Entering Into the Silence: The Seneca Way

Grandmother Twylah Hurd Nitsch. (Published 1976, New York, by the Seneca Indian Historical Society)

It is exciting to honor Grandmother in these first entries of the blog because she has been so important to me as a mentor and teacher. She gave me the spiritual name Joy. Studying with her through the 1980’s gave me so many profound experiences. Her incredible book is still a reminder to see and feel the sacredness of the earth as I work in my garden.

This book presents the teachings of the ancient Native People known as Seneca who were acknowledged philosophers and famous orators. They lived in upper New York and were original members of Haudenosaunee, also known as Iroquois or Six Nations: Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, and Tuscarora. With a commitment to preserve the heritage of the Seneca Nation, Grandmother Twylah taught through the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge of the Senecas.

In response to a need to offer guidance to seekers of peace and to be a voice for the Elders throughout the ages, Grandmother wrote it to sustain pathways of harmony and to support life experiences of love and joy. In this book she highlights nature as teacher, the power of gratitude, the miracle of light, and the Great Mystery. She defines unity, gives suggestions for character change, and teaches how to learn about peace through ‘breathing into the silence’. Grandmother explained,

“The Senecas believed the Force was in everything, everywhere at all times. It was called the Great Mystery, Swenio (Spirit in Seneca) and the inquisitive people vowed to learn what it was all about.”

Today her son Bob Nitsch and his wife Lee sustain the knowledge of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge. http://www.wolfclanteachinglodge.org/facilitators.html

For me the book has been valuable. It has become a continuing source of inspiration for my spiritual journey and shamanic practices. I have used it to sustain a journey of peace, deepen my understanding of myself and to help others find their purpose. I am grateful for being aware of the Great Mystery in my life.