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Throughout oral and written history, mention of visionaries and prophets feature in the religious or spiritual chronicles of a society. Often, their messages are not heeded during their own lifetimes. It is only after events they predicted have come about, that people may appreciate what they were saying, painting, writing in advance of what was/is to come. They may present their warnings in symbols which are not understood until many years later.
Last week I wrote about a well known Lakota prophet and messenger named Hehaka Sapa, or in English - Black Elk (1853-1950). This week I will include a man originally from the British Isles, who lived before Black Elk and before the civil and world wars but who wrote, painted and spoke of what came about in America and Europe after his life ended. He was a writer, painter, print maker, composer, poet, visionary, called a mystic; who was born in London in 1757, and died without ever having traveled outside London, in 1827. In addition I include a short piece on a "prophet", healer, carver and leader of the Maori in New Zealand who lived from 1869 to 1937, continents apart from Black Elk and William Blake but warning of the same events which would adversely affect their people. These three men's destinies intertwined. Their "sight" related to what they foresaw and forewarned about - war and the destruction of the natural world.
We have many phrases and images in our media and in our contemporary culture which are directly taken from William Blake's work. J. R Tolkein's work takes his label and description of the "Orcs" from William Blake, for example. Think of some memes and pithy poster texts such as: "I was angry with my friend. I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe. I told it not my wrath did grow." or "To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour". "Doors of perception..." is from a longer poem as are the phrases: "hours of folly", "he who binds himself to joy..." and "the eye altering, alters all" and so forth: www.brighthubeducation.com/homework-help-literature/61628-famous-william-blake-quotes/
William Blake was called "insane", "hideous", "haughty" and labeled as a "liar" throughout his life. He spoke and drew angels he "saw in trees" when he was ten years old. He had to be protected from beatings because of his "visions". His mother did not believe him but she did not want to see him suffer physically so she shielded him when she could. William Blake was denigrated as a "heretic", "seditious", "a fraud" in his British society. When he heard of the French and American revolutions he became a sympathizer with their aims and calls for reform. Blake was criticized in reviews, swindled out of money and recognition, people plagiarized his works and some tried to "cure him of his unprofitable enthusiasms". People were afraid and shunned him for large parts of his life, but fortunately his one profound love was his wife who supported and stood by him from the day she met him until her death. He taught her how to read and write. They had no children. Scans of a few of Blake's original paintings and watercolors as well as a portrait are inserted below.
William Blake's metaphorical description of the birth, the rise and the death of America are vibrant though intense reading. There is a recording of one section from "America a Prophesy" I am linking here. The actor reading the verse keeps the tone, pace, accent and meter of the time in her performance. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfiiYtnWJZw
What William Blake describes in poetry, Black Elk/Hehaka Sapa, says outright. The Lakota society valued Hehaka Sapa. Across the globe the tohungas, Te Kooti and Rua Kenana, proclaim in songs (waiatas) and verse their visions, but the British inspired (pakeha) government persecuted them. A tohunga (roughly translated into English) is comparable to a high priest, medicine man, "clever" man, a mystic with skills in healing, divination, sacred rites. He or she is respected for their gifts and their counsel is sought after in their communities, tribes and even internationally.
"Prophecy was an accepted part of Maori life, being practiced by tohunga and indeed by anyone who might possess the power of foresight. Tohunga acted as intermediaries between atua and people in their reading of the divine will. The more political function of the leader was performed by the rangatira or ariki but very often these figures combined the roles of priest and political leader. Therefore the roles of the Hebraic prophet-figure had their counterpart in the functionaries of Maori society. When religious movements arose in response to the need of the people, the charismatic figures and prophets who arose to lead them had their models in both systems – being relatable to the former tohunga and also to the Judaic prophets (pp. 88-89)." From the paper by Byron Rangwai, "Māori Prophetic Movements as Sites of Political Resistance: A Critical Analysis" /C:/Users/Lenovo/Downloads/160-Article%20Text-284-1-10-20171103%20(1).pdf
Māori prophetic leaders such as Papahurihia, Te Ua, Te Kooti and Rua Kenana, and many others, were considered by their followers to be forecasters for their people but the non Maori (pakeha) saw them as "dangerous" especially when Rua spoke against Maori and New Zealand (Aotearoa) joining with England in the two world wars which he foresaw.
'In 1907, the Tohunga Suppression Act was passed by the New Zealand parliment which targeted Rua Kenana and other tohungas."
