“The Best of Them” by Jay Moody, March 2022
“The Best of Them” by Jay Moody, March 2022
A very wise and lovely friend of mine introduced me to Sydney Banks and the Three Principles some time ago. She also recently shared this insightful podcast with me . It is entitled Ep 62-Healing in Addiction Sydney Banks & Mystical Teachings of Sydney Banks.
The Three Principles as taught by Sydney Banks are Mind, Consciousness and Thought and are considered to point to the Truth as found in the core philosophies of all the world’s great religions. Since Banks first uncovered the Three Principles they have been incorporated into psychology, addiction recovery and various esoteric and spiritual practices with the bold claim that All human behaviour and social structures on earth are formed via Mind, Consciousness and Thought.
In this podcast Harold Derbitsky, a former student of Sydney Banks and President of ACT (Advanced Coaches Training) Inc. who specializes in healing from addiction, and mental illness as well as Native American social issues discusses his understanding of the Three Principles with regard to addiction recovery and spirituality among Indigenous peoples.
Derbitsky claims that although the philosophy taught by Sydney Banks is akin to the world’s great religious revelations, Banks himself was “an ordinary guy” who tapped into the truth of universal oneness. This oneness must be discovered by searching inside oneself where the true spirit of God and love reside. Derbitsky explains that even though Banks was the vessel for this knowledge, he insisted each person must do their own work to discover the truth for themselves, and he would never take credit for the success of his students even though they were following his teachings. We each have to find our own way, not just become followers of the Three Principles, because “to follow words makes you a fool.” Each person must embrace the understanding and experience that goes beyond words, because it is inside each of us.
Although Banks’ Three Principles have been largely absorbed into psychology, Derbitsky says Banks was not originally talking about psychology, but was mostly focused on religion and esotericism. Derbitsky rejected modern psychology, choosing instead to embrace indigenous mysticism. He claims Indigenous peoples’ traditions tend to have an understanding of the three principles already. He says that in an Indigenous context we should not use the words “mind, thought and consciousness,” but instead “Spirit, thought and consciousness.” This is an important distinction since “mind” as it is used in the Three Principles refers to a universal mind to which we are all connected. “Mind,” he says is better left to the psychologists, while many Indigenous traditions focus on the nature of Spirit as the unifying factor in the universe. As a traditionalist practitioner myself, this makes sense.
The reason the Three Principles are so effective in curing addiction according to Derbitsky is that addiction has a spiritual nature caused by over thinking. In fact Derbitsky makes the bold assertion that “all problems are caused by over thinking.” People get stuck in cycles and thoughts of self dissatisfaction and criticism. They become addicted, attend rehabilitation to get off the substance only to return to the habit a few months later and end up back in a rehabilitation program once again. This is a pattern that can be seen occurring not just in Indigenous or impoverished communities, but in communities of all persuasions.
This pattern is cured, according to Derbitsky by capturing a feeling inside yourself that is better than alcohol, anger, depression or whatever the addiction may be. Once a person captures that feeling they will return to it instead of the addiction. He says if the best feeling someone knows is cocaine they will just return to cocaine when they need to feel something. It must however be continuously applied in order for it to be maintained. Derbitsky compares it to participating in the Sweat Lodge which purifies the body and spirit of the practitioner, but when people exit the lodge and return to talking the same old talk and participating in the same old activities, they lose that feeling and return to being troubled souls.
I can relate to this statement. Though I have never been truly addicted to any substance I certainly have been known to overindulge in alcohol, especially when the stresses and anxieties of life have worn me down. Similarly, knowing my consumption was unhealthy I would take long breaks from overindulgence only to eventually return to the habit as the craving returned in response to a new or continuing stressor in my daily life. It was when I found a certain stillness, and center in the practice of such esoteric arts as meditation and yoga that I realized I no longer much cared for the intoxicating effects of substances, because it only seem to diminish that peace of mind and spirit. This has affected me to the point that I have come to outgrow enjoying even the presence of drinkers and drinking facilities as they tend to disturb that sense of peace I acquire through my spiritual work.
Derbitsky explains that the “Three Principles” isn’t a new discover, it is just a language to explain the feeling of spiritual truth, and insight which raises your level of consciousness when you go inside and see that truth. He says when clients go into that feeling they don’t become a client, they become a “sharer of energy and minds.” This results in healing and bringing out a person’s unlimited potential.
Going inside, however is only the beginning of the journey, but too many think it’s the end. This causes some people to get “crazy ideas” about spirituality and enlightenment resulting in attitudes or opinions bordering on sectarianism. To curb this problem Derbitsky illustrated four steps to the process.
Hope for a better life
Experiencing the Positive Feeling
Understanding the Process
Conscious Actions to spread the joy the Three Principles bring
Derbitsky says you must start by capturing the feeling for yourself, then you must share it and you will grow more because we all affect everyone around us which affects the world. This last sentiment is another point with which I have especially come to identify. As I began to discover the benefits of the peace and stillness of spirit I have achieved, I found that by sharing it through authenticity and vulnerability with other people who are struggling I was able to help them lift themselves up, and then we both would walk away better for it.
