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The TRADITIONAL “TALKING---CIRCLE” is a very old way of bringing NATIVE PEOPLE of all ages together in a quiet, respectful manner for the purposes of TEACHING, LISTENING, LEARNING, SHARING. When approached in the proper way, the circle can be a very powerful means of touching or bringing some degree of HEALING to the MIND, the HEART, the BODY, or the SPIRIT. One could call it a very effective form of NATIVE GROUP THERAPY.
The circle leader, teacher or facilitator begins by passing around SAGE so that the participants may “smudge” themselves. We have been taught by our ANCESTORS that these SACRED HERBS have a PURIFYING effect upon our total being. As the smoke from the herbs surround us, we are better able to CONNECT on many levels with the OTHERS within the circle, with OURSELVES, and with what we are about to EXPERIENCE.
The group leading or a (volunteer) will then open the CIRCLE with a prayer. The circle is now in the hands of the GREAT SPIRIT, GRANDFATHER, GOD, or whatever one chooses to call the HIGHER POWER. The leader might next have the people might next have the people shake hands to acknowledge each other. It is a good thing to do; especially if this is a new circle of people.
The group leaders then begin to “TALK TO THE PEOPLE” Without interruption; talking to no ONE person, but to all who are present. ALL are expected to listen respectfully until the speaker is finished talking. All who sit within the circle will have the opportunity to EXPRESS THEMSELVES if they choose or they may simply listen; but, all who speak will be given the same respect --- they will be listened to without any interruptions.
The group leader and most likely others within the circle, may bring EAGLE FEATHERS or STONES or other SACRED OBJECTS, which are passed around the circle and SHARED. We believe these SACRED THINGS to be our HIGHER SELVES; they help us listen; they aid in our learning. Within the SACRED CIRCLE, we are encouraged to speak not only from the MIND, but from the HEART. We are free to SHARE our inner most FEELING if we choose. Regardless of whether one brings a TRADITIONAL TEACHING or personal PROBLEM to the circle, all persons are valued, respected, and listened to. There is an INDIAN belief of the RIGHT TIME/RIGHT PLACE/RIGHT PEOPLE hearing RIGHT THINGS and we rely on the belief within that circle.
When “ALL HAVE SPOKEN” anyone may request that this be a “CLOSED CIRCLE” that all that has been said and the identities of the participants shall be confidential. If no one requests a closed circles, all may freely share what they have learned.
The CIRCLE meeting is closed with PRAYER; so … in this OLD WAY, we have come TOGETHER again to TEACH, to LEARN, to TOUCH each other’s spirit; that we may find strength to live these TWO WORLDS THAT OUR PEOPLE MAY LIVE;
SPECIAL NOTE: It is always a feeling of healing if an Indian Spiritual leader is present to say PRAYERS before the “TALKING --- CIRCLE” begins. But, if there is no spiritual leader present, then anyone may be asked to lead the circle starting with a prayer in whichever language they know how. Also, the leader should light a candle and place it in the middle of the circle to represent the light as a way to communicate with their HIGHER POWER they choose to speak to while talking. Then too, always have an EAGLE FEATHER ready to past to the next person to hold in their hands while they talk. Also, make sure to smudge yourselves with SAGE before a circle meeting is to begin. The “TALKING CIRCLE” or “HEALING THROUGH FEELING” is a similar to an A.A. meeting only that the “TALKING CIRCLE” is based on a way of INDIAN MIND HEALING.