Dr. Deborah Frances, RN ND / Beautiful Little Dancing Crow

Sage advice for the modern world

Reweaving the Web

“… the cause of climate instability is everything: every dimension of our separation from earth, nature, heart, truth, love, community and compassion.” – Eisenstein, Charles, Climate: A New Story, Berkley, North Atlantic Books, 2018 pp 133-134.

Despite repeated predictions of rain, the weather remained unreasonably dry during the winter of 2019 to 2020 in Southern Oregon. We were all worried about the months to come. Forest fires, dry wells and lack of water for irrigation do not make for a pleasant summer. I began to include more prayers to honor the rain in my daily practices, b ut the skies remained a clear, pristine blue.

By early spring, we were still without rain. As I prayed at my altar outdoors, I noticed one small cumulous cloud passing overhead in the clear blue sky. Suddenly I heard what I recognized as a rain spirit exclaim from the cloud in response to my prayers, “I thought you people didn’t want me down there!”

We so underestimate the power of our hearts and minds, and in this case, the negative power of perpetually scapegoating and complaining about the weather.

After four days of ceremony, a soft rain began to fall on the parched Hopi land. When one man queried the Hopi Elder about what prayers he had said to call in the rain, the Elder replied,

” I didn’t ask anything of the rain.”

“Then how did you pray?!” the man asked in puzzled consternation.

The Elder replied gently, “I asked nothing of the rain. I simply gave thanks for the many gifts the rain shares with us.”

Four days of giving Thanks…

Old stories from around the world describe other times such as these; times when the people are out of balance within themselves, with each other, and with all Creation, times when the elements seem to erupt and express in extremes, causing cataclysmic shifts to cleanse the earth and reset the balance.

The preponderance of these stories suggest such times are just one of Earth’s cycles. There is no blame for the patterns of consciousness, delusion and separation we are collectively caught up in, only the need to take responsibility where we can.

I know of no story in which rebirth does not follow dissolution.

Gratitude helps heal our frightened, fractured souls, reconnects us to Source and feeds the vitality of all living beings. Nature is starved from lack of love, appreciation, respect and the songs and dances we once offered in return for the gift of life.

“Where have you all been?” the tree under which my friend performed her ceremony queried her in sad distress. “We’ve missed you!”

As within, so without; how well do we relate to the element as they ask for expression within us? Do we suppress, judge and project watery or fiery emotions? Do we rise too far into the airy realms of the intellect, separating ourselves from other beings? Do we judge and resent the forms our earth bodies take in sickness or in health?

Or do we welcome these parts of our natural selves into the Sacred Space of the Compassionate Heart?

A woman who had always hated her body for being heavy, developed amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a severe, usually rapidly degenerative condition considered fatal and incurable. Emaciated from the ravages of disease, the woman said to herself,

” Well, isn’t this ironic? All I’ve wanted is to be thin and now my dream is killing me. I’m going to learn to love this body if it’s the last thing I do!”

With fiery resolve, she assigned herself a daily ritual of facing her reflection in the mirror and not leaving until she had found one thing to love about her body. The next day it had to be two things and on up each day. The side effect of her determined practice was the disappearance of the disease. This true story illustrates the power of fiery resolve, love and the perseverance of reweaving the web, one thin strand at a time.

Can we call ourselves back into balance and give thanks to Earth, Air, Water, Fire, when wind whipped flames ravage dehydrated forests, filling the air we breathe with thick, heavy smoke in the midst of a respiratory pandemic? Can we express gratitude when wind marries water in a stormy romance that escalates into wildly enormous hurricanes, blowing the sweet order of our lives asunder and leaving our homes awash in the floods of their tumultuous ardor? Can we turn to the Great Earth as our Mother in humility and thanks when even she seems aligned with these turbulent forces, moving and shifting her tectonic plates in unpredictable patterns that leave us shaky and scared, unsure of where to find our foundations?