In 1915, Rua Kenana was charged with illicitly selling alcohol. "Concerned about his opposition to Tūhoe men enlisting for military service, the government seized this opportunity to punish him. After Rua failed to appear before a magistrate when summoned in January 1916, Police Commissioner John Cullen instigated an armed police expedition to Maungapōhatu. In an exchange of gunfire probably begun by the police, two Māori were killed, including Rua’s son Toko. Rua and others were arrested on charges ranging from resisting arrest to treason, and taken to Auckland for trial. Rua was sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour followed by 18 months’ imprisonment". (see photo below)
The activist, artist, writer, performer, counselor Tame Iti of Aotearoa (New Zealand) is a visionary in a different way and has issued warnings to both Maori and pakeha (non Maori) for decades. He was unjustly arrested and imprisoned in his own country. He is still alive, (born in 1952) uses social media -including twitter- can you image prophets and visionaries from other times being able to "tweet" their messages globally...Wild..and he has done a Tedx talk. I had the privilege of meeting Tame Iti more than once at different events when I worked for Te Mate-Tama Huata at Kahurangi and Te Wananga Whare Tapere O Takitimu in the 1990s, in Hastings, New Zealand. Of course he is controversial. Most strong people who take a strong stand are during their lifetime. www.ngaituhoe.com/Folders/Tameiti.html
After a personally traumatic experience or life threatening illness, sometimes gifts of "sight", healing and extra sensory discernment appear in an individual This changes them and their life path. A more contemporary example of this is the poet, Native American activist, US Navy veteran John Trudell. Poets and painters often have the gift of foresight but also the curse of Cassandra. They speak truth but are not believed until maybe after the events they predict.
John Trudell has a tragic life story. He was born into a Santee Sioux family in 1946, and grew up on the reservation. He joined the US Navy in 1963. He married and lived on the Shoshone Paiute reservation and soon became active in Native American rights movements. Here is a rare video of him speaking to the press in 1970 during the occupation of Alcatraz. diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/187785 John Trudell was a powerful, civil, articulate leader and the FBI targeted him in one of their more nefarious operations against citizens of the United States-COINTEL PRO. His entire immediate family was burned to death in an arson event on the reservation, while he was away. His pregnant wife, their three children, his mother-in-law.
A Senate Committee chaired by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) issued a damning report on FBI abuses of power that should be mandatory reading for anyone who believes the bureau deserves deference today. "In 1975, against the American Indian Movement in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the FBI COINTELPRO conducted a full-fledged counterinsurgency war - complete with death squads, disappearances & assassinations - not dissimilar to those conducted in third world countries such as El Salvador & Guatemala." It is important to note that other countries and organizations adversarial to the United States and the US Republic, are using documents and history released in Senate hearings for their propaganda online and in their indoctrination methodologies. (see Nation of Islam/ noi/ site linked below)
The US government and it's agencies have not yet apologized for their actions and activities during the COINTEL PRO era. The media (especially Hollywood) was used from early on to demonize and lump all Native Americans/stereotypes together. This helped push their agenda against Native American rights to most American citizens. Native American rights were perceived as less deserving than other civil rights movements such as the "African American/Black Civil Rights"the Japanese or Hispanic/Latino movements. Documents are still being unearthed from that period in US history. While the US Federal government recognizes the month of November as "Native American History" month, very minimal efforts are made at correcting and adding to the actual history of the more than 570 official "tribal nations" within the United States.
see links below
There are many more reports and articles available now under the Freedom of Information Act if you want to dig deeper or understand the newer programs refined after the exposure by the Senate Committee of COINTEL PRO. However this is a side note to the main theme of my post this week. I include John Trudell since his poetry as well as his last talks before his death in December 2015, were described as "prophetic, lone wolf in the spirit of Crazy Horse". (see my blog post of November 20, 2018: "Sympathetic Resonances" for more on Tsunka Witko/Crazy Horse) John Trudell called himself "an agitator" and he used his self taught skills in writing and music to express his political, economic, philosophical, personal and spiritual messages. John Trudell's speech 2013, about "globalization", the 1,000 year Reich, how the 'Patriot Act' has changed the character of our country, the natural disasters to come, was recorded shortly before his death:
Please take a few minutes to watch/listen to him in the links I have included. Peruse the books I have inserted of Native American visionaries in the slide show below. These writers have contributed to the body of history and literature of America.
Joy Harjo is still living. Joy is a poet, Native American musician, professor/teacher/performer/mother and activist. She is a member of the Muscogee/Creek tribe, born in Oklahoma in 1951, as Joy Foster. She immortalizes some of the activists targeted by the FBI, especially MicMac teacher/mother/writer and activist Anna Mae Aquash in her poem " For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash" in the volume "In Mad Love and War", one of my favorite contemporary books of poetry. She worked and performed with John Trudell when he was alive. A sampling of both of their books, albums and photos are included below. Have a look and search further if you are interested. Their work is inspiring, stimulating and prophetic.
