LIGHTNING DANCE PATHWAY
An Interview with Boe Many Knives Glasschild
Boe Many Knives Glasschild teaches a pathway of shamanism referred to as “Lightning Dance.” It is the reclaiming of personal power through releasing internal baggage and reopening channels for creating personal miracles in one’s daily life. Many Knives is of Choctaw and African heritage and a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He is past President of ANASCA (The Alliance of Native Americans of Southern California). His Choctaw name, Bushpolawa, means “Many Knives.” He explains that a knife is a tool, and he has many tools.
I first met Boe Many Knives Glasschild at a gathering of shamans in Big Bear, California, in 2003, and soon began taking lessons in Lightning Dance with him. Soon after beginning the lessons, I recalled a very disturbing dream I had twenty years ago. I dreamt that I would be struck by lightning at a particular time in the future, and that I would die. The dream stayed with me, since it was the only dream I ever had about my own death, and the circumstances of my death. As I look back at that dream, I realize the death in my dream was a symbolic one, as I open to new ways of seeing, on the Lightning Dance Pathway.
Celeste: Why are you bringing forth these lessons in Lightning Dance at this time?
Many Knives: The teachings offered in the Lightning Dance pathway have always been with us, in one form or another. However, it is a sad thing that the majority of the people residing on Earth Mother have not had access to this wisdom. This appears to be for a number of reasons, ranging from a lack of personal interest, to associations with dogmatic belief systems that limit and/or pigeon-hole the individual‘s spiritual acquisition of Earth Mother‘s innate truths.
Now, as we move into the new millennium, it is time to give this “spiritual medicine” away. Spiritual medicine is the term that I choose to define this pathway, for the concepts presented in Lightning Dance focus on elevating the spiritual existence of the individual. Everyone has spiritual Earth rights to happiness, healthfulness, a harmonious life, and wholeness.
Celeste: Will various American Indian groups feel resentment about sharing these teachings to both indigenous and non-indigenous people?
Many Knives: For every action taken, there will be both supporters and critics. No one group of people can lay a claim to owning any of Great Mystery’s revelations. It is hoped that those living in balance and harmony with Earth Maker will be honored that efforts are being made to share such a state of existence. Everyone should have the opportunity to improve their relations with all the children of Earth Mother.
The Lightning Dance Pathway is not a practice that re-enacts any sacred ritual or ceremony associated with any Red Nation. It is the individual’s path to wholeness as s/he experiences the Great Mystery as personal phenomena. As the seeking spirit progresses, an individual’s own unique pathway and medicines come forth.
Celeste: How can this shamanic pathway benefit people from different backgrounds and traditions?
Many Knives: We are each a piece of Creator’s making, or essence. Even though we may differ in colors and societal and/or cultural backgrounds, we are the same species. This pathway helps an individual to transcend the limits found within various societies and to experience living as a part of the whole. When the seeking spirit embraces the gentle working wisdom of the Lightning Dance cosmology, barriers become replaced with bridges. The seeking spirit desires to extend the self into the working universe, not to lay a claim to beliefs but to raise the vibrations of the events being experienced on a personal level, thereby assisting all in finding personal truths held within.
Celeste: How can the Lightning Dance teachings guide us through life’s challenges?
Many Knives: In the Lightning Dance cosmology, the events one encounters in the theatre of life are the classrooms for the individual spirit’s awakening and growth. The spirit manifested at this chosen time to attain its evolution on the physical plane we acknowledge as Earth Mother. This physical plane [Earth Mother] allows the Spirit to experience sensations, to touch, to embrace, to extinguish.
These phenomena are not attainable in dimensions lacking physical equipment i.e. bodies or space suits. This physical body is nothing more than a space suit with a variety of equipment to move the seeking spirit through the dramas and theatres of life. All encounters are agreements between spirits to arrive at the given time to assist each other with moving forward in spirit.
When it is understood that each spirit operates according to its chosen belief system, the arbitrary choices become very valid. The personal belief system moves the spirit through the maze called life. Belief systems are recipes for connecting to the Great Mystery.
Stagnant beliefs do not move us through the moment very well. As life is a flow with spiritual energy, living is a relative choice of beliefs. Spiritual energy is the big blowing wind; flexible belief systems make us sway like grasses with this moving energy. Stagnant systems of beliefs make us fixed like rocks with the energy moving around us.
Celeste: Are these teachings, in essence about personal mastery?
Many Knives: Nothing is ever really mastered, but one may become more proficient at the art of living. Lightning Dance teaches that the seeking spirit has control over one phenomenon — the personal spirit self. Living is an attitude, this is due to the nature of life itself. When we think we have figured things out, the spirit of Earth Mother presents us with new experiences to keep us humble. So in this respect, personal enlightenment is ever evolving, and therefore mastery is fleeting and never really one hundred percent obtainable.
Lightning Dance is more focused on attaining harmony and balance with the four worlds of Earth Mother, connecting to all in kinship and respect. Earth Mother is the greatest example of harmony and balance, and like the cycles of day and night, the seeking spirit that wishes to live in harmony and balance must be willing to accept sadness as well as happiness. The pathway of Lightning Dance assists the seeking spirit — the holhkunna — in deciding whether s/he will be original or not.
Celeste: You speak of red, black, white, yellow and rainbow people. Who are the rainbow people, what is their purpose, and will the planet eventually be populated by the rainbow nation?
