The Eye (and Voice) of Katrina
By Jim PathFinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi)



Among condolences and expressions of concern, I have been getting a lot of e-mail from people who are lashing out, at anyone, because of the pain and suffering they are seeing on TV about the damage done by Katrina. Anger is OK; it’s what you do with it that matters. It’s a human emotion, and it’s good to get it out. It’s just another face of compassion, not knowing how to express itself.

But I can say one thing: It doesn’t do any good to get angry at God.

The Earthly Mother will shrug and shake and shudder and sweat and weep her tears at what humankind does to her, to keep herself in balance. We saw it with the Tsunami last December, and the droughts before that, and the earthquakes before that. It’s all part of the Spiral of Ascension, as we move from one phase of being to another, as the ancient prophecies tell.

We just have to hang on. It does no good to get angry at the wind. Maybe we want to personify the great storm that hit here, which is made easier by giving the storm a name like Katrina. The wind becomes a “she”, a person, though of the wind. But Katrina was not a person.

Katrina was a force of the Earth. In Native way, these forces have Power. We appeal to them, but not as people. They are not people. In Cherokee, the winds are the Guardians of the Four Directions. We ask their blessings whenever we do ceremony.

In Lakota way, the wind is Skan, which is a power akin to life force energy, like Ki. Before there was even Creator, in Lakota way, there was the force behind the wind, Skan Skan, movement. This is the same as the Gnostic way, as told in The Hammadi Scrolls, unearthed by archeologists shortly after World War II. Ancient peoples around the world had similar knowledge. The Navajo and the Tibetan Buddhists have many similar concepts and ideas, even words that are identical.

But in our conceit of the modern age, our culture thinks Native Peoples were ignorant. No, it is the modern age that is ignorant. If we live in harmony with the Earth, our individual selves lis-tening to the wind, we will do as the Guardians tell us, and the Spirits of the Wind will tell us when to seek shelter. We are always  warned, if we will listen. And our ceremonies can bring balance to the Earth.

Each of the indigenous peoples of the globe — red, white, black, yellow — were put on the Earth by Creator to hold special powers and keep the balance of the Earth. Most have forgotten their roles and their ancient knowledge, or even that they ever had it. But some remember. We should honor the ancestors and seek to preserve the ancient ways. It will be our salvation if the prophecies — by every ancient people upon the Earth — come true.

We cannot get angry at God, Creator; Creator is only creating; that is what Creator does. It is our duty to go with the flow of Creation, become one with Creator, in harmony and balance, and rise to the rightful role of human beings as children of the Earth and Sky, children of the Earthly Mother and Heavenly Father, with bodies made of the Mother and Spirit of the Father, holding both in balance, and co-creating in the world.

But it is worth looking at something people can do something about: the fact that Katrina probably would not have been a Category 5 storm (Category 4 when it hit the Gulf Coast and swept past New Orleans) if it weren’t for the fact that waters in the Gulf of Mexico were 90 degrees — fueling the storm exponentially.

When Katrina hit Miami the week before, it was a Category 1 storm; only hours after it swept across the Florida peninsula into the Gulf it began gathering strength. That is what the warnings of global warming are all about: higher water temperatures make stronger storms. The sea wall that broke at New Orleans was rated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withstand a Category 3 storm, not a global-warming empowered Category 4 Katrina. And what of the storms that would be smaller storms, made stronger, that will follow Katrina, as the seas grow warmer still?

There has not been a storm like Katrina since the unnamed storm hit Galveston in 1900 — previously the worst storm in U.S. history, killing between 6,000-12,000. Katrina could match or top that.

Are we in for more Katrinas?

That is one thing we can do: Stop Global Warming!

I suggest you join me in one way of getting message across: the virtual march on Washington. Click HERE.

But that’s only a gesture. Another thing we can do besides getting “angry” at God, or the Earthly Mother, or the wind, is to look at who has suffered the most from Katrina, and why.

The victims are the poor, the elderly, the sick, the children. Most of the victims’ faces on the TV screens are black; and that’s because New Orleans has — had — a large black population, and a high percentage of poor black citizens.

But the same victims are here in Mississippi: the poor, the elderly, the sick, the children. And they are all colors.

When we were without power here in Lena, Miss., without food, everything in shortage, when we found the Wal-Mart stocking its shelves, we all shared our stories in the aisles and were grateful — black people, white people, Native American, Hispanic ... Our pain, fear and joy had no color but that of humanity: grateful to be alive. The five-fingered tribe: black, white, red, yellow. All one. Mitakuye Oyasin, Gus dii dada dv ni.

But the politicians have their reasons for making an issue out of race, both parties, to serve their constituencies.

The wind did not care what color we were. And it is those least able to pick up and move; those who don’t have transportation, or were too sick, disabled or economically unable to evacuate, who suffered the most. They were, frankly, forgotten and left behind, abandoned to their fate without a thought.

