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           By Usen's grace, Ho-dah....
           1.) PURPOSES:
               This is an era of decision. Do we allow ourselves to cut the
               throat of the Mother Who has nourished us as a species since
               we "came down from the trees"?  Or do we work to walk in
               Beauty and Harmony with Her, and cherish Her, and work to
               see Her healed?  The resurgence of Shamanism, the primal
               Earth Religion of practically all of the Earth's
               pre-Agrarian cultures, is an important thing, foretold by
               the Paiute prophet Wovoka and in the Hopi Prophecies.  It
               was said that both the Red Man would return to the Ways of
               the Old Ones and that the non-Native would also embrace the
               Lifeway.  There are non-Natives who respectfully have chosen
               these Ways, and are carrying them on in a reverent way. If
               the Lifeway was only given for the Native peoples, it would
               die out within our lifetime.  There are simply not enough
               traditional Elders left.
               It has been shown to some of us that Our Mother The Earth is
               not willing to die quietly.  She has demonstrated this by
               the increase in natural disasters of the past decade, which
               continue day by day.  The Hopi prophecies state that, when
               the "bowl full of ashes" (most interpret this as the
               Thermonuclear Bomb) is overturned, that Our Mother shall
               rise up in Her righteous anger and destroy humanity.  This
               prophecy is coming true, although it may yet be reversable.
               Perhaps it is we who reverence the Ways and walk in harmony
               with Our Mother that may stay Her hand.
               The Lifeway Fellowship is here for those who wish to honor
               Our Mother and Our Father, Earth and Sky, and to honor The
               Giver Of Life, from whence all things flow in the Universe.
               Our world-view is primarily allied with that of the
               Navajo/Dineh, Apache/Teneh, and Hopi peoples. However we do
               not represent ourselves as the keepers of those ways.  The
               secrets of those Nations are for them alone, unless Usen'
               wishes to reveal them to us.  Our mission is to help heal
               Our Mother, The Earth, and to help each other walk in closer
               harmony with Her.  We also exist to provide a way for urban
               and sub-urban people to learn and practice the root Shamanic
               techniques that aid us in finding our True Vision and True
               Way of Power, and following that Vision and that Way.
               We identify ourselves as Pagan (Webster's New World
               Dictionary "1. b)...a person who is not a Christian, Moslem,
               or Jew (by faith); heathen. Pagan specifically refers to one
               of the ancient polytheistic (or pantheistic) peoples.") and
               as unashamed Pantheists and Polytheists.  The Lifeway
               is truly a religious commitment.  No-one can make a commitment
               to the Lifeway and to the worship of Life Giver, The Earth
               Mother and The Sky Father and remain a worshiper of other
               Paradigms of the Deity, much as one cannot be a Christian
               and worship the Greco-Roman pantheon.  However this does not
               imply the condemnation of other Paradigms, nor impel a duty to
               "convert" others.
               We stand by other Pagans who do not share our paradigms, IE.
               Wiccans, Asatruans, Hellenists, and other Shamanic traditions,
               (African and neo-African(Santeria & Voudoun), Australian,
               Siberian, Traditional Native American, and Polynesian, to name
               a few) and even though we may disagree with some or all of
               their practices and beliefs, they are Brothers, Sisters and
               Cousins, and in times of persecution as well as times of
               goodwill we must defend them.  We may even share in their open
               rituals and allow them to share in our open ceremonials.  But
               that which is ours must remain ours, just as that which is
               theirs must remain theirs.
           2.) THE(A)OLOGY:
               As our Fellowship is inherently religious, we must declare a
               The(a)ology. (The strange spelling refers to the fact that
               we acknowledge a Goddess as well as a God)
               This is summed up very easily.  There are three main powers
               we worship, Usen' the Life Giver, The Earth Mother, and The
               Sky Father.  The latter Two are emanations of the First, as
               all, including the God and the Goddess, are emanations from
               Usen', which is the primaeval First Cause.
               Usen': One cannot look upon The Life Giver as either Male or
               Female, for The Life Giver is beyond those distinctions.