Yet without these forces, without these four elements, there is no life. Wind provides and circulates the air we breathe and feeds the fires of enthusiasm that get us out of bed in the morning. Water tones fire, quenches our thirst, cleanses our bodies and provides rivers and lakes for fish, frogs and the playful child within us all. Fires is the igniting force of vitality that sparks the light in our eyes, warms our homes and cooks our food. Earth gives us the plants, the stones, the animals, a place to garden and play and a place to call home. Earth gives us our bodies, a place for our spirits to incarnate.

Yes, wind is whipping up fires and floods of destruction and yes the earth intermittently quakes and shifts with great magnitude, but let’s stop scapegoating the weather. Let’s reweave the torn shreds of the Web of Life, one sacred strand at a time. Let’s choose to remember the gifts the elements share; gifts of life. Instead of complaining, let’s dance in the rain, sing into the wind, celebrate the lightening and leave offerings for the fire. Let’s humble ourselves as little children and lie down on the body of our Earth Mother is gratitude for the bountiful generosity and enduring love she has for all her children.

It has been my experience that once I begin a ceremony of giving thanks, I become overwhelmed by how much there is for all of us to be grateful for, even in teh most perilous of times.

Planting Seeds for Peace

Planting Seeds for Peace
“The essence of the story of separation is the separate self in a world of others.”
“Interbeing doesn’t go so far as to say, ‘We’re all one,’ but it does release the rigid boundaries of the discrete separate self to say that existence is relational.
– Eisenstein, Charles. Climate: A New Story. North Atlantic Books.
While doing research for a lecture on the history of women in herbal medicine, I came across the story of a pioneer woman who was home alone baking bread while the men were out doing their utmost to exterminate the local natives. As she pulled the bread from the oven, the door flew open and a native warrior in full battle regalia burst into the kitchen.
Placing the bread on the table, the woman calmly sliced two pieces of bread, buttered both, then taking a bite of one slice, she offered the other to the warrior. The man took the bread, sat at the table and shared with her. When they finished eating, he rose and addressed her, “You and your family will never be harmed by my people. “
In Victor Hugo’s story, Les Miserables, so well played out in the movie of the same name, Jean Valjean is sentenced to years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread in a desperate attempt to feed her sister’s children.
After Valjean’s final release, Inspector Javert, who had developed a vendetta for Valjean while the latter was imprisoned, becoming obsessed with hunting him down to destroy him.
Through the intercession of a goodly priest, Valjean is able to change his identity and develop a new life for himself during which he makes it a point to help all those he can, but he is ever aware of the constant threat of being discovered by Javert.
Years go by and through a series of circumstances, Javert is captured and turned over to Valjean by French revolutionaries, but rather than kill the man who mas made his life a living hell, Valjean gives Javert his home address and releases him.
“You will find me here (at this address)” he tells him. “You are free.”
Then he turns and walks quietly away.
In the face of Valjean’s lack of desire to have vengeance, Javert is no longer able to hold the projection of evil he has pushed onto Valjean for so many years. He is suddenly faced with himself, realizing that the qualities the hated and wanted to destroy by destroying Valjean were in fact aspects of himself.
What we judge and want to change or reject in others is too often what we fear to face in ourselves. Yet we all have all these qualities within us. Valjean was able to face and work through the negativity, pessimism, resentment and hate engendered by the severe injustices of a life of poverty and prison. Having no secrets from himself, he was able to bring prayer and a commitment to God to his process, enabling him to be of service to others and live in integrity. Unable or unwilling to face those same qualities in himself, Javert became unconsciously possessed by them.
I read a story in the paper some time ago about a Muslim man who owned a convenience store. He was working the late shift when a man suddenly came in pointing a gun at him.  Having dealt with robbers in the past, the store owner opened the cash drawer, stepped back and said, Take all you want.”
But it was not money this racist intruder was after. Instead he taking the offered cash, he shot the Muslim in the face in racist rage.
The perpetrator was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty. The Muslim man recovered and the photo in the paper revealed the wonders of plastic surgery, but the article said he would suffer pain for the rest of his life.
But this is not the end. The store owner who’d been so viciously shot in the face, fought for years to keep his would be murderer from being executed, arguing that to kill this one man would solve nothing because he knew the problem was much deeper and that this one man was but a symptom.  I remember him quoting his mother’s wise teachings and I wish I had not lost the article so I could repeat those words here and tell you the man’s name.
Hate does not heal hate and though I have no doubt the man who’d been shot must have initially suffered the anguish of grief and rage as well as physical agony, he did not choose to stay there.
One day, listening to NPR news while driving to work, I heard about a country in Europe (Sweden maybe?) that actually puts into practice the philosophy of rehabilitation that I’d been taught in elementary school was (supposedly) the aim of our prison system here in the United States. Except in the most sensitive crimes, victims and perpetrators face one another through a mediation practice and the perpetrators are required to provide restitution to those they have injured. Through the process of meeting their victims, perpetrators begin to see the pain they have caused. This shifts them from viewing others as objects to real people on whom they have inflicted pain.
Unlike this country where victims of crime and racism are too often left on their own to repair, recover and heal or even worse, simply to survive, the victims in this European nation receive the help they need and perpetrators are given an opportunity to make amends for their crimes, offering them a chance to heal as well.  The deeper collective wound of separation that inflicts us all in the modern world beings to shift. No longer does the criminal see others as objects separate from themselves. It is much more difficult to be racist or violent to another when we are able to acknowledge common ground and recognize the commonality we all share as living beings on this Earth.
No longer is the black man an object to be destroyed. No longer is the Earth or a woman an object to be raped.
According to NPR, that country in Europe has a record low rate of recidivism.
The Muslim man’s persistent battle to keep the racist shooter from being executed eventually caused the shooter to say that the man he had once sought to destroy was the best friend he’d ever had.
“In the face of destruction,” my Lakota teacher Rose taught me so many years ago, “create.”
Create. Plant seeds of Beauty. Create Beauty. This is the Time.

