Wiwila Oyate

All over the world, on every continent and in every culture one can hear stories of a tiny race of people who live underground. Through the illustrations of children’s books one can see that this belief survived the Inquisition and the domination of Christianity. The Little People may be small but their presence is strong among those who have seen and encountered them. Like the Tree Spirits (Fairies) and the Sasquatch (Bigfoot), many cultures share the lore of these mythical beings, even into present day.

Lore of the Little People, Elves, Leprechauns or Gnomes is so incredibly vast that it would take a lifetime to record all the known stories of them. Like the Tree Fairies and Bigfoot, the stories continue as people encounter them. One theme that remains constant in all cultures is how these mythical being are visiting us less and less as we recede away into the realm of logic. The more domestic we become, the more preposterous these old stories seem.

Wiwila is the Lakota word for Spring, a place where water flows from the earth. Wiwila Oyate is one of several names for the Little People, The Spring Nation. The Wiwila are said to have been created before humankind. Made to regulate the seasons, the movement of the planets, the waterways and springs, these people are some times seen by others, reminding us of the stories of old.

Whatever the culture, the stories of them usually include the granting of a wish, some sort of trickery or a combination of both. Always there seems to be an element of danger or harm that may befall one who harasses them. It is believed that when venturing into the wilderness one should take heed not to trespass into Wiwila territory or suffer the invisible arrows shot by little men. While the Wiwila is feared and avoided in most cases, there is a time and place where they are still called upon for help, Yuwipi.

Nowhere is the Wiwila more prevalent than in the Yuwipi and lowanpi Ceremonies. They can be seen, heard running about and are often felt and recognized by their tiny hands. Usually one would not speak of them, let alone write about them on the computer! Now we have reached a time where we must remind the human race about the servants of the earth and of the other beings who live in symbiosis with us here. It may seem unreasonable to modern culture that they exist, but the fact remains that they do.

The Wiwila, among other beings, are said to have inhabited the earth before humankind, at some point they are said to have called us, or wished us here with their intention, drawing us from the Pleiades. This is not just Lakota myth, many cultures believed this at one time. It is said that the creator gave us intelligence to appreciate his artwork, but it is also said that we were given intelligence in order to communicate with the divine beings. So that when the Wiwila needed help in regulating nature, they could call upon the humans for help.

As a race, we seem unable to hear them now but they are calling to us still, even through the chatter of our own minds. Around the industrial revolution there are literally thousands of stories of warnings from the Little people all over the world. It is so strange that these stories are so obscure and hard to find because it was not so long ago that the Industrial revolution began. In Germany, each town and province has stories of their warnings, that the they are leaving because of the construction of some machine or factory in the area. There are literally thousands of such stories across Europe.

Could it be that the modern concept of aliens is none other than the original inhabitants of this world? In Native American understanding, the Star Nations (wicahpi Oyate), are the the gods and goddesses who live in the heavens, not alien races. Obviously there seems to be life everywhere, but these alien characters seem more like elves than astronauts! Whatever the case may be, their message is clear to those that listen carefully.

Reclaiming our Moon Lodge

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As our Grandmothers have done since before recorded history, we the women enter into our own Ceremony each month. Flesh and blood, these physical manifestations of Spirit have the incredible capability to give life. Not to be taken for granted, moon time (menstruation) is a special time when our power is so great that our energy may inadvertently take over other Ceremonies. One egg dies each month while a cleansing of our bodies, minds, spirits, and emotions prepares us for yet another cycle. The womb of creation resides within each woman whether we choose to give birth or not. Cycles continue in the circle of life regardless of where we come from or how we live our lives.

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Are we aware of this power that naturally unfolds as we enter once again into our dark inward phase each month? It is our responsibility to learn what it means to be gifted these incarnations as women reclaiming our Moon Lodge. How do we do this? The answer is simple but seemingly difficult for our domestically trained minds in an increasingly technological time. We are living in a male dominated culture when production, efficiency, science, and reason are the focus. Feminine qualities which were once revered such as intuition, receptivity, and artistic expression are now viewed as a waste of time, frivolous, and lazy. While mother qualities are encouraged such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for our children, a balance is needed for us to have the energy to lovingly nurture others. Moon Lodge is a space where we can retreat from all responsibilities. Moon time is just 4 days out of each month when we, the women may recharge so that we are strong and empowered, ready to fulfill each of our specific life purposes while caring for our families in a joyful manner.

