The Magic of Those Who Have Gone Before

In an age where youth is almost worshiped, I thought I’d do an about face and talk about those people I admire most — our elders.  To that end, I thought I’d pass along some Native American wisdom that has been passed down from the ages.  I’ll also be giving away a copy of the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE, a book that honors one’s elders.

Off to the left here is my mother-in-law, Joyce. who taught me patience and themeaning of family.  She has departed from us now, but her influence lives on and on.  I must admit that I miss her very much.

  Off to the right is Grandfather George, who is 93.  This was taken at a recent booksigning.  Grandfather George walks everyday, and I do believe he’s as limber as a person in their 60?s — maybe even younger.


On that note, here are some wise, wise sayings from our Amerian Indian elders:

“The Creative principle of the universe and its organization and intelligence is not an external principle but an internal one.”  This is from the Koyukon, Alaskan.

“The air is precious to the red man.  For all things share the same breath — the beast, the trees, the man, they all share the same breath…  What is man without the beast?  If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit.  For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man.  All things are connected…”  Chief Seattle

Here’s one of my favorites: (I’ve been known to paraphrase this.)  “You can’t take care of yourself if you’re taking from others.  It will come back on you.  The more bad you give out, the more you get.  If you give good, you get good because it’s all a circle.”  Tadodaho Chief, Leon Shenandoah

I love the principle of this quote.  Even if we don’t see it, those who deal in suppressing and making nothing of those around them eventually do come acropper.  We may not see it, but it is there just as surely as the day is long.

Here’s another piece of wisdom that we don’t often think about in our society nowadays.  But this is very wise, I think:  “Sex is good.  It has such a strong pull that it can cloud your vision.  It’s one of the stronger powers that were put here on Mother Earth.  But if all you think about is sex, then you’re not going to be doing your ceremony.  Give that sex power only the attention it deserves and no more.  That way you won’t miss out on all the rest of the things the Creator has for you.  Train your mind.  You can do it if you don’t let your body lead you.”  Tadodaho Chief, Leon Shenandoah.  This picture off to the left, by the way is of one of the most ingenius men in history, Chief Joseph.

Here’s yet another piece of wisdom from Chief Leon Shenandoah:  “The way you live tells everybody what kind of person you are.  Your actions speak for you.  You can talk all you want, but everybody around already knows who you are.  Treat others kindly and you’ll never have to say a word.  Somebody is always watching.  They’ll want to be like you and you’ll never have to open your mouth.  Through you the world will be more peaceful.” 

And here’s another gem from Tadodaho Chief, Leon Shenandoah:  “”It’s even in our Instructions that a man can’t be a chief if  he has killed.  People don’t understand what they’re doing when they take life.  The person who does it is in for trouble, even if they’re never caught.  The Creator know.  Our Instructions say that the one who does it gets all the dead person’s karma.  They have theirs and the other person’s, too.  The one who dies is relieved of their karma and goes straight to the Creator’s place clean.”

Before I leave Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah, let me share this with you:  ” One of the Instructions the Peacemaker gave us was for our leaders.  They were to work for the welfare of the people.  It was not meant for you to build yourself up above the people.  It was for everyone to be equal.  Our leaders don’t get paid.  Even I have to make my own living.  So the way I see it with the United States, it seems to me the leaders are making a living off of the people, their own people.  That’s not going to work and it’s not working.”

Interesting, huh?  What do you think would happen to our country if we demanded that our leaders not get paid.  In the beginning, they didn’t get paid, at least not very much.  They each had their own income and careers.  Interestingly enough our Constitution states that Congress has to meet at least twice a year.  Somehow I wish it were still that way.

Oops, how did these get in there in a blog about our Native Elders?  This of course is Michael Greyeyes, a Motion Picture Star, and a very handsome fellow, indeed.

To the left here is a picture taken recently of my husband and myself at our anniversary.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post today.  Please come on in and let’s talk about elders and how wise they are to teach us of their experience.

And please if you’ve enjoyed the post today, please pick up your copy of SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE today — a story that also honors our elders.  You can order it here:










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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to for all contest rules.

17 thoughts on “The Magic of Those Who Have Gone Before”

  1. Beautiful quotes, Karen. So much wisdom there–and so needed in these days. Maybe if our public officials weren’t paid, they wouldn’t waste so much time and money trying to make sure they get re-elected- instead of helping people.
    You and your husband are a beautiful couple.

  2. Oh, an added comment. I do believe that our public officials are either bribbed or perhaps threatened into doing legislation that they know isn’t good for the citizens of the country. Unfortunately, I think this might be the state of the country at present. Sigh…

  3. Wonderful post as always. As long as people put money and power above all else, things will never be right. And it’s getting a lot worse. We should all listen to the wisdom of those before us.