               Usen', and The Life Giver, are names for this First Cause,
               this Force that pervades all and caused all to come into
               being. From Usen', the God, Sky Father, and the Goddess,
               Earth Mother, emanate, as the lesser Deities emanate from
               The Earth Mother: We live and walk and are sustained from
               The Earth Mother, which is our Earth.  She is alive, and we
               all exist within Her as part of Her structure. Science,
               through the Gaea Hypothesis, has finally acknowledged Her
               existence, and some even have learnt the lesson that our
               duty in this life is to care for and honor Her.  This is a
               lesson that all must learn, for as long as we despoil Her,
               we risk Her wrath.  She is expressed through the faces of
               White Painted Woman, Who is The Woman Warrior, through Corn
               Mother, Who is The Nourishing Mother, and through Spider
               Woman, Who is The Wise Woman, The Ancient One, The Custodian
               of Wisdom. Women are acknowledged as being human represent-
               atives of The Earth Mother.
               The Sky Father: Just as among we Humans, there is both Man
               and Woman, so there is no Earth Mother without Sky Father.
               Sky Father is the air we breathe, the flame that gives us
               warmth and cooks our food, and brings forth the rain that
               fertilizes Our Mother and allows Her to provide us with
               the crops and animals that sustain us.  Sky Father is also
               expressed as The Hunter, The Warrior, and First Shaman, and
               is also expressed in Killer Of Enemies and The Child Of
               Water. He is also present and acknowledged as being present
               in every Man.
               There are other spirits that exist in the Universe, some
               beneficient, some maleficient.  But most important is Usen',
               Earth Mother, and Sky Father. By walking in harmony with the
               God(esse)s, one can tell the Good from the Evil, welcoming
               in Good, and protecting each other from Evil.
           3.) ETHICS:
               We have our code of Ethics.  It is neither lengthy nor
               overly restrictive.  We do not include ancient taboos in
               this list, such as Mother-In-Law avoidance or the taboo
               against Fish, because they may not apply nowadays.  If you
               wish to not eat fish or to avoid your Mother-In-Law for
               religious reasons, it is your perogative.  But it is not a
               1.) If the action does not harm yourself, other people or
               intelligent beings, or Our Mother The Earth, you are free to
               do as you wish.
               2.) To charge for healings, sweats or ceremonials is totally
               wrong and extremely offensive.  Also, to charge excessively
               for teaching is equally offensive, but a modest fee
               over expenses is allowable.  Your conscience is the best
               guide, that and the Will of the Deities.
               3.) Magick should be limited only to protection of Self and
               Loved Ones, and to healing and helping those in need,
               provided that permission is given by the patient and that
               help other than healing does not interfere with the Will of
               others. Magick that is used in a coercive (IE. Love spells)
               or destructive (harming or killing magick) way is patently
               wrong and is considered Black Magick.
               4.) Contact of spirits by any means other than Shamanic
               journeying or the Vision Quest is very risky, and Possession
               is a real possibility.  The practice of mediumship, or
               "channeling" has no place in the Lifeway, and exposes not
               only Self but others to danger.
               5.) Permission must always be asked of the spirits of plants
               and/or animals before taking them for either sustenance or
               for medicine.
               6.) One's visions and one's personal ceremonies are one's
               own.  Personal visions should not be spoken of, but shared
               visions are for all of the group.
               7.) It is wrong to criticise another within the group or
               outside the group.  Racism, sexism, xenophobia or general
               disrespect of others has no place in the Fellowship.
               Individual decisions about lifestyle and other ethical
               issues not covered here are an individual's own affair.
               There is only one Initiation, which is the Initiation that
               makes one Kin within the group and in the sight of The
               Deities.  It is given after one has taken their first Vision
               Quest, has found their Power Animal(s) and has met the
               Shaman Within.  It can only be denied to those who have met
               these requirements, is younger than the legal Age Of Consent
               (in most places, 18 years) is not of sound mind, and/or is
               under suspicion of being a Law Enforcement Officer or other
               person antipathetic to Pagan and/or Shamanic belief
               who requests initiation for fraudulent purposes (usually to
               infilitrate to either sabotage or publically discredit the
               Fellowship) Initiation must not be denied on account of
               physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, or sterility,
               nor on account of sex, race, nationality, political belief,
               or sexual preference.
               There are no set offices within the Fellowship.  Ideally,
               leadership should be by consensus, with true leaders being
               temporary and purpose-oriented.  Facilitation of rituals may
               be done by any Initiate of the Fellowship.  ANYONE WHO
               Support of the Fellowship is done on a purely voluntary and
               mutual basis. No tithe or dues should be assessed unless
               they have been agreed upon by all members, initiates and
               non-initiates alike.
               Membership is extended to all.  But initiation is reserved
               for those who meet the criteria mentioned above.
