Whether our primary work is in social justice, direct action, spiritual growth, wilderness quests, ceremony, rites of passage or connecting to the Ancestors, the threads of right relationship can be woven into everything we do. Starting with our own minds and hearts, our mission is to unpack what doesn’t really belong to us, which are those thoughts and behaviors we have accumulated from exposure to Euro-Empire. Establishing right relationship with ourselves and healing our inner process (our “neurodecolonization”) can be an incredible challenge, when we are still navigating through the white hetero-patriarchal capitalist overculture. We have been separated from the external world, there are strict boundaries around the way we think, feel and sense, and with the emphasis on the “head” rather than the heart, our knowledge is supposed to come from intellectual prowess and cognitive ability. Too much thinking! We have been taught to ignore our intuition, and the incredible amount of wisdom we receive from our own bodies.
To aid us with our inner transformation, Indigenous Knowledge (IK) from diverse sources teach us other important ways of knowing that have been left out of the equation. The Anlo-Ewe of Africa hold a concept of seselelame, or wisdom “perceived through the sensations of the body.” A wide range of psychic, intuitive, kinesthetic, sexual and emotional sensations & feelings are all examples of seselelame. So much of what we know about the world can be felt in the inner realms, and understood by internal knowing~! There are no boundaries between the self and nature in Indigenous and pre-colonial worldviews, and this vital intra-connection is on the rise again today. We are channels for energy, and we have always been in the flow!
Also sourced from the “medicine wheel” or “four directions” framework found in both ancient and modern societies, assigning aspects of the human experience to the four quarters, or quadrants, is an important foundation we can embrace as a life-long practice. Watching the youth of today struggle, and folks of all ages and demographics experience trauma, distress and alienation, it is empowering to know that balance, or right relationship, can be achieved by understanding the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of self.
Shifting or weaving through the four quadrants is not an exact discipline - sometimes circumstances are beyond our control - and yet it is comforting to know that other potentials and possibilities exist. When we find ourselves dwelling too long in emotional territory, we can try to use our critical thinking skills and sort out the variables, and when we are over-intellectualizing, we can pause for bodily regimes and pleasures. With time and skill, we may find that some of our thoughts or feelings may not be mental or emotional disturbances at all, but prompts from our own inner mystic, or the innate spiritual potential for myth, magic and meaning we all hold. Our “higher selves” guide our heart, our heart is informed by our mind and vice versa, and the natural sensate wisdom of our bodies is our unfailing guide.
As we look beyond our own empowerment and healing, we can focus on moving from the “Me” to the “We” - and look to right relationship and sacred balance with our kinship groups and the Ancestors. We have ancient models to follow, and yet it is simplistic to suggest we can renounce ourselves completely as modern people~! We are moving both forward and back, and as we consider the beauty and timelessness of pre-colonial worldviews, many themes and lifeways can be encouraged and embraced, both for ourselves and Earth Community.
The world is a place of sacred mystery, and our relationship with the world is rooted in a profound respect for the land and all life. Humans are not above creation but part of it, and we flourish within the boundaries of the Sacred Circle. We are informed by the land and our bonds to a particular landscape, and in this animist universe we are connected to the plants, creatures, elements and earth spirits that dwell there. The love of the land and our community is the only true wealth we have - we are part of the Earth and the Earth is part of us.
Patterns of Ancestral Mind
By reclaiming our place within (not above) Earth Community we organically find ourselves practicing a cyclical thinking that is based on spirit connectivity, natural processes, creativity and peace, rather than singularity, ownership or dominance. When we are physically grounded and embodied our restless mind fades, and we find ourselves vibrant and present in a field of mindfulness and awareness. We perceive time as a spiral, and are more connected and empathic with others. Our learning is experiential, as we are empowered to acquire knowledge at our own pace in our own way, and our overall self-identity is based on experience and self-reflection. Belonging to earth-emergent community allows us to hold an “everyday” sense of mystery, wonder and awe, and our intelligences are combined to fulfill our holistic potential as a “true human being.” With ancestral or ecocentric mind as the foundation, both the individual and the collective is able to integrate self-discovery, wisdom and responsibility.
Reciprocity with the Land and Each Other
Our existence is sustained by expressions of gratitude such as ceremony and prayer, as we unconditionally give thanks for all life and the elements that make life possible. We are in a symbiotic relationship with the Earth, as everything we need to live a good life comes from the land, and our activities are intertwined with the seasons and cycles of nature. When we embody these principles and have respect for all beings through ceremony and prayer, the cosmic balance is upheld and restored, and the survival of the community ongoing. The reciprocity of maintaining good relationships with each other and all beings is a shared collective value, and our Elders and mentors teach us and model to us the virtues of wisdom, bravery, generosity and selflessness that guide us in these interactions. It is our responsibility to hold the role of our teachers in the highest regard, and to ensure that the generations following us also become Wise Elders, and continue to pass on their values and wisdom.
 Kathryn Linn Geurts, Culture and the Senses: Bodily Ways of Knowing in an African Community, University of California Press, 2002
 Angeles Arrien, The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary, HarperOne, 1993
 Pegi Eyers, Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community, Stone Circle Press, 2016
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," an award-winning book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, uncolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.
Available from Stone Circle Press or Amazon