Author: J. T. Garrett
Trade Paperback, 144 pages
Publisher: Bear & Co.
Publication date: 2004
List: US$12.95, C$20.95
Price & More Info: Click Here
The author is a member of the Eastern band of Cherokee from North Carolina.
He is a public health director in that state, and has worked for the U.S.
Public Health Service, Indian Health Services. He has trained as a
practitioner of Cherokee Medicine. All of this gives him a unique
perspective, as well as a highly individualized approach to sharing that
knowledge with others. He obtained permission from various elders to share
this information with non-Native Americans, so to fail to do so would be the
height of rudeness.
Unlike many authors, he strives to make the subject of meditation not only
accessible, but fun as well. There are no long, drawn out preparations is
this book. Nor are there dire warnings about the need for protective
preparations. Instead there are simple directions; easy to understand
descriptions; and constant assurances about the ability of anyone to engage
in the practice of meditation.
The meditations are simple and easy to follow, but that does nothing to
decrease their effectiveness. The purpose of these meditations is to show,
in the words of the Cherokee, "We are all related." These are meditations
which anyone can undertake and benefit from.
In the New Age community, as well as in the Pagan/Wiccan communities there
has been a great deal of assimilation (or as some have referred to it,
theft) of Native American spirituality. If one wishes to use Native
American imagery and ritual work in their own workings, there is an
obligation to observe a couple of major points: First, one should
familiarize oneself with the culture being borrowed from, to make sue that
things remain in context (more about this in a moment); and Second, one
should acknowledge the source of the borrowed material and offer appropriate
thanks. Less importantly, but still not to be overlooked (in my opinion) is
the fact that there is not, and never was, a "Native American religion",
There were, and are, ways of life specific to the tribes, and these vary.
We now return to the context issue. In most Western magickal traditions
there are certain colors associated with the directions (blue in the East,
red in the South, green in the West, and black in the North as one set of
examples). Native Americans have different associations ( the Cherokee use
red, gold or yellow in the East, white or green in the South, black in the
West, and purple or blue in the North). It is obvious, at least to me, that
it could be jarring to the spirits invoked if the colors they are used to
being associated with are not used by a practitioner. This is where the
problem of mixing systems raises its head. If you use Native American
imagery, use the appropriate symbols and colors. If you don't feel
comfortable doing that, then you shouldn't use that imagery.
If you take the time to do the meditations Mr. Garrett presents, with an
open mind, you will find yourself being drawn into a much more intimate
relationship with the world around you. You will find that it is easier to
bring yourself into balance with life.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason