THE THREE PRINCIPLES


Grandfather and Young Owl stood overlooking the canyon, their arms resting on the wooden railing.

“You know”, Grandfather said, “that in Chumash legend, each of the four seasons has a unique set of associations.” He described the four quadrants, sketching with his hand in the air as he did:


North
Winter / Night
White
Eagle: Strength and Pride
Bear: Earth Unity, Humility

West
Fall / Evening
Red
Dolphin: Connection, Friendship
Raven: The Messenger
compass
East
Spring / Morning
Yellow
Hawk: Recovery, Courage
Deer: Life’s Abundance

South
Summer / Afternoon
Blue
Owl: Wisdom, Intelligence
Snake: Sensitivity to Earth

“The Chumash always believed that Nature is sacred and understood evolution long before Darwin explained it to the White Man, who is still reluctant to understand his place. They would be wise to understand the three principles by which we have lived in harmony with all life on Earth since we first emerged from the Sky and the Earth and the Water:

  • The Principle of Limitation: The understanding that we are all limited, all capable in different ways, and all equal, and that we depend on and are responsible for each other, that without Community we are nothing.
  • The Principle of Moderation: The understanding that we must take only what we need from the land and the ocean, and give back as much as we take, and waste nothing, and live according to Nature’s time.
  • The Principle of Compensation: The understanding that we must give without expecting in return, and be kind, and recognize that compensation comes in many forms.”

“These are simple lessons. The Winter is our time of renewal. It is a time of contemplation, rest, and gathering strength for the ordeals that still lie ahead of us. The White Man’s culture of occupation and scarcity is relentless and threatens everything. Even those that understand this cannot understand why we don’t join them in their fight to defeat this culture. But no one can save them from themselves, Young Owl. Our task is to hold up a mirror to them, and let them see the madness in their own lives. Our task is to show them, just in case they want to learn, a better way to live. These Newcomers will defeat themselves, and then, just as after the great flood before our time, those who remain will learn again, freed from occupation and scarcity, to live in Nature’s time. For us, there is only the waiting.”

.

Dear friends, may this season be a time of renewal and contemplation and peace for you, a time of sharing, and a time of gathering strength for the struggles ahead.

I’ll be back on Boxing Day.

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3 Responses to THE THREE PRINCIPLES

  1. mark says:

    Have a good holiday.

  2. mark p morgan says:

    ran across your site surfing for some trivia for a christmas day game to play with the family this afternoon. What a delightful and inspiring site to discover. skimmed some of your writing-i will definitely be back. what a wise man you are. live in central ky and am trying to live some of the principles you note.

  3. Steve says:

    Good post Dave. You are wise like a full moon on a winter night.

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