Artist, singer and songwriter Ginny Blankenship, of Rosebud, has always felt a connection to the Native American way of life.
While attending the Robert Woolery Sr. Memorial Pow Wow this past weekend on the Missouri State Fairgrounds, Blakenship said painting Native American scenes is her “passion.” One of her oil paintings titled “Feather Medicine” depicts an eagle, wings spread, soaring through the air.
Blankenship practices matrix energetics and re-connective healing, but also Native American feather medicine.
“That’s why I painted that picture, because the power of the feathers is just awesome,” she said Saturday. “Each one has a morphic field of having been used a certain way … it carries that energy with it. What’s really cool is when a person is on the table and their eyes are closed, I transition from the re-connective healing to the feather medicine, (and) when I start to do the prayers, some people you get a real strong reaction. It’s just phenomenal.”
According to her website, she stresses that feather medicine’s power doesn’t generate from only her but the recipient also. “Please understand that I am not in any way capable of healing on my own,” the site states. “It is only because of the connection to this energy and the clients willingness to accept the energy into their very being that healings occur.”
Blankenship, who is part Native American, spoke about a man from St. Louis who had come to her and was laying on the table.
“I had the owl feather, the owl feather is a prayer feather,” she noted. “So, you say the prayer, and when I did his whole body jerked.”
At first she thought it was coincidence, but when the young man came back for a second healing the same thing happened again.
“So afterwards I said ‘what’s with you and the owl?’” she said. “He said ‘why do you ask?’”
She explained to him what happened when she prayed using the owl feather. He told Blankenship that he’d always had an interest in owls.
“He said ‘I’ve been fascinated with owls since I was a little boy, so my room is full of statues and pictures,’” she said. “But, see his eyes were closed, so it was a spirit recognition.”
Feathers, such as Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle, are protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department under the the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Department, they operate the National Eagle Repository “as a clearinghouse for eagles and eagle parts to provide Native Americans with eagle feathers for religious use. The Repository collects dead eagles salvaged by Federal and State agencies, zoos, and other organizations.”
Federally recognized tribes enrolled in the program “may obtain a permit from the Service authorizing them to receive and possess eagle feathers and parts from the Repository.”
Blankenship said all of her feathers are gifts from Native Americans and have documentation. She uses eagle, hawk and owl feathers.
“According to the Indian tradition if you are going to do the feather medicine they are supposed to come to you from other people,” she said. “You can’t go out and get them. So that’s what happened with me. I just kind of wanted to, and I didn’t say nothing.”
Without knowing her desire, people began to give her feathers at random. The last one she needed was a Golden Eagle feather. It was given to her as a gift from a Tipton man, Charlie Lawrey, who is full-blooded Cherokee.
“I didn’t really know him very well then,” Blankenship said. “He said to me ‘I have four things to give away and I’ve been looking and I like your energy.’ He said ‘I’ll meet you at sunset because I have to say the prayer at sunset.’”
Blankenship said they met at a conservation center between Tipton and Rosebud.
“He did a little prayer ceremony and I felt the energy come down my hands,” she noted.
He didn’t know she wanted to use the feather for medicine purposes but thought she might want to use it for dancing. He was pleased to find she practiced feather medicine.
“So, that was the Golden Eagle feather,” she said. “He gave me the papers to go with it and I carry that with me.”
She explained that some feathers are used as prayer feathers, others are used as finders.
“Pileated woodpecker feathers find blockages in the body,” she noted. “I do them last because the other two modalities clears a lot of things, so whatever the feathers show up I emphasize.
“I’ve seen some pretty extraordinary healings,” she added. “It’s very humbling, now too, because I’m connected to that energy, but when the person is laying there and they are not judging anything and they’re relaxed, then they don’t block the energy flow.”
Native American feather medicine can be used for many types of healing.
“With the work I do, it heals on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual,” Blankenship said.
She added she enjoyed drawing as a child and began painting before she became involved with feather medicine.
“I was raised on a farm and I was always drawing on this little blackboard,” she said. “I was the youngest of eight, so the others were in school and I was constantly drawing on the blackboard. It kind of developed from there.”
Her family had 160 acres and she loved being outdoors walking with her dogs.
“I wasn’t scared of the woods,” she added. “My mom would wonder where I was at and she’d called the dogs and I’d follow the dogs home. So, I sign everything Woods Walker 7. It’s a spiritual name and seven has always been an unusually lucky number for me since I was little.”
Blankenship added that she’s felt the Native American connection for as long as she could remember.
“Music was always flowing out of our house,” Blankenship said. “If I would ever hear anything Native American, I would just sit up. It seemed like that culture meant more to me than anything else.”
For more information about Blankenship’s art, music or feather medicine visit woodswalker7.com.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.