Happy Autumn and a New Side of a Beautiful Old Cherokee Story:)

Happy Autumn,

As the trees begin to shed their leaves, we too begin the process of letting go and turning within. It is time now for us to take stock and give thanks for all we have harvested, both inner and outer, in our gardens and in our personal lives.

My growing season has been bountiful. My feet have walked bare to the garden to pick the blessings of food grown with care.  The coming of Autumn finds me exploring new forested paths, my feet beginning to crunch beats beneath, as the trees begin to shake off their leaves and the plant world begins to send it’s energy down into the earth. Collecting the seeds from wild plants as I wander, I look forward to planting them in my garden next Spring. One of my teachers Tom Brown Jr. recommends that we begin to gather and cultivate wild edible and medicinal plants. He reminds us that instead of trying to rid our gardens of them that we fill our gardens with them. After all they can usually withstand harsh environments and nutrient poor soils, needing little care in their cultivation. Yet many of these plants are as high in nutritional value and in some cases have more nutritional value than do our cultivated food crops. Just remember to save some seeds for the forest:)

Peace and a palpable sense of silence are settling in, calling me home to the soft season of the feminine, the West, the direction of Autumn. My heart has been cracked open and grown roots extending into the time to come.  I am harvesting a heart full of gratitude and wonder!

A new side of a beautiful and profound old story seems appropriate at this time of Equinox when the world, the light and dark is in balance.


An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

You might heard the story ends like this: The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on:

“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.

“You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.

“How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

–Cherokee Story

I received this second version of the  story in the mail with the gorgeous drawing from a young woman who attended and was moved by the first version of the story told in our Cranbrook Women’s Circle, one of the most profound gifts I have ever received. Perhaps she will offer you a print if you love it as much as I do. Email me if so, and I’ll ask her.

Have you heard this Cherokee story before? Which version resonates truth most for you?

Autumn Smiles & Blessings,



11 thoughts on “Happy Autumn and a New Side of a Beautiful Old Cherokee Story:)

  1. Boosie says:

    I have only heard the short version and appreciate the longer one so much better! Embracing the balance of both, complementing one another…the light is much brighter in contrast to the shadows!

  2. papahomsie says:

    Hey Dee. Thank you for this powerful inspiration. I am so proud to be your father. Love you Dad

    Sent from my iPad


  3. jen says:

    The second version feels like the whole story. I love it-thank you for sharing!

  4. B.H.Owl says:

    Dear children, listen.
    When I made that story, it was as an old woman of the Choctaw people. I was considered to be wise. I may even have believed that I was wise. But, I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.
    I told the story to my brother Bernie, a Jewish lawyer from Memphis. He had some drinking buddies who were “Cha-la-kee,” which means “those who live in the mountains.” They had some friends who were P.R. men, or as my people call them, “spin doctors.” They are the ones who changed my story. Now, according to them, “All wolves are grey.” Do not believe them.
    And so, my children, listen again. You have within you the potential to nurture that which is true or to nurture that which is false: the white wolf or the black wolf. You know which is which.
    If you let the tricksters guide you, you may be lost for many, many comings-and-goings. I don’t know why it is that those in the black want to pull you, also, into the black; but, turn your back to them. Within their lies there lies only lies. Aim, always, for the light. If you would know the truth, then be the truth. Be perfect, even as your great spirit is perfect.
    * Bee Haron Owl.

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