Medicine Path NAC Blog
The Medicine Path community is a fluid group of many thousands of human beings who have prayed together with our Master Teacher, the Chanunpa Wakan, the Sacred Pipe, and also those who have participated in our Healing Medicine Ceremonies. Medicine Path is not a cult, and has no interest in assembling groups of people who are loyal to its altar or any precepts that are offered during Ceremonies.
Medicine Path has no dogma, nor do we believe that there is any single path to healing. A Human Being may travel many roads to come to us and will travel many roads when they leave us. We honor all ways that are Good Ways. Good Way is a feeling, not an idea. The Medicine Ceremonies teach through actual physical, mental and emotional experience what Good Way feels like for each individual. Our experience is that each person who attends our ceremonies will in some way get in touch with their Good Way and carry that forward with them when they go elsewhere.
Medicine Path is a Red Road altar. We are interested in and attract people who wish to be True Human Beings. That means that they are fully committed to their Human lifetime on this planet and all of the business of being a Human Being. It is not an enlightenment path. It is a path for people who have real lives with all the problems that entails. We honor our lives and the people in them by treating them as Sacred. A thing, a place, a person becomes Sacred when we treat it as Sacred. The Ceremonies we offer allow people to feel what that feels like. Sacred does not mean unapproachable. It does not mean with piety. It means that we honor the Humanity of each person and meet them where they are. If we cannot we proceed onward until the next encounter that we can honor in our Good Way.
We expect and experience that everyone who attends our ceremonies will have a key that fits the Universe, allowing them to establish their own personal relationship with Creator. This does not require intercession or a priest or rabbi or minister. It is personal and available to anyone at anytime who can ask for help in a sincere way.
We teach that each person is responsible for their prayers and their life and their choices. Learning to not blame others for our personal shortcomings and limitations and forgiving ourselves and others for theirs is a liberation of body mind and spirit that leads to a full and happy life. We know of no exception to this. It may take some people longer than others to find their way but they do. It is a prayer that manifests itself over the arc of a human being’s lifetime.
Every Great Way offers the same thing from the teachings at its core. We have no conflict with any other practices as long as they don’t interfere with an individual’s right to make their personal connection with the Power Greater Than Themselves, however they might see that. Good Way is Good Way.
George Grey Eagle Bertelstein
Medicine Path Native American Church
As you may have noticed, we have not held Sweat Lodge Ceremonies or Healing Medicine Ceremonies with Sweat Lodge for the past few months due to inclement weather and a need to rebuild our lodge.
On Sunday, April 20th, we will have Sweat Lodge Preparation Ceremony where we will deconstruct and rebuild the lodge, prepare and improve the grounds, etc. We will end this Ceremony in the traditional way with a wopila.
Please come and bring your loved ones and families that would like to participate in restoring our Sweat Lodge in time for the outdoor praying season.
Location: The Center For Living Wisdom (RSVP for address)
When: Sunday, April 20, 2014.
Time: Please arrive at 10:30 am. We plan to finish by 5:00pm.
What To Bring:
- Work appropriate clothing
- Work gloves if you have them
- Water bottle
- Wopila item
This Saturday, March 15th at 4pm, you are invited to hear George Bertelstein, Spiritual Leader of Medicine Path NAC, speak on a panel called “Food, Dance and Spiritual Healing: Transcending Geographic, Cultural and Economic Differences” that is part of a larger event called Field of Inquiry: Future Soul/Global South Edition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Grand Lobby and Galleries
701 Mission St., San Francisco, California 94103
When: Saturday, March 15th
Time: 4-7pm (George is speaking from 4-4:30pm)
Event: Field of Inquiry: Future Soul/Global South Edition
Tickets: Free with RSVP – Sign up here
See below for schedule and details…or join the Facebook Event for more information.
FIELD OF INQUIRY OFFERINGS (4PM-7PM)
YBCA’s Future Soul Think Tank produces its second set of public, physical responses to its sustained inquiry, creating an assortment of interactive provocations in conjunction with YBCA’s presentation of Companhia Urbana de Dança. Initially beginning with the question “How does the Global South impact our personal understanding of Soul?,” the think tank presents a series of Paolo Freire-inspired “teach-ins,” hosted and facilitated by members of this year’s Future Soul Think Tank.
IN THE LARGE CONFERENCE ROOM
Time: 4PM – 5:20PM
Title: “Food, Dance and Spiritual Healing: Transcending Geographic, Cultural and Economic Differences”
Speakers: George Bertelstein (modern day Medicine Man), Magalie Bonneau-Marcil (Founder of Dancing Without Borders), Chef Sarah Krinon ( Executive Chef/Owner of Miss Olie’s); Organized by Neal Skacel (Sound Designer/Counselor)
Description: Can food, dance and spiritual healing transcend geographic, cultural and economic differences between the Global North and Global South? Three extraordinary panelists speak to their work in doing just that — Chef Sarah Krinon, Executive Chef/ Owner of Miss Olie’s, an Old Oakland eatery named for her grandmother who raised her in Barbados that uses “the flavors of the African diaspora;” Magalie Bonneau-Marcil, Founder of Dancing Without Borders, which has produced large-scale community art supporting reconciliation between the indigenous and the privileged in South Africa & Brazil as well as organizing dance flash mobs for 1 Billion Rising and the Occupy Movement; and George Bertelstein, a modern day Medicine Man initiated in indigenous traditions of both Northern and Southern Americas, who will talk about an ancient prophecy of reunion between the Condor Medicine of the South and the Eagle Medicine of the North, seen by many as reaching fulfillment in the contemporary reality of our increasingly globalizing world. (more…)
I have had Chanunpa in my life for a quarter of a century. The first time I ever saw one, it was sitting on the altar of my first teacher Eagle Bear’s Inipi lodge. It was her Chanunpa, given to her by her adopted Lakota Brule” father, Norbert Running.
