Our Prayers of Thanksgiving

Dear Friends:

Welcome to the November 22, 2007 edition of the SatyaCenter newsletter. Warm greetings from your Editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

This year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 22, the day the Sun enters Sagittarius. This Saturday, November 24, we celebrate the Festival of the Full Moon, which occurs at 1 degree 55 minutes of Gemini.

The Sabian symbol for 2 degrees of Gemini is “Santa Claus furtively filling stockings hanging in front of the fireplace.” This represents a symbolic representation of the willing suspension of disbelief which is a prerequisite for spiritual experience. In esoteric training, students are told not to look directly at objects when they wish to learn to view them clairvoyantly, but rather to look at them out of the corner of their eyes. In order to develop clairvoyant vision, it is necessary to suspend our normal, rational, linear, and direct habits of perception.

Students of spiritual studies are taught to suspend their normal habits of thought during meditation practices, trancework, and other disciplines designed to quiet the mind. The successful suspension of mental chatter allows us to hear the tiny, quiet voice of the Higher Self, and eventually to enter the realm of intuitive knowing through direct experience of Higher Worlds. This is the mysterious realm of true clairvoyance, the realm beyond the mind, the realm of stillness, silence and the peace that passeth all understanding, and this realm is forever closed to the egoistic mind.

When we enter the realm of no-mind, the realm of intuitive knowing, we obtain many spiritual gifts, including Unity Consciousness, access to the Akashic records, the ability to see into the hearts of others and to feel what they feel, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the awakening of the kundalini energy, also known as the descent of the Holy Spirit, and much, much more.

The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 24, speaking of the Second Coming of Christ, states this mystery as follows: “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

This Full Moon let us give thanks to the “Cosmic Santa”, who is the embodiment of Unity Consciousness, and who comes wearing many faces, the face of Christ, the face of Ram, the face of Gaia, the face of Yahweh, the face of Mohammed, the face of Isis, the face of Buddha.

Let us give thanks to the Universe for all the many gifts we have been given in our lives that have helped us to advance spiritually. Let us give thanks to our parents, to our ancestors, to our spiritual teachers, to the long lineage of teachers that preceded them, and to our friends, our neighbors, our families and all those who have touched our lives.

Let us give thanks in advance for the spiritual gifts we know we shall receive when we are fully prepared, for we are certain that even now, that although we experience the ups and downs of daily existence, the brightening and the darkening of consciousness that comes in cycles as we travel the peaks and valleys of life, we will reach our goal – if not today, then tomorrow, if not this lifetime, then in the next, if not in this world, then in the Realm of Spirit.

For this is the promise of all Wisdom Teachings, that the spiritual evolution of humanity is part of the unfolding consciousness that comprises the totality of the Universe, and each of us shares in that consciousness. “Tat tvam asi”, “Thou art That”, is the Mahâvâkya (Grand Pronouncement) from the Chandogya Upanishad.

Let us recall the promise of the Cosmic Christ, expressed in John (14:12) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Let us recall in all humility that service to humanity is the inevitable fruit of gratitude and let us all ask our Spiritual Guides and Teachers at this time of Thanksgiving to provide us with golden opportunities to be of maximum service in the world during the coming year.

Let us extend love offerings to our family, friends, neighbors, and especially to those who grew the food for our Thanksgiving feast during long seasons of labor in sun and rain and wind, and to those who cooked it!

This Full Moon let us celebrate the fact that the Universe is surreptitiously guiding us all toward the fulfillment of our spiritual goals, in ways that our rational, egoistic minds can never comprehend.

Let us meditate upon the silence in which the Cosmic Santa performs his good works, and may our meditations bring us ever closer to that sentient silence that is the hallmark of Higher Consciousness.
As I look around me this Thanksgiving, I am surrounded by abundance, blessed with abundance in every aspect of my life. I have a warm, snug home in the country, with enough room for my wife and myself and an extra room for guests. We are surrounded by farmland and woods, and we have delicious lacto fermented foods 'put by' for winter that came from our own garden. We have an abundance of tomatoes, corn & beans, also 'put by' for those frosty days deep in winter when we dream of next years' gardens.

We have a closet full of fine quartz crystals, and two more closets full of dried herbs, tinctures, flower essences, essential oils and other ingredients for Jane’s Homemade Herbal Toiletries, teas, tinctures and remedies.

We have some money in the bank.

We live in a natural power spot, full of beauty, enlivened with the daily rhythms of agricultural work, and with the daily comings and goings of our many animal friends that live up and down our road – songbirds that awaken us with their celebration of life, cows, dogs, cats, hawks, turkeys, crows, buzzards, horses, deer, fox, chickens, sheep, coyotes and more.

