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Apache Medicine Woman Oh Shinnah Fast Wolf

By January 13, 2022No Comments

“Remember you are 78-96% water and water is a liquid crystal and you can program crystals so you can program the way you live your life,” said Oh Shinnah Fast Wolf when she gave the closing blessing at World Water Day 2005. Today, while standing by the Pacific Ocean after our first hike together in many months, my Dad shared with me that Oh Shinnah had crossed peacefully into the spirit world at 3:00 am mountain time on January 11th. She was one of his early influential teachers of indigenous ways, and she had been a teacher for me too. Upon hearing of her passing, I was immediately transported back to a time in my childhood, sitting on the shore of a lake with Oh Shinnah. Where my dad had gone and how we ended up there just the two of us I am not sure, but the moment left a strong impression on me. 

Lessons by the Lake

I had always enjoyed her company whenever she visited my family or we visited her home and I looked up to her, even in my youth, cognizant of the power she carried. I remember feeling a sense of awe as I sat with her on this particular day and lucky, that I was somehow important enough to spend that time with her. She wore a burgundy tank top and pale blue skirt. Her chestnut hair flowed down along the sides of her high cheekbones, over her tan shoulders, and her movements were graceful as she adjusted her position on the rocks.

The Power of the Feminine

I listened closely as she talked about the power of the feminine and our role as stewards, birthing new life and new ways into the world. I believe it was the first time anyone had ever shared that perspective with me as I was quite young, I think in maybe third or fourth grade, and yet she felt it was the right thing to do. She was right, for the words went deep into my heart and I can hear her deep and raspy voice as if she were talking next to me today, her legs splayed to the side of her hips, on the Earth as we sat together that day. 

Over the years, I meant to reach out many times. It has been a long time since we last spoke, but I found a video of Oh Shinnah giving a blessing at World Water Day 2005. She speaks of her name, and its meaning, tying together the Apache words that mean “Earth” and “to make like the heartbeat or the rhythm of the song of the earth.” As she gives her blessing, she prays to the Seven Directions, asking for forgiveness for the harm we have done to the Earth and waterways, and to the Spirit of the East to help us understand the power of the Eagle, who can come to us and give us the strength to change that which is not correct in our lives. 

Carrying on Oh Shinnah’s Medicine

There is much that is not correct in all of our lives these days. To Oh Shinnah, and her spirit, I give thanks for all she did to care for and protect the land on which we are so lucky to walk, and the water and animals and many beings with whom I share my journey and this world. And pray that I may use the strength and wisdom I have been given to carry on her teachings in a good way.