For Aztec and Mexican-American bestselling author Anita Sanchez, the inspiration for her book “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times” originally came from her dying mother.
“She was very ready to die,” Sanchez says of her mother. “She was always such an upbeat person, even though she had a lot of challenges in life. She was sad and I was like, ‘Oh, I know you know you’re dying, but there’s a sadness that I’m not used to seeing.’ And she goes, ‘Well, I don’t mind that I’m dying. It’s that my great-great-grandchildren won’t know me.'”
So Sanchez began writing a book about her mother. But when she died in 2012, Sanchez says it took her a couple years before she could get back into it.
EAGLE HOOP PROPHECY
As she was writing, though, the Eagle Hoop Prophecy — a vision Mohican Elder Don Coyhis experienced in the mid-1990s — kept making its way into her thoughts.
“As I was starting to write the book, my book came out and so I was just like, ‘Mom, I know you’ll understand, I’m going to write your book, your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will know who you are, but this keeps coming,'” Sanchez says. “And so that was the motivation then to like, OK, you’re to write about this. And the Four Sacred Gifts of this Eagle Hoop Prophecy was a big turning point in my life in the nineties when I received it.”
In her book, Sanchez describes Coyhis’s prophecy as follows:
An eagle flew above his sleeping self, dropping a beam of light upon the man’s head. This ray of light began to expand, reaching from the sky to the earth. Within the light, a very small sprout sprung forth, becoming a tree, growing through each of the four seasons — the spring, summer, fall, and winter. Then the leaves of this tree began to fall off. And then soon, the branches began to fall off. What remained was a single stem of the tree, which rose up vertically and then turned horizontally, bending and forming itself into the perfect shape of a circle to represent the earth and the universe. When the circle or hoop was completed, a single dot of light formed in the sky, coming down to the hoop. The dot of light transformed into an eagle feather attaching itself to the hoop. Then more and more dots of light came from all the four directions — north, east, south, and west — becoming eagle feathers, attaching themselves to the hoop until there were one hundred eagle feathers in all.
While she had been a messenger for the prophecy when she first heard it, Sanchez says she “never took that as meaning I was to write a book as well to amplify the voices of all the elders from all over the world who brought forth that prophecy.”
Her editors at Simon & Schuster suggested that she add more quotes from indigenous elders from around the world.
“And I was like, ‘Oh no, that’s a couple more months already,'” she says with a chuckle. “But I knew they were right, so I never said no. I said, ‘Absolutely, yes.'”
Consequently, Sanchez reached out to indigenous elders from around the world of all ages, young and old.
“Elder does not have to do with age. It has to do with your connection to the original knowledge and the community seeing you,” she says.
Coyhis, according to Sanchez, heard in his vision that he was to call the elders from all the directions because human beings had forgotten what it means to be a whole human being.
“They had forgotten how to create harmony and balance,” she says. “They’ve forgotten that they are part of nature, not separate. And so all the relations are sacred.”
Elder does not have to do with age. It has to do with your connection to the original knowledge and the community seeing you.
‘WE ALREADY KNEW’
So when Sanchez began meeting with indigenous elders from around the world to talk about her book and get quotes from them, “They said, ‘We already knew. We knew it was a woman who was gonna take this message out. We didn’t know it was you, but yes, the answer’s yes, go do it.'”
“I’m really grateful that the elders trusted me to write this book and to take it out and to have people show up,” she says.
Learn more about Anita Sanchez here and come back tomorrow to find out what Sanchez thinks the term “indigenous” really means.
Dr. Sanchez’s book is available on Amazon and other major booksellers. Click here for more.