Listen and Ask

“A more intimate relationship with nature offers the potential for us to develop a level of commitment that far surpasses actions motivated by moral concerns, ethics, guilt and fear, all of which can just as easily demoralize as motivate.”

To save ourselves and this irreplaceable planet, we must embrace humility, receptivity and a willingness to learn from even the most humble creatures.”

– excerpted from upcoming book I Am Coming Home On the Wind by Deborah Frances.


Lately I’ve been going to pray by the lake. it’s odd finding myself there. it is not a place I have formerly ever chosen to go. Humanly created, the lake was formed when the creek was damned to create a reservoir for irrigation. When I first visited the place, over forty years ago, it was a desolate spot. I never felt entirely safe there and once, as if to confirm my queasy uneasiness about the place, a woman I know was abducted and held for three days while running out near the lake, not a coincidence where the wounds from abduction and rape of the land were still so raw.

But the lake is different now. A water slide draws people in who never visited much before and they’ve added a playground with slides and swings for the children, the swings serving children of all ages I’ve noticed. There are picnic tables and campgrounds and local folks come regularly now to row on the lake.

Interesting how the appreciation of the lake has shifted the energy of the place.  The whole area has a different feel. The presence of humans actively caring for, appreciating and enjoying the lake and the land surrounding it has helped heal the violence once done to the land.

I keep writing of the natural world as if we humans are separate from Nature, but in actuality, the separation is artificial, no more than a manifestation of collective soul loss that has cut us off from the ability to recognize the sentience of other living beings, to see the vitality, the aliveness of the Earth and ALL her children.

As I sit at the edge of this lake, doing my ceremonies for the Water, I wonder how this Water feels about being blocked up, unable to flow and I wonder how the Earth feels, having been reshaped without her permission.

Irrigation draws water from the lake all summer so by fall, the water levels are way down, the shoreline retreated so far from where it was in spring that the lake looks contracted. The land surrounding the lake, the part covered in water in spring, is a barrier wasteland of odd prickly plants, a monoculture of weird vegetation I haven’t seen anywhere else in Southern Oregon. The lake begins to be slimy with algae, no longer so safe or inviting for swimming.

