Native Americans had the belief that a network of sacred energy was in everything and that everything was part of that sacred energy. Animals, plants, nature, and people were really energy interconnected in a complex web of life. The energy is conscious, aware energy, and it is evident in all creatures and entities. Native Americans call this energy orenda, also known as life force, breath, or spirit.
It is said that the term orenda originated from the Iroquois people from the northeast. It is a power or force innate in all objects from stones to deities, and it generally applies to mystic potency. The root “ren” is associated with the power of song, which is the principal vehicle for communication between the Iroquois and the spirit world.
Understanding orendas is important to understanding the Indians’ relationship with nature, as it shows how the indigenous people regarded nature as part of their family. Orenda is the species-specific energy found in all natural entities; it is coded and sacred, meaning that it provides a specific way that that individual species expresses and uses that energy.
For example, the orenda of a particular forest would consist of all emotions and experiences that were ever a part of that forest.
If there was a battle fought there or if there had been great sorrow there. When one is on a mountain, there is a massive amount of energy that can be felt- deep, powerful energies emanating from the earth. Water energy is flowing and subtle.
Energies can be manifested in many ways; by merely setting foot in a place one can have an understanding of what the place feels like, maybe acquiring a knowledge of the overall tone or mood of a place. Like places, animals and plants have energies that are a part of the individual’s characteristics.
One tribe believes that the eagle represents the messenger of the creator. It is usually considered the most spiritually evolved animal and it symbolizes courage. Since eagle orenda is a sign of courage, it is very honorable to acquire an eagle feather. Buffalo energy is different from eagle energy, and each has its own power which makes it unique.
All energy affects each other either directly or indirectly. Energy is viewed by Indians as being neither good nor bad, and what may be good for one may not be good for another.
It is important to recognize that by considering a particular type of energy as being bad, one is imposing his/her western views on these energies by judging them according to the standards of humans. In reality, a destructive force such as a hurricane or flood may in actuality be a creative force, creating new life and regenerating growth.
Another important concept is that energy is not static. It is dynamic and constantly adjusting according to its experiences and surroundings; it is more like a process rather than a personality.
I’m sure you’ve noticed this phenomenon in your daily lives, that our energy and personality are never static, but ever-changing. Our internal world may manifest a wide range of emotions and experiences in our private world, but when we are in the public sphere we tend to show just our public side. Sacred energies are just as unique as the individual.
Have you ever felt certain energies around you during your visit to a certain place? How would you describe them? Have you felt other people’s energies? Do your energies change throughout the day? Throughout your cycle?
Ikam is a freelance writer from South Florida. She received her Masters in Religious Studies in 2001, specializing in myth and ritual. She has worked with victims of crime and trauma and also has a Masters in Criminal Justice, which she got in 2008. Ikam is interested in spirituality, healing, health, and the paranormal. She loves writing about a wide variety of topics, including travel, entertainment, culture, and health. Ikam wants to be a part of the Cycle Harmony community in hopes she will help and inspire others to achieve their goals, as well as share ideas on women, spirituality, and healthy living.