Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cherokee Youth Ritual

I have no idea if this is factual, but it was a very touching email that was sent to me some time ago. I apologize if it is not accurate, but it is inspiring nonetheless:

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.
Moral of the Story: Just because you can't see God, doesn't mean He is not there. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7 ~


Talkin' Texan said...

Hi Kaye,
It has been such a long time since I've been by to visit. But I see it has been a while since you've posted too. Hope all is well.
I've gotten this email and you are right, very inspiring.
Like you I don't know if it is true, but even fictions can make you think and ponder. That's okay. Thanks for posting this for me to read again. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Afraid you've been netted by a "feel good" story; an urban legend about the Cherokee, rather than a Cherokee legend.

The Cherokee had several clans (I think there's 7 these days). Each clan had different 'requirements', but the basics were that the boy would be able to do all that an adult male could do (hunt, fish, etc). At that point the boy would fast and go on a vision quest (dream quest) alone, and away from others. This was essentially the same basic ritual observed by many other Native American tribes, though the specifics can and have changed based on family clans and location. Before the white man came, Cherokee [and other tribes] children had little, if anything, to fear about being alone in the woods - after all, they'd lived their lives there - their youth became adults because they acted like adults.