“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.” –
Sigurd Olson (1899 – 1982) an American author, Environmentalist and life-long advocate for Wilderness.
As I was considering whose quote I was going to use to coincide with my topic, “We are Shaman”, I began reading those of naturalists and nature advocates. Sigurd Olson’s quote caught my interest. As I researched his accomplishments and logistics, I realized the final draft of this writing came on January 13, the day of his death. For me, it was a clear message, that his contributions to our US Wilderness and National Parks were to be recognized, remembered, and continued. I encourage you to research more about this amazing wilderness and nature advocate.
It Is Time for all of humanity. For what? Ask this –
What Do I Want For Earth And Its Inhabitants ?
What Action Will I Take To Manifest It?
We Are Shaman
We are born with natural instincts and power. They remain in our bodies always. We can access these instincts at any time. For example, we can feel and smell moisture in the air and can deduce that there may be rain coming. A “gut” feeling may tell you about a person or situation. With continuous education of working with our natural instincts and power, we can refine ourselves to become a conscious, powerful human being, connected with all forces of nature and beyond.
Using a name from an earth-based Wisdom Tradition: We are natural born Shaman. Every human being is born a “Shaman”.
Simply phrased: A “Shaman” is a person who believes in a high power which governs the earth and universe, is connected with nature and all of creation, and uses its wisdom for the betterment of the earth and its inhabitants, seen and unseen. A Shaman’s power is derived from the simple truths of nature. A Shaman is not only concerned with the inner and outer health of an individual, but, are also concerned for the inner and outer health of the entire community of all life, all creation.
By recognizing and acknowledging nature in all its aspects, one will connect with it, and will experience its energizing affect, which, simultaneously, energizes the land and its inhabitants.
Simple daily practice with nature assists with inner and outer, healthy balance and harmony for you and all creation.
The Shaman Creation Prayer is one simple practice for a daily creation connection. While teaching a retreat in England in 2008, I experienced and learned this prayer from a group leader who began her class with it. It brought me to tears and affected me profoundly in its simplicity. Since then, I have taught this prayer at schools, churches of all faiths, and with general groups of all ages. Say it daily, several times a day, or when it calls to you. With time and practice, it will affect your being.
The Shaman Creation Prayer
of every tree
feeds my soul.
and the rain
feeds my soul.
All the creatures
of the earth
and of the air
and of the waters
and of the fire
feeds my soul.
And every being
that I meet
feeds my soul
and makes me strong
All of creation
feeds my soul.
– Author unknown –
*Sigurd Olson (April 4, 1899 Chicago, Illinois – January 13, 1982 Ely, Minnesota) – was an American author, environmentalist and life-long advocate for Wilderness. He was the president of the Wilderness Society and the National Parks Association.
For over thirty years, he worked as wilderness guide in northern Minnesota and co-drafted The Wilderness Act of 1964. He worked as a canoe guide and with decades of dedication, the area he canoed became The Boundary Waters of Minnesota and gained permanent protection in 1964.
Other areas that gained protection with his advocacy are Voyageurs National Park, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Point Reyes National Seashore.
The Johns Burroughs Medal, the highest honor in nature writing, was awarded to Olson in 1974. His 1956 best-selling book, The Singing Wilderness, made people aware of the depths of nature’s effects. His gift of expression about the spiritual values of nature captured in people’s hearts that their salvation lies in nature and the wilderness, and the awe and wonder and the connectedness that close contact with nature can bring to a person.
He did not become the Baptist missionary his father wanted. He became the Wilderness Missionary and an icon of the wilderness movement that became his theology. His belief was that visitors who experience a high degree of silence and solitude in noncivilized surroundings, can easily reconnect with their heritage as humans, sense creation, and realize their connectedness and sense the sacredness of all creation, making a wilderness experience a sacramental one.
He developed a biological philosophy and theory called “racial memory”, which is that humans have a biological attachment to nature from our human evolutionary heritage.
He is the only person who has received the highest honors of four organizations which focused on US public lands and national conservation: the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society and the Izaak Walton League.
“I have discovered in a lifetime of traveling in primitive regions, a lifetime of seeing people living in the wilderness and using it, that there is a hard core of wilderness need in everyone, a core that makes its spiritual values a basic human necessity. There is no hiding it…..Unless we can preserve places where the endless spiritual needs of man can be fulfilled and nourished, we will destroy our culture and ourselves.” -Sigurd Olson