Jane and I are blessed with a view of the Catskill mountains from our living room window, and we see spectacular sunsets all four seasons of the year from our front yard. Climb a hundred yards up the hill behind our house and you can see for a hundred and fifty miles up and down the Hudson River valley.

Jane and I are blessed to have the time to engage in a daily spiritual practice, and to have had the opportunity to study with a number of exceptionally gifted guides and teachers in this lifetime. For this we are continuously grateful.

Most important of all, Jane and I are blessed through a multitude of gratifying relationships. We thank our neighbors who care for one another. We thank our families for their support and love. Without that we would be impoverished indeed. We wish to thank all those who contribute their stories, their poetry, their wisdom, their time and their efforts to the Satya Center website. We wish to thank our many dear readers who make the website a worthwhile endeavor. We wish to thank our many friends, near and far, with whom we communicate and share a tremendous energy, with whom we share our lives.

As I look around today, and contemplate the onset of the Christmas holiday season I realize that I only need one thing for Christmas. I need the opportunity to share this superabundance with those in need. I need the opportunity to work as a healer, counselor and Minister to help those who are suffering.

I give thanks to God and my guides and teachers every morning before I get out of bed, and ask to be given the opportunities to share the wealth I’ve got. I start every day with sincere feelings of gratitude so strong my heart opens. Then, for just one moment, I can join with the Native American peoples of this continent and others all over the world who walk the path of Spirit, which is always a path of gratitude, love and surrender to the Divine Will.

May you all be blessed with the abundant flow of grace and guidance you need to achieve your loftiest spiritual goals this Thanksgiving!

I would like to share a special Mohawk prayer of Thanksgiving with you all.

Here it is.


The Thanksgiving Prayer from the Mohawk Nation:


~*~ The People ~*~

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Earth Mother ~*~

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one


~*~ The Waters ~*~

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-- waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit Water.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Fish ~*~

We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the fish and send our greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Plants ~*~

Now we turn towards the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Food Plants ~*~

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting and thanks.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Medicine Herbs ~*~

Now we turn to all the Medicine Herbs of the world. From the beginning, they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Animals ~*~

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one


~*~ The Trees ~*~

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, other with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the tree of life.

Now our minds are one

~*~ The Birds ~*~

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds-- from the smallest to the largest--we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one


~*~ The Four Winds ~*~

We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messengers and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

Now our minds are one


~*~ The Thunders ~*~

Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunders.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Sun ~*~

We now send the greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ Grandmother Moon ~*~

We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the nighttime sky. She is the leader of women all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Stars ~*~

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Enlightened Teachers ~*~

We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ The Creator ~*~

We turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Now our minds are one.


~*~ Closing Words ~*~

We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intent to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.

Now our minds are one.

The Conflicted History of Thanksgiving
Much as I love this holiday, much as I am entranced by its esoteric meaning, as an Interfaith Minister and student of comparative mythology, this holiday, as celebrated in the United States and Canada, always makes my head spin. The history of this holiday inevitably brings up humbling and difficult associations for me, because I cannot forget or ignore the shortcomings of our ancestors, much as I honor them.

According to the conventional story, strong, righteous English Puritans arrived at a wilderness in the New World. They brought what was considered to be a superior civilization and most important, their Christian values, to a thankless, scattered group of itinerant savages, and received turkeys, pumpkins, squash, corn and cranberry sauce in return. Beneath the mainstream celebration commemorating their arrival, a millenial clash of cultures and conflicting mythologies creates a kind of cognitive dissonance that manifests for me in conflicting emotions of joy and mourning, thanksgiving and repentance.

As I sit at home with Jane, cocooned in isolation from the larger community, I join in a virtual commons of like-minded, passive viewers watching a media spectacle with a very demanding subtext.

The towering air-filled balloons march through Midtown Manhattan across my TV screen, filling my living room, as we munch on breakfast and sip on hot sugary caffeinated liquids while we participate in a nationwide homage to the omnipresence of the brand icons of Madison Avenue, a celebration of consumer culture and its ability to mesmerize children, of all ages, with pastel kitsch cartoon characters emoting warm and fuzzy sentimentality that jerks the heartstrings while imprinting a series of corporate logos in the brains of viewers everywhere.

There is a subtext, and that is that the imagination will be subordinated to the advertising message, that Friday the entire nation of 200,000,000 will awaken as one, with a druggy food hangover, climb in our SUVs and race to the shopping malls to begin a marathon orgy of compulsive spending and acquisition, which will climax on or about the festival commemorating the birthday of Jesus Christ.

Throughout this schizophrenic “holiday season”, our excessive spending and overconsumption of food, drink and electronic media are implied to be a gargantuan love offering to the Divine and, simultaneously, a concrete expression of the gratitude we all feel to our cultural forbears and an affirmation of the rampant materialism of our consumer culture.

