Information collected by Suzanne Lewis
I have been a keen buyer on EBay for ancient Far East Tibetan bead artistry. After my accident, I became obsessed to recover these treasure created in the Tibetans Home lands. I felt like there was an envelope of time before the Chinese would completely vacuum up, erase all the beauty and treasures from the annihilated Tibetans.
With my uncanny super sleuth searching online I discovered a trader in Spain who sprinkles Tibetan treasures along with a Tibetan advocate Dharma store. I wanted to keep alive with great respect some of what Tibetans revered. (Bone, amber, coral, turquoise, lapis, carnelian, garnet, striated agates, obsidian, opalescent, eye beads Dzi, repoussé metal engraved pendants, crystals etc.)
Somewhat like the Native American sentiment regarding the Ghost Dancers who gave everything in order to keep away the harm by settlers , military and pioneers). It’s a promise to remember, to give gratitude to the ancestors, knowing that spirit is eternal and the bead artistry carries the energy, the strength, the qualities who created them, worked them, believed in their holy guidance and stamina to keep the Natural Laws of life, light and nature generated.
In my cross-cultural medicine necklaces I have been impressed how the Tibetan love of stones, crystal, bone, shell, carnelian, blown trade beads; directly reflect what I have seen in many Southwest and Northwest Indigenous tribes artistry. In fact the “Hopi are one of the oldest remaining ancient cultures in North America, known by many as Tibet of the West.”
A long time ago, someone noticed a clear blue line running through gray rock and saw imagery of sky and water in stone, and from that time on, turquoise has been cherished above all else in creation—turquoise stone of sky, stone of water, stone of blessings, good fortune, protection, good health and long life.
Medicine Necklaces, that which makes one vitally well soundly protected. For over 25 years I have been creating these “empowering, protective” necklaces from trade beads, gem stones, fetishes and tribal art. For the past few years, my attention was pulled to the Tibetan tribal beads and their honoring of the oceans, mountains, rivers and natures family. Integrating the Tibetan beautiful art with her deeply rooted Indigenous Peoples’ symbolism has created necklaces and beads representing universal harmony, beauty, empowerment, tenderness.
Beads from the deep blue green seas.
I have built up quite a collection, plus when my son traveled to Nepal and Tibet in the late 90s, I had him pick up for me hand hewn turquoise nuggets and amber and traditional mala composed of Bodhi Seeds. Simultaneously I as gaining insight on the relationship of North American Hopi and the Far East Tibetans. The similarities of their relationship respect of the Earth Mother and her elements. Both cultures revere the “Mother Mountain”, her caves, her blood, her rock guardians, her medicine/power animals and Green Medicine/plants kingdom.
It’s quite fascinating the language and symbolic/metaphorical commonality. For me it was almost eerie this internal scenario that informed me to heed the prayers of the peace makers Far East to South West. I was getting that the refugee Tibetans, recognizing they will never literally be able to return to their homeland turned the despair into a prayer that would transfer their rich heritage to a new homeland, to their brothers and sisters from another continent on the other side of the great waters.
Perched on a plateau in the Himalayas 16,000 feet above sea level, Tibet at first glance appears to be a remote country overshadowed by its much larger neighbors–India to the West and China to the East. In fact, Tibet has long been a cultural hub and is known worldwide for its astonishing jewelry. Historically, red coral from the Mediterranean, deep blue turquoise from Iran and pearls and conch shells from the Indian Ocean were imported to supplement native green turquoise, agates and precious metals.
Grief Without Guilt
Anger Without Harm
Joy Without Shame
Suzanne Lewis (written 2013)
For the past month I have been drenched with the writings of Eliot Pattison’s most recent politically drenched mystery called MANDARINE GATE. What is personally profound is that it marks a mending my brain’s neuro-pathways. My traumatic brain injury took away many of my treasured skills, one of which being able to read long documents.
Much like the urgency that worked me to write the PEACE WHEEL PRACTICE in 2012, something demanded I reengage that skill. It was a crash course to update me on the current conditions in Tibet for its Indigenous Peoples.
The re-education, the re-settlements, the erasing of the Tibetan culture and sacred sites; pulled out my cellular memory of another lifetime walking that ceiling of the world, that source of all natural existence.
For four years since my near death crash and then the forced rehabilitation, it has been health tools, gained from decades/lifetimes of devotion to Tibetan Buddhism, which is a way of living rather than a religion; that has transported me through the deep pain and emotional despair. It’s practices of breathing, meditation, to do no harm, moment to moment focus on loving kindness, the tonglon practice transforming suffering into blessings; and the enduring grace received through stillness are to name but a few of my treasured tools.
It was my sangha, my spiritual community, visible and invisible; that created a sacred container of safety, of beauty, of nurturance with enough trust and intentions to get me through the long, long mending journey.
MANDARINE GATE, PUBLISHED IN 2012, DEMANDED MY ATTENTION AND TIME. It was a mandated read. Though Eliot Pattison writes fictionally, it is steeped with real scenarios of current conditions for native Tibetans and native Chinese.
The read made me so, so sad. I went into despair that history is repeating itself. One of the contemplations I gained last September at the WISDOM OF THE ORIGINS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, is that we in the US of A hold a crucial key to Planetary respect and care for ALL THE PEOPLES. This key requires us to take our blinders off. Until we can own our own violation to our INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, we are powerless to move the wheel of life to equality and justice and respect for all.
As I experienced the horrific eradication of the Tibetans, as well as native naturalist Chinese, I saw the parallel story of what we immigrants to the US of A did and are doing Turtle Islands First People. Case in point, STANDING ROCK. The treatment of native children being stolen from their tribe and family.
(From our Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan: “My recent book details the cases I litigated that, over 45 years, showed me the extent of U.S. Imperialism. The state campaign against the Lakota- including the recent involuntary removal of 6,000+ Lakota children from their families and tribes, by “placing” them in non-Native foster homes- is only the latest subduing of the Indigenous.” Learn more: http://lakota.cc/1bftYZ6 )
GRIEF WITHOUT GUILT
Dr. Angeles Arrien taught me the greatest harm a being can do to their soul is to fail to bring their gifts and talents to the community. To do nothing when one hears the call creates guilt which smothers the wisdom fires. It feels so suffocating only rage can set it free. Can we become so enraged so engaged to stop this dreadful SECRET (our disrespectful ways) from destroying, annihilating this SWEET MOTHER LAND and her family, one INDIGENOUS CULTURE/PEOPLE at a time.