Throughout history those trying to bring the message of what is to come are often denigrated, targeted and killed. There are human beings in different parts of the world from a number of cultures/traditions trying to warn us. Listen, read, discern.
"Don't shoot the messengers!"
By the time you read this I will be in the mountains of a country which does not permit google products - maybe they are smarter than the rest of the world in this regard-but they do implement project Dragonfly (see my post "ESCHELONs" October 2, 2018 for more info). I am not sure if I will be able to use weebly there, so if not, I hope to return to the States in April 2019, before my next postings overseas. You will have to contact me via comments or my hotmail email which should work there.
Thank you for your support. Enjoy all the freedoms you have, on the net and in life, while you can. 'Fight' for them to be preserved-please-for you and the next generations. The poet warriors, warrior societies have been battling for us for hundreds of years. Take up the torch, there is no time to waste. This is my warning to you.
Best to you and yours in the upcoming holidays!
Hau Mitakuye Oyasin - We are all related.
How Hollywood Stereotyped Native Americans:
Media using COINTEL PRO examples:
Lakota Medicine Man and warrior Hehaka Sapa or in English, Black Elk (1863-1950)-said, “Peace comes within the souls of human beings when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells, Wakan Tanka, (the Divine or God) and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” This quote is from the book, "Black Elk Speaks" by John G Neihardt 1932, one of many messages Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Wicasca Wakan (Holy Man) chose to transmit to the wider world after receiving dreams and visions throughout his life.
Hehaka Sapa/Black Elk was born in Montana but his family migrated to South Dakota. He was a cousin of Chief Tsunka Witko or "Horse with Spirit" (translated wrongly as 'Crazy Horse') and he was present at the Battle of Little Bighorn and the massacre at Wounded Knee. Hehaka Sapa was a spiritual leader of the Wiwayang Wacipi (Sun dance) and the Ghost Dance which combined teachings of Christianity with traditional Lakota rituals and beliefs. The massacre at Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála (in English, Wounded Knee) South Dakota on December 29, 1890; killed over 300 "Sioux" people about half of whom were children and women. Their weapons, (guns, knives, axes, etc.) had been confiscated before the US 7th Cavalry Regiment, General George Custer's former command, led by Colonel James W. Forsyth opened fire. The US government professed to be afraid of the "power" of Wovoka's- a Paiute Medicine-man's Ghost Dance and the "wild, savage Indians".
The US government under the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison, a US Army veteran of the civil war, decided this "movement" must be stopped. After the massacre, photographer/journalist Charles Allen took photographs. The President of the United States awarded 25 Medals of Honor for the "brave and heroic actions" of the US Army soldiers. Included is a link to a theatrical film docudrama about the event which includes actual archival photographs in black and white, from the aftermath of the massacre. This is less than seven minutes long, so I urge you to click on the link to watch and reflect on these events in our history. November is officially designated as 'Native American History Month'. This is part of our American history. It only took a few hours for all these human beings to be slaughtered. Hehaka Sapa/Black Elk was one of the survivors. www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PN8_8MGulc
Hehaka Sapa/Black Elk became a progressive Catholic lay leader perhaps as a strategic move to retain his standing in the community and within the confines of US Federal law which prohibited the free practice of Native American religion until 1978. He chose John G. Neihardt to write the book, "Black Elk Speaks" in English so more people would know about the Oglala and about what was/is to come in America and the world. At the time there was no "scientific evidence" to corroborate his messages but over the last 75 years there has been significant exploration and communication about the phenomenon and connections Black Elk spoke of to us. Below are a few photographs of both Hehaka Sapa/Black Elk and Tsunka Witko/Spirit Horse/Crazy Horse posed for the camera in South Dakota, USA.
