Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

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Waterfall. Photographer: Sophia Lyn Sims
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – “All My Relations” – is a greeting from the Lakota (Sioux) people reflecting their worldview of oneness, interconnectedness, and harmony with all living things: people, animals, plants, even wind, rocks, and rivers.
 To most people, a “relation” means a family member – a blood relative. It would be a stretch for most of us to extend the concept to include entities other than humans. However, if we chose to follow the wisdom of the Achuar in the Amazon jungle, it could change our outlook on life forever. Loving and honoring “relatives” in this broader sense means caring about everything on Earth and throughout the Universe. For the Achuar, everything that exists has a consciousness – is “alive” on some level. What a concept!

Waterfall. Photographer: Sophia Lyn Sims

Let’s sit a bit with the Achuar and ponder their idea of TRUTH. Everything is related because everything emanates from one source; everything has one purpose. All belief systems whether indigenous philosophy, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, or Islam are “related.” TRUTH can be found in each.  One can experience indigenous customs and rituals and find Buddha. One can study Buddhism and find Jesus. We can meet Mother Nature and find ourselve

Understanding indigenous spirituality – how our ancient relatives perceived and prayed to Pachamama (Mother Earth) – has allowed me to experience a spiritual bigness I never know existed.
After meeting the Achuar, I have a new way – their way – of relating to and communicating with Pachamama.
“All My Relations” is spoken at the beginning and end of native ceremonies to invite and thank our ancestors – recent and ancient – for joining in the celebration. Let’s pray…
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. 
Pachamama, we honor and thank you for your Circle of Life that surrounds and supports us within the sacred, spinning wheel of Earth and Universe.
– Thank you for molecules, minerals, and membranes that build our bones and become the framework of all life on the planet. 
– Thank you for plants that breathe healing and wellness into our bodies and spirits.
– Thank you for animals that sustain us physically and emotionally on our journey through life. 
– Thank you for humans who share a consciousness that allows us to reflect on our common path and purpose.
– Thank you for Spirit, Arutum, the energy of life that lights our path and connects our past to present and future as it guides our journey through space and time and all ages.
We are the Circle of Life, co-existing, co-depending, co-creating a single destiny, each one evolving from the other, each one dependent upon the other, each one as important as the one above, the one below, and the one from side to side. All of us are a part of your Great Mystery – all interconnected, all related, all one. 
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. 
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