Part One – Walking in Three Worlds
Chapter 6 – Intellectual and Spiritual Gifts
By Ghost Dancer
I do not remember when it was actually that folks started noticing that I had exceptional memory and learning abilities but I was very young. My Grandpa Beavers made sure that I understood how important it was for me to remember everything I saw, heard, felt , and sensed each and every day. He impressed on me how important it was for me to learn and try to keep learning everything I possibly could for one day he said I would need to be sharing all these things so they won’t be forgotten.
My mom started me way ahead of school so when I started 1st grade I could already read, write, do arithmetic and such. Yeah we ate lots of fish in our diet back then too so that surely helped my mental abilities. We kids didn’t go to kindergarten. I’m not even sure if they had things like that back then. I do know none of the other kids in my grade could do the things I could. By 5th grade, I was already doing advanced class work. They gave me an IQ test and were shocked that I scored 147. I was tested again in the 8th grade and my score was 185. By then I was doing 11th and 12th grade high school and higher work. With a photographic memory, I had nearly 100% retention of everything I read, or observed.
I loved to learn and I loved all the sciences, mathematics, history, and such. I stayed in a classrooms up till the 8th grade my classes were all with seniors and I was already doing college courses. When I went to high school they decided I was too much of a distraction and just assigned me to the principal’s office where the vice principal provided me with higher college level course materials to study.
When I finished the 10th grade I had already taken all of the college courses available to me. The principal said they really didn’t have anything else to teach me. I asked him then to go ahead and let me graduate; I was certainly ready to move on. Looking back, I still can’t believe that he actually said no, that I needed to stay in school and play sports because the school needed me.
So I quit school and wound up getting married. It was a shotgun wedding because a girl’s father accused me of taking advantage of his daughter. In those days forced marriage was the only way to deal with such accusations. Since I was under age my dad took me to Iuka, MS and told them I was older, that my license had been taken by the court, so at age 15 I ended up married. While I was working the all-athletic coach for the high school pleaded with me to come back to school and play sports. He said they would help me make money to support my family. I declined. I was still upset that the principal would not allow me to graduate. See I had a stubborn streak in me back then and felt it was wrong and I would show them for not giving me the credit I felt was due to me or even cared about my academic potential. As for my own dreams, I had seriously thought I would like to become a scientist or a medical doctor, but here I was and this was certainly not a good start for a promising scholar.
After I went to prison, my quest to learn and to share my knowledge did not end. I would love to tell you about some of the people who really helped me. I remember Law Professor Hand who came into the prison to teach law classes. This man expected 100% from you or you got a zero because in law you either win or you lose; there is no in between. He pushed me to really learn to understand the law and how to apply it. Thanks to Professor Hand I was able to file and win so many things in courts. I kept up with him after the classes and thank him for being so tough on me.
Another man who was very helpful in my higher education was Dr. Peter Astrabuck [sp] who was the U.N. Ambassador from Austria in the 80’s. He opened doors for me to many college professors, colleges and universities in Europe and through them so much buried information became available to me. I was fortunate enough to meet people from France, Austria, Scotland, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Holland, East & West Germany, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Italy, Rome, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Rhodesia, Nigeria, Japan, China, India, and Hong Kong. My mind was so very hungry to learn many different things from Ancient history, medicine, sciences, engineering, architecture, and all the world religions and cultures. All these people helped feed my hunger for knowledge.
I also want to speak about Terry C. Johnston, who researched and documented so much history of the American west as a historical fiction writer. Terry was instrumental in getting me to start writing things down. He became my friend first as we both loved history. He loved picking my brain on traditional native ceremonies, thought processes, regalia, histories, religions, and culture when portraying Native people in his books. He always sent me a personally autographed first printing of each book he wrote. He also had his writer friends send me their books and communicate with me too.