America’s current cultural mythology of social Darwinism holds that competition among individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others and the commons is the God-given right and the moral duty of all God-fearing Americans, and will result in a Divinely ordered society, with the most deserving individuals conspicuous by virtue of their wealth and 10,000 square foot McMansions, and the least deserving individuals marked with the unmistakable stigmata of their moral failure, apparent to all in their lack of material possessions.

There are two excellent antidotes to this pervasive cultural poison. The first is historical awareness and the second is spiritual practice. The two really go hand in hand.

Let us begin at the beginning. More or less. As best as we are able.

In the 1600s in England, a civil war was brewing between the traditional society and the adherents of a revolutionary, fundamentalist Protestant sect called the Puritans. At that time the Church of England was the official state-approved religion and Catholic and other Protestant priests and preachers had to operate as kind of spiritual undergound, subject to harassment of all kinds.

King Charles ruled supreme, and Parliament was an advisory body with few powers, called to meetings upon such occasions as the King determined appropriate.

The Puritans believed they were the few righteous saints in a society of corrupt sinners, burdened excessively by the rapacious parasitism of King, nobility and court-approved clergy, and that only by forcing their own religious beliefs on their less spiritually evolved neighbors using fire and sword could the nation be saved.

Puritans expected Armageddon – the Apocalypse foretold in the more metaphorical chapters of the Bible – to come momentarily, resulting in the destruction of Europe, and hence of all civilization.

This Puritan vision of Armageddon involved, as Armageddon always has, the necessity for the faithful to wage a holy war against all unbelievers. This holy war would, first of all, overthrow the decadent elite that ran England, including parliament, King and priests, and second, impose a severe rule of autocratic but divinely guided cleric-warriors upon the sinful populace, driving Satan from their breasts through the use of panoptic espionage in every village and town, forced confession, and purgation through the salutary example of public torture and execution, as appropriate.

The Puritans believed that the saints would be blessed by God with every social advantage, especially wealth, since they were industrious believers in the free market as well as devout Christians. They further believed that individuals who failed to create sufficient wealth to feed their families and themselves through competitive enterprise were inherently sinful, self-evidently guilty of moral failure, and should be punished by confinement to debtor prisons and other “tough love” institutions where reprogramming of their defective nervous systems could proceed unhindered by false notions of “charity”, “compassion”, “noblesse oblige” and “social welfare”.

Some of those Pilgrims who migrated to America lacked the surety of faith that would have enabled them to believe in the historical inevitability of the English Puritan Revolution, and some of them doubtless saw themselves as God’s Crusaders, spreading the Word of God and a New Social Order to a New, Godless and heathen world, which must be conquered for the greater glory of God, as part of the Apocalyptic War between Good and Evil.

After a series of Civil Wars, starting in 1639, the Puritans did overthrow the King of England in 1649, in a bloody revolution led by the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell. Around ten percent of the total population of England, Ireland and Scotland died during these apocalyptic battles.

The reformist political projects of the Puritan victors were set aside in the aftermath of these civil wars, and Cromwell ruled as a military dictator until his death. His son was considered unfit by the Army, which constituted the true ruling class of England at that point, and chaos threatened until 1661, when Charles’ son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, with the consent of Parliament.

No longer able to rule as a Sovereign without peers, Charles II found the country set on a course to become a parliamentary democracy that practiced a determined form of religious tolerance.

Meanwhile, in the New World, the Puritans were also involved in another flavor of Armageddon. In America, in states where they gained power, Puritans made sure there were no illusions of religious freedom. The just rule of iron and fire was thought to guarantee a salutary social uniformity that would be pleasing to the stern and vengeful patriarch in heaven.

When the Pilgrim colonists arrived in New England , landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the area was the home of the Wampanoag Indians, members of a widespread Confederacy of Algonkian speaking peoples known as the League of the Delaware . For over one hundred years, the Wampanoag had defended themselves against sporadic incursions by European slave traders, trappers and soldiers, so they were familiar with the predatory nature of the white colonizers.

In Massachusetts, in 1620, Puritan colonists signed the Mayflower Compact, which bound all signatories to the letter and the law of early Christian practice, Puritan practice, and banished Catholic and Episcopalian ritual and observances. All males who wished to live in the colony had to sign the Compact. Later Puritan dissenters, including Roger Williams, who founded the Baptist Church, and Anne Hutchinson, a prominent Puritan gentlewoman who held that matters of faith were private affairs between each individual and God, were banished from the colony.

It was the Catholics, who had brought the world the original practice of enlightenment through torture exemplified in the Inquisition, who introduced the American Colonies to the principle of religious tolerance, which was a matter of law in the Catholic colony of Maryland.

In 1636 Roger Williams established a new colony in Rhode Island, where all true believing Protestants could participate in civil government, though not, of course, the Godless Catholic idolators.

