I have been feeling inspired lately to share the significance and the philosophy of the teaching lodge, mandate if you will. There are many ancestors and spiritual beings guiding the lodge. Today I will introduce you to the first two that made themselves known to me: initially the Clear Blue Sky (Ozhaawashko-Giizhig in Ojibwe) made herself known and then Grey Wolf (Waabi-ma’iingan in Ojibwe) made herself known. I love each of them dearly and am ever so grateful for their guidance and empowerment. I created a small wall hanging quilt to honour these two spiritual beings that provide the guidance and teachings to the community of the teaching lodge. It was the first quilt that I had ever made and I created it within less than 24 hours with no experience or instructions. It was a labour of love.
The expression of ‘blue sky thinking’ was first introduced to me while I was contracted with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in 2005 as a Regional Coordinator of the Integrated Community Experiences. The concept of blue sky thinking has no limitations and that really resonates with me. I have always been the glass is half full type of thinker. At one of our teaching lodge community gatherings in Red Rock Ontario in March of 2006, an Elder who has since passed on, Jack Nicholson, talked about that. He said “above the clouds, it is always blue sky”. Then when we were seeking the ‘Spiritual name’ of the teaching lodge, we had approached an Elder in Gull Bay, Elsie Kwandibens. She informed us matter-of-factly; “well you already have the name: Clear Blue Sky”. The Clear Blue provides the overall governance for the teaching lodge.
The spirit and intention of no limitations, only Clear Blue Sky, continues to be the philosophy of the teaching lodge now affectionately known as the Blue Sky Community Healing Centre. It is the mandate of the lodge to be welcoming and respectful of all cultures entering the lodge. An Elder from Shoal Lake #39 First Nation, Albert Mandamin (who has since passed on) taught me at the very first teaching lodge on Mount McKay in Thunder Bay in April of 2007, that the teaching lodge needs to be available for all people, native and non-native alike. This also resonates with me and is promoted and respected by my entire being.
The second supporting Spirit that was identified was Grey Wolf. I started seeing her in 2005 and she appeared to me three times before I was to receive the guidance and understood what the significance of the sightings were. Albert Mandamin guided me through a healing ceremony, in my community of Lake Helen First Nation, which is located on Highway 11, across the Nipigon Bridge, on January 22 2007. Albert revealed the Spirit of Grey Wolf which guides the lodge. That is why Grey Wolf was appearing to me. I also learned that I was the Lodge Keeper (holding Spiritual space for others) of this teaching lodge.
Most people are not aware that wolves are friendly, social and extremely intelligent beings with a strong and loyal sense of family. Wolves live by clear rules and practices and specific territories are sacred to them. Their community behaviour is based upon a ranked structure. Each wolf has its place and purpose within the pecking order. If Grey Wolf is appearing to you, you are likely discarding characteristics and behaviours that no longer serve you. Grey Wolf encourages us to make cooperation a practice rather than competition. Wolves go out of their way to avoid unnecessary confrontation. The wolf demonstrates to us to know who we are and to develop strength, confidence and security in what we do and not to have to prove yourself.
Grey Wolf gives me permission to be a teacher. She teaches me to learn what is best for me and then to share those teachings with others. She has taught me to hold space for others until they find their own space. It is imperative that I follow the intuition and inner guidance of my heart and Spirit, even if that means going against the practices of others. We are experiencing a new paradigm and a Spiritual revolution. It is time to listen to ourselves.
At first when working with Grey Wolf, I thought she was my helper, now of course I realize that I am her helper. Grey Wolf provides us with the universal teachings of unity and love and kindness. She is the constant in my life that empowers my work and encourages me to follow love-based teachings rather than following the more popular fear-based teachings.
The foundation of our practices at the Blue Sky Community Healing Centre is the Anishnaabe culture and traditions however, we regularly invite different cultures to come to the Centre to share their culture with others, such as people of the Buddhism belief. Other practices are welcome to come to the Centre and share their teachings and experiences with other interested individuals. Furthermore, if someone is sharing their cultural practices with others at the Centre, we do not ‘correct’ them or ‘force’ them to do things the way that we normally do things or practice or the way we were taught. That is the beauty of the openness of the Blue Sky philosophy!
The Blue Sky Community Healing Centre believes in the equality illustrated in the four colours of the medicine wheel: yellow, red, black and white as signifying the varying races of the world. We believe in the universality of culture and believe that all beings are sacred i.e. human, animal, plant, mountains, oceans, and so on. Our way is to be inclusive and respectful of all. The Blue Sky Code of Conduct stipulates that: “You are welcome to share your teachings but do not push your beliefs onto others. Do not assume that only your beliefs are correct. Every person carries their own teachings which are to be respected by all people in the lodge”.
It is my pleasure and honour to share our ways and practices with everyone and to encourage everyone to do the same.