Tim Yearington Teacher, Speaker Storyteller, Author

   Tim's Path: Becoming a thunderbird...

"I went up the mountain to find my way.  I trusted the tall tales of the ancient trees. They told me to follow the animals to the medicine places and find the lost crest of the thunderbird nest. Like a little pine I stood atop that place of vision and grew cold. Then a great bird - grey as a storm cloud - hatched inside my heart. My spirit flew free and I soared high into the sky."

Out of respect to those of you who are seeking to know more about me, I share with you the following information. I trust it will help you to understand the nature of the work that I do.  

I am originally 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 Algonquin Kitchizibi (Great River) blood and Métis/French Canadian roots on my biological father's side. It's with this heritage I am a "mixed-blood" person.

Before I knew what my role was as a thunderbird (shaman), I had many things to learn. And I'm still learning. I spend a lot of time out on the land - out in the bush - so to speak. Here I get deeply engaged in my learning guided by the spirits of the land: the stones, plants, trees and animals; the crawlers, the walkers swimmers and flyers. An Algonquin elder once said to me, "The word eagle and the word ego sound very much alike. There's a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness." So very true.

After the end of my career as a commercial artist, I went back to what I knew best and became a wilderness adventure guide. For many years I took people canoeing, hiking & snowshoeing to all the beautiful places that inspired me. I wanted to help people see the medicine of traditional Algonquin territory just west of Ottawa. But no trails even existed to all the medicine places and sacred sites I had become well acquainted with.

So, inspired by my own spiritual visions, I began "scouting out" and constructing trails that would bring people to see the good medicine of the land. I made the trails go to spots where people could personally experience the union of the earth and the sky. One popular trail I created is the Manitou Mountain Trail. Found just west of Ottawa near Calabogie, Ontario, this trail network includes scenic Eagle's Nest Sacred Site which is also a lookout. And there is another trail I scouted and created that goes to the great stone thunderbird nest at the top of Bird Mountain.

Today my passion is helping people learn to use the power and medicine of thunderbird teachings. My aim is to help others find and utilize the Great Bird that soars within each of us by sharing old Algonquin Knowledge that helps us know our shared human condition. My ultimate hope is that people will learn to embrace the good medicine within each of us to create strong mental health, emotional balance, wellness and personal inner peace.  

My knowledge is rooted in my research, experiences, visions and most importantly the lessons, ways and wisdom I have learned from a variety of traditional elders, medicine people, holy people and knowledge keepers. I have recognized that my quest for medicine ways has taken me my entire life. Upon the trail I have endured many sacrifices and have lost many things. But for all that I have lost, I do understand I have gained much. All I have gained is what I passionately share with others today.

Some of my knowledge is based on my very close relationship with the earth - like a snake - and my experiences with animal manitou helpers. I will also admit to you that some of my most profound knowledge comes to me directly from my Algonquin ancestors who are the Old Ones. And then there are my own profound and powerful experiences with the thunderbirds.

The thunderbirds, avian helpers of the Great Spirit, use thunder and lightning to help people create changes in life for their own well-being. I was taught, "Sometimes the weakest people need the strongest medicine." Therefore most of my practices draw upon the old ways of what is called "thunderbird medicine". The Thunderbird Medicine Society was a group of medicine and holy people. These shamans didn't gather roots and bark to prepare their medicine. Their power came directly from the Great Spirit and the Sky World in the form of ancestors called The Old Ones who, we truly believe, intentionally come to help people in life as gigantic, wondrous, great spirit birds; the thunderbirds.

I once learned that a thunderbird medicine person, or shaman, comes into being by having visions and experiences with their spirit helper the Thunderbird. And in addition, learning to be a thunderbird medicine person also involves learning about and working with the medicine of snakes and serpents; things that aren't too fun and are very challenging personally. My very first dream of the Mishi-ginebik (Horned Serpent) was when I was fourteen. Mishi-ginebik appeared to me in a dream where I was swimming at the bottom of a deep lake in northern Ontario.

 

I didn't know it at the time but eventually I learned that when a person dreams of Mishi-ginebik (and thunderbirds too) this may indicate they could possibly become a medicine person later in life.  When I got older I realized it was all up to me to choose to step into this role, embrace being a thunderbird and then walk my talk to share the knowledge and teachings I'd first learned to use myself to help others become balanced, strong and well.

Thunderbird people are taught to share their feathers. These feathers take the form of traditional knowledge, medicine ways and ancient teachings. All of this "good medicine" is intended to inspire, enlighten and empower others to see the importance of utilizing their very own spirit to follow their personal trail in life.

From the work I've done upon my own personal trail, I now understand that true self-awareness and self-empowerment typically involves facing that monster serpent that exists deep within each of us. As a thunderbird myself, this is what I aim to help people with the most: the hidden, deep, dark scary stuff.

The elders I've met on my trail believe it's very important today to help people re-connect with their own spirits again. In this way people are motivated and can become empowered to bring balance and happiness back into their lives. I believe it's getting more important that we honestly re-assess our direction in life. Algonquin Knowledge helps us to take a good hard look at how we're really doing - and where we're going - here on Earth.

As told by the Anishinaabe prophecy of the Seventh Fire, there is a time soon coming over the horizon when we will have to make a vital decision between living harmoniously with Mother Earth or technologically against her. The thunderbird ways I've learned to utilize on my own trail and now share with others are intended for everyone. There are many trails to the sacred nest at the top of the mountain. We are all entitled to embrace and use the wondrous power of our own spirit to help us get there.

The thunderbird teachings are an important part of my life and I'm passionate about sharing them with others desiring to learn. Miigwetch (thank you) for taking the time to read through this. I hope it has illustrated a clearer picture about myself for you. I do welcome questions so I look forward to hearing from you!

Professional resume and references are available upon request. 

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