This is a process of making the world better one person at a time starting with ourselves.
Ramone, Johnny (2012) Commando, The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone, New York: Abrams Image
Commando, the posthumously published autobiography of Johnny Ramone is 176 pages of fun and insight into the lifespan of the guitarist from one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll music. It’s almost indisputable that the Ramones invented Punk Rock and Johnny makes no bones about that in his autobiography.
Commando is just like a Ramones song, fast paced, fun, furious, sometimes sad, sometimes silly and a bit cynical. It’s full of dozens of photos and images from throughout his life and career. Many of these had never been published before. At the end Johnny rates each Ramones album from best to least best.
Johnny’s early life and upbringing come across just like classic Americana at least until the rebellion kicks in, but that’s probably just as American as any of it. He was born John Cummings in Queens, New York on October 8, 1948. His father was a steamfitter. He loved baseball, the New York Yankees and Mickey Mantle. He played on teams well into high school before the rebelliousness kicked in.
Johnny was raised Irish Catholic and attended Catholic schools as a child until he showed his mother the marks from where the nun had been hitting him. He changed schools and quit attending church, but still considered himself Catholic to the day he died. He voluntarily went to military school during first half of high school, but just as with baseball the rebellious spirit growing inside him brought this to an end and he returned to public school where he was more comfortable.
Johnny originally became interested in rock and roll through the man who changed the records on the juke box at his parents’ bar and would give him the old 45s. Back then he was into Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.
In his late teens he started drinking heavily and getting into fights and vandalism. He was on a bad path to nowhere, and then one day just changed his mind. He quit drinking more than two beers a day and otherwise would just smoke a bit of cannabis and went out and got a union job with the company his father worked for. Eventually he started the Ramones, mostly on a bet with future drummer Tommy because he bragged about how he could play guitar in a successful band.
Johnny’s anger and violence is an early theme in the book. Johnny had a temper and could be easily irritated. By page 10, which is only the second page of Johnny’s actual text, he describes punching his future band mate and singer Joey because he showed up late to leave for the movies. He smacked bassist Dee Dee in the head multiple times while on tour for dawdling at road stops. He also punched former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren at the Whiskey a Go Go in Los Angeles in 1988 for talking to his girlfriend.
Johnny confirms one of the many amusing Ramones legend from the early days of the band and how they often had fights on stage over various performance issues. He describes their earliest days in a manner that illustrates a group of poor working class street kids who didn’t have much in the way of diplomatic skills, but a lot of passion. The Ramones certainly were punks. Johnny summed up the Ramones image by saying “The Ramones hinged on aggression, and balanced with the cartoon-like fun that so many seemed to see in us.”[p11]
Johnny mentions that he always felt like people were uncomfortable around him. He later decribes how he liked to irritate his band mates by playing Rush Limbaugh loudly over their tour van’s radio. Johnny was pretty conservative especially for a punk. He loved Ronald Reagan and was instrumental in developing the very American identity that was part of the band’s image. He hated foreign travel, especially in France, but he did enjoy Spain and Italy. He eventually enjoyed touring South America when the band became extremely popular there.
Tensions ran high in the band from the beginning. Johnny seemed exasperated as he expressed that he could not relate to Joey, and called him a pain in the ass and a hippie. Even after retirement when Joey was diagnosed with lymphoma, Johnny says he called Joey to check on him, and the former Ramones singer acted flippant about it, so he didn’t try reaching out again. He would go weeks without speaking to drummer Marky even while on tour and traveling in a cramped van. Looking like a brotherhood was part of the image of the Ramones, but the reality was a little less romantic.
Johnny was serious about the music and the image of the Ramones, but he didn’t take his own fame and legendary status too seriously. That was in large part due to the fact that he didn’t even realize he was such an inspiration to so many bands until he was close to retirement in the early 1990s. He seemed surprised that musicians from bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and the Red Hot Chili Peppers looked up to him. As these then up and coming bands were on the same tours with the Ramones they would come up to him at shows and profess their admiration. At first he was perplexed. Then he was amused.
The Ramones retired 1996, and Johnny was the only member who didn’t go on to doing anything else musically. He couldn’t see playing with any other band than the Ramones. A year later he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He hated how retirement, aging and his illness had softened him up to the point he didn’t even have the energy to be angry anymore. Johnny Ramone, a true punk. The last few pages of Commando become very poignant as Johnny states the likelihood that the he would be dead before it is published. And so it was.
Johnny was good friends with Lisa Marie Presley and almost walked her down the aisle when she married Nicholas Cage, but instead stood beside Cage as the Best Man. And like a true king of rock and roll, the daughter of the late, great Elvis was by his bedside when he died on September 15, 2004. Other friends in attendance included Eddie Vedder, John Frusciante, and Rob Zombie.
