Testimonial Letter by George Bertelstein
What is the Indigenous Spiritual Movement About?
I came to these Ways to heal myself and my life. I am a combat veteran of the American War in Vietnam. I returned to civilian life in late 1969 at age 23, confused and traumatized, and sought refuge from my suffering in addictive behaviors of all kinds.
In 1985 I made my first attempt to eliminate alcohol and drugs from my life. I met a woman with a young daughter and became a de facto father to a 6 year old. In my efforts to be worthy of this responsibility I began to pray again for the first time since childhood and sought to find a spiritual path that made sense to me. My prayer was to find God in a form that I could understand.
In 1989 I went to my first sweat lodge and saw my first Chanunpa. I spent the next several years of my life deeply committed to sweat lodge and pipe. I became a pipe maker. I was given a pipe by my first teacher, a Lakota Medicine Woman and Sun Dancer. In 1992 I led my first pipe ceremony. Since that time I have led many hundreds of them with many thousands of people. Medicine Path Native American Church of which I am a Spiritual Leader and Elder has had an ongoing Tuesday night pipe ceremony for the last 16 plus years.
I discovered the plant Medicines through the Peyote, and found deep healing and permanent and lasting change in my life through those ceremonies. In 2004 Medicine Path was founded as an NAC and my work with the Sacred Pipe and the Plant Master Teachers came under the aegis and blessing of that Church supported by a blessing from Okleveuaha. Since that time Medicine Path has offered Master Plant Medicine ceremonies to many hundreds of people from all over the world.
The Master Plant Medicines contain within them all the genuine wisdom teachings of all the Sacred Ways. They teach self-discipline, self-mastery, personal responsibility, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and unconditional love. This is profound and life-changing. The personally observable reality of this healing is the true reason for the surge in membership and interest in Sacred ceremonies all over the world.
Medicine is not a drug. A drug takes you someplace and leaves you right back where it found you. Medicine takes you someplace and leaves you with a new life. Every single time. Medicine teaches us that prayer, rather than being a form of begging or an empty ritual is the recognition of our personal relationship with Creator, and that every human being has the power to invoke that relationship in any moment by asking for help from a Power Greater than ourselves.
Medicine Path NAC teaches people to make and keep a clear and simple prayer for their lives through the Sacred Pipe ceremonies. Then, prayer in heart, it is possible for a human being to have a personal healing relationship with Creator through the plant Sacraments that can effect the permanent and lasting change we are all praying to have for ourselves, our families and communities and the world as a whole.
In this way, healing ourselves, self-chosen for self-healing, we heal the world with love instead of anger.