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.
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.
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.