Two weekends ago we drove up to Syracuse NY, where Dreamriver Press author Meagan O’Nan was doing a workshop along with best selling author don Miguel Ruiz and his son and co-author of the Fifth Agreement, don Jose Ruiz. Driving with us from NYC was another one of our authors, Olivier Clerc, who had just flown in from France. Olivier latest book, The Gift of Forgiveness (Findhorn Press), describes his amazing encounter with don Miguel some eleven years ago, and the impact this meeting had in his life.
Many people showed up at The Palace theater on the Friday night, where don Miguel and don Jose along with Meagan and Sheila Applegate shared their inspiring and powerful messages. However, for me, the highlight of the events took place on Sunday. That Sunday morning, some of us climbed one of the mountains that is sacred to the Onondaga tribe to take part in a ritual of forgiveness.
According to the Onondaga tradition and history, it was on this mountain that Hiawatha met for the second time with The Great Peacemaker. Hiawatha was in deep grieving because his chief, did not want to embrace the message of peace. In fact the chief felt threatened by it, and went on to kill Hiawatha daughters. Hiawatha left the tribe in great sorrow. On the top of this mountain, The Great Peacemaker, a great spiritual teacher, met with Hiawatha and performed a forgiveness ceremony. Then they climbed down the mountain together, and singing songs of peace and love, embraced the Onondaga chief who finally accepted their message. This was the beginning of the formation of the Five Nations (today they are Six Nations). A confederacy of tribes, that many believe influenced the formation of the US Constitution.
We too took part in a forgiveness ceremony. During our walk up the mountain, we crossed though a thick layer of fog. Along the way we found pockets of snow, and most of us were not dressed for the cold temperatures we encountered. But there was a sense of purpose and an underlying joy on our journey upwards. On the mountain top the fog had dissipated, but it was still not clear enough to see the surrounding landscape.
Two members of the Onondaga tribe, along with Sheila Applegate, shared with us their visions of how this ceremony came to be. Their stories were full of amazing ‘coincidences’. By the time the ceremony was over the fog had completely gone, and the atmosphere around us was clear. We could see the far off hill-sides and distant lakes that surrounded the mountain. We came down the mountain with sunlight pouring over us.
Later that afternoon we participated in traditional Native American dances. It was the first time I danced such dances, and I really enjoyed it. Between the dances we shared stories, feelings and jokes, that created sense of community between us.