Lisa Marie Presley wrote the epilog to Johnny’s autobiography. She described the events around his final hours and his cremation as “very much like an Irish Wake and exactly the way Johnny would have wanted it to be.”
She said he was a good friend, a legend, loyal, “and well … he was grouchy :)”
Commando, The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone is a must read for any fan of the Ramones, punk rock, or rock and roll.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing at the House of Henry Irish Pub in Panama City, FL. I like the place. It’s nice and new, only established in 2019. It has all of the hardwood, stained glass and bric-a-brac I’ve come to expect from a good Irish Pub. They have a full menu and two rooms with separate bars, a dining room and a pub area with a stage. It’s a cool spot and I’m looking forward to playing there often.
After a recent gig Jake, the booking manager met with me in the loft above the pub and we recorded an episode of House of Henry Loft Sessions.
On January 6, the US Capitol was the target of a terrorist attack by radicalized supporters of disgraced President Donald Trump. This was the most significant event in US history since September 11, 2001.
The terrorist mob was comprised of an amalgamation of fascists, Qanon conspiracy enthusiasts, white-supremacists, evangelical religious extremists and assorted loonies engaging in a violent, anti-democratic insurrection with the ultimate goal of installing Donald Trump as a dictator. To whatever degree some of the participants may not consider themselves of that ilk; they certainly are content to march beside and behind them providing material aid and support.
The photographic and video evidence from January 6 should be enough to demonstrate the fascist orientation of the terrorists even for those who didn’t monitor the various right-wing groups and organizations that openly planned this attack.
See here this terrorist with the Camp Auschwitz shirt. See the other totally “not racist or fascist” MAGA terrorists standing gleefully beside him.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 7, 2021
The violent white supremacist gang, the Proud Boys, instrumental in organizing pro-fascist demonstrations were also present in force. Here you can see one wearing the 6MWE shirt which means “6 Million (Jews) Wasn’t Enough” referring to the murder of 6 million Jews during the holocaust during World War II.
Do you all know what 6MWE means?
Six. Million. Wasn't. Enough. pic.twitter.com/CdR8KVd1K6
— laurelsnyder (@LaurelSnyder) January 7, 2021
Notice the Proud Boys emblem which was modeled after the Fascist Party eagle emblem complete with fasces the primary symbol of the Fascist Party.
They aren’t even trying to hide it. Why would they need to when their MAGA brethren will simply pretend they don’t see it?
Other known members of American Nazi organizations were front and center in the terrorist act.
Everyone who has noticed the "camp Auschwitz" shirt should know at least some of the men who got into the Capitol today have been identified as former members of the Traditionalist Workers Party, a literal neo-Nazi organization. Here they are at other neo-Nazi meetings: pic.twitter.com/3pZodVFtyG
— Arrivederci (@PapaGlider) January 6, 2021
To be fair, maybe ALL the terrorists aren’t Nazis, they just ALL like to hang out with and do a little terrorism with Nazis for … you know … democracy.
This crowd of terrorists also happens to be the very same people who spent the summer of 2020 denouncing Black Lives Matter and an uprising against police violence and brutality, a genuine cause to protect American civil rights and lives from state violence. They called peaceful protestors being assaulted by cops “rioters” and “thugs.” They said repeatedly that any violence in response to state violence against the people was illegitimate. Now, after losing one democratic election they turn full terrorist and engage in a violent insurrection and assault on our nation’s capitol, eager to murder duly elected legislators and blow up the place.
This terrorist mob was motivated, endorsed and “loved” by Donald Trump who promoted the mass unrest and spoke at it that morning, repeating the conspiracy delusion that Joe Biden who won the recent US presidential election did so only through massive voter fraud despite the absence of a shred of legitimate supporting evidence for the claim. Trump directed the crowd to march on the capitol. This came after months of Trump, Ted Cruz, Lyndsey Graham and other prominent republicans continually beating the drum of voter fraud, whipping their supporters up into a violent frenzy that resulted in the terrorist attack on January 6.
Conspiracy theories are a regular part of the MAGA crowd’s diet, as a large and significant portion of them are also believers in the Qanon conspiracy grift which claims democrats and liberals are all part of a sinister Jewish-led satanic pedophile and child murder ring. It is the revival of the blood-libel, updated for the 21st century.
The Trump lawyer Lin Wood spread these claims openly on twitter and Parler, calling for the execution of government officials including Vice President Mike Pence for betraying Donald Trump.
People have found agents at their door for far less credible & stupid outbursts. pic.twitter.com/4c2r3vo4DP
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 9, 2021
These are people who refuse to say black lives matter because ALL lives matter, but have no problem saying “blue lives matter.” They are “thin blue line” terrorists, the kind who believe the cops have a right to kill you for whatever reason they give and it is always the fault of the victim, especially when they are black. They say cops have a scary job so they should be quick to pull the trigger, then they go and rush the cops fully expecting they would stand down for them. And stand down the cops did.
It is no surprise the cops stood down because the terrorist mob were their own people; mostly white, cops, ex-cops, wannabe cops and active duty military made up a significant portion of the terrorists who attacked the US Capitol on January 6.
