Michael Garrett, |
Walking on the Wind:
Cherokee Teachings for Healing
through Harmony & Balance
(Bear & Co., 1998)
Michael Garrett opens Walking on the Wind with a prayer of thanks that we should all learn and utilize every morning as soon as we wake. It is a strong beginning for an equally powerful book.
Garrett steps away from the technical side of his profession as a medicine man to pen this book in a laid-back fashion. He equates making a connection with the world around you to having your own inner cellular telephone. He advises you to eat a Chick-O-Stick, revealing his age, in spite of the typo with his birth date in the masthead. He cites the four basic beliefs common to all 500 Nations of Native Americans as:
1. Never take more than we need.
Building upon these four basic principles, Garrett walks us through becoming helpers to all our relations in the Great Circle of Life. He includes problem areas with the environment and lists simple things that you can do to protect and improve the natural world around you. He manages to combine modern technology with native simplicity and roll it all into an understanding of how to reach and maintain harmony with all living things. Scattered throughout the book are simple exercises, such as creating a medicine chant about something that resonates with you.
The first thing I did with this book was visit each chapter beginning, meditate on the illustration and study the quotation. Each chapter begins with a quote from a famous chief or medicine man, such as Chief Dan George of the Coast Salish, Black Elk (an Oglala Lakota Sioux medicine man) or Chief Standing Bear of the Lakotas. The illustrations by Francene Hart are more than beautiful. They will pull you into them, moving your eye from the overall picture to the most-minute detail. The longer you study them, the more detail you will notice. Hart is quite gifted with artist ability.
Garrett's tone and style in this book are quite different to Medicine of the Cherokee, which he co-authored with his father, J.T. Garrett. This book was the first he published solo and has a much more "chatty" style.
Whether you are looking for pleasure reading or are seeking a manual for self-help, this is a wonderful book. Once you begin reading it, you cannot put it down. The stories will entertain you time and again, while impacting your life where change is most needed. You will find that many seem to speak especially to you. The exercises will haunt you until you try them. The things you learn about Native American culture and tradition will delight you. Buy a copy of this book today and take a journey through the native world.