And I wonder again how the land feels about all this, and how the water feels about being contained and stagnant. So I ask.

I do my water ceremonies here. I set up my altar. I call in m helping spirits and I invite Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit. I pray, I listen, I feel, I ask. I marvel at the regeneration that’s taken place even though there is this large span of barrenness surrounding the autumn sliminess of the emptied lake. I see how the influx of people using the lake in joy and for fun, receiving nourishment from her, appreciating her has helped heal something here. I feel the land and the lake soaking up the appreciation like an orphan child starved for love and I am struck by how forgiving the Water and the Earth are willing to be, despite the ignorant hubris and sense of entitlement that allowed for the damns to be built without ever asking the land, the Water, the trees, the plants or the microbes in the soil if they were willing to sacrifice their ways of living or their very lives so we humans could water our fields.

In the language of dreams, water is an aspect of the Feminine. Water is emotion cascading softly over rocks in creeks that delight or move powerfully as white water in rivers that rush to the sea. Water emotes in the pounding surf of the seas, gentle sprinkles of rain or torrential downpours that fill the land.

Mni wiconi waste, we say in Lakota. Water is life and life is good.

I don’t know that the Water always minds being damned or that the Earth necessarily objects to being reshaped in all times and places.  After all beavers damn creeks and moles and voles constantly stir up the soil. But we need to ask.  We need to re-member ourselves to remember that the Earth and the Water, the plants and the fish and the frogs are as sentient as we are. We need to learn, once again, how to listen and ask.

Navigating Grief with Grace

When the king in the fairy tail “Goose Girl at the Spring” throws his daughter out of the castle for not stroking his ego the way he would have liked, the girl is forced to flee to the forest, crying great tears of grief as she wanders alone. In time she comes upon the humble forest cottage of an old wise woman, who takes her in, cares for her and mentors her.

As time goes by the king begins to miss his daughter and regrets his hasty decision. He sends his hunters and warriors across the kingdom to search her out. When at last a young man returns with news of the princess’s where abouts, the king rides out into the forest to the cottage of the wise woman. There is reconciliation and the princess agrees to return to the castle with the king. As she leaves, the wise woman says to him,

“(As a parting gift) I shall give her the tears she shed because of you. Each one is a pearl more precious than any they find in the sea and they are worth more than your whole kingdom.”

  • Pullman, Philip, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm. Penguin, NY, 2012


I was staying with a few close friends at a cabin in the woods shortly after several significant losses had occurred in my life, one after another. Though I felt at peace in this beautiful place, I woke the second morning so full of grief that even my body felt heavy and swollen with the weight of it. I knew what I needed was to get to the Great Flowing Water of the nearby River. She would encourage, support and nourish the flow of my tears as no other could.

Two friends offered to accompany me to the River. As we hiked along the trail the angst I felt at losing so many loved ones in such quick succession began to spill over. I could contain it no longer. Already Grandmother River was pulling the tears from me.

One of my friends began offering words of wisdom, spiritual pearls gathered from the sea of her reading and meditation practice. Though she meant to bring me comfort, she was coming from her head and I was in my heart. I only felt judged and suppressed by her sensible words. I did not need to be consoled out of my pain. What I needed was to go through it, to allow myself to be immersed in the emotion welling up within me while lending a compassionate listening ear to the deluge of feelings flooding through me. I had no desire to wallow in it; only to release it and to make the space for healing. I knew from experience that the wisdom of which my friend spoke would arise spontaneously from within once I had a good, sobbing cry. Seeded by the tears of my grief, this wisdom would sprout from the rotos of my heart, grounded in the physical earth of my grieving body.

My well meaning friend persisted with her advice in spite of my gentle remonstrations. Each time she spoke, the grief in me grew even stronger. I felt blocked and even my body symptoms intensified at the sound of her words.

Finally I turned to stand directly in front of her. Placing my hands on her shoulders, I addressed her sternly,

“LouAnn! Your words are very wise but they are not what I need right now. I just need to be allowed to have my emotions!”

