"I went up the sacred mountain to find my way. I trusted the tall tales of the ancient trees. They told me to follow the animals to the beautiful places, the medicine places, the power places - the Thunderbird Nests. Like a little pine I stood alone high atop that mountain and I grew old. Then one night a Thunderbird - purple as the sunset - hatched inside my heart. My spirit flew free and I soared like an eagle into the sky."
I am from North Bay, Ontario, Canada. I was adopted as a child so my roots have always been a great mystery to me. But I did finally learn I have Mohawk and Irish ancestry on my birth mother's side. On my birth father's side I have French Canadian and suspected Algonquin ancestry. So, essentially, I am Metis - a "mixed-blood" person.
Ever since I was a boy who loved being out in the wilderness I wanted to be an artist, an author and a teacher of traditional knowledge. Today my passion is helping people with the teachings of the medicine wheel. I teach we are all native to the earth. Mother Earth is home to us all.
But before I even knew what my gifts were as a teacher, I had quite a few things to learn myself, and I am still learning. I spend a lot of time out on the land - in the bush - so to speak. Here I become engaged in learning directly from the spirits of the land; the stones, plants, trees and animals - the crawlers, walkers, swimmers and flyers.
An Algonquin elder once told me, "The word eagle and the word ego sound very much alike. There's a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness." He was the elder who gave me my first eagle feather. The traditional knowledge I now share with others came to me by doing my own personal work right on the land with the manitous - the spirits.
After the death of my career as a commerical artist, I had to go back to what I knew best - the wilderness - and so I became an outdoor guide. For many years I took people hiking, snowshoeing and canoeing to all the places I knew best. But I also wanted to bring people high into the mountains of the Madawaska Highlands in Ontario. But no trails even existed to the powerful medicine places I had become acquainted with.
So, inspired entirely by my own visions, I began making physical routes and trails that would bring people to experience the medicinal nature of Mother Earth. I brought the trails to places where people could connect directly with the spirit of the land. One such trail that I created is called the Manitou Mountain Trail. This hiking trail network is located in the Madawaska Highlands just west of Calabogie, Ontario, Canada.
Today my passion is teaching and helping people learn about the power and medicine of traditional knowledge. My aim is to help others find the Thunderbird - The Great Bird that soars within each of us - by sharing important knowledge that helps us realize our shared human condition. My ultimate hope is that people will come to understand and embrace the good medicine of the Great Spirit that flies like a bird within us all.
My knowledge base is rooted in my research, experiences, visions and most importantly the wisdom and ways learned from a variety of elders, medicine people and traditional knowledge keepers. And some medicine knowledge comes to me directly from the encouragement of Ancestor Spirits and my own experiences with the Great Bird: the Thunderbird.
The Thunderbird, a powerful messenger of the Great Spirit, employs its medicine to help people make change in life for their own greater good. As such, most of my work draws upon the wisdom and ways of what is called "Thunderbird Medicine". The Thunderbird Medicine Society was an ancient group of traditional medicine people. These medicine people didn't gather roots and bark for their medicine; their potent medicine came directly from the Great Spirit and the Sky World in the form of ancestor spirits such as Grandfathers who are still, today, believed to come to help us as the Thunders, Thunderers and Thunder Beings.
I once learned that a Thunderbird medicine person comes into being by having dreams and visions about - and experiences with - their spirit helper the Thunderbird. It is then up to that person if they choose to step into this role, embrace their power, walk their talk and share their gifts and teachings for the benefit others.
Thunderbird medicine people share their feathers - their teachings and knowledge from the Sky Realm - to motivate, inspire and encourage people to realize the importance of finding and using their own inner medicine and spirit to empower themselves on the path of life.
The Elders I've met on my path believe it's very important today to help people connect with their own spirits again - to help bring balance and peace back to their lives. They say it's critical that we learn to re-align our lives with ancient knowledge and healing wisdom that's intended for everyone by embracing the powerful medicine of the Great Bird within.
The things I've learned have now become a critical part of my life path and I'm passionate about sharing what I've learned with others. Thanks for taking the time to read all this. I look forward to hearing from you!