“Meanwhile, a current Metro D.C. police officer on the scene yesterday said in a public Facebook post that off-duty police officers and members of the military, who were among the rioters, flashed their badges and I.D. cards as they attempted to overrun the Capitol. The officer continued “If these people can storm the Capitol building with no regard to punishment, you have to wonder how much they abuse their powers when they put on their uniforms … The fact that police officers from other agencies have aligned themselves with such terorristic groups shows how scary it is to be BLACK in America…They weren’t trying to hide who they are because they know nothing will happen to them.”
Here is one of the terrorists, a former Oakland cop justifying the attack by reciting the same unsubstantiated conspiracy claims promoted by Trump and his Qanon conspiracy cult.
A VIOLENT TERRORIST MOB
They attacked media, calling them “antifa.
After assaulting the media, the terrorists can be heard proudly proclaiming “We are at war,” and “we’re coming for bodies.” They came to KILL.
“We are at war. We’re coming for bodies.” pic.twitter.com/3c2WoNqhkf
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) January 6, 2021
They came in paramilitary gear, with full packs, breached the Capitol windows and entered like a rehearsed guerrilla cell.
— 🎼 Jay Moody 🪶 (@Lojah) January 9, 2021
They came equipped with flex cuffs, the kind used by police intending to take hostages. A “thin blue line” patch can be seen on this terrorist’s chest and a gun on his hip.
Something scary I noticed
To Zip tie, and possibly abduct, multiple Dems lawmakers.
— casey allen (@casey__allen) January 6, 2021
They came to take hostages, and lynch them in classic KKK fashion.
And there was a functional gallows complete with steps and a platform outside. pic.twitter.com/ey32FyD5wz
— Xkot (@xkot) January 8, 2021
Their main targets were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Mike Pence as they expressed clearly on Gab, a social media site favored by white-supremacists. Apparently this was to prevent anyone from being able to replace Trump.
But we also know they came to kill legislators, not cops unless they get in the way, you know the proverbial “good cop.”
Parler post from MAGA wingnut threatens armed attack in DC on January 19 pic.twitter.com/biQZ6Qx2LW
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 7, 2021
Some people have tried to make the excuse that the Capitol Police were overwhelmed because they didn’t have enough people manning the area, but this is how they prepared for the BLM protests just a few months earlier.
Protection during BLM protests 2020. pic.twitter.com/dQThf3RyTq
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) January 6, 2021
And they had plenty of time and access to intelligence that this was coming. This was planned openly and promoted all over social media for the past two months. This wasn’t a spontaneous event that got out of hand. It was “The Storm,” a Qanon inspired attack they’ve been threatening for a couple years now. I watched it unfold on twitter myself as Ali Alexander, the Proud Boys and numerous assorted fascists tweeted their plans openly. They even made t-shirts and other merch just for the event. These shirts say “MAGA CIVIL WAR Jan 6, 2021.” It was planned.
It says “MAGA” and “civil war” literally on the shirt. pic.twitter.com/vyDdzI3Agj
— John M. Phillips (@JohnPhillips) January 6, 2021
They thought it was their day and they planned to seize it following the direction of their leader Donald Trump.
Police Welcome Terrorists into the Capitol with Open Arms
The Capitol Police only put up token resistance at times. Mostly, they welcomed the terrorists, literally opening the gates for the mob, all but escorting them in.
THEY JUST LET THEM IN ?????? yeah i’m logging off pic.twitter.com/QJ0JCARWOC
— joy⁷ (@sugaspov) January 6, 2021
Here’s a cop doing nothing as terrorists vandalize the US Capitol. No “I feared for my life” or “he could have had a weapon” as an excuse to shoot.
3/ Watching the festivities unfoldhttps://t.co/YX7AGMxP74
— Insubstantial Pageant (@Baseless_Fabric) January 6, 2021
Here a cop happily takes a selfie with the terrorists.
Cops are taking selfies with the terrorists. pic.twitter.com/EjkQ83h1p2
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 6, 2021
Cops standing down, allowing the terrorists into the Capitol.
I’ve watched this clip 100 times and I still can’t believe it pic.twitter.com/7vYfmPJoxB
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) January 8, 2021
Cops opening the Capitol doors and standing down, you can hear one cop telling the terrorists they “disagree” with but “respect” them. No “I’m just doing my job” or “I don’t make the laws, I just enforce them.”
More evidence of cops just letting the #MAGA terrorists into the Capitol. This attack was coordinated with the fascists on the inside to protect their institutional power.
— ? Jay Moody (@Lojah) January 9, 2021
No mass arrests. They just escorted the terrorists out of the building.
Here, a cop gently escorts a terrorist from the Capitol as if she’s holding her mother’s hand like it was all just a tourist day in DC.
