Banishment: A Path from Self to Circle


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Author: Tamarack Song
15 pages, offered in both a paper and electronic form (PDF).

In order to maintain emotional stability and soundness of mind, most social animals need touch. Humans, too, are interdependent, social beings. Even with a reduced amount of social contact, we begin to exhibit abnormal behavior. In non-clan societies, these seemingly negative behaviors are punished using various means from warnings and fines up to exile or even execution. This booklet discusses the importance of Banishment in clan-based societies as a supportive, loving, and healing journey from an ego-centered self back to living in harmony with the clan — back to the Circle Way.

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By leaving, the banished person is caring for herself right along with her clan. Because native lifeway is comprised of circular relationships, it is near impossible to honor and respect others and not self, and vice versa. She is leaving a situation that she cannot manage, she is removing herself from the familiar comforts and routines that keep her complacent, she is breaking entrenched habits and patterns, and in doing so she is giving herself the opportunity to find the healing she needs.

At the same time her clan cares for her. Theirs is not a Banishment of heart, because love is the reason for the Banishment. They want to see her healthy, strong and happy, so they support her entirely on her healing journey, and when she leaves, they will mourn her as though she has just died. They know she may not ever come back, and at the same time they await the day when she might reappear as the person she is fully intended to be, when they can celebrate their grand reunion.

As important as those factors are, yet the most essential element for the survival of social animals is qualitative rather than quantitative – it is the social aspect. In order to maintain emotional stability and soundness of mind, most social animals need touch. This could be physical touch in the form of play, mutual preening, sexual contact, and sleeping or roosting together, or it might be keeping in touch by sight, voice or smell. We Humans are no different; our ancestors going all the way back to pre-Human times were social beings. We are so interdependent that we would literally go crazy if we were isolated from our own kind for an extended period of time. We quickly exhibit abnormal behaviors even with a reduced amount of contact.