In my house, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving because gratitude is a daily practice. If we make a meal, it tends to be a light reproduction of a traditional Native American meal to honor our Lakota Sioux and Cherokee ancestors. Thanksgiving (just as most corporate holidays) tends to sway from the traditional, pagan, or indigenous celebrations. A loose history about Thanksgiving from the Native American perspectives tells us that the term “thanksgiving” comes from the close relationship that indigenous peoples had with each other, the land, and the animals and giving thanks to the Earth and its inhabitants was a constant ceremony that still exists to this day. I was taught by Mother that when foraging or hunting, you should always ask permission for what you gather, give thanks to Mother Earth, and use every bit of what you collect out of respect.
When the colonists arrived in Massachusetts, they had little to no hope of survival on a land that they knew very little about and so the indigenous Wampanoag tribe played a crucial role in their ability to survive on this new land by sharing their knowledge about the land and the animals that they gained through their interconnectedness. This is the true history of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the land and I would like to think that some of the colonists were thankful to the Native Turtle Islanders for their generosity.
However, this was short-lived, as history tells us that the relationship between the colonists and the Native Americans quickly degenerated; some even upon their first meetings. The colonists’ ultimately waged war on the indigenous tribes with bloody battles, slavery, the degradation of land, and even going so far as to encourage the near-extinction of the Buffalo, a crucial source of nutrients and indigenous ceremony for native peoples. Now, fast forward to the present day where Native American tribes on reservations are slowly trying to reclaim their traditional connection with nature and food as a way to gain back their independence of federal food commodities such as lard, flour, cheese, and canned goods. To read more about the history of Thanksgiving check out this link.
So, tonight when you sit down at the table to share a meal with your family and give thanks for the blessings of their existence — take a moment to give thanks to Mother Earth and the bounty that she provides — take a moment to give thanks to the indigenous peoples of this land; for the crucial role they played in the survival of many of our European ancestors. Let us all also make a vow to be better stewards of this land for without we would not exist.
And so to honor my ancestors, I have chosen to use Medicine cards, written by David Carson and Jamie Sams —and illustrated by Angela C. Werneke all of whom come from Native American decent.
Mitakuye Oyasin — All my relations.
We are all interconnected.
And without further ado…
Card Number One: Weasel
Weasel has an incredible amount of energy and ingenuity — weasel eyes see beneath the surface of a situation to know the many ramifications of an event. The chiefs send weasel to the enemy camp to gather information on the adversary’s strengths and weaknesses. Look to weasel power to tell you the hidden reasons behind your current situation. We all have power, or we would not be here to heal Mother Earth. Perhaps if you have weasel medicine power you could use your secret gifts for the good of all. Observe who or what needs attention, or a solution, and offer your assistance in your own quiet or discreet way.
Card Number Two: Bat
Steeped in the mystery of Meso-American tribal ritual is the legend of the Bat. Akin to the ancient Buddhist belief in reincarnation, in Central America, Bat is the symbol of rebirth. For centuries, the Bat has been a reassured medicine of the Aztec, Toltec, Tolucan, and Mayan peoples. Bat embraces the idea of shamanistic death – the breaking down of all former notions of “self” and a brutal test of initiation. If Bat is visiting you today, it symbolizes the need for a ritualistic death of some way of life that no longer serves your new growth pattern. This can be a time of letting go of old habits, and of assuming the position in life that prepares you for rebirth. If you resist your destiny, it can be a long, drawn-out, or painful death. The Universe is always asking you to grow and become your future. To do so you must die the shaman’s death.
Card Number Three: Hawk (reversed)
Hawk is akin to Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Hawk teaches you to be observant, to look at your surroundings. Observe the obvious in everything that you do. Life is sending you signals. The ancients recognized this magnificent bird of prey as a messenger bringing tidings to their Earth Walk, the Good Red Road, from the world of grandfathers and grandmothers a sign to beware or be aware. If Hawk has circled and landed in your card spread, you are to be aware of signals in your life — so notice and receive them. Hawk may be teaching you to grab an opportunity which is coming your way. Additionally, you might do well to circle over your life and examine it from a higher perspective. From this vantage point you may be able to discern the hazards which bar you broom the freedom of flight. Remember: Hawk has a keen eye and a bold heart, for Hawk flies close to the light of Grandfather Son.
Collective Reading: Turkey
Turkey is actually thought to be the Give-Away Eagle or South Eagle of many native peoples. The philosophy of Give-Away was practiced by many tribes — a recognition of the sacrifices of both self and others. The Give-Away ceremony was traditionally that a tribal member may give away everything they own in order to help the people as a whole. It is the recognition that possessions are merely things and they do not make us who we are or define our morals — what is more important, is the health of our communities or tribes. When everyone chooses to love and take care of everyone we are all taken care of. Turkey medicine acknowledges that what you do for others you do for yourself — doing unto others and feeding the people is the message of all true spiritual systems. Turkey gives us gifts of selflessness and the knowledge that when we give from our hearts, regardless of how much we have or we do not have, Great Spirit sends these gifts back to us in gratitude. So do me a favor, and give thanks to that turkey on your plate.
Kendra is an eclectic witch, tarot reader, writer, Mom, activist, crafter, artist, and creator of The Dark Luminology Tarot and the Tarot-ble Times. She currently lives in Cambridge, England, a pit stop before heading home to Colorado. She can often be found collecting shells at the seaside or pine cones and stones in the forest.
Her spiritual studies and practices range from traditional witchcraft and paganism to new age metaphysics. She has been a practicing witch since she was a child, greatly influenced by her Native American and Scottish Celtic ancestry.
Within tarot, she uses her clairsentience to emotionally connect with her clients and she focuses on shadow work or releasing trauma and negativity to clear the way for manifestation, growth, and abundance. You can book a reading with her through her Etsy store.
Her tarot deck, The Dark Luminology Tarot, is set to be released in 2021 and can be found where light and dark kiss.
Kendra is a Pisces sun, Cancer moon and Aries rising.