Many Knives: The concepts of red, black, white, and yellow people pertain to the groups of Amer-indian, African, Caucasian, and Asian people. The rainbow people are the mixed-blood children of the intermarriages between these groups on the physical level of understanding. On the spiritual level, rainbow children are descendents of the the many mixed relationships from our ancestors who actively assist with healing of the human consciousness and bring about a reunion of the people. These are the bearers of the new spirituality who embrace life from a higher spiritual vibration.
Earth Mother is already populated by these descendents now in every country, but the concept of rainbow children goes even a step further. The rainbow children will also bring about the blending of spiritual practices. This will be because they are the offspring of parental figures from differing spiritual practices as well.
Celeste: Is there a unifying view of the universe and of personal mastery in all of the traditions that make up Amerindian culture? If so, can you explain the overriding similarities?
Many Knives: The unifying view is that everyone is a piece of Creator, we are all brothers and sisters. No one owns anything, we are all caregivers and protectors of Earth Mother. Personal mastery is more of a term stemming from the teachings of well-known writers such as Carlos Castaneda. The teachings of Lightning Dance focus the seeking spirit on establishing harmony and balance within the personal sphere of existence. This is not to say that the seeking spirit does not attain a degree of self-control, which may be viewed as growth in the direction of personal mastery. When the holhkunna is able to experience life from a state of desireless passion instead of wants and needs, this too is a form of mastery, for the holhkunna is no longer controlled by icons existing outside the personal wheel.
Celeste: You write: “Shamanism is not about following a rote method but becoming attuned to discovering what works for whom.” What does this mean?
Many Knives: This means that for the really awakened holhkunna, the pathway becomes the teacher. We are all mixtures of wisdom and foolishness, but in different percentages. The Lightning Dance Pathway merges the seeking spirit with the greatest mysteries; the consciousness becomes the connection to Great Mystery. When this merger happens, the limitations cease and abundance flows. The holhkunna sees Great Spirit in all and serves Great Spirit in all.
When the seeker does become attuned to using the body’s equipment, the dance of life has the ability to modulate between roles of the warrior and the healer, hard power and soft power. The warrior works from the perspectives of black and white to get things done; the healer encompasses the shades between these polarities to get things done as well. Both are paths of protocol.
Celeste: What is the language of smoke that you refer to in this quote? “When one has befriended both the icy winds and blistering sun, the fire ants and the butterflies, the sunsets and the mudslides, the language of the smoke has been mastered — at this moment life has been renewed.”
Many Knives: When the mind is still so to allow the voice of Creator to manifest, we can comprehend the unspoken, unseen, and unknown. This statement is sharing with the holhkunna the possibility of connecting to the life force of every event when the internal chatter is silenced. Everything is alive and expressive of the consciousness it holds within. To experience these phenomena is to befriend the sacred inner space — the moment that exists between our inhalations and exhalations, our dreams and dreamtimes, our birth and subsequent death.
To access this sacred inner space allows the holhkunna to access the infinite knowledge of the Great Mystery. Like the aromatic rose that everyone desires to smell, in this state of being the holhkunna manifests such a high level of spiritual vibration that those near can not help but feel and experience the energy being emitted. The holhkunna do not see themselves as being great, but do see the greatness in everything around them. It is this sacred inner space, the seeking spirit truly understands that minus their egos, they become more of Spirit in the physical.
Celeste: Why do people with medicine lose their freedom, rather than gain it, as compared to those with no medicine, who have little personal power but a vast amount of freedom?
Many Knives: People awakened to their personal medicine (or pathway) do not truly lose their freedoms, they just do not have freedom to move through life blindly as they are aware of the repercussions. This appears to be one of the truths regarding being responsible for the actions created in life. When the seeking spirit is aware of its personal pathway, this personal medicine has the tendency to move ahead of them in the world whether the holhkunna is conscious of this or not.
Their pathway “calls” to them. They constantly upgrade their connections with Earth Maker and Earth Mother. This constant upgrading gives the holhkunna access to the answers for living a more meaningful life as the holhkunna is always being guided by the Great Mystery. Awakened people work hard at not allowing the dark side — the windigo/ego — to direct their actions. People without the awakened life state have the tendency to move about blindly moreso. They may be lacking in knowledge regarding their connections to Great Mystery and therefore subscribe to the consensus mindset and the laws of cause and effect.
This may create a lot of stumbling through life, as in being in the saddle but still looking for the horse. These “asleep” spirits tend to not retain their personal power even though their actions can come from a place of innocence. When the spirit loses personal power, it becomes “buyable” and can be manipulated through wants and needs with which it identifies. It has a purchase price.
Celeste: How does a Lightning Dancer visualize the future of the planet.
Many Knives: The Lightning Dancer is more focused on bringing the dreamtime into the waking dream that is experienced as one’s daily life. As the seeking spirit grows into the pathway, the spirit recognizes that choices and actions taken determine the future. However, in the grand scheme of things, the prophecies handed down through the visionary work of the many ancestors preceding us do have an essence of validity. These words of wisdom are teachings in their own respect, somewhat like moral codes for Earth Mother.
In our youth, each of us can remember stern warnings we received from our parental figures regarding our behavior. In a bigger spiritual sense, Earth Mother entrusts such guidance to various individuals throughout the many periods of time to share amongst the scattered societies populating our planet. It is divine to be aware of the concept — where the attention goes — the energy flows. So be it on the grander planetary level as well.
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