Terry always encouraged me to write about what I know and what was happening in our legal struggles with the prison system. Terry personally helped by paying for airplane tickets and motel rooms for many of my expert witnesses for court in our struggles for our right to pray and practice our religion in prison. Others such as Joseph Bruchac https://josephbruchac.com/ who wrote many books on Native culture, became my friend and helped by providing me more books and encouraging me to write for numerous native newsletters and newspapers. I began writing for Eagle Wing press, Bejouwin, Oh-Ta-Kin, Four Winds, and many more.
Over the years as my body of knowledge grew, I had the opportunity to work with Native American college professors, museums, archaeologists, and historians, helping them learn more about ancient pictographs, belief systems, customs, artifacts, languages, etc. I loved teaching and still do. Just a few years ago I was asked to work with April Gardner who writes romance novels. She was working on a series set in the 19th century south and wanted guidance on making her portrayals of Creek and Seminole people culturally authentic and in a true light as human beings. April’s stories opened up her readers up to a whole new view of Native peoples, culture, beliefs, ceremonies, etc. I’m so very proud of all her hard work. Thank you, April for your dedication, friendship, and help. I truly appreciate all her books and she has sent me copies of each one. I was always taught to share the knowledge and teachings with all who wanted to learn so these things will never be forgotten or lost.
Now one thing I need to mention is the fact that I was born with certain other gifts that are much harder for people to understand. Though this came natural to me, I had to learn to accept it myself and surely needed to keep quiet about. Grandpa Beavers and my elders understood my abilities to know and see things most people cannot see. They always warned me to be quiet about these things for ignorant folks would fear me and claim I was possessed or did the work of the devil. See I lived in the south where churches with a variety of narrow beliefs controlled every community. Their prejudices about what I could do could literally get me killed. I guess those folks didn’t read their bibles very much. There is so much written about ones in the bible who could do what I do and yeah their own people killed them too. So yeah I had to keep these things quiet from others.
Now I have a gift of connecting with all types of animals and the ability to “read” people, seeing things others do not see. I also have the ability to travel to the spirit world which has helped me in so many more ways than most folks would accept or even understand. Most everyone has heard of people with unexplainable special gifts such as Edgar Cayce. Some people who have near-death experiences speak of leaving their body and being able to look down and watch medical teams working to bring them back to life. Spirit travel is like that, only with the ability to let the spirit leave the body and travel through time, distances, to see and learn things directly from the past, old ways and wisdoms that have been lost through the events of time. Among traditional Native cultures, individuals with these gifts are honored. In Muscogee Creek culture, such people are respectfully recognized as Keethlas or Knowers.
Doing these things does come with responsibilities, rules and a cost. It takes a toll on your body and your life; it changes you from most folks and requires a high level of self-discipline. People with this gift must learn to put up self-protective shields and to quiet the mind so as to tell the difference between the spirit world and the physical world and which dimension or plane of existence you are actually dealing with. This all comes with practice, practice and more practice.
My elders on my dad’s side of the family accepted this as did my mom and Grandpa Beavers. My sisters and brother accepted this about me and even some of my cousins. Others, well I tried my best to be careful to not let them know. Later in life I openly practiced this ability doing psychic shows and fairs all across the country. I even worked for some Hollywood and music celebrities doing readings for their programs and was once invited to the Edgar Cayce Institute in Virginia Beach VA.
I understand why most people scoff at things such as this that they simply do not understand. Too many today, just as many I have met in my life, are just fakes and frauds. These are people with no morals, discipline, training, or experience yet they take advantage of the gullible and people desperate to find solutions to very real problems. People believe they can read a book and actually be a reader of people or tell someone’s future by a casting of the cards or such. Truly gifted people know that much more is required and you must practice to develop your gifts.
There are also rules placed on you by Spirit and all spirit helpers you may use or contact; this takes a toll on you and your life. I still help others if they ask. My gift is strong, better than it ever has been. I’ve had the experience of a lifetime, and I still practice and learn even more every day. I haven’t done a show in years, but most surely these sacred gifts have helped me in numerous ways to endure the tribulations of prison and to help other inmates along the way.