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          By Usen's grace, Ho-dah....

          1.) PURPOSES:

              This is an era of decision. Do we allow ourselves to cut the
              throat of the Mother Who has nourished us as a species since
              we "came down from the trees"?  Or do we work to walk in
              Beauty and Harmony with Her, and cherish Her, and work to
              see Her healed?  The resurgence of Shamanism, the primal
              Earth Religion of practically all of the Earth's
              pre-Agrarian cultures, is an important thing, foretold by
              the Paiute prophet Wovoka and in the Hopi Prophecies.  It
              was said that both the Red Man would return to the Ways of
              the Old Ones and that the non-Native would also embrace the
              Lifeway.  There are non-Natives who respectfully have chosen
              these Ways, and are carrying them on in a reverent way. If
              the Lifeway was only given for the Native peoples, it would
              die out within our lifetime.  There are simply not enough
              traditional Elders left.

              It has been shown to some of us that Our Mother The Earth is
              not willing to die quietly.  She has demonstrated this by
              the increase in natural disasters of the past decade, which
              continue day by day.  The Hopi prophecies state that, when
              the "bowl full of ashes" (most interpret this as the
              Thermonuclear Bomb) is overturned, that Our Mother shall
              rise up in Her righteous anger and destroy humanity.  This
              prophecy is coming true, although it may yet be reversable.
              Perhaps it is we who reverence the Ways and walk in harmony
              with Our Mother that may stay Her hand.

              The Lifeway Fellowship is here for those who wish to honor
              Our Mother and Our Father, Earth and Sky, and to honor The
              Giver Of Life, from whence all things flow in the Universe.
              Our world-view is primarily allied with that of the
              Navajo/Dineh, Apache/Teneh, and Hopi peoples. However we do
              not represent ourselves as the keepers of those ways.  The
              secrets of those Nations are for them alone, unless Usen'
              wishes to reveal them to us.  Our mission is to help heal
              Our Mother, The Earth, and to help each other walk in closer
              harmony with Her.  We also exist to provide a way for urban
              and sub-urban people to learn and practice the root Shamanic
              techniques that aid us in finding our True Vision and True
              Way of Power, and following that Vision and that Way.

              We identify ourselves as Pagan (Webster's New World
              Dictionary "1. b)...a person who is not a Christian, Moslem,
              or Jew (by faith); heathen. Pagan specifically refers to one
              of the ancient polytheistic (or pantheistic) peoples.") and
              as unashamed Pantheists and Polytheists.  The Lifeway
              is truly a religious commitment.  No-one can make a commitment
              to the Lifeway and to the worship of Life Giver, The Earth
              Mother and The Sky Father and remain a worshiper of other
              Paradigms of the Deity, much as one cannot be a Christian
              and worship the Greco-Roman pantheon.  However this does not
              imply the condemnation of other Paradigms, nor impel a duty to
              "convert" others.


              We stand by other Pagans who do not share our paradigms, IE.
              Wiccans, Asatruans, Hellenists, and other Shamanic traditions,
              (African and neo-African(Santeria & Voudoun), Australian,
              Siberian, Traditional Native American, and Polynesian, to name
              a few) and even though we may disagree with some or all of
              their practices and beliefs, they are Brothers, Sisters and
              Cousins, and in times of persecution as well as times of
              goodwill we must defend them.  We may even share in their open
              rituals and allow them to share in our open ceremonials.  But
              that which is ours must remain ours, just as that which is
              theirs must remain theirs.

          2.) THE(A)OLOGY:

              As our Fellowship is inherently religious, we must declare a
              The(a)ology. (The strange spelling refers to the fact that
              we acknowledge a Goddess as well as a God)
              This is summed up very easily.  There are three main powers
              we worship, Usen' the Life Giver, The Earth Mother, and The
              Sky Father.  The latter Two are emanations of the First, as
              all, including the God and the Goddess, are emanations from
              Usen', which is the primaeval First Cause.

