Indigenous to What? Where Do I Originate, Connect, and Belong?
By Lynn Seiser
When I first begin to write an article, I like to know what I am writing about. I ask questions. Many articles are simply the answers to these questions. Other articles just ask the question, I explore it a little bit, and leave the answering to you. They are more like Zen koans. They make you wonder until you find the answers or just drop the question. There is so much that our intellectual, logical, linear mind will never be able to understand and explain in words. Some things are just meant to be accepted.
Indigenous. What does that word mean? According to the dictionary, there are two definitions. The first states that indigenous means, “originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country, being a native.” The second is, “innate, inherent, or natural.” It makes me wonder where am I an indigenous person. Where do I originate, connect, and belong? Is it the place of my birth, my genetic bloodline, my beliefs, my stars, or my karma?
Geographically, indigenous refers to the place we were born. Some sort of gravitational pull keeps people close to the place of their birth. We also feel a continual pull to return to it. Am I indigenous only to the place I was born? In that case, I am only indigenous to Detroit. On the other hand, would that be considered Michigan, or the Midwest?
There are ways of looking at things and parts of speech that are particular to the place we are born and raised. It will set you apart from others for the rest of your life. This may define us too small. The sides of the city make the city. The cities make the counties. The counties make the states. Depending on how large or how small you define indigenous, we can be a part of or apart from others.
Genetically, indigenous means the DNA genes we inherited from our parents. It is your bloodline back to your parents and your ancestors. Are we indigenous to our blood ancestry? In that case, I am Swedish and Bohemian. I guess that makes me a Viking and a Gypsy. Many people feel a real connection and belonging to the homeland of their ancestors. Their bloodline means a lot to them. It is a matter of identifying with what came before us. It is a means to identify with some people while isolating or separating yourself from others.
Mentally, indigenous means what you connect with, belong to, or identify with politically, philosophically, and religiously. People from a specific political belief identify with each other no matter where they, or their ancestors, are from. Likewise, people of a similar philosophical positioning will also tend to connect and belong. It is a natural match or fit. Religions of a common sect or denomination will share the same beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies. Our emotions, or feelings, go along with our mental beliefs and are usually a product of the way we perceive or interpret our lives and other’s intentions.
It is easier for angry people to identify with other angry people. Depressed people often only feel heard and understood by other depressed people. The search for sameness brings us together. It can support our pathology as well as our health. By seeking only those who think as we do will never allow us to learn anything new. We can never give or receive empathy and compassion.
Astrologically, indigenous means to identify with the characteristics representative of the stars in the sky over the place at the time of your birth. It is not the place as in physical geography that matters, but the position of the stars. Astrology has been around a long time. It has stood the test of time. Its is both a science and an art within itself. Many famous people have made important personal and national decisions by consulting their charts. It is not just the sun sign that matters, but the positions of the planets within the houses of your chart.
Connecting and identifying with your chart can give you insight about yourself. Each one of us shares characteristics with others of our sign. We also have different characteristics from those of another sign, yet, we were all born under the same sky. I am a Scorpio. Technically, I was born in the Chinese year of the Dragon (1950), the month of the Scorpion (October), and the day of the Warlock (Halloween).
Karmically, we may be indigenous to a different place, a different time, and a different ego identity. Karma is closely associated with the cause and effect created in other lifetimes. Some believe we are drawn to specific people and situations in this lifetime to work out, resolve, or atone for our past actions. Not everyone believes in past, parallel, or future lives. Many find it a useful concept or at least an entertaining one. It is said, within our karma, we can find our soulmate, the one we are karmically indigenous to. We may come together for a lesson, a task, a period of time, or for romantic true and everlasting love. Whatever karma we have that pulls us together, or pulls us apart, is also the single governing law that unites us.
Though we may be indigenous to the place of our birth, we are all indigenous to the earth. Though we differ in our ancestral bloodlines, we are all indigenous of the same species no matter what our race or culture. Though we may be different in our thoughts and feelings, we share in the consciousness that allows us to see other’s perspective beyond our own limited view of the world. Though we were born under different stars, we are indigenous of the same heavens. Though we are of different karma, we are all accountable and responsible for what we do right here and now. Though there are many differences, there are more similarities to unite us. Be indigenous in your heart, your family, and your community. Be indigenous to where you are right now.
Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of services, and for sharing the journey.
Lynn Seiser, Ph.D., is an internationally respected psychotherapist and author with offices in Long Beach and Tustin.
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