Hal Zina Bennett

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Zuni Fetishes

Using Native American Objects for  Home Meditation, Reflection & Insight

By Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D (Illustrated by Timothy White)

Published by Harper Collins 1993, 170 pages, ISBN 0-06-250069-4

Areas of Interest


"By sharing with us how his study of Native American spirituality helps him on his own spiritual path, Hal Bennett has made an important contribution. It is fascinating reading, which can help all of us come a step closer to the inner peace that we all see in our lives."

~Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., author of Shortcuts to God

This book was featured in:

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The San Jose Mercury New
  • New Times
  • The Taos News
  • The Dallas Morning Star
  • Sacred Hoop Magazine (England)
  • Shaman's Drum Magazine

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Excerpts from the Book

(The excerpts below are from pages 105-112 of the book.)

If there is one thing we learn from working with the fetishes, it is an appreciation for our kinship with every living thing on our planet. If we live according to this perspective, then we do not harm anything. If we take grain from the earth to feed our families, we honor the spirit that makes the growing of the grain possible. We express this reverence not just through prayers and meditation but also through the way in which we care for the land. If we kill an animal to feed our families, we honor the spirit of that animal with a prayer and with a sacrifice of our own, so that its family may continue to thrive. We also protect the homes of these animals, and we are careful not to over hunt them. Even when we must kill a human enemy, we recognize that the life we have taken is sacred; we mourn the death and pray for that warrior's soul, acknowledging the common bond that joins us as one. And we do everything we can to negotiate with our neighbors in order to prevent wars that might result in such killing. (The above continues on page 51 of the book.) * * * * * White Wolf-Guardian of the East * Loyalty * insight & revelation * social and familial values * teaching & learning * * instinct liked with intelligence * clarity * inner guidance * expression of personal truths * * newness, including new choices *

Although wolves are mysterious creatures, they possess qualities that are remarkably human. They are highly individualistic, having personalities, physical appearances, and ways of communicating that set them apart from each other. They are highly intelligent, possessing extraordinary problem-solving skills, and they are playful. They are loving parents, with both male and female taking great pans, for many months after a litter is born, to educate their young in the ways of the world. Thus, they are excellent mediators when there are family matters to be handled.  Wolves have the capacity to express a wide range of emotion, including caring and love, steadfast loyalty, sadness, worry, grief, joy, and humor. They even laugh. However, unlike humans, wolves' expressions are always genuine, directly reflecting their inner truths rather than being "put on" for an effect.  They are social animals, forming and maintaining communities with their own kind, while maintaining strict devotion to a particular mate and their family.

* * *

Very often, we cannot see the truth because we have filled our lives with false expectations, with deceits, or with illusions in an effort to protect ourselves from harm. Focus on Wolf's ability to express its inner truth spontaneously, and you will be guided through the jungle of untruths, usually those of your own making, that are standing in your way.  When you have doubts about a path you are following in your life, whether it involves love relationships, livelihood, friendship, or personal development, seek the White Wolf as a guide. Imagine it standing on the path before you or watching you from a distance as you reenact, in your mind, a recent situation in which you have experienced this doubt. Allow it to observe for a time, then ask it to share its observations with you. Ask it where or why you are off course and how to get back on.

* * *

 Observe how the Wolf sits in the east, patient, confident, quiet within, as the new light breaks over the horizon and fills the sky. It greets the new light with a song, then once again becomes quiet and attentive. This is the posture of receiving the truth, of stilling the mind, of disconnecting ourselves from the half-truths and illusions that fly around inside our heads like a startled flock of starlings. White Wolf puts itself in position to receive the truth, not by setting traps for it with reason, fear, or even hope, but through waiting with quiet patience.  With White Wolf before you or in your hand, explore how your own mind is or is not wolflike. Ask Wolf to teach you how to sit at the edge of the world and quietly await the first light, the emergence of the truth, confident that it will come without the slightest effort on your part.

Eagle--Guardian of the Upper Regions * Great power and balance * dignity with grace * ability to see the big picture * * grace achieved through knowledge and hard work * respect for the boundaries of the regions * * connection with higher truths * intuitive and creative spirit *

 To understand the power of this fetish, one needs to also have a feeling for the significance of Mother Earth, Father Sky, and Grandfather Sun. It is to the marriage between Mother Earth and Father Sky that we owe our lives, since without them we could not come into being. Nor could we live without the natural force represented by Grandfather Sun, who, with the other two, provides us with all that nourishes and sustains us.  While humans are earthbound, Eagle is most at home in the heavens, soaring effortlessly and tirelessly at great heights. As master of the heights, Eagle maintains a perfect balance between earth and sky, taking energy and light from the Sun. With the symbolic references of Sky being to our spiritual nature, Earth to our physical nature, and Sun to our life energies, Eagle offers guidance for bringing about balance and harmony among these three essential forces...  In all this, the Eagle represents the wisdom to see but at the same time to honor the boundaries between Earth, Sky, and the Gods. The final lesson is that we can borrow the Eagle's sight--its ability to survey all six regions--but we need first to learn to honor and love our human identity and the boundaries between the six regions. (North, South, East, West, Above, Below)

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All articles and images in this website are copyrighted by Hal Zina Bennett 2003-2010.  Written permission must be obtained before use of articles and images. Last modified: October 05, 2010