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Regardless of the cycles taking place in our outer world, we must be aware of and honor our own cycles. Together we support one another while welcoming a return of this sacred space. Let’s turn off our cell phones, quiet our busy minds, retreat to our Moon Lodge, and listen to what the Spirits are telling us. In native teachings, spirit is in everything. We can keep trying to find that teacher or book but it all resides within each of us. The universe is one and the same whether it be from the Spirit in the from of a clear understanding in that “Aha” moment or in the form of a direct feeling from a tree or stone. During the dark phase of our moon cycle, when we are bleeding, women are even more receptive so it is extremely important for us to calm our minds and listen to the messages that we need to hear in order to help ourselves as well as our relations. This is a good time to pay particular attention to our dreams and write in a journal so that we can reflect on them later. When we are mooning it is an opportunity to pray for anyone that we might feel needs help. From deep within ourselves we may develop or give birth to something new and we are in tune with an inner knowing of what is and is not working in our lives. As the moon surrenders her light, women follow her example and prepare to shed their blood, retreating into the Moon Lodge to rest, reflect, and gather wisdom.

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Why do we call it moon time? The tides of the waters are regulated by Grandmother Moon and she watches over all the waters of the Earth. Just as Grandmother Moon watches over the waters of the Earth, women watch over the waters of the people. Feminine waters are always first followed by new life. The moon cycle is a gift to the women and we are especially close to Grandmother Moon because she governs the woman’s cleansing cycle. Second only to the ability of the Great Spirit to give new life, it is considered a time of extreme power. Some traditions believe that when women are on their moon time, the Creator comes closer to them. It is interesting to note that in the newer patriarchal religions the moon is seen as a dark satellite and bringer of negativity whereas in the older traditions of the Earth, the moon has always been seen as a life giving force.

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Not to be crossed with the masculine fire element, moon energy is cool and feminine. In general, women pray with water (moon) while men pray with fire (sun). A ceremony of men and non mooning women centering around a fire might be simultaneously taking place with a circle of mooning women nearby. It is the responsibility of women to focus on the water instead of the fire as an additional fire burning with mooning women could be extremely dangerous. An unnatural increase in the flow of blood by the women in the Moon Lodge could occur. Another outcome could be that the energy of mooning women could completely take over the efforts of participants in the other ceremony which is counterproductive. Many ceremonies include men, women, and children but when it comes to subjects concerning women, it is meant only for women while discussions around men are meant only for men.

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To understand the extreme power that exists during moon time as well as reverence for this influential energy, we can go back in time and explore cultures from around the world. All indigenous traditions would agree that a mooning woman’s energy could overpower a Ceremony and would encourage seclusion for any woman who is menstruating. From a Native American perspective, a woman who is on her moon time that is not being responsible can be detrimental to the entire tribe. It was believed that menstrual blood could interfere with the power that men needed for hunting. Because this energy is associated with the positive forces of life, it could overwhelm their power to kill. Hunters were instructed not to walk near a menstruating woman or to swim downstream from where she bathed. There is a mystical connection that is thought to exist between the blood of a mooning woman, the essence of life, and that of game. This would keep a tribe from acquiring the necessary food for survival. In Hinduism, moon time is recognized as such an essential cleansing of toxins (ama) and metabolic wastes that women are believed to outlive men. Apana vayu is an aspect responsible for the circulation and physical movement of energy, wastes materials and fluids down and out of the body. This is an excerpt from the Old Testament in Leviticus 15:19, part of Semitic mythology, “When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean until evening.”In Bali, a woman is not allowed to enter the kitchen to perform her usual duties, nor is she allowed to have sex with her husband while menstruating. She is to sleep apart from the family and has to keep her clothes that she wears while menstruating away from any clothes that she could wear to the temple.

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This small handful of examples from various parts of our world reveals the importance of this part of a woman’s cycle. Something to consider interesting about the times we are living in now is how little this sacred moon time is actually recognized and respected. Could it be that secluding women during menstruation is inconvenient? Would a lack of attendees in Church interfere with the overall amount of money given? Is our present culture so repressed and confused that there is literally no acknowledgment? Are we just incredibly lazy? How could it be that women still continue to keep going like this?

