Answering the Call - The Call: Remembering Who You Are

Kindling the Native Spirit: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life - Denise Linn 2015

Answering the Call
The Call: Remembering Who You Are

From scientists and politicians to psychics and visionaries, predictions about the future suggest that we have entered into one of the most challenging centuries of human history. We stand at the crossroads of either the destruction or regeneration of our planet. At the same moment as rapid advances in medicine, science, and technology are occurring, our ecology is on the verge of collapse. And it’s happening at an accelerated pace. Each step has potential consequences. We can be mindful of those steps, knowing that the wisdom of the natural world is always present . . . or we can acquiesce to the modern paradigm of attempting to control the earth rather than walking in harmony with her.

In many ways, there has never been a more powerful time in the evolution of our planet than right now. It’s a period like no other in history. What we do in this single generation will dictate the destiny of generations ahead. And it’s not simply about physical acts, such as planting more trees or saving the whales (which, of course, are worthwhile and necessary activities). In a deeper sense, it’s about a shift of consciousness, the ripples of which can radiate out in all directions, touching the hearts of many.

“We are each reflections of the earth. What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.”


The challenge is that most humans don’t see themselves as a part of nature, but somehow superior to it. If we didn’t feel separate from the earth—if we could feel her soul inside of us—we would treat her so very differently. Even though modern technology has made our lives easier, our subconscious tells us a different story. Our disconnection from the natural world has made many become spiritually disorientated. And not only are we disconnected from the land, but also we’re becoming increasingly disconnected from each other.

It’s not uncommon for people to go out to dinner and then spend much of the time on their electronic devices, rather than in conversation. Modern mothers today often look more at their cell phones than into the faces of their infants as they are nursing. (Not having direct facial connection can diminish mirror neuron development in the child.) The rise of electronic communication in our society has begun to replace human contact, and we’ve suffered a loss of quality and quantity of close friends as a result. Since 1985 the average number of close friends most people have has dropped dramatically . . . and the numbers keep decreasing.

Research has also shown that the use of computers has a dramatic effect on a child’s brain development—even educational games. Computer games affect neurological reactions, hormones, and biochemicals (such as adrenaline) that increase heart rate and muscle changes for a fight-or-flight response, which can become an ingrained, permanent response to life. Also, the overuse of computers during childhood development through adolescence can cause the prefrontal cortex (which regulates emotions, complex thought processes, and problem solving) to not reach its potential. And every year more and more people spend more time with their electronic devices than in conversations with “real” people.

As a culture, we’re in such a hurry that we wait only a few seconds when we phone someone before we hang up. Additionally, we’ve become myopic and only think of short-term profit and benefit. We aren’t addressing how our actions affect the seven generations beyond us—this is about 140 years—as decreed in native tribal traditions. The way we’re going, the future of our planet will be bereft in a relatively short time simply because of our actions today. How different our lives would be if corporations and policy makers carefully considered the ways in which their actions affect our descendants in the future.

However, it’s possible to reinvent our own personal destiny, as well as that of our planet. In the native cultures that I’ve spent time in, repeatedly I’ve heard that we’re entering a time of darkness. This might be true as our seas, air, and land are being polluted and disregarded. Yet there is a universal law: “The greater the darkness, the greater the light.” There has never been a more compelling time than right now for your light to shine fiercely, graciously, and beautifully. You are needed. It’s time to answer the call.

Each of my native teachers brought an understanding about this pivotal time and shared strategies that we can all use to survive and thrive in the years ahead. They each believed that survival depended on courageous individuals stepping forward and embracing their own native soul. Those who welcome their inner indigenous spirit know how to push off from the shore of normal reality and enter the vast flow of life where the world is alive—where every tree has a voice, every mountain has a soul, and every flower has a song. We think that we’ve forgotten how to take this journey, but inside each of us is a place that remembers . . . and the voices of our ancestors are calling us to awaken.

The ancestors I’m talking about aren’t just the ones that dwell in a spirit world; they’re the collective ancestral soul that resides deep inside of you. This book isn’t just about heeding wisdom or learning new techniques; in its deepest sense, it’s a touchstone to help you recall the knowledge that already exists within you. If you trace your ancestry back far enough, you’ll discover that you have earth-based ancestors who lived in harmony with nature and understood that all things are connected. Their very survival depended upon their ability to interface with the natural world . . . and you carry their DNA. You carry their memories. The native spirit already dwells in you!

Interestingly, recent science has been giving credence to the idea that memories can, in fact, travel through the generations in our DNA. Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta have shown that it’s possible for information to be inherited biologically, through chemical changes that occur in DNA. During their experiments they learned that animals could pass on learned information about stressful experiences to subsequent generations; in one case, it was a fear of the smell of cherry blossoms. This suggests, from a scientific perspective, what earth-based cultures have always intuitively known—that our experiences can be transferred from the brain into our genome, allowing them to be passed on to later generations. Professor Marcus Pembrey, a geneticist at University College London, said the work provided “compelling evidence” for the biological ancestral transmission of memory.

You contain the blueprint of your native ancestors that dwell within you. When I was with the Aborigines in the bushland of Australia, Nundjan Djiridjarkan told me that young Aboriginal children, who had never been taught the old ways about particular ancient Aboriginal art motifs, had been spontaneously creating them without ever being instructed. He maintained it was the ancestral soul.

We are at a turning point in the history of our planet, and many of the old ways are dying. This we know. Of course change is the way of life, but if the old ways that help us establish deep connections to our living planet continue to die, then our souls are deprived. It’s my intent that, by following some of the suggestions in this book, such as drumming, creating a spirit stick, and listening to the messages in the wind, you’ll be answering that hallowed call. And your life will be enriched as a result.