Think about it: Who suffered the most and why, and what does that say about our society? Or, should I say, mainstream society?

I have been watching the Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Channel, etc., long enough to grow weary of the documentaries shown for years describing the loss of the wetlands of the Mississippi River delta south of New Orleans that acted as a buffer to Gulf storms.

That story has been replayed hundreds of times. It is from channeling the river, blocking sediment from building up, and destroying the wetlands that caused New Orleans to sink deeper and deeper to be the “bowl” between the levees. It was reversible, as the many documentaries detailed.

Yet, President Bush had the audacity after the storm to say the flooding of New Orleans was unpredictable. To whom? Not to those who made the documentaries. Not to those who watched them. Not to those who cared.

But, again, it shows our nation’s priorities that put concerns about the health of our natural environment — our Earthly Mother — and her children, us, the people, and those who can least care for themselves at the bottom of the list.

Then, rather than address the problem — actually care about the environment or the poor, the elderly, the sick, the children or the health of the planet, or the future of our children’s children to live in a healthy world — they try to affix blame, point to a “wedge” issue, like race, form a commission, issue and report... And forget about it.

From one who is still going from line to line at gas stations in the wake of Katrina — when the stations have gasoline at all — and has friends in the most damaged areas who are homeless, I can attest there is a huge disconnect between what the politicians are saying and what the people here are experiencing.

I was absolutely stunned when our own governor, Haley Barbour, who I’ve known for decades, told the media that the federal response was fine and of the complaints: “That’s all cooked up by the news media and a few enemies of George Bush.”

Huh? My thoughts, or rather non-thought, since I was too busy surviving, had nothing to do with George Bush, but the utterly inadequate response by FEMA, which even George Bush termed “not adequate”.

Another “wedge” issue. Make it partisan, political.

This is a disaster and the federal government has fallen on its face, regardless of who is in the White House.

I don’t normally comment on political issues, and don’t intend to start a trend here, preferring to focus on matters of Spirit. But the people who constantly do battle on political issues, with their “talking points”, and are found on the news shows screaming at one another, not listening, do not represent democracy, do not represent the people. Our government, to my mind, has increasingly become an entity to itself, totally out of touch with the real needs of real people, controlled by money and powerful special interest groups. It simply makes people like me “tune out”.

It may be worth remembering that this nation actually formed itself on a Native model. The eagle was taken from the Iro-quois, as well as the form of government, where people sat in council with representatives from each clan (family) debating their interests. Benjamin Franklin modeled the first form of government after the Confederation of the Iroquois, even taking the story of the Iroquois’ banding together, using a bundle of arrows, to show that one arrow is easily broken, a bundle — one people, made of many — holds strong. We see it on the $1 bill today.

But America got it wrong. In the first place, women were the property owners in Native way, they chose the representatives (usually men) because they had the most at stake: they tended to the families, the old and the weak — the poor, the elderly, the sick, the children. If those (men) who represented them said one word that had not been agreed upon by the clan (extended family) and the leaders of the clans, the clan mothers, that representative was yanked immediately and replaced by another.

The women were the policy-makers, the men were the executives. That was the model for our nation, which was imperfectly implemented. It was the same in Cherokee, and even the Lakota, Nakota, Dakota, etc., Oyate, originally had seven councils represented equally by men and women as their chiefs — each a pipe carrier, all equal, each pledged to uphold the highest truth, speak it, live it.

Perhaps it is time now to return to our “roots”, the Native way, and bring balance to our government, bring balance between those who say they represent us, just as the Earthly Mother and Heavenly Father find balance all around us — if not despoiled or put out of balance, as with New Orleans and this world around me here.

Katrina, to my mind, is a warning: Get in balance. Balance yourself, balance your relations, balance your world. If not, catastrophe will come, to all humankind. This is the voice I hear in the wind. The wild angels who bring tidings of hope as well as destruction, showing that a new start is possible, if the old is swept away, and if we do not do it, they will.

That is, in essence, the prophecies of all peoples in all ancient times carried forward to today. And, lo, the mighty are fallen, the weak are made strong... the eagle shall return to the corn ... the lost people will find their way home.

People say those of us who spend our lives focused on Spirit are “not in touch of reality”. Maybe we see this “reality” others promote as real, reject it for the dangerous, self-sabotaging fantasy that it is, and choose to honor Creator and pray for those who are sick and don’t know it, that they will be healed. I will keep doing ceremony for those who can be healed, and for those maybe can’t, as well.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a registered Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher, a Usui/Tibetan Reiki Master Teacher, and a sponsor of workshops by The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. For more information, write P.O. Box 387, Lena, MS 39094; (601) 654-3301; e-mail:   You may also visit his website Healing The Earth/Ourselves at:

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