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On a practical level, we all need to make an effort to truly honor moon time by making some steps to change the recurring pattern of it being “just another day” and “just another moon time”. Not a time to be spent on the mundane of daily household chores, the veil between worlds is thin and is best spent in solitude or in a small group. Ideally we would have a house or room to return to each month that is clean, cozy, and accessible to rest and relax in. This is not always feasible so it is important for us to communicate with our families and friends about how important it is for everyone to acknowledge and respect this woman’s time. Perhaps, until this “space” is created we need to hang in there and with gentle assertiveness insist on some changes taking place in the home. Planning ahead helps so that when it is time to retreat, there is food prepared in the freezer or others in the house know that we are not responsible for everyone’s needs. What about the women taking turns feeding each other, doing laundry, watching kids, or other chores? Also, we each need to make this quiet time happen. Even if it is just for an hour, it is a start. It is perfectly O.K. to say no sometimes and we do not need to feel guilty for doing this. If we are routinely caring for ourselves then we will naturally have an inward peace that emanates from our being. The feeling of lack and overwhelm will be a thing of the past and then we have the energy to give to others.

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We pray for our sons, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, and nephews as well as for our feminine counterparts so that things can be brought back into balance. There is no time to dwell on the dysfunction of our world that we have collectively created. It is time to honestly look at ourselves and make changes where it is needed. The time of separation between women is over. Now we must, once again, connect with our fellow Queen Goddesses and create our Sacred Moon Lodge Temples. We are muske, sisters dancing together as we always have been.

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Spiritual Preservation

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What is the reason for spiritual preservation? In this modern age spirituality is being threatened by the quickly spreading scourge of over rationalization and disbelief. These times not only represent the mentality that goes along with the peak of the industrial age but also the Taming and domestication of the human spirit. With quantum physics in mind one can easily see where our culture is heading. We are actually cutting ourselves off from magic.  With the collective awareness of humankind being focused like a lens, it has caused us to lose sight of the bigger picture. Scientific process is good but it has become a shortsighted and insensitive act. Over intellectualization have dumbed down our emotional intelligence and have left the symbolical mind inaccessible.

This is not just speculation but scientific fact. The art of Anthropology came into being because of the changes in behavioral modifications of Industrialized culture. It is always interesting as well as alarming when a non-domestic peoples are able to perceive things that domesticated people cannot. What is most alarming is that people are not using the same parts of the brain that they used to. Imagination is failing quickly among the children and it has been found that we even hear things differently. Wild animals cannot interpret digital audio recordings like modern humans.

Aldous Huxley’s brave new world is upon us and few can even see it coming. Most people are so excited to have new comforts and luxuries that they don’t care about at what expense. Like domesticated animals, we are becoming more analytical and not necessarily more intelligent. The analytical mind is practically synonymous with sociopathic dysfunction. We all know the difference between a wild mouse and a caged lab mouse, also how the behavior of the buffalo is in stark contrast to domestic cattle. We all know what happens to a wild animal when you cage it, it becomes necrotic, a condition that does not exist in the wild.

We all know about the delicate balance of nature as well as the human mind, what is to become of a species who has lost touch with the symbolical mind. What will happen to mankind with no sense of magic and no ability to assume or imagine anything outside of “rational” boundary’s. The very act of spiritual expression depends on all of these factors, but this is just one of numerous concerns for our possible future.

We owe a great dept to the profound foresight of our ancestors, not just intellectually but through their hopes and dreams for us now. In the same way that people would make sacrifices for rain and abundant crops, they would pray for the availability of food and water for the coming generations. This and many other practices have dramatically ceased. much of our fate relied upon the projections of our ancestors, all of a sudden it is all seen as foolish superstition. Wild attributes can return quickly and intuition is a very powerful force but lets look at what is happening to peoples sense of family and humanity.

The most detrimental thing to spirituality is the domestication of mankind, not just from a mental point of view, but from a physical point of view. It is always interesting to observe a person who has never ventured far from the side walk, while traipsing through the Forrest. It can be very difficult for a city person to move through the brush on uneven ground. In the same way it can be difficult to maneuver spiritually for the closed minded individual. What I mean is the act of non-physical movement.

My greatest concern for the future of religion is our disconnection from nature. I should also add that domesticated religion seems to have no use for nature and is inherently academic. Imagine if you will having to ark weld on the moon to pay your oxygen bills. What would it be like for someone to have robotic implanted body parts to improve ones work skills. These things are not much different than the present. Will mankind manifest an industrial horror for the future. If we proceed without religious freedom and and without a sense of magic we will create a miserable existence for the future.