From the micro pulsations of the individual human being to the micro pulsations of the entire planet there is a common "wave" and frequency named after the scientist who proved it's existence-the "Schumann Effect". In addition, the phenomenon that "everything has an energetic signature and all energy is intelligent and has a vibrating motion and quality of frequency" correlates with the realization that: "every substance, body and being vibrates to its own frequency and that vibration will be amplified tremendously when stimulated by a similar or compatible resonant frequency. Resonating to the forces of life, forces of goodness, forces of gratitude, forces of love, will amplify these resonances and strengthen your body dramatically. Resonating through ego to the forces of fear, rage, frustration and resistance to what is, will also amplify those disturbances in your body. Through the laws of physics, science confirms energy and matter interplay in massive Electro Magnetic Force (EMF) electro-dynamic fields that are measurable in terms of wave forms, frequency, wavelengths and amplitude. The same electromagnetic fields and substances that move throughout the Cosmos, move through our own bodies." We are all connected/related to each other in frequencies. ascensionglossary.com/index.php/Law_of_Resonance
Psi researcher Lian Sidorov reported: “For a decade, Robert Beck researched the brain wave activity of healers from all cultures and religious backgrounds (he enumerates psychics, shamans, dowsers, Christian healers, seers, ESP readers, kahuna, Santeria and others). Independent of their belief systems, each exhibited ‘nearly identical EEG signatures' during their ‘healing' moments: a 7.8-8Hz brainwave activity, which lasted from one to several seconds and which was ‘phase and frequency-synchronized with the earth's geoelectric micropulsations – the Schumann resonance'.” subtle.energy/the-schumann-effect-how-the-earth-influences-your-brain/#
The Lakota phrase: "Hau, Mitakuye Oyasin" (Peace, we are all related) reminds us of the truth of sympathetic resonance both in negative and positive uses and reverberations.
It does not take a great amount of imagination or empathy to understand how traumas experienced by one member of your family, your tribe, your community, or your nation could 'resonate' into your own body and affect the surrounding environment. While the degree to which an individual is 'touched' by "sympathetic resonances of trauma" is not able to be measured completely or 'scientifically' yet, the difference in health indicator rates which account for changes in the number of deaths by suicide, stillbirths, change in the number of women who miscarry, wasting 'disorders', emotional/mental conditions, addictions, immune diseases, stress reactions and so forth from before an event and after are being documented and analyzed. (cases documented include Chernobyl, Iraq war, Haiti-see links below)
Unfortunately there are no accurate studies done on "American Indian" tribes (573 recognized tribes to date in the USA) and their health indicators before/during and after the policies of genocide on their populations. This is in a large part due to the fact that there was no acknowledgement of responsibility for these policies, actions and repercussions over the centuries. Often when there is a chance of culpability by our government agencies and departments which could be displayed for the public to see, the truth and facts are hidden while some will desperately try and erase any evidence forever, if at all possible. The "forces" of fear, frustration, rage and resistance grow in these energies. Both sides lose ultimately. The poisons of prejudice, dishonesty, hatred, revenge seep into the body of a community, a tribe, our nation. It is only by changing the "resonance" to mirror the positive attributes of interaction that changes can begin.
A start is confession of wrongs done and sincere apologies for past actions. There can be no lasting 'reconciliation' without conciliation. This interaction may shift the "vibrations" and resonance between people, tribes and nations. The progression and movement of sympathetic resonances may take many years of foundation before a genuine transformation evolves. In the 1970s, a re-direction was started by an inter-tribal organization to bring the issues of injustice against American "Indians" in the USA. After 40 years there has been progress in both communities. We have witnessed this recently in our own country.
In 2016, during the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, there was a pause after the first round of arrests. Veterans of all military branches of the US armed forces and people from all over the country went to North Dakota and South Dakota to support the DAPL protest and camped out on and near the Standing Rock reservation. At one point in December 2016, a group of US veterans led by Wes Clark Jr. (US Army) son of retired General Wesley K. Clark Sr. (US Army); approached Wicasca Wakan/Medicine Man and activist of the American Indian Movement, Leonard Crow Dog, in South Dakota, to accept their apologies for the past actions of all US military. The blessing/forgiveness and healing that followed were the first time the two sides have come together in such a manner. See photos below and click on this link to see a video of part of the event-www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjotlPIlRqw
The last time the US army, law enforcement and government agency representatives and lawyers came to sign a treaty was after the siege in 1973, at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. Leonard Crow Dog was there then, a much younger man who was able to stand. Now he has to use a wheelchair. Leonard Crow Dog speaks five "Indian" languages and English is his third language. When you listen to him speak keep this in mind in terms of his choice of words, his pace of speech and his use of Lakota mixed with English.
