Medicine Woman Speaks
What follows is a conversation I had with Medicine Woman – the one who was me and lives inside of me. I was her in a past life and she serves as a guide to me in this life. She and I have had a troubled relationship with one another as we’ve worked to heal past traumas and find a way to coexist in this human form. She is not God and she is not an angel, but she is a higher form of my own Soul. She has an expanded view of what is possible and how things are put together. Plus, she has the experience of already having lived a full human life full of beauty, peace and then ultimately extreme trauma and grief. I am growing to appreciate her more and more and am learning to take her medicine and use the wisdom to move more gracefully through my life.
At the time of this interview, I was struggling to write a chapter for a compilation book on the Path of the High Priestess. Needless to say, things weren’t going well. A friend encouraged me to invite Medicine Woman to give her perspective and so I sat down at my keyboard and opened up to receive her message. She is speaking to me here as much or more so than to the women I was planning to do the book with. She doesn’t fuck around with niceties and sugar coating things that may sting. That’s one of the reasons I like her so much.
Needless to say, what she said here completely upended my perspective at the time and catalyzed me ultimately stepping out of the Priestess book project all together. I share this intimate conversation with you from the possibility that she may have medicine for you too…
Q: What do you think is the path of the High Priestess?
MW: I don’t see no path. I don’t see no High Priestesses.
Q: Really? These women are super powerful, leading movements and evolving consciousness. Isn’t that what a High Priestess is?
MW: I don’t know what a High Priestess is… [laughs] They look like a bunch of scared little girls to me.
Me: That’s mean.
Q: Is there anything wrong with sharing wisdom with others that might help them to evolve?
MW: Depends on what you mean by truth. There is very little “truth” to be shared. Truth is slippery. It hides behind stories and labels. It waits quietly for you to stop talking and come find it.
Truth is the wind. Truth is the sun in the sky. Truth is your feet on the ground. Truth is everywhere and nowhere. It isn’t owned by anyone. As soon as someone tries to own the truth, it isn’t the truth anymore.
If you say “truth” enough, it isn’t even truth anymore. [Truth truth truth truth truth truth truth truth] It becomes a meaningless sound – some letters strung together that could mean anything.
Q: Is there any wisdom that can be shared? Any benefit to writing a book?
MW: People tend to find their wisdom when and where they chose to. It’s really up to them whether they find what you say, “Wise” or “Useful.” As soon as you start thinking what you have to say is Wise, you stop being wise and start being a fool.
Q: What if it was a book about Medicine Women? Would that have more resonance for you?
MW: I’ve met plenty of Medicine Women who were full of shit too.
Me: You’re a tough interview. It would be nice if you could answer in more than one sentence. This is going to take awhile to fill 2500 words.
[Silence. Looks at me.] Q: What frustrates you the most about me?
MW: What DOESN’T frustrate me about you?! If I had to pick just one thing, I’d say, how you don’t listen.
Me: To you?
MW: To anything. Sprit is talking to you all the time, and you act like you are deaf. Your ears can hear, but it’s like you’ve got sand in them. You’re like, “I don’t know. What should I do? Show me, show me.” And yet you’ve got 10,000 arrows pointing you in the direction you are asking to go and you still need more. You are stubborn. And untrusting. And dense.
Me: Tell me about it.
Q: Would you say that you are trusting and flexible and um…light?
MW: We’re not talking about me.
Q: Well, we could… Can I ask you some questions about you?
MW: You can ask all the questions you want. Don’t know if I’ll answer.
Q: What is the thing that disappointed you most during your life on this planet?
MW: The cruelty of one person to another. The pain.
Q: What is your biggest regret?
MW: Letting them hurt me.
Q: Who? What do you mean by that?
MW: We knew better. We didn’t think we had a choice but to go. We didn’t see another option. We were like lambs to the slaughter. Hoping for the best, but knowing the worst was already happening. We believed there was an answer outside of us. The whites, , the integrity of the process, Great Spirit. We thought something would save us. So we lined up to “drink the kool-aid” as you like to say. That didn’t work out so good.
Q: What would you have done differently, knowing what you know now?
MW: You can never do anything differently. You can only know what you know when you know it. Looking back doesn’t change what happened. It only brings more pain.