A RIOT SQUAD MEMBER IS LITERALLY HOLDING HANDS AND WALKING A TRUMP RIOTER OFF CAPITOL HILL STEPS. DO YOU SEE THE HYPOCRISY?! pic.twitter.com/IN8eJNmqBn
— Brent ✨ (@thebrentwolff) January 6, 2021
Only one person was shot by police during this siege and it seemed to be by Secret Service and only because the terrorist was climbing through a window into the area where the legislators were being held for their protection. As it turns out she was a radicalized Qanon believer and a former cop.
The woman shot and killed at the Capitol was a former Police Officer.
Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot and killed by police whilst breaking into the Capitol was also an Air Force vet as well as being former Police. pic.twitter.com/Pq8hiKdC9N
— Garrison Davis (or just Gare) (@hungrybowtie) January 7, 2021
The terrorists did murder one Capitol Police officer during their rampage. They bludgeoned him to death with a fire extinguisher. He must have gotten in the way, the proverbial “good cop.”
The cops’ gentle response to this mob of largely white terrorists shows clearly that the violence police inflict on citizens is unnecessary and sadistic in nature. It’s clear cops can deescalate when they want to. It’s clear they don’t fear for their lives when facing violent terrorists, so there is no excuse for them to fear for their lives so often when dealing with traffic stops, misdemeanors and domestic conflicts. The problem is cops kill who they like to kill when they like to kill because they like to kill. They don’t kill who they’d prefer to not kill, and they prefer to not kill or harm their own kind, the white, middle and upper class “thin blue line” sycophants no matter how violent and armed they may be.
Looking at this event critically leads me to think this was not a “failure” of the Capitol Police to properly prepare or an unexpected terrorist siege. This all seems fishy, and it starts to look like the terrorists had inside support.
A REACTION AGAINST POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY
In the atmosphere of police accountability that has grown since the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, police departments and unions are terrified that their crimes may be exposed and they may be held accountable. It is in their best interests to undermine a democratic election that may result in many of them going to jail or losing their jobs.
Democrats have largely championed various degrees of police reform. Republicans have largely fought against police accountability. Cops and Trump have proven themselves to have a symbiotic relationship. Cops need Trump to maintain their privileges, lack of accountability and excessive funding. Trump needs the cops to maintain power and assault his enemies while attempting to lead an anti-democratic coup against the United States.
The Police unions are strong supporters of Trump. The largest police union in the world has endorsed him.
It is no secret that most of these associations masquerading as unions are the biggest obstacle to enacting any meaningful police reforms.
NOT A LIBERTY MOVEMENT
These terrorists are not part of a liberty movement, despite some of the language used by some of them. They are not a movement to secure democracy, quite the opposite. They are not a movement to secure human rights and equality, or else they would have been marching alongside BLM and “antifa” over the past summer instead of threatening to run them over with their pickup trucks.
This is a frightened, violent and bigoted reaction to the changes taking place in society. These changes to society’s fundamental racial inequality and economic injustice are being addressed and corrected through the ballot box. As a growing number of people vote to see real justice and equality in the US, the changing demographics have white and upper middle class people afraid that they will lose the privileges they have enjoyed in this country for centuries; the privileges of white supremacy and along with it all the social tools that have been used to prop it up; protestant evangelical religious intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism, and all the irrational conspiracy slander that comes with it recycled generation after generation.
The repository of power, violence and brutality of this system is concentrated in the police force, for which the primary use in its earliest days were slave patrols, Indian hunters and union busters to keep the privileged their privilege and the undesirables down and out. It is the institution through which the rich dispose of the undesirable classes of society. This is the Thin Blue Line in its non-idealized and true form. As society progresses to systems of greater equality the old system of inequality and those who benefit from it are threatened and they react violently.
WHITE SUPREMACISM PLAGUES THE POLICE FORCE
We have been warned by the FBI that white-supremacists have been joining law enforcement in large numbers in the past twenty years and developing ties with far-right vigilante groups.
This was not a failure of the Capitol Police to be prepared because they didn’t know what was coming. This terrorist attack was coordinated with the police. This was intended to send a message to police reformers that if we do not back down in our fight for justice, not only will they not be there to do the job they are paid by us to do, but they will actively conspire against us and participate in a coup to destroy our democratic republic and help usher in the fascist state that they truly desire.
It only serves as more evidence that our system of law enforcement is corrupt to the core and in desperate need of complete reform, reorganizing and restructuring.
The attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 was terrorism, sedition, and an attempted violent coup. The participants and supporters are not patriots and they are not heroes. They are fascists, traitors, and terrorists. This was the fascism within the system and its supporters on the outside working together to protect itself from reform and accountability. The participants and enablers must be pursued relentlessly and brought to justice just as any Nazi operative was after World War II. To do otherwise would leave our democracy and our republic exposed and vulnerable to a future fascist coup, one that next time might succeed.
The Washington DC football team announced on Monday that it would be retiring it’s racist mascot causing nation-wide discussion. Yours truly has certainly been well into the fray.
A young lad has sought to question me on my stance and impugn the validity of Native American concerns on this subject. As is a standard practice of mine, if it takes more than a couple paragraphs to make my point online, it goes on the blog. So, here we go.
