The Eagle card is the first of my numbered Medicine Cards, as Eagle’s powerful spirit is #1 in our U.S. culture.
We hold eagle feathers as the most sacred of healing tools. Shamans used these to cleanse diseased auras. Eagle medicine is achieved through good old fashioned all-American bootstrap hard work and the personal power of completed production.
The issue for eagle medicine is right use. We have opportunity to broaden our sense of self, soaring beyond the horizon of what is presently visible. Myopic egotism and hubris are too narrow for the vast vistas of Eagle medicine.
If the Eagle is our nation’s Yang spirit, then he calls us to balance with the Give-Away Eagle; Turkey medicine is our Yin spirit.
Give-Away cooperation is the reverse side of Eagle’s Take-Away power. Turkey medicine recognizes that sacrifice to the bone of need is fuel for the fat of want and take and have and own and mine. The pot-latch redemptive ceremony is counter-cultural for Eagle dominance, played with win-lose game assumptions. Give-Away culture assumes no tribe or species can win our economy game unless all needs are met. Mutual subsidiarity premises our active peace principle of solidarity. Only win-win cooperative strategies merit Turkey’s Give-Away grace.
In Turkey’s hunted hungry haunted eyes, a person with wealth deposits has fat deposits which is not only selfish but insanely dangerous. Self-centeredness is bad for our physical and mental health, and not sustainable for the entire flock of flocks. Excess wealth is a cultural embarrassment within the Turkey Tribe. Where one bulges with excess power, nutrition, medicine, fat, others fade and strain in dissonant decay.
The word poverty is always relational. I am poor as compared to, well…., almost everyone, but choose any millionaire on up through multi-billionaire who comes to mind. My 19-year-old chronically unemployable son is poor as compared to my assets and opportunities. We do not use the word poor so much when we are talking about an entire tribe or species confronting chronic lack of sufficient resources to thrive, to regenerate. We are more likely to use words like epidemic or risk of extinction.
Turkey medicine reminds us that if our culture applauds engorged Eagles as normative role-models for ourselves and our kids, then it becomes less likely that these kids and their kids will sustain and thrive. Fat turkeys end up on other species’ thanksgiving tables.
Turkey’s grace is the understory of Eagle’s incarnational equity and strength for justice and liberty.
Give-Away Grace reminds us that an eye for an eye may be metric power balance but not social justice, or rationality.
Grace reminds us that an eye for an eye leads to bicameral blindness.
Grace sees that if you have lost an eye, then so have We.
Grace reminds us that we are in this mess together so justice always responds to injustice by asking “where did we go wrong together?”
Our loss of even one eye is a teaching moment for the human flock to rally, to gather and gobble our way toward protecting our flock. We are each responsible for containing the loss and giving the medicine of mercy and forbearance and regenerative redemption in the gift of our flurry of feathered response. Grace shares the turkey’s shyness by shunning where Eagle’s Law would punish with despair.
Turkey’s grace sees the wisdom of minimizing loss by optimizing effectiveness.
Grace recalls that my loss of eye is a stimulus that would also become a response only by doubling the loss and initiating an infinite reactionary string of unraveling disarray, chaos, dismay, death, declarations of war and malignant intent. Turkey grace pauses to recall that each stimulating loss is half of an emerging justice issue that need not be constrained by the failure of the first half. Grace further recalls that each stimulating loss was also a “second-half” response to earlier events or absences of giving when sharing was needed.
Give-Away Turkey culture compassionately shares our shame that we have created such an unfair flock and environment that we would rob ourselves of mindfulness in our rabid thirst for revenge. Turkey medicine remains mindful of the suffering, longing understory within compassion, empathy, synergy, belonging. Turkey grace knows that victimizing others is always self-victimizing as well, it is a hurtful sacrifice to be avoided.
Active peace is non-violence of thought and word and deed, but it is also the relentless invitation to co-passioning minds, which Christians call love, and philosophers have called integrity, or even synergy.
We are an Eagle iconic culture started by a flock of active peaceful Turkeys. As before, so after. May win-win strategic responses to fear and loss and hurt fall like rain; may I begin again within each moment, thought, word, and mind-enriching action.