Alongside Leonard Crow Dog in the photo below were the late, Russell Means (deceased 2012), USAF veteran and the first Sioux lawyer, Ramon Arthur Roubideaux-Wanbli Tinza/Brave Eagle (deceased 2007), Wallace Black Elk (deceased in 2004) direct descendant of Hehaka Sapa/Black Elk, Dennis Banks-Ojibwe elder (deceased 2017), and the late Assistant Attorney General of the United States Kent Frizzell, USMC who negotiated then signed on behalf of then President Richard M. Nixon (both deceased-see photos below). Most Americans don't know their own recent, much less past history of their continents first peoples. I have included some of their books in the photos below. I suggest you take the time to read them, especially if you are interested in history, culture, anthropology, stories of resilience and spirituality. Look up the real interactions upon which the holiday of "Thanksgiving" (some call it Thanks-taking) holiday is based. Here is one article you may not have read, it may surprise you: www.businessinsider.com/history-of-thanksgiving-2017-11
My dear readers, I write from personal experience, working and participating in ceremonies over decades with all but one human being pictured above and that was Frank Fools Crow. My family was fortunate enough to host Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer and some of his family at our homes in Australia and Colorado. Archie Fire and his family helped me and introduced me to Ramon A. Roubideaux in South Dakota who agreed to take on my case when I, along with all the tribal members shown above-[except for Orval Looking Horse]-were at some point between the 1970s and 1990s, unjustly arrested, interrogated by local law enforcement and the FBI. We were all imprisoned for varying time periods a number of different times in South Dakota, USA. We all were sundancers for the Wiwayang Wacipi (Sundance) on reservations in South Dakota and other states including Texas over the years. I was asked to work with Barbara Means Adams (educator, Lakota elder, cousin of Russell Means) to prepare and help coordinate the First White Buffalo Calf Conference on Lakota Education in Rapid City, South Dakota in late 1997. Chief Arvol Looking Horse and members of the Crow Dog, Lame Deer and Roubideaux families were there over the week.
I knew Mary Brave Bird/Crow Dog. We shared child watching with our children, danced together with Rocky, Norma, Charlene Blue Horse and other women, most of whom have passed on to the "spirit world". In 2001, I was able to be at the funeral and ceremonies for the passing of Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer in South Dakota. I spoke to and was part of sweat lodges, sundances with Leonard Crow dog and his family, in a few states. Personally I witnessed him help many people from all over the world. I pray for his good health and for his family and am very thankful for knowing him and receiving some of his teaching in person over the years.
We are all human beings full of contradictions and unfortunately there is much slander written about all these human beings and their actions by those who do/did not really know them or were part of the effort to discredit them. They want to create a negative resonance about "Indian" life and ceremonies, emphasize the "problems" (of which there are serious challenges) and omit many of the positive and unique aspects of "American Indian/Native American" culture and traditions. There are still many leaders and people in the world who consider Native American spiritual practices as "savage", "heathen" or "primitive". They are considered "infidels" and by Koran law should be killed since they are not "people of the book". Keep these facts in mind about the Indigenous people of North and South America.
Don't be swayed just by reading-see for yourself and accept the honor if you are invited to a reservation event or to spend time with a family living there. The resonances of harmony they have cherished and practiced over thousands of years have informed who we are as "Americans" and been models for others in the wider world. I am especially thankful for the privilege of knowing them and many others I will not call out online for they are very private people. I miss them and hold them in my heart. Please do not copy or post personal photos above without my written permission. Thank you.
Hau Mitakuye Oyasin
If you are in the USA-Have a very Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving 2018!
videos of Chief Arvol Looking Horse speaking on Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota and other places in the USA as well as a short biography
video of Russell Means with Wilma Mankiller -first female Chief of the Tsalagi/Cherokee people- speaking before Congress in 1989: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRipKGsLkTQ
In the United States there is a day set aside to recognize not only those serving in the military today but also all those who have ever served, taken the oath to defend the Constitution of the USA and defend her from all enemies foreign and domestic. That day is November 11. Other countries, including close allies of the USA celebrate their version of Veterans Day on November 11 as well. These include: France, England, Canada, Belize, India, Kenya, South Africa and Australia (which call it "Remembrance Day") Poland and Belgium. November has also been designated as Native American History month in the United States of America. Did you know that Native Americans were not granted the right to vote until 1924? Let me put this in context for you. African American men were granted the right to vote in 1870, with the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Women of all races except Native Americans, were granted the right to vote in 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Did you also know that Native Americans were not allowed to practice their religion legally until about 1980? The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) was not passed into law until 1978. That same year the Indian Child Welfare Act was finally passed making it more difficult for Indian children to be forcibly removed from their families and tribes by US government agencies. After the physical attacks, policies of cultural genocide were put into place against Native Americans for over one hundred years. The tactics against Native Americans included forced relocation, children removed and imprisoned in boarding schools far away from their families and communities, severe punishments for speaking their own languages, tribal and spiritual leaders arrested, imprisoned, corrupt government officials (mostly non-Native Americans) inserted into reservation political positions, law enforcement and medical clinics placed under the fraud ridden Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Reservations have a consistent record of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the entire United States. Native Americans also have a high percentage of their youth enlisting in the United States military.