“Yeah that’s some who are offended, I know some indigenous people who aren’t. Aunt Jemaimahs family begged for the company to not issue a rebranding, apparently syrup is now racist too. I’ve never understood why anyone other than a white guy with a sunburn would be offend of the term “redskin”. OUR skin isn’t red. Who cares.”
It helps to have taken the time to learn the history of that term and Native Affairs in this country. One who has would be less likely to conflate different unrelated issues while repeating sound bites and talking points from conservative media.
It’s not simply “some who are offended.” It’s the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest, largest and most representative Native organization in the country which has advocated for the interests of Indians for nearly a century. It’s the American Indian Movement, Idle No More, countless tribes, and nations and virtually every native activist movement in this country for 50 years who have recognized the ill social affects of caricatures being the dominant representation of native people in media while rich white people make millions of dollars from it, despite what your buddy on the street might think.
It’s not that the r-word is offensive as in it hurts little snowflake feelings. It is literally the Native American equivalent of the N-word. It is a word used historically as a means to dehumanize Indians.
Throughout the 19th century that term was used to designate Natives as wild savages who were only suited to be killed, hunted down like rabid animals. Bounties were paid for “redskins.” Often times scalps were taken as evidence for the number of “redskins” killed to fetch a higher payment. Be assured when someone called us redskins they were not “honoring” us. They were saying we were less than human and just in the fucking way.
Indians are not honored by a dehumanizing term historically used to encourage and promote our genocide. This is a genocide that continues today by definition as per the UN Council on Genocide, and Raphael Lempkin who coined the term. Natives are still fighting for basic rights and amenities as human beings while mostly white millionaires continue to get rich off the legacy of genocide and colonialism, portraying Indians as the things of their fantasies.
This all gets into media representation and how it impacts the quality of Native life. Indians are only about 1% of the US population. Most of those are concentrated in a few states and mostly in remote communities. So, the average American does not have any meaningful interaction with a Native American on a daily basis, much less a native community. These people get the majority of their perceptions of Indians from media and sports. This includes some natives as well who have been acculturated, are often urban and do not interact with a native community.
How Natives are represented in media affects how we are viewed by the majority of the population. How we are viewed by the majority of the population matters when we need our issues to be taken seriously and acted upon in an appropriate manner.
If we are viewed as impish caricatures, savage beasts, or even romanticized relics of a bygone era, we are not seen as real human beings. That affects the socio-political environment which we as 1% of the population are powerless to overcome on our own.
If we’re not viewed accurately as real, modern humans then our tribal sovereignty is not viewed as something to take seriously. Our land rights are at risk, our religious rights are at risk (did you know Indian religions were outlawed until 1978?), our very existence as Indian people is at risk. And when these harmful stereotypes infect our own youth it has been shown to negatively impact their self perception and limit their imagination as to what they’re capable of achieving in life. This has long-term negative implications for individuals as well as for tribes and nations.
There is far more at stake here than simple hurt feelings about the color of our skin.
Today was a good day for Natives.
That racist mascot is finally gone. Of course there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth about losing another flagrant display of their beloved white supremacism. They can’t profit from Native dehumanization anymore and they’re sad. Let’s bask in those tears right now.
More importantly, let’s celebrate our success and reflect on how far we have come since the Era of Termination as fuel for the battles ahead. And let’s remember our allies in this.
Today is a result of half a century of grassroots activism, education, demonstrations and building our own media outlets that created enough non-Indian allies in the country to hurt a market for racism.
We’re not fooled that this was some benevolent act by a newly enlightened class of “elites.” We know it is only because enough avenues of income were obstructed that Dan Snyder was losing the only thing he really cares about, money.
And THIS is the real symbol within this multifaceted victory. The word they used to create a literal market for dead Native bodies no longer makes them money. They can no longer capitalize on our dehumanization like that.
While they whine and say goodbye to the “legacy” of their little racist sportsball club, I wish we could truly say goodbye to the legacy of colonialism and genocide in this country. This is a step in that direction. There is still a lot of work to be done.
Today was a good day.
The Eight-Fold Wheel of the Year is a solar calendar marking the eight seasonal points of the ancient and indigenous western European holiday tradition.
It has always been vital for human survival to live in tune with the seasonal cycle in order to plan ahead and prepare for the various environmental changes that occur over a year. Our lithic ancestors needed to know when berries ripen, when herds migrate or when the snow comes just for basic survival. Along the way certain specific celestial events were noted that marked the beginnings and midpoints of the seasons and these dates were set apart as special. As civilization developed and farming became central to life, celebrations and holidays were created through tradition and the foresight of wise and creative participants. This is such an intrinsic part of our evolutionary heritage that our greatest holidays, those with long histories attached to them still carry these ancient seasonal and astronomical markers.
