Can you go into the origins of the tobacco and spirit offering in Native American culture? Tobacco was considered a powerful spirit. It was considered to have the power to enliven the one smoking it, and even modern research has shown that nicotine after it’s metabolized has an anti-psychotic effect.
And cannabis? The Native Americans used that too. Plant spirits were show as much respect as animal. It was believed that if tobacco was shown respect in the smoking ceremony, or when left as an offering, it would be willing to give its power as an intercession with an offended spirit. Thus the term ‘peace pipe’, and even the tradition of the give away or ‘potlach’ (which is where we get that word) was a way of promoting peace in the tribe and among the spirits.
One family who was celebrating, say, the birth of a child, would give away almost all of what they had which was made by their own hand usually, or gathered by them, with no expectation of return. But because the tribe functioned as a unit, what they gave wasn’t returned but what the other families had was shared with them, often exceeding what that family had originally to offer. So the wife of that family might have given away the shirts and moccasins she made, and the family would get more shirts and moccasins back.
A fitting new beginning for a new life, and it was considered to be the cycle. This is also why they refused to harvest everything. They believed they had to show they respected that cycle. So even if they planted corn, they left corn in the field in respect for Corn Woman. Often leaving offerings of fish buried in the field as well. They maybe didn’t understand the science of agriculture but I ask you, did they really need to? We might understand “science” better now, but we are less in touch with spirit.
Harmony of thought. Intuitive human understanding, and they didn’t create a distinction between dream life and waking life. They saw dreams as real. If strange, they dismissed it as the behaviour of the trickster spirits, but even in that case they weren’t actually to be ignored. Say a brave slept one night and dreamed he was attacked by a cougar. He would speak of his “spirit encounter” with the Shaman and based on what exactly he dreamed, he would be given a course of action to do while awake. Dreams were spirit world activity, so they weren’t something in your head. They believed they were a spirit in the world. So a dream catcher would include things that were the person’s allies, and it was always made in the form of a net, perhaps for an obvious reason. They would make a hoop and run a net through it, then include an eagle feather or a bear claw, whatever was allied and might share its power to keep enemy spirits away.
Would that be similar to a banshee, the spirit? Yes, a banshee would be a malign night spirit.
Bean o sidhe. Woman of the sidhe or underworld, fairy realm etc? Yes. The sidhe would be the European equivalent of the spirits respected in North America which were also viewed as having the power to shape shift and to often appear as animals.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.