Regardless of the advent of science, people need the awe and mystery of the spiritual. Magic is hardwired into our system, we need it along with spontaneity and imagination. Humans and all animals thrive with a certain types of stresses and fail under perfected conditions. We had a person ask us if they could take breaks from a Peyote Ceremony because the fire was smoky. I said no, the smoke is part of the experience. If we were to eliminate the fire we would take it’s power away and begin the domestication process. Some scientists surmise that humans may have become intelligent because of the stresses of smoky fires.

We have the opportunity to create a wonderful new world, lets not de-claw the human race in the process. Why are corporations training people to stand in lines? out of convenience? We should reward originality and unpredictably and we should have in mind a holistic and ecological approach to technology. Laws should protect human rights ,freedom of conscience and assembly from domestication!

The Spirit

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 THE SPIRIT

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The term “Spirit” is used in many ways in the English language. When you hear it you may think of the life force responsible for giving the body life. You may think of a supernatural being, a ghost or of one’s disposition, being spirited or having “team spirit”. All of these can be attributed to the the same thing, if we could call it a thing. It is Interesting that there is a word for something that is formless and intangible. Often times the thought of the spirit or the spiritual is seen as being in the realm of fantasy, a fictitious imaginary “thing”. The reason for disbelief in the spirit is simply because it cannot be sensed, detected or measured.

Scientists may detect and measure subatomic particles but they cannot detect the formless. A clairvoyant may sense a ghost but cannot sense the formless (a ghost has form). It could be said that the spirit is an essence but that description is still insufficient. The Elders say that for everything visible, there is also an invisible counterpart but this is not in reference to the spirit. This is in reference to the soul. Everything has an ethereal form as well as a physical form, even modern science can attest to that. The Elders tell us of the soul, the old belief that the soul has many parts that do many different things.

Unlike contemporary christian belief, we understand the soul as having four distinct parts. One can be compared to your reflection, another can be compared to your reflection mirrored within the pupil of your eye, yet another aspect of your soul can be seen as being like your shadow. The fourth part of the soul can be thought of as a mirror or a reflective surface. None of these aspects of the soul are in reference to the spirit but this fourth part does describe the location of the Spirit. The Spirit is the reflection of God upon the mirror of the soul.

Many people don’t know the difference between the Spirit and the soul. The body has the soul as it’s ethereal counterpart.The soul is not what gives us life, the soul is like the body. The body is an organic machine made of atoms, molecules and cells. Similarly, the soul is a machine made of sub-atomic particles, a super computer far more complex and stable than the body. What animates the soul and body is the spirit.

Everything has an unseen counterpart every grain of sand gives off and takes in trillions of subatomic particles every second (according to science). You could say that everything is alive in some form or another. Once I asked a famous medicine man if he believed in extraterrestrial life, visitors from outer space. He said, sure there are about 1000 meteorites that enter our atmosphere every day, the Stone Nations visit us all the time. That’s true, in fact, the Earth acquires about 100 tons of rock per day on average!

The Elders tell us that all things are filled with Spirit and that everything has a Spirit. The Spirit is inexhaustible immeasurable and it has no form. All of us know these things with out knowing how we know them. We all know that everything came from the spirit, that it is the origin of everything. People who believe in the Spirit see it as the ultimate truth. We all seem to agree that it is indestructible and everlasting, we also know that there is but one Spirit. One Spirit that reflects upon all of our souls and gives each one of us life. The spirit could be said to be the fuel of our soul, that which animates us.

Life can be said to be a dance between positive and negative, light and shadow, day and night. all substance seems to be held together by the positive and negative attraction of atoms, everything that science knows is about these Ones and Zeros that compose everything. The unknown factor is the spirit, like dusk and dawn it stands between the day and night. Skanskan, the Creator, is the movement from one moment to the next, the dance of time. There is not really just this duality, there is a function of 3 elements at play here and one of them is invisible and formless! This spiritual element is not time, it stands between time, it allows one moment to lead to another. There is no real way to speak of the Spirit and yet we somehow can speak of it, part of the understanding of it is intuitive.