In the mid 20th century an uncertain group of Euro-traditionalist scholars combined the four-point seasonal holidays of the Germanic Anglo-Saxon tradition with a quite similar though differently organized traditional Celtic holiday calendar to create the Eight-Fold Seasonal Cycle. Though originally combined by neo-pagans to satisfy their need for a holiday cycle and to reclaim the old ways, it corresponds naturally with the holiday cycle already celebrated throughout Western civilization. It serves as a useful toolbox for those desiring to orient themselves with a more naturalistic or even indigenous outlook on life.
There is no “true” beginning or end to the Eight-Fold Seasonal Cycle, and different communities begin their year at different points for cultural and historical reasons of their own. Since I have a strong affinity for the Irish Celtic orientation I would normally begin with Samhain, but for this article I’ll start at at a point that seems like a more natural beginning, Yule.
Each holiday is presented below in brief. Click on the name of each holiday to be taken to a full article describing that day in more detail.
Yule, Dec 21st
A Germanic holiday in its origin, Yule falls at the winter solstice. It’s a time of new beginnings as the midpoint of winter. After two brutal months of winter the days are finally becoming longer once again and there is hope for a new summer just months ahead. It’s a time to celebrate the birth of a new year, and new sun. Yule traditions coupled with traditions from the Roman Saturnalia and transferred into a Christian context have been handed down to us as the modern day Christmas.
Imbolc, Feb 1
Imbolc is an Irish holiday. It’s the first defining evidence of the fulfillment of the promise made at Yule. The young earth is becoming fertile and the young sun has begun to show signs of his virility. This is when seeds that have lain dormant in the earth begin to show the first signs of sprouting. Life is starting to become more active after the hard winter. It is a time for lovers. The symbolism of Imbolc has been adapted into multiple different celebrations such as Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras.
Ostara, March 21st
Ostara falls on the Spring Equinox. At Ostara the Corn Mother is celebrated in her first stirrings of pregnancy. Agriculturally Ostara comes at the end of the Spring sowing season. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the animals are starting their mating dances as pollen wafts through the air. This holiday was wholesale converted, name and all into the Church as Easter and many of its symbolism such as rabbits and colored eggs were adopted along with it.
Beltane, May 1
Beltane is an Irish holiday and is also full of fertility symbolism. As the crops and herds are flourishing and pollinators are active, sexuality is pervasive through Beltane. Ancient customs recall celebrations in which lovers met in the fields, the forests, or along the shores for trysts and escapades. The Maypole with its phallic symbolism was commonly danced at Beltane.
Midsummer, June 21st
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, with the sun at its strongest, therefore Midsummer represents the triumph of light over darkness. It is the counterpart to Yule, the fulfillment of prophecy. The Solar Hero born at Yule rises to his destiny. He could be King Arthur, Lugh Lamfada or God.
Lugnasadh, Aug 1
Lugnasadh is the first real harvest festival. It means “The Wake of Lugh.” As autumn approaches, summer day’s become noticeably shorter as winter’s grip is only a short way off and the sun begins to die. As a celebration many competitions and public dances are traditional.
Mabon is the autumnal equinox. To some degree Mabon is a time of mourning. The Solar Hero is near death, and the cold grip of winter begins moving in steadily to rule the land. The powers of light and darkness are balanced one final time, allegorically locked in combat and the hero meets his doom.
Samhain, Oct 31st-Nov 1st
Samhain traditionally celebrates the last harvest of the season. It was the highest feast day on the old Celtic calendar and often regarded as the Celtic New Year. It represents the end of the active season and the beginning of the dormant season, the season of death as the solar hero lies slain. As such the date is associated with ghosts and dark themes eventually becoming the modern day Halloween.
As you see, the Solar Wheel follows the annual cycle through the activity of the sun and its relationship with the earth in order to sustain life. The symbolism associated with that has been built into allegories, mythologies and cultures, but at their core lays our genuine evolutionary nature. As natural beings, we are dependent upon this cycle of life, the dance between sun and earth. By living in tune with the seasonal cycle along with other traditions, customs and philosophies which I can only call Indigenist, I think we become more centered and grounded as human beings and more complete. With that completeness we lose a lot of insecurity, and anxiety about the meaning of it all and our place within it. This is just such a thing I think can help restore a bit of sanity to modern humanity.
Easter is perhaps the most significant day on the Western liturgical calendar, celebrated in commemoration of the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion on Good Friday. Many of the symbols and traditions of Easter have their origins in an older, Germanic tradition that is still celebrated to this day by Christians and neopagan revivalists alike, Ostara.
Ostara is traditionally celebrated on March 21, spring equinox as it is the solar compliment to Easter’s lunar reckoning. It is one point on the Eight-Fold Wheel of the Year, and it is regarded as one of the four high holy days in modern Druidry called Alban Eiler: “the Light of the Earth.”
The word Ostara derives from the old Anglo-Saxon word Eostre, the name of an obscure Germanic goddess about whom little is known today. Her name is linguistically related to the word for “east,” giving further credence to the strong solar significance of the holiday. And from this name we also derive the word Easter.
