The Thanksgiving story in the United States whitewashes the terrible reality of how Europeans came to this continent with guns, germs, and steel to steal land and rob the native inhabitants of their liberty, land, lives, cultures, languages, and religions. Historian David Stannard estimates that between 60 and 80 million Amerindians were dead before the 17th century. This does not include the numbers of survivors of those lost, the millions raped, enslaved, made homeless, and living in daily fear for their wellbeing and lives. These assaults on Native societies in the Americas continues to this day.
The true history behind Thanksgiving glaringly shows us that humanity has been traveling along a bloody destiny line in this space-time continuum. Our elemental imprint for compassion and collaboration has been distorted and, in so many tragic cases, forgotten. The untransmuted wounds of our ancestors—ultimately a wound arising out of separation from unity consciousness—insidiously keeps leading each generation into ongoing forgetfulness of our original instructions as peacemakers.
In the face of these horrific facts, I want to propose something a bit radical. The Thanksgiving portrait of people helping another survive a brutal winter also speaks to what could have been and should have been. While the Wampanoag did share a meal together with the Pilgrims in 1621, it was followed by settlers' attacks on their Native American neighbors. Those initial actions, which the present-day Wampanoag tribe now regrets, points to a destiny line that was possible, but, in this particular slice of reality, did not manifest into an enduring friendship or peace.
Yet, the good news here is that this more positive destiny line still exists like the beam of a lighthouse signaling another way. It lives within our collective consciousness that people across an ocean or across different cultures and languages would come into contact and engage in mutually respectful, collaborative ways to ensure their survival.
I believe that deep down underneath all the fear, confusion, and hatred that has marred our world for millennia, human beings have a deep longing for peace and love. This desire is natural. We are born with it. This is also a part of what this idealized story points to.
So, what does this mean for the holiday known as Thanksgiving, and now, alternatively, a National Day of Mourning in the United States?
No matter what happens on a daily basis, no matter the mistaken, harmful and even deadly actions taken by so many, the fullest expression of our original instructions continues to be possible. With the dawn of each day, we have an opportunity to dream—and do--differently.
The great mystics, shamans, and medicine people through time have always known that as we heal ourselves and our ancestors, so we are actually changing what has been, inasmuch as we are also transforming the present and future. Destiny lines are eminently malleable through the holographic matrix of reality. One of the first steps we must undertake to dream forth a more positive probability is first, recognize the truth of what has been, and then, second, imagine the world as we wish it to have been and be through and across time.
What would a new destiny line of collaboration and friendship look like between all peoples? To envision an alternative trajectory in the Americas, we have to reach for a possible past that goes well beyond the time of the first contact between Europeans and native peoples around the world. We would have to go as far back to when the destiny line of Europeans--and probably most humans--began to diverge from the path of peace. Every choice made by every individual, community, and nation would count.
Those choices could be very subtle. Perhaps in a moment when fear arose in someone’s mind/body, they paused, reflected, and shifted their view. Perhaps when the impulsive force to hit, harm and even kill came into their body, they waited and instead sought wise counsel and found another way to resolve a dispute. They changed their mind and opened their heart.
Perhaps the blood thirsty and greedy conquistadors and marauders never came to the Americas. Or if someone did, perhaps only wise elders and their families in search of new friendships set out and found their way to these shores. Perhaps there was no murder and manipulation, no underhanded schemes, no coarse, misguided belief in the Manifest Destiny of one “race” over another, no slavery.
Perhaps when these strangers from different lands met on these shores, curiosity and openness were fertilized, rather than fear and judgment. They excitedly began to share their stories and ways with one another and recognized a creative synergy between them.
Perhaps when a village was on the brink of starvation due to not understanding how to survive in a new environment, another village reached out to educate and feed them. The gift was gratefully accepted and, when the winter was over and they were through the worst, the recipients of the others’ kindness returned in sacred reciprocity with an abundance of help, gifts and love. New friendships based on mutual understanding and respect were birthed.
Then, when the clear benefits of peaceful collaboration and creativity in prosperity for all were seen, this energy continued to grow and was passed on transgenerationally.
So, now, no fear exists, no war rages, no genocide is made, no oppression enacted.
Even though this is not what happened, we still have the power to make it so.
We can dream into being a destiny line of peace, compassion, and love to unfold generation after generation. There is within the consciousness of all inhabitants of Mother Earth an ongoing connection with our luminous oneness in light and physical form. We can call it forth one breath at a time, one day at a time.
That is the promise of the Thanksgiving story. As a mythic, archetypal tale of the force of human compassion and love, it exists within the holographic matrix of reality. It has not died; it lives and awaits the moment when humanity awakens to the instructions it gives us. While we may be very diverse in our ways, cultures, and surface appearances, we still work better when we recognize our unity as human beings and seek to help, not harm.
So, as you celebrate this time of the harvest, acknowledge the sad truth of history. Thanksgiving is rightfully called a National Day of Mourning.
If you feast with your families, neighbors, and friends in this holiday season, seek to heal it. First, grieve for what could have been and should have been. Have a moment of deep silence.
Then ignite a new story both backwards and forwards in time by harnessing the powerful energetic force of pray. Pray fervently for the greater destiny line of compassion, love, and peace to manifest through time—past, present, future.
It is time to believe that we can change the world for all, no matter where we exist in time and no matter what is ongoing now.
This is how to be a Sacred Activism for Peacemaking and Ending Violence in the holiday season.