When Twyla was doing her intensives in the Buffalo, New York area she would have all her students up at dawn greeting the Sun. She beat on her drum while having everyone pray.
Ho Great Mystery.
We awake to another Sun,
Grateful for gifts bestowed
Granted one by one,
Grateful for the greatest gift
The precious breath of life,
Grateful for abilities
That guide us day and night.
As we walk our chosen path
Of lessons we must learn,
Spiritual peace and happiness
Rewards of life we earn.
Thank You for Your spiritual strength
And for our thoughts of praise,
Thank You for Your infinite love
That guide us through these days.
Grandmother Twylah Nitsch - An elder of the Seneca nation, Grandmother Twylah is the founder and leader of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge, an international organization that promotes the Native teachings of her ancestors. A 1999 recipient of the Living Treasures Heritage Award, she writes books and lectures around the world. Her Seneca name, Ya-weh-node, means “She Whose Voice Rides the Four Winds.”
“Seneca people gauge accomplishment by where we are on our Earthwalk, how we’ve developed our natural potentials and shared our gifts. Our elders know we’re ready to move forward by the questions we ask. There is no criticism or praise, there is only movement through the labyrinth of experience until we remember Who we really are.”
To learn more about the life and work of Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, please contact: www.wolfclanteachinglodge.org
A Seneca elder and a member of the Wolf Clan, Twylah Nitsch did not begin sharing the sacred teachings and traditions of her people until she was in her seventies. Today she lectures widely, using her Seneca name, Yehwehnode, “she whose voice rides the wind.” She is often told by her audience how perfectly she exemplifies the sacred wisdom that develops in elderhood for those who seek it. Inner guidance comes to her through a precise experience in the solar plexus, an actual sense of movement occurring there. The following excerpt is from The Feminine Face of God, by Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins.
Digging a Hole Big Enough to Sit In
by Twylah Nitsch (New York, 1920 - 2007)
I must have been under five when I spent one whole summer day digging a hole with a large spoon in the side of a bank near our house. I had to dig and dig because the ground was so full of roots and my goal was to make a hole big enough to sit in - like a cave. And that took a lot of hard work. Digging through all those roots was tough.
What I remember most about the experience is something my grandmother said. “When you take the dirt out, make sure you have a place for it,” she cautioned me, “because the dirt is used to being in that particular place, and it is at home there. Don’t take anything that is part of something and just scatter it around. Remember you are disturbing the home of the worms and the insects. You are moving them out of the place where they have been living, and you need to make sure that they are happy about where you are taking them.” So I would scoop the dirt into a little basket I had and take it around to various spots. “Is this where you would like to be?” I’d ask. And if the answer was yes, I would leave it. Otherwise, I’d pick up my basket, go to another spot, and ask again.
When I had finally made the hold deep enough to sit in, I would crawl in there and listen. I could hear the earth talking.
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 19:34:12 -0400
Subject: Grandma Twylah Nitsch
This morning I received a call from Robin Seneca she told me that Twylah Nitsch had dropped her robes, and made her final walk at seven this morning. You may pass the information on to those who you think my wish to know about her passing.
It was so strange that the other day I sent out an article that I came across in my files about Twylah Nitsch to some of the people who I thought my have known her or may have read her teachings. She was in my mind so strong these past few months and I felt we had connected on some higher level. The other night she came to me in dream time happy and laughing as she use to when we were all together. She was known by many and touched the hearts with her teachings. For me she was my friend and helped me through some difficult times in my life. Without her encouragement I would not have found my path.
May her spirit help us all from the other side and in our remembering of her may her teachings live on. If you had the honor of meeting her you will remember her wonderful sense of humor and the wisdom she spoke to us all.
Mitakuye Oyasin on the passing of yet another Wisdom Keeper.
Waynonaha Two Worlds