I knew in the cells of my body that this thing would save my life.
I asked her, “How do I get one of those?”
She asked, “What would you want one for?”
I didn’t have any idea.
When I finally was given a Chanunpa, my teacher said, “Now your life will be hard.”
It had already been. How could it be harder?
Now, 25 years down the road, and many Chanunpas later, I see that I made my life harder with that Chanunpa. I have had many Chanunpas in my possession. I had a vision in a sweat lodge of Chanunpas pouring out of my brain. I made my first one in 1991. I made Chanunpas, bowls and stems, for many years. I have sat behind a Chanunpa in about 1000 Chanunpa ceremonies. My life has been whatever the Chanunpa said it would be.
I no longer pray very often with my Chanunpa. It prays me. When my mind or my body or my heart begin to wander off the path it has shown me, I fill my Chanunpa and smoke it. It always offers me the peace and the correction I need to walk that path.
I don’t know how it works. I have an altar of the Chanunpa, the Tobacco Sacrament, the Sacred Inipi, the Grandfather Medicine and the Wachumita Medicine. It is all run by Chanunpa. If I start thinking about any of it, worrying, fretting, pondering, considering…whatever the form of distraction I throw in my path to make my life harder and more difficult and more lonely and more isolated…it shows me my empty mind and returns me to the path it has offered me.
I have learned from it that reassurance is not Medicine. The Medicine shines a light on the truth and the only thing to do is follow it. If we stumble, lurch, cry, scream, laugh, curse, smile, frown or walk it with enormous self-possession and dignity, it is ours to walk. The Medicine has no comment on or interest in our ideas, opinions and preferences, our thoughts or our feelings.
“Walk this way. This is your way. And more importantly, it is MY Way.” That’s what I hear.
I no longer need to be courageous or cowardly or anything in between. I am just going to walk this way, and accept the corrections offered to me. I am the opposite of a hard head or a martyr. I am the Sacred Pipe’s little man. I am a creature of that Chanunpa.
The Chanunpa offered me a choice a long time ago. Me or IT. I picked it up and chose it. There is no un-choosing. People put them away or put them up or give them away or walk away from them. There is no get-away. Chanunpa is interested in itself. It is not a servant, it is a Master Medicine. It subsumes everything it needs from whomever it wants it from, and it is doing it all the time. It is creating Universes and New Worlds, and anyone who carries one knows this and it is all a man or woman can do to treat it lightly and reverently enough and attend to it.
Anything I need to know about proper relationship with every other being on this planet is contained in the way I am bid be with Chanunpa. The way I do that, and the way it teaches me that, is my path. It is uniquely mine, and my “personality” and my “knowledge” and whatever charm or influence I may have is given me by Chanunpa to be used for its purpose.
Someone asked me what was the most difficult thing about being a Pipe Carrier. I said I personally think it is filling it in a good way. Each encounter with that Pipe is so blessed an opportunity to do some small things really well and we just cannot get it right. And I have to forgive myself each time and try again when next I am given the opportunity. I will never do it perfectly and I can never stop wishing to. The life of a Pipe Carrier.
Each encounter we have with the Sacred in Everything and Everyone is just such an opportunity. And we just cannot get it right. And we have to forgive ourselves completely each time and try again when next we are offered the opportunity. The life of a conscious Human Being.
I had a vision years ago that my children could walk freely together or apart between ceremonies in whatever Good Way there was that might arise.
The North and the South and the East and the West would all be bridged and knit together, the Up and the Down, the Male and the Female, the Right and the Wrong, the Low and the High, all would know each other and it would all be One, in whatever Good Way would arise.
The White Eagle and the White Buffalo would rise up in the clouds to honor one another and all is made whole in whatever Good Way arises.
Forever and Always, Backwards and Forwards in time and space. And so it is and so it will be and so it always has been.
Above and Below.
– George Bertelstein
Earth Peoples United membership program is honored to host George “Grey Eagle” Bertelstein for our Monthly Wisdom Keeper tele-teaching on Thursday, April 25th @ 5:30p PDT. Read more at Earth Peoples United’s website…
“The Red Road is a path for a True Human Being to walk. We are all of us going to the same place, in the end, Red Road or Black Road or any other Way, true or not. The Red Road teaches us to honor everything and everyone in the best way we are able in any given moment. There are no Masters of this Good Red Road, only students. This is why the Old Ones are humble and offer their hearts to the People. The Road is narrow towards the end and at the beginning. We enter and leave one at a time, but in the middle there is room for everyone to hold hands.”