LouAnn really is a wise friend. She got it immediately and switched from offering spiritual platitudes to listening and allowing the space for my process. I felt instantly better, both physically and emotionally. When we arrived at the River, I set up an altar to call in my Spirit Helpers and create a gateway to connect to the spirits of my loved ones, now on the other side.

Feelings just need to be felt. They are not toxic until we make them so by blaming ourselves or someone else for our pain, suppressing and projecting them or basking out from them in destructive ways.

The fear and despair that are rising in so many of us in the face of social, economic and environmental upheaval must be allowed a space to express before the wisdom and strength seeded in our souls can be expected to sprout and take hold. The trick is to go into the feeling with an open mind and a compassionate heart. Dialogue with the feeling; listen, interact, ask questions. At first we will hear what we expect to hear, but we must continue to dialogue to go deeper.

“Okay,” we might reply. “What else?”

This dialogue should be continued until the emotion feels heard and acknowledged. Often at this point there comes a sense of peace as healing arises spontaneously from within.

The healing we call to ourselves through this process is medicine that can be planted in the Earth for all others who need it, seven generations past and seven generations forward as well as others incarnate with us in present time. We can plant the seeds of our healing through intention, chanting or prayer. Alternatively we might choose to blow our medicine into a small stone, a creek or glass of water or seeds we will plant in the garden. Whatever object we use can then be placed into the Earth in a spot that feels right to us.

The Mayans tell us that in these times, it is our job to plant seeds for future generations. We must never underestimate the power of the smallest prayer, or the simplest ritual. Even the tiniest acorn has the potential to become a great oak tree.

Mayan shaman Martine Prechtel tells us in his recording entitled, “On Grief and Praise,” that the tears of our grief pave the way forward for those who have passed on to the Spirit World. My own experiences confirm this. When we began our ceremony with Grandmother River, I felt my tears, shed in the sacred container of ritual space, proved a cleansing that allowed my loved ones to heal, release and let go so they could move on more freely to the light.

I pray the tears of grief so many of us have shed for lost species, environmental destruction and lost loved ones clear the way for these precious ones, so their journeys to Spirit may be smooth and blessed and so they know they are much loved and missed.

Mni Wiceni, we say in Lakota. Water is Life; even the water of our tears nourishes life and life does not end when we exit our earthly bodies.

Martine Prechtel’s recording “On Grief and Praise” is available through his website www.floweringmountain.com. I cannot recommend this recording enough. Prechtel is an adept at blending humor with the wise indigenous teachings he shares.

When emotions threaten to consume us, it is important to seek professional help. Homeopathy, herbs, and other naturopathic therapies can be highly efficacious in releasing us from stuck or overly intense emotions without suppressing the process. For information on the use of hawthorne in negotiating grief, please refer to the chapter on hawthorne in my book “Practical Wisdom in Natural Healing” available at my website www.drdeborahfrances.com or through Amazon.


May Beauty Surround You,

Dancing Crow

Maneuvering Through Crisis

While sitting in meditation a wise yogi saw the spirit of smallpox approach his village. He called out to the Spirit, “As the spiritual protector of this village, I must tell you that you are not welcome here. I cannot allow you anywhere near my village.”

The spirit of smallpox responded, “I have karmic duty to take two people.”

“All right,” the saint acquiesced. “Two people, but no more.”

Two people,” the smallpox agreed. “I will not take more.”

Soon two people developed smallpox and died. Then a few more developed the disease and died. Then more again until it began to appear that an epidemic was forming. The saint went back into meditation to contact the spirit of smallpox.

“You said you would only take two people, yet many people are dying! What is going on?”

The spirit of smallpox replied, “I only took two people. The rest are dying of fear.” 

Though the story does not tell us this, it is likely the yogi felt at least a flicker of fear on seeing the threat of smallpox approach his village. Saint or not, the man was still human. Perhaps the fear came first, causing the yogi to shift his attention. In this way fear served as a messenger to alert him to the presence of possible danger.

