Paths of Gaeda
Like the Cozahrs in the east, these are mostly nomadic tribes of humans who range throughout the wild lands of the Western Continent along the borders of the Colonial Lands. They also have a few major permanent settlements. The Kashwa have a great reputation as hunters, and they share their lands with all manner of dangerous beasts. They practice a form of animism and nature-worship. Many of their tribes are dedicated to particular totemic animals. The Wolf is a common animal totem and very important to their culture. Cultural Touchstone: Native American/Inuit
The Kashwa seem to have some kind of special respect or taboo associated with wolves.
Quotes from An Elder from “Kashwa Customs and Beliefs”,
-by Sir Stewart Ivory
1) Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words are no part of Kashwa politeness. Excessive manners are put down as insincere, and the constant talker is considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation is never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
2) Children are taught that true politeness is to be defined in actions rather than in words. They are never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others are speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.
3) Silence is meaningful with the Kashwa, and his granting a space of silence before talking is done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence is the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior is the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by Colonials of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
4) We do not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to Colonials is nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him is it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it is tame. Earth is bountiful and we are surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
5) With all creatures of the earth, sky and water spirit is a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Kashwa safe among them. And so close do some of the Kashwas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
6) Among the creatures the Wolf brother is powerful and revered. He walks the path to the Ancestral lands in the heavens and on the full moon guides the passed to the next world. It is taboo to treat the Wolf-brothers badly or your spirit will never pass to the other world. It is also taboo to look upon the Wolf-brothers or the full moon too long or you may seem eager to leave this world and again their spirits will take you.
7) This concept of life and its relations is humanizing and gives to the Kashwa an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gives him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
8) It is good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Kashwa still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
9) Everything is possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge is inherent in all things. The world is a library and its books are the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that is to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
10) …the old Kashwa is wise. He knows that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he tries to keep his children close to nature’s softening influence.
11) Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.