We Are Story Stones On Which Sacred Carvings Are Made Daily


By MariJo Moore


When I turned fifty during the summer of 2002, I decided it was time to do some things I had been threatening to do for years: I chose to ignore those who said I wasn’t Indian because I wasn’t enrolled, as well as those who said my writing shouldn’t be taken seriously since I self-publish (through my little company rENEGADE pLANETS pUBLISHING); I completed a novel, begun in the 1970s, The Diamond Doorknob, that deals with racism, abuse, alcoholism, and survival and dedicated it to The Madwoman; and I published my book of poetry Confessions of A Madwoman, through which the madness of my creativity was made public. The Madwoman is my creative self – the self that has kept me going all through my life – when I was suffering from alcoholism, and when I finally realized that creativity was my way to deal with the ups and downs of a mixed-blood life.


stoneI personally believe the madness of creativity is a gift from Creator/Spirit to humans. It is a buffer to help us deal with life on life’s terms – a way to connect to the Spirit of all things – to describe experiences that would otherwise be forgotten, or release the memories of experiences painful to remember but more painful to forget.


There is an American Indian oral tradition in which words function as a part of the healing process by transformation and restoration. This tradition can be practiced through the written as well as the spoken word. My presentation is based on this tradition and includes the following revelation: Spirituality and creativity are deeply connected. To the American Indian, humankind and earth are one. There isn’t humankind’s existence and the animal and plant kingdom’s existence. It is OUR existence. Our bodies are connected to the earth, both physically and spiritually. There are many ways to gain knowledge, to heal, and to grow spiritually. One is to listen to those who have faced and dealt with their inner demons; another is to delve into one’s own spirit.


Creativity can be a spiritual experience, opening one to a deeper understanding of one’s connection to the whole, and deepening the belief of interconnectedness – that everything has a voice if one will listen. Story is who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. Our individual lives are a story unfolding, day-by-day, revelation-by-revelation, and creation-by-creation. No matter the wound, no matter the past, we can assist our healing process by learning to listen to creativity.


There is much to be said for the art of creativity. It has been the medium of mystics, prophets, and healers for thousands of years. For me, creating is proof of the mystery living inside me; it is reality scratching at the surface of my soul; it is my true connection to the whole. The creations that manifest through me are ceremonies woven from the voices of the old ones, intuition, dreams and visions. The creations that find me are gifts from Spirit through me to others.


I have had people tell me of a certain poem, song, book, or particular story saving their lives. I have had people tell me they do not understand creativity, yet they still allow it to come through them. I understand this perfectly. There was a time in my life when alcohol could no longer numb the pain, when the memories of a crushed childhood and adult misery caused by addictions would no longer stay in the deep dark recesses of forgetfulness – when the entire world seemed dark and foreboding – when not even time spent underneath a willow tree could connect me back to the present wonders of life.


“Write,” a therapist told me, “write it all out.” And so I wrote, a stream of consciousness writing that pushed the hardened tears from inside my guts up into my throat and choked me: choked me until I gave them an outlet through my fingers. Liquid poems, I call these – manifestations woven from strong repressed anger and an even stronger desire to survive. And yes, these creations were poetic by design.


Later, after I had written all I could, these poems were burned in ceremony. Releasing the hurt through smoke circling my head like the dark bodies of crows, I felt better. Not healed, of course, not totally devoid of painful memories, but lighter somehow, and filled with hope for a better way to live: hope for another way of living. This was my introduction to the part of my spirit that wanted to survive, that longed to connect with the whole, that wanted to celebrate more than explain the meaning of existence.


In the belief system of American Indians, this quintessential Spirit that manifests through creativity is known by many, many names with many, many voices. These voices often penetrate our spoiled, scarred psyches and force thoughts to materialize, expressing themselves in creative forms: song, dance, music, art, and literature. These creations provide us with a sense of interconnection, a sense of being. They give us proof of what we all seem to crave the most: love and hope.


Ceremony, which in American Indian perspective is a necessary act to obtain or regain balance with the earth, is the highest form of giving back to the earth so she can replenish her supply for humankind. The purpose of ceremony is to integrate: to unite one with all of humankind as well as the realm of the ancestors, to blend one with all of creation. This allows one to raise consciousness and shed the idea of individuality, of separation. Ceremony brings one into balance with all there is.


Each ceremony has its own special purpose. Of course, the purposes vary from group to group, from nation to nation. Nevertheless, all ceremony brings one to the realization there is no separation from anything or any one. It provides great illumination, and gives one perception of a cosmic relationship. Poetry, like song, art, music, and dance can be proof of this relationship, and often provides spiritual healings.


For me, creating is a way of seeking balance through ceremony, a way of going into the silence, gathering words, then bringing them to this realm. I dare not try to give a rational explanation as to how my writing comes, nor why it chooses me. I do not understand, for I am not capable as I am not capable of fully defining Spirit. But I am accepting and therefore the words continue to come.


Is creativity a private affair or can it speak to the masses? Where does it come from? Does it call from some deep inner recess where life and death are concurrently happening? I personally believe creativity is a gift from Creator/Spirit. It is a buffer to help us deal with life on life’s terms – a way to connect with the interconnectedness, the Spirit of all things – to describe experiences that would otherwise be forgotten, or release the memories of experiences painful to remember but more painful to forget – to stop time, recapture time, crawl back into time, and even expel the idea of the existence of time altogether. It is a way for strangers to meet and merge in that mystic realm of otherworldly things, then leave one another, go on with their individual lives, untouched other than in spirit.


Creativity can possibly be the Ultimate seeking us through the medium of words, art, dance, music and so on. Of course the ultimate spiritual experience is beyond human comprehension, but to attempt this experience is why poetry, art, music, and dance exist. It is most important to go beyond the words, beyond the meanings, to experience the fullness of a Spirit-inspired poem. Just so, it is important to go beyond the sounds in chanting, beyond the tune in music, beyond the dancing in ceremony, and beyond the words in storytelling. Creativity is a metaphor for the universe’s dreaming, and creativity as a sacred path is a transport to this dreaming. Sacred means sacrifice. Is it painful to create? Not always, but it is always healing in some form. Sharing our stories is what makes us who we are.


The infusing spirit of all things, the interconnecting invisible web, spins itself continuously, creating though us, calling to us, begging us to listen to the silence… the silence in which the deepest truth of all truths resides.


If I allow the thoughts and questions of ‘why the pain? why the suffering? why the constant souring of souls?’ to remain inside my head, they stay jumbled, disconnected. So I continue to listen to the innumerable voices of Spirit speaking to me, urging me to write what I hear, and I share what I can with others. I am not naive enough to believe I am given all the answers, or that I have a corner on spirituality. The earth speaks to all her children, and not always in direct answers. But by listening and writing what I hear, I know a connection is made.
Yes, we all are story stones on which sacred carvings are made daily. It is up to us to share these stories so that those who came before us have an outlet, and those who come after will have a purpose.



MariJo Moore is of Cherokee/Irish/Dutch descent. She is an author/poet/editor/publisher/psychic/medium/workshop facilitator. She has authored over twenty books and edited five anthologies. www.marijomoore.com



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