Journey of the Human Spirit


It all starts with a special blue light from the heavens that enters a mother’s womb.

We, the Elders of the Anishinabe, are sharing our teachings to bring forward the Red People’s perspective on the journey of the human spirit and its great potential.

The 4 Elements of Nature

Every seed needs the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire to flourish into a flower, or a tree. Likewise, humanity and all of Creation depend upon the four elements of Nature for our spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental survival and connection.

The Red People of Turtle Island have always been an Earth-based people. The close feelings and connection to the land has been a basis for our perspective on the meaning of and understanding of our relationship to life. “The Land is our Mother” is a simple but profound insight.

It is the Earth who teaches and symbolizes the sacredness of the womb, the woman, the life-giver. It is the land that offers understanding of our beginning, our Creation, our oneness with Nature and each other as the human family. One human lifetime does not compare to the lifetime of Nature. The Earth does not belong to anyone – we all belong to the Earth. Nature operates on simple laws, that when followed, ensure a happy and balanced life.

One’s breath of life is a gift from the Great Spirit.

The breath of life always means living in the present. How you live your life to the fullest is always determined by how you use that breath of life. It is not through recalling the past, nor through talk of the future that life is meant to be enjoyed, but rather in the now, in the present.

One must see and feel the blessing of the breath of the life as it passes through your whole being. As long as the breath of air passes through us, we are alive – alive to enjoy – alive to give – alive to care – alive to love.

Air is the sound. Air is the drum. The rattle is air. The sound of the air creates vibration and connects us to the universe.

Water is the blood of Mother Earth. Water is life.

Water offers the passage to life; it is the passage into the physical world during the time of the birth of a child. Water is recognized as an element for purification, cleansing and helping to make peace. The spirits of the Thunderbirds bring the sacred water – the rains – to help cleanse and purify Mother Earth. For the Red People, it is the woman who has been given the responsibility of looking after and seeking the blessing of water.

The element of the sacred fire is central in the life of the Red People.

Since the beginning, within the teachings of the Red People has been the sacred understanding of the power of fire.

The biggest fire of all is the sun, which reflects to us the symbol of our Great Creator. It is the Grandfather Sun that watches us throughout the day and then shines its light on Grandmother Moon. It is the sun that brings a new birth and new beginning of innocence as we awake each morning.

When we light the sacred fire we bring part of the sun very near to us. When we look at the sun it is like a doorway that opens for us to see the Creator shine upon all of us. The sacred fire has the power to open a doorway to the spiritual world. It is fire that ignites the flame in our heaters to closely connect to spirit. Without the sacred fire, there is darkness and doubt, and a person becomes cold, uncaring and selfish. It is the power of the fire that makes a person gentle and warm. When a person has been near a sacred fire many times, you will feel their warmth and compassion. You will feel the power of their words and actions simply because the light of the fire has been transferred to that individual.

The 4 Elements of the Human Being

The first element of the human, the spirit, enters into the womb to begin its journey as a human being, along with the remaining elements of emotion, body, and mind.

When it enters into the human world, then these four elements must be nurtured equally, which ensures balance in life. When death arrives, the emotions, body, and mind will be gone, but the spirit will move on back where it has come from. It returns into the spirit world, which represents the complete circle of life.

According to the teaching lodges of our people, we were told the Red People were given the special gift of understanding the spirit and our sacred relationship to the Earth. The Yellow People were given the gift of understanding emotions and air, the Black People were given understanding of the body and water, and the White People were given the gift of the mind and fire. Each race of people was given their special gifts to learn and understand in their deepest sense.

According to our prophecies as a people, a day will come in our evolution as humanity when we will come together to share this knowledge. We will reach greater understanding as unique peoples as we come together from the four directions as the four colours of humankind.

The 4 Stages of Life

In its human life, the spirit has the opportunity to live through the four stages of life – the Child, the Youth, the Adult, and the Elder – before it returns to the spirit world.

When the Child arrives, it is to be positioned at the centre of the family, the community, and the nation. Every Child is born with the right to be human.

The right to be human is the right for a Child to be given all that it needs to be supported in its spirit, its emotions, it body and its mind, so that when it is finally ready to be on its own it will have had all the nurturing and teachings it needs to survive.

In the natural world the mother bear will do everything to protect its cub, and she will teach her cub everything that will help the cub to survive later on when it must leave its mother’s side. Only the mother will decide when the cub is ready, she will know when her cub has been provided what it needs to go out into the world on its own. It is the same for us as humans. Every Child is born with the right to be respected and loved. Every Child is born with the right to have a good mother and good father that know the sacred teachings and laws of the people. Every Child is born with the right to drink clean water and to have nature’s natural foods. Every Child is born with the right to hold the truth.

Every Child must also be supported and encouraged to live its free will. The teachings that are provided should encourage that Child to be responsible for its own life once it goes out on its own.

The role of the Young people is to seek vision that will define their purpose and meaning and life, and to develop the gifts that identify their uniqueness and purpose.
The Adults are the ones that bring life into this world. Their responsibility is to live their role as parents, extended to aunties and uncles, supporting the life of the Child that is at the centre.
The Elders of the nation have always acted as mentors. They were always the inspirers, mentors, and teachers of sacred law. The Elders are there to give guidance and direction to the young people, to ensure that sacred law is lived by. The Youth and the Elders should and must work together to ensure a solid foundation for the future.

The 4 Seasons

The Red People have always followed the influence of the 4 seasons. The 4 seasons always reflected and understanding of balance.

Springtime is renewal and our new year – it is an exciting time to see Nature return to its beginning. It is a time to see the birds return to their birth place to give birth to their young. Our whole nature as human beings can feel this as we get closer to the land. It is a time to plant. Planting a seed on the land requires a faith and belief that the land will nurture this seed into an abundance of food.
Summertime offers a time to be really close to the land. The more time spent outside, the more enjoyment we experience in life. This is a time of great activity when we are literally working for life.
Fall time is a time for harvesting. It is a time for preparing for the winter months, preserving the foods, and hunting for the meat, picking and preparing the wild rice. It is a time to show gratitude for the abundance received from the land. It is a time when Feasts are done. It is a time to remember the ancestors. It is a time for nature to celebrate its own life through colour!
Wintertime is a time of resting and learning. Everything slows down, as does Nature, but life is still filled with activity done at a more natural pace yet filled with excitement. It is a time to spend a lot of time with the teachers – the grandmothers and grandfathers. It is a time of storytelling. There is always work – work keeps human beings healthy and strong. One can feel the winds of the north and the strength they offer. Wintertime also brings us the longest night that greets the new sun, as we begin again in the circle of life.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Women

The Women are the first contact for the Children. They are the creators of life. They groom the Children to be the leaders that carry the Seven Teachings. The Women give the language to the Child. The Women are the connection to Mother Earth.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Men

The Men have been given the duty and responsibility to protect life, which includes all life – the Earth, the plant life, the animal life, and the human life.

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