It is easy to think that native wisdom is other than our own, something that is the currency of non-western sensibilities.
The reality however is that we are all indigenous, we are all native to this land.
Some of us are several generations removed from the oral, the animate, and the more than human world – but we remain aboriginal in kind.
This indigenous native way is not otherworldly, it is absolutely worldly, it is of this world and the nature that we are all an intimate part of. The natural world speaks to us in a tongue that we can all understand, she has no need of countries or even cultures.
Here on the mountain, I am enjoying my third spring and already my own tracks are being added to those of the ancestors. I am conscious that I’m in the process of creating my own songlines and my own connections to this native world.
Many of the rocks, tracks, plants, and corners of the mountain now have their own names. I know bulb rock, skull boulder, ochre splash crevice; there is the place of chamomile, the hollow where frogs sing and past the prayer stone lies the sylvan temple. I know where the vultures rest and eagles nest, the places where spring greens offer themselves and the resting place of the secret Genet atop a giant boulder.
As I walk, I make connections between all of these things, I see their place, and indeed my place in the great web of life.
Hoop within hoop, wheel within wheel.
This is no abstraction, no fireside myth or dime store Indian philosophy. It is simply the way of things.
Gradually I have become aware that there is music playing beneath the ground as I walk. Each flower, rock, bird and tree has its own distinct note. I am a part of some great Gaian symphony.
As I walk through this animate world, I am not separate from it, nor am I the observer, I am participant. I am at the same time musician and audience, the song emanating from me and into me. This music deepens and becomes more resonant with each visit to the mountain as the melodies and harmonies become richer and more profound.
None of this is supernatural, it is simply natural.
What we view as native people offering respects to mysterious and otherworldly spirits is usually nothing more than an homage to local winds and the surrounding ecology. Even these spirits of nature are not what we in the West consider spirit, that is something with human form, or at least derived from flesh. Rather they are the sparks which animate the life in the more than human world with which we share our space.
Becoming native is simply, stopping, listening, feeling, and allowing ourselves to take up our place within the web of life.