Many of our indigenous wisdom keepers have prophesied that when the people forget that they are part of One Hoop of Life, the land will become sick and we will become sick. Now, science is showing us the connections between biodiversity loss and increasing threats to humanity, including this virus.
We are now remembering our intimate interconnection with people and the earth.
We are now listening to and valuing our own ceremonial heart, our inner wisdom.
We are now acknowledging there is much to learn from science and from the first scientists, indigenous wisdom keepers who are the protectors of the earth and of all our relations on this beautiful planet.
So how do we remember that each of us belongs, after this pandemic? How do we not go back to sleep?
The Eagle Hoop Prophecy
Twenty-seven indigenous Elders from the four colors and directions — American tribes, representing the red and south direction; a Buddhist Elder from Tibet, representing the yellow and east direction; a Sami Elder from Finland, representing the white and north direction; and two Elders from African tribes, representing the black and west direction — responded to the call.
During the ceremony, there was no man-made notion of time — past, present, or future; there was only the Now, one spirit, calling forth through the human beings, through their different languages, through their sacred chants, prayers, blessings, and meditations. There was no separateness, only one mind, one heart, one spirit connecting these Elders and their sacred traditions from the four directions. The twenty-seven Elders, with joy and solemnity, took cedar planks, laying them in the four directions, placing the hoop on top, and saying, “We have come together. We will put into this hoop four gifts that are necessary for this coming together . . . this healing time.
“The first gift we place is the power to forgive the unforgivable. The second gift is the power to heal.” The Elders prayed their healing medicines into the hoop.“The third gift is the power of unity. The power to come together. And the fourth gift is the power of hope. The ability to dream, to see wellness and the powers to attain it.”
The four colors, the four directions of the hoop, symbolize harmony and interdependence between the different peoples around the world. The hoop is meant to support all people to discover and trust the four sacred gifts, so that each of us can be a life-giving connection to others: all beings, earth, and spirit. The hoop is a powerful force, a powerful medicine, a coming together of humanity.
Excerpted from The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times by Anita L. Sanchez, PhD
THE PROMISE OF THE FOUR SACRED GIFTS
The Eagle Hoop prophecy is an urgent message for these urgent times. And, being an indigenous prophecy, it does not revolve around a single person, prophet, or hero. The focus of the prophecy is not on the messenger but rather on the message itself. This is good news.
You and I, all of us, indigenous and non-indigenous, are invited to use these gifts that already belong to each of us. From our homes, workplaces, and communities, we are the ones who can create harmony on this earth by being in healthy relationship with ourselves, other people, and the earth itself.
After the pandemic ends, some fear that we will forget that we belong to One Hoop of Life, one earth. So how do we not forget our interconnection? How do we create harmony among all our relatives around the world? Check in with your wisdom in your heart. We invite you to use these four gifts so that you do not forget, so that you don’t go back to sleep.
The First Gift: The Power to Forgive the Unforgiveable
Forgive the unforgivable. Why? How? Must we? Forgiving the wrongs — intentional, unintentional, historic, big, and small — is not a simple thing. There are so many ways that we are hurt by others and that we hurt others in our lives. How can forgiveness help us to become the person and community we want to be?
Don’t run away. Instead, reflect, talk about it, and get support from others to help you on this path. From an indigenous perspective, forgiveness reminds us we are all one — our spirit is tied to the spirit of the other; it is fundamental to our capacity to be healthy and whole human beings. Forgiving my childhood abuse and the race-related murder of my father released me from the anger, resentment, revenge and distrust of myself and of others. In forgiving, I found freedom.
Forgiveness is not forgetting, weakness, betrayal of yourself or a group of people, avoidance of justice. Forgiveness is loving ourselves so much that we can release the righteousness of our pain and hurt — the insidious illusion that these pains and hurts are our identity. Forgiveness allows us to use our energy in the now — creating systems and structures that are life-giving, freedom to unconditionally love ourselves, and trust in others.
The Second Gift: The Power of Healing
Healing means many things to people and takes many forms. Accessing our internal power to engage in the process of becoming and remembering our wholeness can be as much, or more, a part of our healing as seeing a doctor or taking prescriptions. From an indigenous perspective, we can choose to be “good medicine” or “bad medicine” for ourselves or others. Good medicine is anyone or anything that beings into alignment the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. Bad medicine is anyone or anything that takes out of alignment our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
What is your experience of healing? When we get quiet, we can listen to what needs healing in ourselves, our home, and our work lives. When we are in pain or upset, we can choose to move toward ourselves with self-compassion. Recognizing our own dignity and worthiness are powerful healing. In indigenous communities, we are coming together virtually in ceremony, talking circles, prayer, and music to transform fear and other forms of individual and intergenerational trauma into spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength, unity, and conscious well-being.
Remember: tears and sadness are not the pain, they are the release of the pain — underneath, underneath, underneath is the remembering of true love of self.
The Third Gift: The Power of Unity
What is the power of Unity? The power to come together within similar and across diverse communities seems more and more possible at this time. The great pause of this pandemic gives us an unprecedented opportunity to see how we have become alienated from people around us, manifesting in ever-growing depression, addiction, physical and psychological abuse, crime, violence, and suicide — all indicators of spirits in distress, in despair. Current polls reflect that people do not want to go back to the way it was before. Many are beginning to believe that we do not have to live in frenzied competition with others, in a life of separation from community. There is a growing belief that together we can listen and act on our heart-felt desire for harmony and peace with one another and the earth.
However, the challenge is to trust in unity, even when we have had a history that leads us to dis-trust and feel separate from others. An unexpected gift of this global pandemic is that we are experiencing so many examples of unity — unity that lifts our hearts and gives us hope. We see neighbors caring for neighbors that used to be strangers; doctors and nurses flying to other cities to help save lives; people giving lunches for essential workers; people contributing to essential protection for vulnerable groups in poverty and in remote rainforests halfway around the world; businesses giving their products and services to meet national and international needs; rampant kindness, compassion, gratitude, and working together in solidarity for the health of all beings around the world. This is the gift of Unity.
The Fourth Gift: The Power of Hope
Instead of resigning ourselves to just accepting “what is,” we can dream and build new possibilities. This is hope in action. In this way, hope is an energy source that resides in each of us. It is a type of knowing beyond the five senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. Once we hold hope in our mind and heart, the vision or dream of something new, better, and more life-giving, we are compelled to move toward it. We can begin to imagine ourselves as ONE humanity, in all our beautiful presentations, similarities, and differences, and one with the earth, and all its creatures.
Choosing hope can be a leap of faith. Every day, we have a choice. We can choose to give in to doubt, defaulting to fear of uncertainty, to possible failure. and let hope fade away, calling it a waste of time, useless daydreaming. Or we can choose to grasp hope, an infinite energy source that can pull us, just as it did our ancestors, through anything. By being in gratitude for what is working well and imagining and visioning new possibilities, we are fortified to see that problems can be overcome. Through our individual and collective hope in action, we make things not only better, but as they are intended to be, a reflection of us belonging to a thriving world for all people, nature, and the earth.
When we choose to embody the Four Sacred Gifts of Forgiveness, Unity, Healing, and Hope, we live into our inextricable interconnection with life, restoring harmony and balance in our own lives and the community of all beings on earth.