We are at the end of an era, a time when Mother Earth is cleansing in preparation for renewal.  It is a time when the very foundations of life are being shaken to the core. Not to feel emotion in the face of such cataclysmic shifts is not to be awake and alive. In times such as these, when chaos and uncertainty rise from seemingly every direction, a certain amount of fear is appropriate, but how do we keep that fear from running off with us and becoming a demon that consumes us and threatens to cause a contagion of panic?

Here again the story helps us, for the saint does not flinch from the spirit of smallpox. He confronts the threat of impending danger as a firm, protective warrior, not just for himself, but for his village. One might say he stands up to danger for all Creation.

So the story encourages us to face our fear, to face the threats that assail us; environmental destruction, the loss of so many species, unprecedented toxicity, earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and now an epidemic not only of chronic disease, but acute viral COVID-19.

Somehow we must acknowledge what is in front of us without succumbing to the emotions that naturally accompany loss, but neither can we continue old patriarchal habits of dismissing fear (or grief or anger…) as irrational, illogical and useless. When we step out of the craziness to take time to open to the emotions we feel, welcoming them into the open space of the compassionate heart; when we are willing to bring curious, nonjudgmental active listening to our fear, we create a container for healing, a place where the transformation these times demand can begin to occur. We enter a nonlinear, nonrational realm where feeling, flowing and listening open doorways for our souls to unfold. In this we plant viable seeds for rebirth and renewal. This is no longer a time where things can be fixed. The chaotic upheaval we are all experiencing on this beautiful planet demands nothing short of total transformation. Our rational minds cannot figure a way out. Only the heart and soul can show us the way through the maze of chaos. The way is not out, but through.

I cannot help but be moved by the extraordinary, everyday beauty of the butterfly whenever she crosses my path. The intricate patterns that adorn her paper thin wings never fail to fill my heart with a sense of wonder at the miracle of life. Yet in each of these moments of joy, there is a puzzled pang of just the slightest bit of grief and I ask myself,

Who is this Divine Being who can create such magnificent Beauty only to let it die and disintegrate?”

But then, more butterflies are born.

The rational mind scoffs, but the heart and the soul know the power of imagination and in these times, no matter how frightening the present and future may seem, no matter how great our personal losses (and they may indeed be excruciating) we must continue to dream into the future. No matter how much death and destruction abound, we must keep aligning with life and renewal, for the renewal will come. It always does. In these times, we must dare to dream beauty and balance back onto this Earth, for the seeds of our dreaming will germinate from the compost of all that is lost and new life will be born.

We cannot change the course of life’s cycles. Try as we might with our need to fix and control, we cannot stop the Earth from cleansing Herself, as she has done in times past. Our job, like the Saint in the story, is to prepare and protect what we can then surrender to that which cannot be changed. There will be suffering and loss. That is inevitable. But there will also be miracles, there always are. Researches have discovered that mice near Chernobyl, where a nuclear meltdown has rendered life all but extinct, have developed genes to protect them from radiation. Though too many precious species are rapidly disappearing from the planet, the buffalo and the eagle are paradoxically returning.

We are in the times astrologers, sages and shamans have foretold for centuries, but within the death of the old are the seeds of new life. In times of destruction, we must dare to create, and if the beauty we birth is also destroyed, we create again, for such is the way the life force flows and as the Lakota say,

Wiconi waste” – “Life is Good.”

Finally I want to end with a bit of humor that has birthed from the pandemic of corona virus.

Swiss Sneeze

When an American woman queried her daughter in Switzerland about buying so much toilet paper in response to COVID-19, her daughter replied,

“Because Mom, when a few people are gathered together and one person sneezes, everyone else shits their pants.”

Let us all keep laughing as best we can!


May Beauty Surround You,

Dancing Crow/Deborah Frances


Dreaming the Good Dream

Dreaming the Good Dream

Words of Wisdom from Deborah Frances Dancing Crow

The following is a preface excerpted from Dr. Frances’ upcoming book I Am Coming Home on the Wind; a book of true stories meant to awaken the Indigenous Soul residing within us all regardless of our ancestry; stories to inspire and heal us out of the collective delusion of separateness; stories to open our eyes to the presence of Divine Love flowing through all Creation.


