seven grandfathers, who were very powerful spirits, the responsibility to watch over the people. The grandfathers saw that the people were living a hard life. They sent their helper six different times to find a person who could be taught how to live in a good way with all of creation. Finally the Seven Grandfathers’ helper found a baby boy, who because he was just born was pure enough to receive the teachings and bring these teachings back to the people. The Grandfathers were happy with the choice made by the helper. The baby boy is a symbol to people that it is important to start early when educating our young people and that they are already beginning to learn at a very young age. Babies are still very connected to the spirit world and understand this connection, which can be lost when people become adults.
While the boy was traveling with the helper they were visited seven times by spirits who told them about the gifts. Here is what they said:
To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom
To know love is to know peace
To honor all of creation is to have respect
Bravery is to face the foe with integrity; (being complete or undivided)
Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave
Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of creation
Truth is to know all of these things
The young boy was then put in the care of Otter who was to return the boy to his people to teach them what he had learned. The boy, because of all the time spent in the spirit world, was now an old man. The old man gathered all the people around and told them of his journey to the seven grandfather’s lodge. He explained how to use the gifts and that it was now up to the people to try to follow the path of a good and healthy life using the seven grandfather’s teachings.
The Grandfather Teachings are an integral part of all our Sharing Circles and Spiritual Gatherings here at The Longhouse Lodge. We look forward to sharing more about these Traditional LifeWays with all people.
Victoria & Hugh