Native Americans have voluntarily served in all branches of the US military even while genocidal policies and disenfranchisement were in place. "Historically, American Indians were known as warriors. It is a deep tradition that has continued to modern times. This is perhaps the reason the Pentagon reports American Indians and Alaska Natives participate in the military at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States." Native American women serve at over 11% of their population. The overall rate for Native Americans serving is 18.6% and has been as high as 23% of their population. Native Americans were vital to our success in communications/intelligence/cryptography in World War II-a number of Indigenous languages were used including Dineh (Navajo) and Lakota (Sioux).
Statistics as of 2016, report that only 7% of of the US population has "military experience"-a very broad definition of a veteran-with less than 1% of the population actively serving, and of those only 9% are female-this is combined for all branches of the military including the US Coast Guard. Given the percentages, our family has participated in the US Military more than most-for generations.
My family has veterans in all branches of the US military. My brother closest in age (I have four brothers) served as a US Marine, my (deceased) x husband served in the USAF as a PJ (Pararescueman). Uncles on both my maternal and paternal side served in the US Navy, US Army and US Marines from World War II through the Vietnam war. My elder cousins served in the US Marines, as paratroopers in the US Army, and in the US Navy. My younger cousins and nephews are currently serving in the US Navy and USAF. I work and have worked on military bases and off, with hundreds of active duty and veteran members of all branches of the armed forces. Over the decades, my work and life in conflict zones exposed me to experiences which correspond to those who have served directly on battlegrounds, and in field clinics and hospitals. Most of the time I lived and worked "outside the wire" every day. Many veterans return to work as contractors in the same countries where they once were active duty military, but as a civilian in similar or different capacities.
Below are a few photos of my family and close colleagues who are/were veterans. Some are still living and some are now deceased. None of my family members still serving in any branch are included. Please respect my wishes and do not copy/save or post any of these photos without contacting and receiving permission from me first, thank you. The captions include more details.
What most people don't realize is that contractors still do many dangerous jobs with and for the military in conflict zones around the world but they are not as protected, nor are they covered for as many medical conditions, injuries or illnesses on the job; or from what may result after their contracts finish. Many will suffer in silence or put off treatment if it means they must notify their supervisor, country director and/or HR. They are not usually permitted or entitled to use military base hospitals or clinics and must pay for their own way to another country with adequate health care and lose pay during that time. If their condition requires more than a "quick fix", they may be terminated. Often contractors would rather risk losing their health than being unemployed. Sometimes this results in death during a contract. Most contracts do cover 'costs of transfer' for their employees, but not all companies cover these expenses. One has to read the fine print carefully.
While many veterans will seek treatment for physical injuries, conditions or pain-they are much more hesitant to ask for help for emotional/psychological issues, conditions and suffering. They also know as contractors, and even as employees in other areas of the workforce; that having a label of "disabled", especially in terms of post trauma reactions, will hinder, restrict and even end their career, their means of work and income. There is definitely a stigma about having post traumatic stress (PTS) in most societies and communities as well as in families. Veterans, and many other people, often decide to deny, hide or self medicate their symptoms. These symptoms include: insomnia, aphasia, acting out by risk taking behavior, depression, nightmares, addictions, outbursts, mood swings, communication problems, challenges in ability to concentrate, sleep walking, digestive disorders, sexual dysfunction, impulse control, hyper vigilance and suicidal tendencies.
I know first hand about many of these symptoms from my Traditional Chinese Medicine practice treating hundreds of patients, and because my husband of many years, Marty Schmidt experienced these during our marriage, divorce, and until the end of his life. His symptoms arose not only from his time in the military, but also from the stresses and trauma experienced in his job as a high altitude mountain guide and extreme sport enthusiast. Marty told me he felt claustrophobic and restless on the "horizontal plane" and that his various symptoms were "no biggie" but they manifested continually, adversely affecting our family and our household. I'm understating the problems we had since I don't believe our personal situation needs to be described in detail here. Instead, I am writing a general overview in the hope that more people who have similar experiences might connect and recognize these signs in those they love, work with and care for, and in themselves. Post traumatic stress does "rewire" our brains.