The Wampanoag continued their traditional way of life during this period, migrating from place to place as the seasons unfolded. In the spring, the Indians would pitch their wigwams near rivers, fishing for herring and salmon. In planting season they moved to the forest, where they could hunt deer. In winter they moved inland for protection from the inclement weather, and lived on stores of food gathered earlier in the year.

Gratitude was an integral part of everyday life for the Wampanoag Indians, not something to be ritually celebrated once a year. As historian and public school teacher Chuck Larsen, who has Quebeque French, Metis, Ojibwa, and Iroquois ancestors puts it in his article on Thanksgiving, “These Indians of the Eastern Woodlands called the turtle, the deer and the fish their brothers. They respected the forest and everything in it as equals. Whenever a hunter made a kill, he was careful to leave behind some bones or meat as a spiritual offering, to help other animals survive. Not to do so would be considered greedy. The Wampanoags also treated each other with respect. Any visitor to a Wampanoag home was provided with a share of whatever food the family had, even if the supply was low. This same courtesy was extended to the Pilgrims when they met.”

Larsen continues:

“We can only guess what the Wampanoags must have thought when they first saw the strange ships of the Pilgrims arriving on their shores. But their custom was to help visitors, and they treated the newcomers with courtesy. It was mainly because of their kindness that the Pilgrims survived at all. The wheat the Pilgrims had brought with them to plant would not grow in the rocky soil. They needed to learn new ways for a new world, and the man who came to help them was called ‘Tisquantum’ (Tis SKWAN tum) or ‘Squanto  (SKWAN toe).

“Squanto was originally from the village of Patuxet (Pa TUK et) and a member of the Pokanokit Wampanoag nation. Patuxet once stood on the exact site where the Pilgrims built Plymouth . In 1605, fifteen years before the Pilgrims came, Squanto went to England with a friendly English explorer named John Weymouth. He had many adventures and learned to speak English. Squanto came back to New England with Captain Weymouth. Later Squanto was captured by a British slaver who raided the village and sold Squanto to the Spanish in the Caribbean   Islands . A Spanish Franciscan priest befriended Squanto and helped him to get to Spain and later on a ship to England . Squanto then found Captain Weymouth , who paid his way back to his homeland. In England Squanto met Samoset of the Wabanake (Wab NAH key) Tribe, who had also left his native home with an English explorer. They both returned together to Patuxet in 1620. When they arrived, the village was deserted and there were skeletons everywhere. Everyone in the village had died from an illness the English slavers had left behind. Squanto and Samoset went to stay with a neighboring village of Wampanoags.

“One year later, in the spring, Squanto and Samoset were hunting along the beach near Patuxet. They were startled to see people from England in their deserted village. For several days, they stayed nearby observing the newcomers. Finally they decided to approach them. Samoset walked into the village and said ‘welcome,’ Squanto soon joined him. The Pilgrims were very surprised to meet two Indians who spoke English.

“The Pilgrims were not in good condition. They were living in dirt-covered shelters, there was a shortage of food, and nearly half of them had died during the winter. They obviously needed help and the two men were a welcome sight. Squanto, who probably knew more English than any other Indian in North America at that time, decided to stay with the Pilgrims for the next few months and teach them how to survive in this new place. He brought them deer meat and beaver skins. He taught them how to cultivate corn and other new vegetables and how to build Indian-style houses. He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants could be used as medicine. He explained how to dig and cook clams, how to get sap from the maple trees, use fish for fertilizer, and dozens of other skills needed for their survival.

“By the time fall arrived things were going much better for the Pilgrims, thanks to the help they had received. The corn they planted had grown well. There was enough food to last the winter. They were living comfortably in their Indian-style wigwams and had also managed to build one European-style building out of squared logs. This was their church. They were now in better health, and they knew more about surviving in this new land. The Pilgrims decided to have a thanksgiving feast to celebrate their good fortune. They had observed thanksgiving feasts in November as religious obligations in England for many years before coming to the New World .

“The Algonkian tribes held six thanksgiving festivals during the year. The beginning of the Algonkian year was marked by the Maple Dance which gave thanks to the Creator for the maple tree and its syrup. This ceremony occurred when the weather was warm enough for the sap to run in the maple trees, sometimes as early as February. Second was the planting feast, where the seeds were blessed. The strawberry festival was next, celebrating the first fruits of the season. Summer brought the green corn festival to give thanks for the ripening corn. In late fall, the harvest festival gave thanks for the food they had grown. Mid-winter was the last ceremony of the old year. When the Indians sat down to the ‘first Thanksgiving’ with the Pilgrims, it was really the fifth thanksgiving of the year for them!

“Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims, invited Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit (the leader of the Wampanoags), and their immediate families to join them for a celebration, but they had no idea how big Indian families could be. As the Thanksgiving feast began, the Pilg

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