Sun Bear always used to tell me, “Your vision is what gets you up in the morning and keeps you going. It gives sense and purpose to your life.” I had to experience a lot of adventures, adversity, and challenge to find mine, even more to follow it. Still, I am fortunate to have ever discovered the gift of vision. Little in my early years prepared me for it, or for the three sharp turns I have taken in my life: each so distinct from the other that I think of them as former lives lived this lifetime.
My first 18 years were spent growing in what passed for a “normal childhood” in a white, working-class family. That is the subject of a story to be told at another time. Suffice it to say that my childhood inspired me at age 13 to vow I would raise dogs, but never children. I did not want to inflict on another generation the chaos I had experienced. Reading was my refuge; writing, my salvation. To survive my upbringing I became a bright, obedient, and creative child.
That began to un-ravel during the second stage of my life when I transferred from my full scholarship freshman year at the College of Wooster in Ohio to George Washington University. I was energetic and hard working in school and in my jobs on Capitol Hill, but I dedicated my off hours to being as rebellious as I had once been obiedent. This behavior exploded during my year at Columbia Journalism, where I received both my master’s degree and my baptism into everything radical. During the four years I spent in New York in the 1960s as a writer about anything out of the mainstream, I savored radical politics and participatory anything. I gave my guardian angel a strenuous workout.
In retrospect, I think I would have had a spectacular but short-lived career and life if I had remained in the city. I was attempting so desperately to break free from the strictures of my childhood that I would try just about anything I thought would make me different -- people, politics, Black Panthers, demonstrations, therapy, consciousness-raising, women’s liberation, participatory theatre, radical lawyers, the Hell’s Angels, rock music, psychedelics, Gurdjieff, and Tibetan yoga.
I moved into the third stage of my life by following the Woodstock era fashion of participating fully in my journalism. I contacted a Chippewa Indian teacher named Sun Bear for an interview. I invited him to stay at my apartment in Manhattan when he was traveling cross-country trying to recruit people for his multi-racial medicine society. I never wrote the magazine article I had envisioned, but five months after meeting him, I moved to Nevada to become part of the Bear Tribe Medicine Society. I thought I was moving because he was my soul mate, my true love. He believed I was moving because I was to become Wabun, the East Wind, woman of the dawn, one of the foundations of his vision.
This will be the first entry in my blog, which is still currently under construction. Following is the original biography posted on my website.
I have been privileged in my life to take a true “heroine’s journey”. I have been allowed to step out of the culture into which I was born and experience life from a whole different worldview. This experience, added to my long desire to help myself and others find ways to live up to our full potential as human beings, has allowed me to encourage many people to find and follow their own visions, their own strongest path. Lilias Folan, one of the country’s best-known yoga teachers, wrote about one of my books, “I would like to warn the casual reader of Woman Of The Dawn, this book will reach inside you and speak to your own visions. Her courage and honesty will challenge you …” Library Journal said about the book, “Intimate…absorbing…a worthwhile testimony from a gutsy lady.”
I began writing poetry at the age of six. I was writing and editing a school page in my town paper by the age of 15. I had my first magazine article, and first piece about feminism, The Human Filing Cabinet, published by the time I was 18. I attended George Washington University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I spent four years in New York City writing for a variety of publications about what was then called “The Human Potential Movement” (which is the granddaddy of the “New Age”). I also wrote about my opinions about politics, feminism, music, theater, religion and culture.
In 1970 I met Sun Bear, a Native American teacher and visionary. After completing my first book, The Peoples Lawyers, and a magazine article for Life, I moved west to work with Sun Bear and the Bear Tribe.
From 1971 until 1995 I was his “medicine helper”. I helped him to found a community of people of all races and backgrounds attempting to learn to live together in a more positive way than that taught or practiced by the mainstream culture. In my work with the Bear Tribe I was the executive director of the community, a counselor, teacher, lecturer, curriculum developer, public relations person, ceremonialist. I found and directed a publishing company and edited a national magazine. The publishing company produced eight books, four videotapes, over one dozen audiotapes, and a number of related products. In my years with this organization I met elders and teachers representing Native peoples from all parts of the world.
Ultimately, love, and a ticking biological clock motivated me to leave the life I had built with the Bear Tribe, and to dive as wholeheartedly into the mainstream culture as I had into the alternative and indigenous ones. I am now married to a child psychiatrist who specializes in character analytic therapy. We have a 21 year-old daughter who is a gifted artist and writer with a particular interest in designing video games.
I have lectured extensively about my cross-cultural experiences, about women’s roles in various cultures, about more humane systems of childbirth and child care, about comparative religions in their historical perspective, and about numerous other topics related to the earth, alternative living, and spirituality. I have also been featured in many magazines, in newspaper articles, and on both radio and television programs.
I am currently working on a book entitled The Complete RIT Handbook: Regenerative, Injection Therapy for Healing Musculoskeletal Injuries and Arthritis-- without Surgery. Previously I have authored or co-authored 10 books including The Medicine Wheel which has sold almost 2 million copies world wide. A list of other books follow.
Books By Marlise Wabun Wind
Dreaming With The Wheel
By Sun Bear, Wabun & Shawnodese
Simon & Schuster, 1995
Black Dawn / Bright Day
Indian Prophecies of the Millennium
By Sun Bear with Wabun Wind
Simon & Schuster, 1990
Dancing With The Wheel
The Medicine Wheel Workbook
By Sun Bear, Wabun Wind, & Crysalis Mulligan
Simon & Schuster, 1990
Woman Of The Dawn
A Spiritual Odyssey
By Wabun Wind
Simon & Schuster, 1989
Walk In Balance
A Guide to Happy, Healthy & Harmonious Living
By Sun Bear, Wabun, Crysalis Mulligan & Peter Nufer
Simon & Schuster, 1989
Sun Bear: The Path Of Power
By Sun Bear, Wabun & Barry Weinstock
Simon & Schuster, 1988
The Bear Tribe’s Self Reliance Book
By Sun Bear, Wabun, & Nimimosha
Simon & Schuster, 1987
A Compendium of Ancient & Modern Crystal Knowledge
By Wabun Wind, & Anderson Reed
Prentice Hall Press, 1987
The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology
By Sun Bear & Wabun
Simon & Schuster, 1980
The People’s Lawyers
By Marlise James
Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972