“May you be born in an interesting time.”

Ancient Chinese Curse


“…nothing can cripple us more than the loss of hope…despair takes aim at the soul.”

  • Joseph M. Marshall III, Keep Going The Art of Perseverance. Sterling Publishing, NY, 2006.

From the 14th through the 17th centuries, huge numbers of simple village folks were accused of witchcraft, then tortured and burned at the stake by a white, European, male aristocracy operating through the channels of governments in league with the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the peasants burned were women and most of these were midwives, herbalists and healers.  Successful healing was seen as a sure sign of witchcraft, especially if the wise woman’s simple Earth Ways succeeded where upper class, male physicians had failed.  Cultivation of simple plants like basil, or close association with an animal, were also likely to lead to condemnation.  Cats were held to be especially suspicious and were often burned along with the so-called “witches.”

Concurrently, groups and individuals who dared to suppose they might have a direct experience of God, without the intercession of the Church, were branded as heretics, making them also subject to torture and genocide.

The same consciousness that led to the annihilation of women, healers and “heretics” laid an easy foundation for the massacre of Indigenous People living in harmony with Nature on other continents.  Cultures with spiritual practices that encouraged direct experience of the Divine and whose people lived with deep respect and reverence for Nature were easily branded as “primitive, superstitious savages” making them an easy target for extermination, exploitation, and persecution.

So many centuries of genocide and oppression for the crime of being closely connected to Nature has left industrialized society with a legacy of consciousness deeply rooted in fear and ignorance. How many of us know and trust the depths of healing available in medicinal herbs or possess the skill to prescribe them? How many are able to identify edible plants or name the animals whose tracks we find embedded in the soil? Lacking the ability to live with the land, we have become dependent on the corporate machine to tend to our health and supply our material needs.  We live insulated from the flow of Nature and the Cycles of the Moon, the Sun and the Seasons; Cycles that reflect the rhythms of our lives and keep us in touch with our authentic selves, walking in balance on this Good Green Earth.  Nor are we any longer sufficiently awake and aware enough to be receptive to the gifts of Wisdom and guidance that emanate so freely through all of Nature.  Those Indigenous People who are blessed to still have connection to the Old Ways, despite centuries of genocide and oppression, know that even the stones have consciousness and gifts to share, if we would only re-member ourselves enough to listen.

Dominator consciousness has torn us from our proper place as caretakers of the Natural World, culling the herds and harvesting plants only as needed, and then always in a manner that contributes to the well-being of all Life. Instead we have become greedy predators, overconsuming, raping and pillaging the Earth in a vain attempt to fill the black void born of our separation from Nature and Spirit, and subsequently ourselves. The resultant environmental crisis and continued blind addiction to chemical fixes, electromagnetics and toxic radiation is playing havoc with our health and that of the world around us.

We now face an ecological crisis that is threatening to catapult us headlong into unprecedented global catastrophe. We cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand. We can no longer ignore that the Earth, our Mother, our home, our source of sustenance and support, is in danger of dying and without Her, there is no Life.

And yet we must not lose hope. Native American prophecy, handed down through generations, foretold of a time when the Earth and food would be toxic, when the rivers would run with poison and even the air we breathe would be contaminated. But Native and other prophesies also foretell of a return of the Sacred Feminine, a potent promise of Light for the future, because the Feminine is the inner, connecting, renewing principle and it is through the Feminine that New Life is born.

Social, political, and environmentally sound actions are absolutely essential in these times, but none can take their full root or exert long lasting effect without an accompanying shift from dominator thinking to a consciousness that honors, respects and embraces All Life as Sacred.  Anything less will not suffice.  As Einstein once pointed out, a problem cannot be solved by the same consciousness from which it was created.