  4. Let me clarify that to read the elders of our families and that sort of thing. There is a phamphlet called The Prodocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which is a book that is so filled with what can only be called true evil, that I can only read a small section of it at any one sitting — otherwise it makes my stomach turn and I find myself sick.

    So elders I think in this regards are those elders who have proven themselves to be on the side of humanity — not in the camp of those who would like to wipe humanity off the face of the earth if they could. Excuse me for the clarification, but I thought it needed to be made. : )

  5. Our son-in-law’s grandfather is also 93 and most people meeting him for the first time think he is 15 or 20 years younger than that. His favorite exercise is sit-ups and push-ups. There are a lot of older people in all of our communities who have much to offer us if only we would listen.

  6. What strikes me about all of this is how universal it is.
    So much wisdom sayign much the same thing can be found coming from all corners of the world independently.
    What goes around comes around
    Do unto others
    All the same

  7. This is some wise advise. Too bad too many don’t believe it, much less follower. Too many kids just want to do what pleases them. And, too many men will tell you a guy can’t control his needs, but this is not what GOD teaches.According to GOD’s word, he is to turn hid head away before he desires the woman. Adults used to be respected much more than now-days. The Bible also told Timothy to remember what he had learned at the knees of his mother and grandmother. Now days too many mothers don’t want the grandparents to have any say with the grandchildren, I would love to win “Soaring Eagle’s Embrace”. I love Indian books. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  8. Wonderful quotes. Mary Connealy has it right – these are universal pieces of wisdom. We each find our path for hat is right for us. It may not be the same as someone else’s, but it is our’s We need to all be more accepting of others who worship differently from us and follow different belief systems. You don’y need to be in a church or follow a particular religion to be a good person. Many find their gods in the world around them. The principles of how to treat people

    I like the one at the bottom about our leaders. Meeting only twice a year would be fine if they accomplished anything. They can’t seem to do that no matter how long they are there. There have been some true statesmen serving the country, but they are becoming more scarce all the time. Many of those who are still in congress are not seeking another term. To many see it as a way to enrich themselves and forget they are there to serve the people an do what is right for them.

  9. Hi Maxie!

    This is so very, very true. Used to be a time when the woman of the house depended on the grandmother (for good or bad) to help with the children. And then as the children grew, to depend on the children to help with other children. interesting times we live in and I agree with you that these times are very far from Scripture.

  10. Hi Pat!

    I think I would amend the thing about worship as one sees fit to say yes, worship as one sees fit so long as that worship harms no one else — there is some religion out there that considers that anyone who is not of their faith is less than human — cattle, if you must — and so those people justify their acts against their fellow man (humanity) by pretending that others are not really human — a false concept, indeed.

    So I think I would amend it to say that one is free to worship as they choose so long as that worship harms no other individual or humanity as a whole — witness the over 64 million Christiams killed in Russia (either slaughtered outright or starved to death intentionally) in the 1940’s-1950’s — and even onward into this day and age. Not so long ago.

    If one must be evil — and there must be those amongst us who feel they must be (witness Russia, China, Thailand, South Africia, etc.) — it would be better if those dramatized their evil intentions on a rock instead of on another fellow human being.

  11. I’ll be posting the winnder of the free book some time tonight — I wanted to wait until others had a chance to post — since I’m now on the East Coast, it’s way too early to post a winner when it’s my bedtime, so… Check back tonight.

  12. Much pain and suffering has been caused in the name of religion. Most of it by zealots who consider their way the only way. In most cases, they are not following the true meaning or spirit of the religion they are professing to follow. In the end, it is usually more political than religious and based on gaining power over others. The Crusades, Pograms, jihads, and attempts by some groups in this country to impose their beliefs on us all were/are all carried out in the name of religion. We need to look at the great similarities in belief systems and accept and respect them as they are. None of the major religions have harming others or disrespecting their beliefs as a basis of their doctrine. It is misguided followers that pervert the teachings for their own gain who are responsible, not the religion. The christian minister and his followers in the mid-west are a perfect example. They justify their actions by taking passages from the bible. Nowhere does that book condone mocking, taunting, and hurting grieving families. Other than being hurtful and getting attention, what do they think they are accomplishing? Religious beliefs are an excuse for their actions, not a way to worship.

    In spite of actions like those, wW should be most thankful for our country’s freedom of and from religion.

  13. Hi Patricia!

    Yes, Rome flourished so long as it left religion alone and didn’t try to monitor it or sit in judgment.

    You’re right — as in all things, there are those who feel they must do others in — unfortunately for most of us, those people try to go for the highest positions — and then inflict their style of steal, kill and destroy on others… Sigh…

    But I agree that the only sane viewpoint is to let others have their own religious beliefs. : )

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