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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
The Heritage Community Foundation, Alberta Law Foundation and Albertasource.ca
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Personal Responsibility

Ceremony

Secrecy

Variety of 'Sacred' Moments

Dominance of
the Pipe

Meanings of
Sacred Pipe

Western Use of Language

Personal
Responsibility

Other Ways
of Speaking
and Knowing

Sources

Visual representation of nature's laws

It is tempting to assume that the dominance of Ritual Law creates strictures for the individual, and that the person is stripped of all independence by an overwhelming 'spiritual' tradition that dictates how and when the person could act. Such an attitude would be incorrect. The very fact that it is the individual who interacts with the spirit world, and that the spirit world spoke first and foremost to the growing person through rites of passage that we become aware of the growth of responsibility. Encounter with the spirit world guaranteed the validity of the spiritual content of the Ritual Law, so that, for example, one would learn very early in life that one belonged to the Bear Clan or was located among the Thunder People.

The individual's encounter with the spirit world was always interpreted as having social significance. Being disrespectful toward one's ancestors was inconceivable, since one was, in a special way, one's ancestor. One leaned the tenants of Ritual Law as a way of harnessing the powers beyond one's own experience for survival and growth. Therefore one made oneself subordinate to Ritual Law as the people determined it for the very personal reason that this was one's way of progressing down the Path.

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