March 27, 2017

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Indigenous Love Traditions

Indigenous Love Traditions

Love Birds sculpture by Wayne DF Thomas | Image Source: mayneisland.com/Gallery of Carvings 2

In celebration of the day of love, MUSKRAT Magazine has compiled a list of Indigenous love teachings and traditions that you can try for yourself or your loved ones!

1. Love: One of the Seven Grandfather Teachings

The eagle is said to represent love because it flies closest to the Creator giving far reaching sight to the seekers below. To receive an eagle feather is considered one of our highest honours. Love is expressed to the Creator through the love of oneself. There is a teaching that says: if you can’t love yourself, then it’s impossible to express love to anyone else.

2. The Rite of the Seven Steps

The Rite of the Seven Steps is a wedding ceremony that can be traced back to many different nations across the continent. For each step, the bride and groom say a vow to each other while going clockwise in a circle around the sacred fire. There are many variations of what vows to use, but the wedding couple is encouraged to write their own. Here is an example from manataka.org:

Groom: O’ my beloved goddess, as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship have become inseparable and firm. Now you have become completely mine. I offer my total self to you. May our marriage last forever.

Bride: My husband, by the law of the Creator, and the spirits of our honorable ancestors, I have become your wife. Whatever promises I gave you I have spoken them with a pure heart. All the spirits are witnesses to this fact. I shall never deceive you, nor will I let you down. I shall love you forever.

 

3. Round Dance

The round dance is known as a friendship dance where two people join hands in circle formation, symbolizing equality amongst everyone. The dancers do a side shuffle, while bending their knees, emphasizing the pattern of the drumbeat as they are holding hands. This can be done to court someone by breaking into the circle to dance by the one you desire.

4. Same Sex Love Traditions

While LGBTQ2 rights are on the forefront of human rights today, in pre-colonial times two spirited people were honoured and revered in North American Indigenous societies. Indigenous people believed that an individual’s spirit, not their sexual orientation, defined their character. If a person embodied both the male and female spirits, they were seen as gifted members of society.

5. Self Love: Daily Meditations with Smudging

Indigenous people use smudging ceremonies for healing purposes and to cleanse energy. Smudging on an individual basis is beneficial because it keeps you in tune with your traditional roots and the natural scent is great aromatherapy. Smudging combined with daily meditations can help you increase your self-awareness and self-love.

Aztec sculpture of a man holding a cacao bean
An Aztec sculpture of a man holding a cocoa bean| Image source: Wiki Commons

6. Aztec Aphrodisiacs

During the Aztec times, cocoa beans were highly valuable because of their flavour and effects. Cocoa was believed to be a bridge between heaven and earth and was used in many ceremonies. In wedding ceremonies, a couple would drink chocolate from a symbolic cup and exchange cocoa beans. Today scientists have discovered that cocoa contains theobromine, an energy booster; and phenylethylamine and serotonin, a mood enhancer.

7. E-Snagging

If you’re looking for a nish to love and don’t have time for the powwow trail, websites like e-snag.com are similar to other dating websites where you make a profile so you can search for matches outside your community. This website is the number one Native dating site that states, “E-Snag.com is committed to helping you find that special someone… your soulmate” Happy dating trails!

8. Hand Drum Love Songs

The drum beat represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth and of all life on earth. The beat of the drum reminds us of who we are and where we came from. Before children are born, the first drum beat they hear is the beat of their own mother’s heart as she carries them in her womb. A hand drum love song is an extension of this pure love.

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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