We know now there is an epigenetic component to trauma, which means there is a genetic tendency which may be dormant over generations or may be active or activated; it is possible in Marty's family and many families, including mine - that trauma has been passed along or 'passed down' over time. All the more reason to address any symptoms and look for appropriate modalities for treating and "curing" post trauma reactions and not passing this suffering onto the next generation(s). www.whatisepigenetics.com/what-is-epigenetics/
I did not know until after we were married and our son Denali was born, that Marty came from a family who had also experienced trauma. Marty's paternal grandparents lived through the Russian revolution and most of their family were forced into transport and died in Siberia. His grandparents escaped to Poland and then Germany, only to have their three sons taken into the Nazi youth groups and then the German army while they were still teenagers. How heartbreaking for them. Both Marty's parents grew up and both participated in Nazi youth groups and residential work camps as teenagers in Germany. They lived through and were in World War II. His father was a decorated officer in the German army, serving on the Russian front. His mother was part of the Reichsarbeitsdienst der weiblichen Jugend - RAD/for women when she was 19/20 years old, then she worked for Dr. Hans Lembke in the "seed building" business appropriated by the Third Reich. They emigrated from Germany to the USA shortly after the war, married in California where they had four children. They are both still alive in their nineties. Their immediate family members (Schmidt and Apelt) were divided up between living in Germany, Argentina and the USA. Most of that generation are now deceased. I have posted some photos below of Nazi youth groups from that era and of German soldiers on the Russian front; one who looks uncannily like Marty's father when he was younger. The expression on their faces and posture in these photos is worth noting.
It is also important to consider that in a world with millions of traumatized children and families because of wars over the last century, living under siege from the Third Reich Nazis, by communists, soviets, ISIS/Daesh, the Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, violent extremist groups and criminal gangs which indoctrinate young children by violence and trauma based conditioning; that we have metastasized post traumatic stress reactions and created more potential suffering, victims and perpetrators of violence, cruelty and self destruction thoughout the globe.
Post trauma reactions are also the result of trauma due to sexual violence, abduction, child abuse, witnessing trauma in it's many forms, trauma as a result of natural disasters, accidents, horrific national events-think assassinations/attacks/massacres against a nation, a people. All these possibilities affect a large number of our world's population and especially our Indigenous populations. Trauma changes the landscape and functioning of the human brain over time.
I do not use the PTSD label since it is most often inaccurate. It is not a "dis order" but a compilation, sometimes a series of reactions. It is possible to "cure" and successfully treat the symptoms. The human brain and neurological systems plasticity means it is possible to change configurations physiologically which will resonate because of changed thinking and actions. It is not a condition that necessarily persists continually in it's intensity for the duration of a human being's life. However, post traumatic stress reactions have to be identified accurately, acknowledged and treated for therapeutic progress to happen. If you want to know more in depth, I am including a link to a published paper on this specific subject: www.scitechnol.com/peer-review/managing-post-trauma-reactionschanging-the-dialogue-and-protocols-4dbv.php?article_id=6525
The treatment used in many western societies for post traumatic stress is pharmaceuticals,medications which can cause more side effects than relief for the patients. Traditional healing ceremonies and traditional modalities such as acupuncture, herbs, sweat lodges, retreats in nature, arts therapies and loving support as well as understanding from those who share similar experiences and who have coped healthily; are all proven to relieve and usher the individual forward from their trauma reactions and gripping memories. However these options are still not paid for/reimbursed nor supported by the federal government or their programs. Most insurance programs do not cover these 'alternative' treatments. They only cover western/allopathic medical/pharmaceutical modalities.
Tragically the rate of suicides by veterans far exceeds the number of fatalities in all branches of the military during their service. The terrible statistic is "22" meaning the percentage of veterans who take their own life is 22% higher than the rest of the population. 20 veterans a day (includes active duty and reserve), almost one every hour, take their own life and these are only the "verified" suicides. Veteran suicide is at epidemic levels in the USA. www.stripes.com/news/us/va-reveals-its-veteran-suicide-statistic-included-active-duty-troops-1.533992
I have written letters to Senator Rand Paul and other senators who are working on new health care reform packages. Tricare, medicaid and medicare should include at least some of these options and cover expenses if long term treatments/therapies are needed. I urge you to email/tweet/fax your representatives to work toward more comprehensive programs and to cover more treatment options for veterans and their families. This is one action you can take to serve those who served. By focusing first on veterans, the ripple effect can be positive for our entire nation and the options open to everyone if we work together.
One man, one great leader who fought bravely for the USA, as a Navy veteran in World War II, and who worked to de-escalate the Vietnam war and promote peace in the world, particularly in Europe after World War II; was President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK suffered from injuries he received during the war for the rest of his life though he is known for not displaying or complaining about his war wounds. November was the month he was horrifically set up and assassinated in the state of Texas. We still do not have the de-classified documents, the actual names of those involved, the real deconstruction of how it was planned and implemented, who was bought off, which witnesses who came forward were murdered, and who ordered their execution. We do not have the truth yet.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917 and assassinated November 22, 1963. I remember vividly the day it happened. We were in a parochial school and asked to kneel down and fervently pray for the rest of the afternoon. This tragedy and the events of September 11, 2001 were traumatizing events for the American psyche and for American citizens.