              Usen': One cannot look upon The Life Giver as either Male or
              Female, for The Life Giver is beyond those distinctions.
              Usen', and The Life Giver, are names for this First Cause,
              this Force that pervades all and caused all to come into
              being. From Usen', the God, Sky Father, and the Goddess,
              Earth Mother, emanate, as the lesser Deities emanate from

              The Earth Mother: We live and walk and are sustained from
              The Earth Mother, which is our Earth.  She is alive, and we
              all exist within Her as part of Her structure. Science,
              through the Gaea Hypothesis, has finally acknowledged Her
              existence, and some even have learnt the lesson that our
              duty in this life is to care for and honor Her.  This is a
              lesson that all must learn, for as long as we despoil Her,
              we risk Her wrath.  She is expressed through the faces of
              White Painted Woman, Who is The Woman Warrior, through Corn
              Mother, Who is The Nourishing Mother, and through Spider
              Woman, Who is The Wise Woman, The Ancient One, The Custodian
              of Wisdom. Women are acknowledged as being human represent-
              atives of The Earth Mother.

              The Sky Father: Just as among we Humans, there is both Man
              and Woman, so there is no Earth Mother without Sky Father.
              Sky Father is the air we breathe, the flame that gives us
              warmth and cooks our food, and brings forth the rain that
              fertilizes Our Mother and allows Her to provide us with
              the crops and animals that sustain us.  Sky Father is also
              expressed as The Hunter, The Warrior, and First Shaman, and
              is also expressed in Killer Of Enemies and The Child Of
              Water. He is also present and acknowledged as being present
              in every Man.


              There are other spirits that exist in the Universe, some
              beneficient, some maleficient.  But most important is Usen',
              Earth Mother, and Sky Father. By walking in harmony with the
              God(esse)s, one can tell the Good from the Evil, welcoming
              in Good, and protecting each other from Evil.

          3.) ETHICS:

              We have our code of Ethics.  It is neither lengthy nor
              overly restrictive.  We do not include ancient taboos in
              this list, such as Mother-In-Law avoidance or the taboo
              against Fish, because they may not apply nowadays.  If you
              wish to not eat fish or to avoid your Mother-In-Law for
              religious reasons, it is your perogative.  But it is not a

              1.) If the action does not harm yourself, other people or
              intelligent beings, or Our Mother The Earth, you are free to
              do as you wish.

              2.) To charge for healings, sweats or ceremonials is totally
              wrong and extremely offensive.  Also, to charge excessively
              for teaching is equally offensive, but a modest fee
              over expenses is allowable.  Your conscience is the best
              guide, that and the Will of the Deities.

              3.) Magick should be limited only to protection of Self and
              Loved Ones, and to healing and helping those in need,
              provided that permission is given by the patient and that
              help other than healing does not interfere with the Will of
              others. Magick that is used in a coercive (IE. Love spells)
              or destructive (harming or killing magick) way is patently
              wrong and is considered Black Magick.

              4.) Contact of spirits by any means other than Shamanic
              journeying or the Vision Quest is very risky, and Possession
              is a real possibility.  The practice of mediumship, or
              "channeling" has no place in the Lifeway, and exposes not
              only Self but others to danger.

              5.) Permission must always be asked of the spirits of plants
              and/or animals before taking them for either sustenance or
              for medicine.

              6.) One's visions and one's personal ceremonies are one's
              own.  Personal visions should not be spoken of, but shared
              visions are for all of the group.

              7.) It is wrong to criticise another within the group or
              outside the group.  Racism, sexism, xenophobia or general
              disrespect of others has no place in the Fellowship.
              Individual decisions about lifestyle and other ethical
              issues not covered here are an individual's own affair.



              There is only one Initiation, which is the Initiation that
              makes one Kin within the group and in the sight of The
              Deities.  It is given after one has taken their first Vision
              Quest, has found their Power Animal(s) and has met the
              Shaman Within.  It can only be denied to those who have met
              these requirements, is younger than the legal Age Of Consent
              (in most places, 18 years) is not of sound mind, and/or is
              under suspicion of being a Law Enforcement Officer or other
              person antipathetic to Pagan and/or Shamanic belief
              who requests initiation for fraudulent purposes (usually to
              infilitrate to either sabotage or publically discredit the
              Fellowship) Initiation must not be denied on account of
              physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, or sterility,
              nor on account of sex, race, nationality, political belief,
              or sexual preference.

              There are no set offices within the Fellowship.  Ideally,
              leadership should be by consensus, with true leaders being
              temporary and purpose-oriented.  Facilitation of rituals may
              be done by any Initiate of the Fellowship.  ANYONE WHO

              Support of the Fellowship is done on a purely voluntary and
              mutual basis. No tithe or dues should be assessed unless
              they have been agreed upon by all members, initiates and
              non-initiates alike.