A more intimate relationship with Nature offers the potential for us to develop a level of commitment that far surpasses actions motivated by moral concern, ethics, guilt and fear; all of which can just as easily immobilize as motivate. Instead, if we empty our minds and open our hearts to respect the ways of the animals, the plants and all of Nature and learn to listen from our hearts, we create a potential to forge bonds with our non-human relatives in Nature that offer us an opportunity to act from a place of enhanced vitality, wisdom, passionate love, and an embodied comprehension of the interdependence of all living beings.  Nothing can replace a deep personal experience of healing, Beauty, and yes I will use the word Magic, so abundantly present in the Natural World. Sometimes amazing, but more often subtly interwoven and merged in seemingly mundane experiences, this Beauty can easily be missed by those of us trapped in left brain cerebral thinking.  Heartfelt humility combined with a sincere desire to learn from Nature and serve the Whole of Creation must be an integral part of the equation if we are to save ourselves and this Beautiful Planet Earth from extinction.

If we are willing to risk a descent from the lofty tower of intellect, we may find ourselves warmly welcomed into the rich tapestries adorning the gentle castle of the heart.  It is only then that our spirits can recognize and be touched by the numinosity and synchronicities that abound in relationship to Nature.

The process towards Oneness with Creation begins with humility and a release of all expectations, demands and preconceptions.  It starts with observing, allowing, inviting, leaving space for choice and being totally okay with “no” for an answer.  It means trading the delusion of species superiority and fear-based egoic dominator thinking for something much richer. To save ourselves and this irreplaceable planet, we must embrace humility, receptivity and a willingness to learn from even the most humble creatures.  We must release our preconceived ideas that we know what Mother Earth needs and learn instead to ask and listen.  The answers She supplies may greatly surprise us.

In July 1999, I was urgently commanded by my inner guidance to quickly gather my ceremonial things and go out under the Cedar trees that adorned my front yard. As I prayed in the early evening light, I received the following simple but profound message:

“In the coming times, it is absolutely essential to Dream the Good Dream.”

Dream the Good Dream; acknowledge the darkness, the grief, the fear, the despair and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that lay before us, but do not let that darkness rule or defeat. No matter how dire things may seem in days to come, and they do indeed look dire, we must doggedly persevere in giving thanks for the Beauty around us while visualizing healing and taking what action we can. We must resist the temptation to give up on the situation, on each other, or on ourselves.

Mayan Elders, who have also long prophesied these times, tell us that now is the time to plant seeds for the generations to come. Our visualizations, our prayers, our simple acts of kindness, compassion or demands for social and environmental justice have more potential to germinate into something great than any of us can ever know.  But if we decide ahead of time that it is already too late, which any informed, rational person would argue is likely, we have already lost.  The trick is to move beyond the confines of the rational mind to the more expansive, non-rational space of the heart, where hope inspires us to be our best.  Then we must radiate the Beauty we find out to all creation.  The horrific global challenges we face offer us an opportunity to stop short-sightedly living just for ourselves and mere everyday survival and drop our cultural glorification of rugged individualism and independence to embrace diversity and community. We must live with the realization that each step we take, each thought we think, affects seven generations ahead and has the potential to heal seven generations of the past.  To trust, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that there will indeed BE future generations of two leggeds, finned ones, creepy-crawlies, winged ones, four-leggeds and green growing ones is a revolutionary act in itself, a Sacred kind of Craziness that may well serve to antidote the destructive lunacy of our times.  In the face of destruction, we must dare to create Beauty. We must join together. Red, White, Black and Yellow Skinned People to dream and enact the Good Dream, and in this we must also join with Mother Earth and all her non-human children to sow all the seeds of Beauty we possibly can.  It is time to release the inner and outer judge, and embrace compassion.

We have everything to lose by not wholeheartedly trying and nothing to lose by putting forth our best effort.  After all, if reincarnation is an actuality, then if we are among the ancestors whose healing we pray for, we may well be reborn in generations yet to come.


Mitakuye oyasin / All My Relations

Dr. Deborah Frances / Beautiful Little Dancing Crow

Naturopathic Physician / Lakota Elder

September 2014