               Non-initiates can participate in open ceremonials and in
               basic workshops, but may be denied participation in certain
               ceremonials and advanced workshops.
               In traditional societies, the title Shaman was not just an
               honorific, or recognition of talents.  Nor was it the
               highest initiatory level in a Shamanic society.  The Shaman
               was, in most cases, above the Chief in decision-making power
               and was judge, doctor, father-confessor, and intercessor
               with the Deities for the tribe.  Some Shamanic societies are
               now providing their membership with "Shaman training
               seminars" and "Shaman apprenticeships" that can be had for
               an exorbitant price.  This implies that the cost of being a
               Shaman can be paid in money and in a set amount of time.
               This is not the case.  Many tribes believe that the office
               of Shaman is not one that is earned, but one that one is
               born into.  Certainly, the skills are never something one is
               born with, and this is not merely hereditary.  Rather, when
               a child is born, the current Shaman would recognize that the
               child had the POTENTIAL of being the next one, and the
               child's training would begin when they were considered ready
               by the Shaman.  At adulthood, they would be tested.  If they
               passed the test, they would become the next Shaman.  If they
               failed, usually the test was such that they would either die
               outright, or they would go insane.  Many "heroic quest"
               tales, and most notably the Arthurian legends have echoes of
               this practice within the ancient Shamanic traditions of
               But the point that is being made here is that we should not
               go back to that sort of way of doing things, because in this
               society it is nigh on impossible.  The stand I am offering
               here is that recognition as a Shaman can be conferred only
               through shared vision, and signs from the Deities.  It is
               not my place to say what the signs will be obvious
               to the Fellowship.  I am not Shaman myself, and will not
               brook anyone calling me that.  This is something I place in
               the lap of the Deities to decide.  I cannot do anything
               more.  It is a mockery of those people that can truly be
               called Shamans, who are respected, powerful people of
               traditional tribes, to do anything less.  In any event, to
               claim such a title is definately not enough, and is
               punishable by withdrawing Fellowship from the one who claims
               to be Shaman falsely.
               The festivals are reckoned as they have been for centuries
               by most Southwestern tribes, by both the Sun and the Moon.
               The seasons begin on the first full moon after a Solstice or
               an Equinox.  The Solstices and Equinoxes themselves are
               times of celebration as well, and perhaps the period between
               the two (which usually works out to be no more than a week
               or so) could be considered a time of Holiday.  Lesser
               ceremonials are held on New Moons and Full Moons between the
               first Full Moons of the seasons.  Optionally certain Pagan
               festivals could be celebrated in conjunction with other
               groups, but they are not to be adopted as official Lifeway
               Fellowship ceremonial days.
               There are other ceremonials that are personal in nature, and
               can be held at any time, although synchronizing them with
               the Festivals and the New and Full Moons is advisable. They
               are Naming, where a newborn child is named in the presence
               of the group and their Life-beads given; Coming Of Age,
               where the child's physical maturity is acknowledged, and
               where, for a short time, they become Child of the Water (if
               a boy) or White Painted Woman (if a girl); Initiation, where
               a person becomes a full-fledged member of the group, given
               after a person becomes a legal adult; Joining, where a man
               and a woman consent to be married; Unjoining, where a man
               and woman who are married consent to have the bond
               dissolved, which is to be done only after four reconcili-
               ation attempts fail or after evidence of marital infidelity
               or abuse is given before the group; the Moonlodge, which is
               a special sweat for women in their Moon-time; and Release,
               where a ceremony for a dead member of the Fellowship is done
               to guide their soul Back Home.  Other ceremonials that are
               dreamed or envisioned by a person or group are also
           7.) SUMMING UP
               A few quick ones: One can be either clothed or unclothed at
               ceremonies, but it should be known that none of the
               Southwestern tribes did ceremonies in the nude.  However,
               one should disrobe for the sweat lodge, as clothes are not
               only uncomfortable within the sweat lodge, but interfere
               with the cleansing process of the lodge.
               This Statement can be accepted or rejected by individual
               groups that federate themselves with Lifeway Fellowship. But
               federation can be denied to those groups who stray too far
               from some of the basic guidelines, or do anything that would
               sully the reputation of the Fellowship in general.
               Hi-dicho...this is finished.
               May these proceeds please Life Giver Usen', and the Mother
               and the Father.
               Chihacou White-Puma, 1988.

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