              Membership is extended to all.  But initiation is reserved
              for those who meet the criteria mentioned above.
              Non-initiates can participate in open ceremonials and in
              basic workshops, but may be denied participation in certain
              ceremonials and advanced workshops.



              In traditional societies, the title Shaman was not just an
              honorific, or recognition of talents.  Nor was it the
              highest initiatory level in a Shamanic society.  The Shaman
              was, in most cases, above the Chief in decision-making power
              and was judge, doctor, father-confessor, and intercessor
              with the Deities for the tribe.  Some Shamanic societies are
              now providing their membership with "Shaman training
              seminars" and "Shaman apprenticeships" that can be had for
              an exorbitant price.  This implies that the cost of being a
              Shaman can be paid in money and in a set amount of time.
              This is not the case.  Many tribes believe that the office
              of Shaman is not one that is earned, but one that one is
              born into.  Certainly, the skills are never something one is
              born with, and this is not merely hereditary.  Rather, when
              a child is born, the current Shaman would recognize that the
              child had the POTENTIAL of being the next one, and the
              child's training would begin when they were considered ready
              by the Shaman.  At adulthood, they would be tested.  If they
              passed the test, they would become the next Shaman.  If they
              failed, usually the test was such that they would either die
              outright, or they would go insane.  Many "heroic quest"
              tales, and most notably the Arthurian legends have echoes of
              this practice within the ancient Shamanic traditions of

              But the point that is being made here is that we should not
              go back to that sort of way of doing things, because in this
              society it is nigh on impossible.  The stand I am offering
              here is that recognition as a Shaman can be conferred only
              through shared vision, and signs from the Deities.  It is
              not my place to say what the signs will be obvious
              to the Fellowship.  I am not Shaman myself, and will not
              brook anyone calling me that.  This is something I place in
              the lap of the Deities to decide.  I cannot do anything
              more.  It is a mockery of those people that can truly be
              called Shamans, who are respected, powerful people of
              traditional tribes, to do anything less.  In any event, to
              claim such a title is definately not enough, and is
              punishable by withdrawing Fellowship from the one who claims
              to be Shaman falsely.


              The festivals are reckoned as they have been for centuries
              by most Southwestern tribes, by both the Sun and the Moon.
              The seasons begin on the first full moon after a Solstice or
              an Equinox.  The Solstices and Equinoxes themselves are
              times of celebration as well, and perhaps the period between
              the two (which usually works out to be no more than a week
              or so) could be considered a time of Holiday.  Lesser
              ceremonials are held on New Moons and Full Moons between the
              first Full Moons of the seasons.  Optionally certain Pagan
              festivals could be celebrated in conjunction with other
              groups, but they are not to be adopted as official Lifeway
              Fellowship ceremonial days.


              There are other ceremonials that are personal in nature, and
              can be held at any time, although synchronizing them with
              the Festivals and the New and Full Moons is advisable. They
              are Naming, where a newborn child is named in the presence
              of the group and their Life-beads given; Coming Of Age,
              where the child's physical maturity is acknowledged, and
              where, for a short time, they become Child of the Water (if
              a boy) or White Painted Woman (if a girl); Initiation, where
              a person becomes a full-fledged member of the group, given
              after a person becomes a legal adult; Joining, where a man
              and a woman consent to be married; Unjoining, where a man
              and woman who are married consent to have the bond
              dissolved, which is to be done only after four reconcili-
              ation attempts fail or after evidence of marital infidelity
              or abuse is given before the group; the Moonlodge, which is
              a special sweat for women in their Moon-time; and Release,
              where a ceremony for a dead member of the Fellowship is done
              to guide their soul Back Home.  Other ceremonials that are
              dreamed or envisioned by a person or group are also

          7.) SUMMING UP

              A few quick ones: One can be either clothed or unclothed at
              ceremonies, but it should be known that none of the
              Southwestern tribes did ceremonies in the nude.  However,
              one should disrobe for the sweat lodge, as clothes are not
              only uncomfortable within the sweat lodge, but interfere
              with the cleansing process of the lodge.

              This Statement can be accepted or rejected by individual
              groups that federate themselves with Lifeway Fellowship. But
              federation can be denied to those groups who stray too far
              from some of the basic guidelines, or do anything that would
              sully the reputation of the Fellowship in general.

              Hi-dicho...this is finished.
              May these proceeds please Life Giver Usen', and the Mother
              and the Father.
              Chihacou White-Puma, 1988.


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