Q: Sorry, but it’s a little depressing talking to you. You don’t exactly bring a message of hope.
MW: Hope is another way of giving up your power. You hope someone will see things your way, or act peacefully, or that they will respect your land, but you are still at their mercy. They will or they won’t, and what you’ll be left with either way is you.
Q: So we shouldn’t give away our power by hoping. What is the way to be fully in our power?
MW: Give up the idea of power. For generations we lived without the notion of power. We didn’t own the land, we shared what we had, we lived the roles that made sense for us – each one being equally important. It worked. It was good. The whites come and it’s all about who owns this, who has the rights to this, who can get more from who. Who can manipulate, who can win.
Power is destructive. It’s like a cancer that eats away at a soul, at a tribe, at a nation.
You think about power too much. It’s like an obsession with you.
Me: You’re right. It has been one of my main gigs up until now. I know that I have a big mission on this planet and I feel the force of my power. I want to make sure I use it wisely. I’m very interested in discerning how to benevolently lead a movement. It seems like right use of power is an important part of that.
MW: [Snorts] So you think you can have power over power? I told you you were obsessed.
Me: Hmmmmm. I see what you mean. So what? I shouldn’t lead a movement or base it on personal power and radical self-responsibility?
MW: Leading is not the problem. You’ll do some things and some people will follow. Some will not. Your ego wants it to be “Big” and to “reach a lot of people.” If it reaches one person, that is big. As you know, a lot of people have sand in their ears, so it’s hard to reach them…
Me: Very funny.
MW: I see where you are going with “Personal Power,” but it doesn’t really make sense. It’s like a turtle saying, I am going to be a Powerful Turtle! Rather than just BEING a turtle. A turtle is a turtle. There is no power called for.
You think it is ok, because in personal power you aren’t having power over another person so that must be safe or right, but even the concept of power weakens you. If you can have personal power then you can also not have it, so you are always having to determine if you are giving it away, if someone has it, if they took it from you, etc… there you are back to obsessing about power again.
Me: OK, I see the point there. But we DO give our power away a lot. We think we are victims when we are not, we leave our destinies up to other people – just like you said about Wounded Knee. “You shouldn’t have let them hurt you.” How would you have prevented that if you didn’t claim your power in some way?
MW: Trying to prevent something “bad” from happening is really another form of a power struggle. You’ve already lost before you even begin. When I say I shouldn’t have let them hurt me, I don’t mean we should have fought back, or not gone, or that I should have moved out of the way of the bullet that shot me.
What I mean is, I shouldn’t have lost sight of the truth. The truth is that I am a Soul. I am infinite. I am whole. I can never be injured or diminished.
The human body is just one form to play in. Even if it ceases to exist, the truth of Me does not and can not.
Here I am in you, with another body. Same Soul. Making my way back to truth.
I spent many long years in the purgatory of forgetting that truth – Until you came and found me in that tipi. That was a long period of suffering. They shot me once, I shot myself in tens of thousands of ways, and hurt myself for them countless times while I wallowed in my shame and grief. It was a hell of my own creation. Infinitely more painful than being shot or seeing my people massacred. I paid for it many times over. I magnified their cruelty and inflicted it on myself over and over for decades.
Me: So instead of power, what should we be focused on?
MW: Love. Loving ourselves, loving each other, loving the earth. If everyone was focused on asking, “How can I bring more love to this situation, this Soul, this interaction?” there would be no war and no suffering. Love overcomes any of our differences. Love is truth.
Me: So you should have loved the white soldiers who killed your tribe more?
MW: I certainly would have suffered less if I had. That’s the problem with this human experience. It makes you slow and stupid. We come from love. We are love. That never changes. We just forget that when we get here. We believe the story of suffering and separation. We get lost in the pain and the belief in wounding. We try to find our way back to safety by clinging to concepts of power and not power, but ultimately none of that matters. It’s not about right and wrong. We’ve all been the soldiers and we’ve all been the ones massacred. In the end, we are just love.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone who picks up this book and reads these words?
MW: It hurts your heart to be something you are not. Why would you want to be small, when you are really the stars in all the sky? Pretending you are not doesn’t change the truth.”