Healing Circles

At a recent national Native American conference, Lakota elder Cecelia FireThunder addressed traditional mental health healing from the Native American perspective. She talked about cultural healing options available to us, some being listening, touching and holding, and the use of ceremony, celebrations, humor, and storytelling.

Lower Elwah S'Klallam storyteller and educator Roger Fernandes is a cultural leader who offers traditional tribal stories to be used as medicine for addressing mental health issues. In this section on the Healing Circles, Roger provides us with stories that can be used for the purpose of teaching and reflection, and for helping others as they work to resolve feelings of depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, and issues involving self-harm.

Healing Circles is the name of our mental health and wellness materials.


As we look at storytelling as a fundamental way of teaching and learning and understanding we must see that there are certain stories that carry a universal weight in helping people understand meaning in the world and in human beings and in their own life. These stories are called myths. A myth is a story that answers big questions that science and logic cannot such as: Where did the world come from? Where did the sun come from? Where did life and human life come from? What is the meaning of life?

All these questions are asked by humans everywhere in their search to understand. These stories answer these big questions in a way that our logical brain cannot always make sense of. They often speak to us like a dream. Carl Jung once described myths as “de-personalized dreams;” visions all human shares at a primal level that super cedes our conscious mind. Joseph Campbell went a step farther and described dreams as a “personal myth”, the mythic stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our own lives.

So mythic stories, while not sensible to our linear and logical mind, teach us a great deal at another level we might call the sub-conscious or spiritual level.  It is at this level we discover healing.  Explore the themes of these stories through the Healing Circles.

Click below to begin with The Hero's Journey.

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