In modern paganism Ostara is regarded as the Festival of the Trees, due to the regrowth of their foliage at this time of year, a strong metaphor for resurrection and rebirth. Agriculturally Ostara comes at the end of the spring sowing season. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the insect population is making a drastic comeback. The animals are beginning to start their mating dances and pollen wafts through the air fertilizing the crops. Colored eggs and rabbits are indicative of this season by virtue of their association with fertility. In such, this holiday is directly associated with the inner Cauldron of Incubation. This is a very inspirational time.
At Ostara the Corn Mother is celebrated in her first stirrings of pregnancy and often symbolically sacrificed as an expectant mother must sacrifice of herself to bare and care for her children. This is a consistent theme amongst many agricultural societies from the Anglo-Saxon John Barley Corn to various Native America manifestations of the Corn Mother.
It’s not all just joy and the pleasures of fertility, however. Ostara also has certain themes of conflict associated with it. As the day that finally signifies the summer’s conquest over winter, the conquest of darkness by light, and allegorically the conquest of evil by the good an d majestic solar hero. And so we see ritual competitive sports and ball games are traditional at this time. Amongst many Western European populations there will be a ritualized and symbolic battle between the seasons, often in the form of a sword dance wherein the participants act out the opposing roles as either teams or one on one.
Ostara may not be Easter, but the two holidays share a common history, symbolism and philosophical character that are significant to the natural cycles of life. The winter has finally ended. There is abundance in life and resources looking forward. The darkness has been conquered.
Today would have been Bob Marley’s 75th birthday if he had lived. Tragically, he died of cancer on May 11, 1981 at the age of 36. Most people know that Bob Marley and the Wailers put reggae on the map, taking it from obscure local Jamaican music and turning it into the international phenomenon it became. But for me, Bob Marley isn’t just another name among the many other ground-breaking musicians of the 1960s and 70s. When we talk about Bob Marley we’re not just talking about music anymore; we’ve crossed into the subject of mysticism and religion. Bob Marley is less like a rock star and more like a biblical messenger.
I grew up in coastal and beach towns, so I always knew who Bob Marley was, but through a lot of my early teens I was more into punk rock and heavy metal. Then in 1993, I was the president of my church youth group at St. Anne’s and we took part in an annual Diocesan Youth Camp Out. This was two nights at an outdoor coastal retreat which brought high school kids together from Catholic churches over the whole Florida Panhandle. The theme that year was “One Love, One Life” and Bob Marley’s hit song was played at all the activities throughout the weekend. The t-shirts had red, green and gold on them. It was a genuine religious experience on a Florida beach with Bob Marley’s message front and center.
I was captivated by how much of Marley’s music was religious in its nature. It may as well be gospel music. Listening to Marley’s lyrics is like listening to a hymn, and that one-drop beat and the rootsy melodies are infectious. It wasn’t a stretch for Marley’s music to become an influential part of my ever-growing spiritual life.
As I grew into my late teens, I became more disillusioned with modern life. I’d had a miserable experience in public school. I came to realized that the Church is full of vipers, but only after I had been bitten. I became aware of the corruption of government. The ongoing and almost unconscious genocide of Native peoples weighed on my mind and my soul. I felt like I had been lied to my whole life, and that everything I thought I knew up to that point was propaganda. I didn’t know who I was. What does any of it even mean? I became angry and a little bit radical. I learned that thinking for myself is an act of rebellion.
I could have gone bad at this point, but I didn’t. Instead this is when Bob Marley’s music became most important to me. It captured my frustration and soothed what it could, and redirected what it couldn’t into a positive fire. This was real rebel music. It was rooted in positivity and righteousness, rather than the negativity found in so much of other rebellious music. Rather than being angry, self-destructive and nihilistic, I learned to be impassioned about injustice, and constructive while invigorating my faith and maintaining a sense of wonder about the world. This is what held me together. The message I learned from Bob Marley and through him from other reggae artists and the Rastafarian movement is something that has continually been a guiding light for me over the years.
It encouraged me to embrace my roots.
It helped me bridge the gap between my indigenous traditions and my orthodoxy.
It helped me understand the significance of my place in the greater movement of history.
It helped me to see that each native struggle as another front of the same global struggle for freedom, and sovereignty.
It helped me to understand that I have a role to play in this struggle and how I can fulfill that mission through education, prayer, and service to my people and revitalization of our traditional cultures.
I can’t stress enough how important it was for me that this message of reggae didn’t just want to teach me rules and ethics and tell me to be a good boy, and it didn’t just encourage me to rebel without a cause. The Rastafarian philosophy freely recognized and validated my grievances with the modern world and gave me positive means to deal with negative realities.
So today isn’t just another birthday of another popular musician to me. It is the anniversary of the day a great man came into the world who would have a positive spiritual impact on many disillusioned youth throughout the world for over five decades now. He may have saved my life. While Bob Marley should be remembered for his groundbreaking music, he is also remembered for his role as an emissary of the divine, a messenger for the revolutionary word of God – Jah Rastafari.