The late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a human being who served us mightily. Hear a few excerpts from his speeches if you do not remember his words. It is less than 10 minutes. See and listen to the man himself. His vision and words were bold and prophetic. We will heed and remember him. We will not forget! www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DbhTwahqPg
Thank you to all of you who are veterans, family/supporters of veterans and to you who are still serving for your country, your communities and your families. May you be protected, guided, return home safely to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life.
Goodnight until next week,
When is it that we recognize we are at a turning point in our lives? Do we only know it was a turning point after the fact, upon reflection; or are we at least subtly aware at the time of how important a decision we make will be for the rest of our lives? Will a change in direction take us down a path we cannot ever backtrack and lead us away from everything familiar? Do we actually need a compass or a map for orientation on our inner journeys? Are we part of the turning points of our nation as well as of our individual choices? Each must answer these queries on their own.
Often journalists, historians, ordinary citizens ask what would have happened if the United States had not directly attacked Iraq after the events of September 11? Not only would citizens in the United States have been affected differently, but also those in Iraq and then in other countries torn by war in the Middle East and Central Asia - who are still suffering. What decisions were transposed by that event and response by your nation? This is one example most of us in the world have been altered by in the 21st century. It was a powerful turning point in the history of humanity. In a similar way as in the 20th century, people were asked and recalled where they were on the day the US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated; generations now will recall where they were on September 11, or in my case since we were in New Zealand, September 12, 2001. Before the planes crashed into buildings in two different states, did you personally have any sense that life was about to change? Did you hear the whispers in the wind of plans being hatched to shock and terrorize us? Some did, some warned, some dreamt, some painted, some wrote, some danced of the maelstrom to come.
What about now? Do you sense a change about to occur which will redirect the course of your life, your family, your community, your nation? Personally, I do-but I write this post to solicit your viewpoints, your premonitions, your responses. What direction will you take because of signals you receive, you feel? Will you walk through the storm or is it time to take shelter? Are you called to join a "fight" or do you choose to run or to hide? Which way will you go...
Artists throughout the existence of human civilization(s) have been the harbingers and commentators on significant changes and junctures in their societies. Visual and performing artists are able to transmit messages through their talent, skill and visions without political censors (often) knowing what they are trying to convey. Since the world and populations are more closely connected because of the internet and satellite communications, artists are able to view each other across space and time and exchange ideas, reflections, criticism and praise for their work in a free (though public) forum. Many were/are prescient and this is verified looking back at when they saw ahead and painted, sculpted, wrote, played music or danced for us to see, if we opened our "eyes, ears and minds". Most don't until it is too late. Below are some different artists views in various mediums from a number of countries over the last 100 years. They dare to show us what the majority of people will never speak about. Are you able to see what they have to say? You are being forewarned.
While writing tonight, I am listening to a musical master whose compositions transport me to a landscape where thought, vision and decisions are more possible. I am on the threshold of another turning point in my life and receive conflicting signals and advice of what steps to embark on next. Almost all human beings have similar junctions-especially women-in terms of decisions regarding if they will: devote time to study early in their life, get married, have children/not have children, risk losing economic security but gain personal liberty, make efforts to mend relationships, reveal the truth even if it means isolation, cut off ties to toxic situations and persons, venture into the unknown, stay in a comfortable, familiar environment, forego career advancement for less stress, do further studies or just be still for awhile. It is my deep belief that while we make our choices walking, striding or trudging on our life path-our destinies, our nation's and humanity's turning points are ultimately in God's hands. There are however, times when biology, geography, genetics, age and nationality definitely narrow our chances for choices. Be mindful my younger readers, that the opportunities you have in your twenties and thirties in all realms, do not present themselves in the same way (if ever again) later on in your life; if indeed you are able to live into and past your thirties.
Sharing the music of the Ukrainian born guitar master Estas Tonne, who grew up in both Ukraine and Israel, then went to New York city in September 2001-where his music blossomed and his own style was refined. He travels all over the world now but in November, he will be touring in the USA for those fortunate enough to reside where he will perform live. He has a facehook page with his tour dates and venues. The image above is from his album "Internal Flight". A musical excerpt is linked below. Do take the time to listen-you won't be disappointed and you, too, might be transported to ethereal spaces. In those spaces your internal compass may be evident and your points to turn be clear.
Give it a try. Exercise your free will and choose to listen.
Live, love, keep creating while ye may-our world is changing rapidly.
Until next week,
Links to artists sites:
Vrej Kassouny interview linked: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyU5x-9EquM