"While the inkoze helin ["medicine man,"
"man of high degree"] learn in dreams, just as it is true
with powerful stories, having inkoze always requires gaining
practical knowledge and experience in the bush. No-one
without considerable, firsthand, practical, waking-life
experince in the bush ever develops major abilities with
medicine power. Perhaps this is symbolized in the fact that
an inkoze helin must complete himself or herself by ‘going
to the roots.’ Going to the roots culminates in what begins
as a long process of dreaming, starting in childhood and
lasting until one is at least a young adult" (Smith Worlds
as Event 79). (See long quote from Smith’s friend
Francois pp.79 regarding his experience of the calling).
The Path of the
Animals Helps Locate Medicines
Interviewer - Earle Waugh, PhD.
"In searching for his medicinal plants
the [Cherokee] shaman goes provided with a number of white
and red beads, and approaches the plant from a certain
direction, going round it from right to left on or four
times, reciting prayer the while. He then pulls up the plant
by the roots and drops one of the beads into the hole and
covers it up with the loose earth. Here obviously there can
be no question of actual reseeding. But once again the cost
to the gatherer is not inconsiderable" (qtd. Bierhorst 126).
(he mentions that this kind of mock reseeding is rather
uncommon, but does illustrate the theme of reciprocity).
"…among the Cherokee it used to be said
that an herb gatherer had to pass up the first three plants
he found. Then when he came to a fourth, he could pluck it
and go back for the other three. Evidently this prevented
the harvesting of three or fewer specimens" (Bierhorst 128).
"…medicine powers are shown gradually as
people become teachers within their bands. The powers are
real only as people discover them for themselves. Children
first discover the powers of old people from the special
quality of space around them. In the vision quest they
apprehend power through overwhelmingly direct transformative
experience. Later they dream back to that time and begin to
release information for the people living closest to them.
When a person begins to dream back, the child’s vision
gradually emerges from his or her subjectivity to touch an
inner circle of closest relatives, and then outward to more
distantly connected people. As a person’s household grows,
more people have an opportunity to observe the medicine
bundle. In times of crisis, it may be used ritually in an
attempt to restore well being. The bundle and the dreaming
of its owner become important to the household’s sense of
self sufficiency. Success in the food quest attest to an
ability to see connections between the trails of people and
animals. Dreaming back to the child’s vision is associated
with dreaming ahead to the point of contact between hunter
an game. The present moment is seen to be framed by visions
of past and future with medicine power. Knowledge of the
future must be balanced by knowledge of the past" (Ridington