Teachings From Mother Earth, Book Two: Everything Has a Spirit

Teachings From Mother Earth, Book Two: Everything Has a Spirit

by Judith C. Stern

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Teachings From Mother Earth, Book Two, Everything Has A Spirit by Judith C Stern is the second in a four part series of books, all titled Teachings From Mother Earth.

Was it the blood sacrifice of the Lakota Sun Dance, or the Ojibwe vision quest that taught Judy Stern to listen to Mother Earth's teachings? Curiosity drove her to ask why First Nation people think differently about the earth than our Euro-American ancestors. Why did one name HER Mother Earth and the other call IT a resource? Are we saving enough of Mother Earth's natural beauty to provide a healthy heritage for our grandchildren? Native American tricksters taught Judy stories of foolishness and wisdom that her teachers never did. Simple truths replaced biased, revised history. Americans embraced "Manifest Destiny" similar to British conquests, trampling Mother Earth and natives along the way. Judy compared ancient sacred attitudes to logical laws and rational theories and found clarity that religion lacked.

This new collection of stories begins with a blood sacrifice Sun Dance ceremony at Fool�s Crow�s compound in Pine Ridge, SD. For several sweltering August days Judy witnesses men and women dancing around the sacred poplar tree. Men have vowed to perform a painful blood letting ritual. She experiences joy, shock, connectedness, healing and enlightenment. She feels the pull of the sacred tree and is granted her request to enter the arena and sit at the base of the tree to pray for Mother Earth. Surrounding her are bison robes, skulls, and pungent sage she and her friends have gathered from the Dakota prairie.

All is not serious or somber! The cook tent next to her camp is popular with jovial Lakota kids. The latrines on the far side of become intolerable in the rising heat. Where to go? Drive down the road. Ah! The Mormon Church is open. A kindly Mormon brother attempts to convert her from her Lutheranism, although she knows she has already converted to animism � a secret she does not tell the brother because they both relish their discussion about the structure of Mormon dogma.

During a Vision Quest ritual Judy gains personal insight while eschewing food or water for three days alone in wilderness, praying for a vision. Dayshun Goodsky, a kindly Ojibwe traditionalist, mentors her.

Soon after opening a studio in Marine On St. Croix, MN, Judy visualizes a bear skull ceremony for the St. Croix Valley and solicits the assistance of Ed McGaa, Lakota author. She gathers a student group around a campfire. Bears return!

Judy travels to partake in two funerals for native holy men � very different experiences. One is buried in a casket near his Victorian house, the other in the earth under a wooden shelter on the stony Canadian Shield.

Along with Allison, a student of Judy�s University of St. Thomas class, we learn Indian cultural values and Biblical orthodoxy through creation stories and contemporary authors like David Nobel and Matilda Gage, authorities on women�s struggles with the church. How do Iroquois women exercise equal authority with men?

We read the research papers written during her studies in which she compares unlikely characters that surprise us: Job /Black Elk; Gilgamesh/Red Cloud; St. Augustine/the Ojibwe; philosophical figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Bacon, Descarte, Locke and Jefferson who think very differently than the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois).

Like branches on the Sun Dance tree, one big question creates a hundred more: What is progress? Sacrifice? Suffering? Evil? Reason? Common sense? Her opinionated essays boldly argue for a new paradigm.

Judy�s artful writing reflects her fashion design talent. By combining light-hearted narrative conversation, stern opinion essays and research, she skillfully weaves a composition akin to a tapestry rich in vibrant colors, textures and patterns.

An Ojibwe teacher once named her Nargishigoequay, or Half-Way-Woman. The series, Teachings From Mother Earth is half way.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940149521517
Publisher: P.J. Penguin Publishing
Publication date: 04/28/2014
Series: Teachings From Mother Earth , #2
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Judith Carol Stern was born in Robbinsdale, Minnesota in 1942. In 1971 she moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota with her husband and four children. She became a student at the University of North Dakota, returning to the University of Minnesota to graduate with majors in American Indian Studies (Ojibwe Language) and Applied Arts. In downtown Minneapolis she owned Judith Stern Gallery featuring modern Indian art, and Judy Stern Inc., which manufactured and sold her clothing designs for twenty years.

Judy studied at the Playwrights� Center under Lee Blessing. She learned storytelling at the Guthrie Theater with Maren Hinderlie, performing with a troupe. In 1993 at the Jungle Theater, she had a one-woman show. In 1989 after moving to Marine On St. Croix, MN Judy joined the St. Croix Storytellers. At the Science Museum of Minnesota�s Warner Nature Center she taught �Exploring American Indian Spirituality in Contemporary Society,� with Ed McGaa- Eagle Man and Chuck Robertson, Lakota teachers and writers.

In 1995 Judy began a retail store selling log cabin furniture, art, canoes, and clothing she designed. She soon owned eleven commercial rental units. A journal writer, she saved boxes of notebooks, interviews and articles about her travels to Indian lands, then began her �big book� about spirituality in 1990. She also published �PJ Penguin, A Race to Save Penguin Land,� a children�s book. In 2006 as a three-year visiting instructor at the University of St. Thomas she taught American Indian Art to elementary education students. An active environmentalist, she served on the Superior Hiking Trail Association board, is a member of Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota and is currently working with the Friends of the Boundary Waters to protect precious waters near border lakes and Lake Superior from acid mine drainage, caused by copper sulfide mines owned by foreign corporations. She loves gardening and cooking for her children, grandchildren and Rudi Hargesheimer, her man.

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