We say that we are all related, Mitaku Oyasin, My relations, all of them. It is true that all humans have but one common mother, even science will attest to this but that is not what is meant by Mitakuye Oyasin. In essence this statement means that we are related to all that there is and not just because we are made out of one substance but because we all share the same Spirit. We are body, soul and spirit, only three steps away from the source of all. Why then do we seek outside of our selves to find the spiritual?

We all instinctively know the truth. We know that the center of the universe is within us and that the whole cosmos is reflected within every cell of our bodies. Likewise we all know that each one of us carry’s a secret within, a divine mystery, the secret of the spirit. Not everything should be known to us but it is true that although you have your own body and soul, we all share the same spirit and therefore, we are each other.

One spirit fuels and touches each experience through all of us, through everything, until eternity has been fulfilled. Then something even more interesting happens. After infinity it reviews everything from another perspective, without time, space or any point of perspective, without a vantage point! This is happening now, somehow the Spirit is everywhere and somewhere else at the same time, deifying time, space. It is outside of math and logic, science cannot prove it nor disprove it. It has no gender, no shape, no color. It is in equal measure every where, even nowhere, in the void, within nothingness.

There is the age old question, why are we here? We are contributing to eternity, we are reaching the totality of all possibilities, that place in the future when everything has been done or at least imagined. This place at the end of time when omnipotence is reached. What is greater than omnipotence but to forget and savor the flavor of the moment?

 

 

Native American Spirituality

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During the Industrial Revolution Native American Culture was persecuted to the point of near extinction. Unknown to most scholars, American Indians would have suffered total genocide had it not been for Christian protests, Theologians, Religious lobbyists and Lawyers. It was public outrage that saved the American Indian, not our prowess on the battlefield.

In the 1890’s, James Mooney, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, attended Peyote meetings among the Kiowa and the Tarahumara. Finally, in 1918, after testifying in favor of American Indians at Congressional hearings, Mooney advised various tribes to obtain a legal charter to protect their religious freedom. With Mooney’s help, the Native American Church was officially incorporated in 1918. Today it is the most widespread Native  American religion in the world.

When most people think of Indigenous American Spiritual practices they think of the The Sun Dance, Vision Quest and Sweat Lodge. These ceremonials are gaining in popularity but are actually very rare. Very few Sun Dances exist, with around only 300 annual Dances. For the Native American Church on the other hand, there are probably a minimum of 300 Ceremonies every weekend in North America. That sounds like a lot, and compared to The Lakota Sun Dance and Sweat Lodge, it is. For the most part, Indigenous Spirituality is very rare.

Most Native Americans are Christian. There are indigenous spiritual traditions in the United States, The majority of them are very small groups and are very secretive. The Hopi spiritual tradition is literally held together by a handful of people.These great traditions are dwindling because the younger generations are not willing to take part in them and because the elders are not willing to share them outside of their own tribes.

Indigenous Spirituality is wrought with problematic issues. Like most spiritual organizations, many people are attracted to them for the wrong reasons. There are many people who Sun Dance who are alcoholic and have other addictions. There are Native American Church members of 20 years who are not genuinely spiritual. This is an issue in many spiritual paths. On a positive note, Native Traditions have served to attract people from all walks of life to make major changes in there lives and taught many to pray and behave themselves in a spiritual manner when they would not do so otherwise.

The beauty of the Red Road and it’s spiritual journey rests in it’s ability to empower the individual. The seeker is to find his or her’s own answers through a direct connection with the divine. Not to say that there are no intermediaries or leaders, there are. Seekers must push forward on their own steam and make real and personal sacrifices for the spiritual connection. No one can do that for you, your spirituality rests upon you alone and that is a truly universal truth.

No matter what sacrifices you have made, how many dances you have completed, how many ceremonies you have attended, the fact remains that your connection is within you and is dependent only upon your personal effort. Spirituality is an internal process. You may have the great fortune of sharing and celebrating that expression with others within a group, but the genuine connection always occurs within.

At some point the light of spiritual awakening dawns within. At this point one may become aware that others are not sincere and may be involved for selfish reasons. This is an inherent problem in all spirituality everywhere and is all too evident in Native America. Spirituality is a process, so it is very important not to be in a place of judgement.  A path may have attracted someone with the romanticism of Native heritage or the allure of ancient mystic practices. Medicines like Peyote and Ayahuasca attract many people, some are beckoned by narcotic curiosity alone. Whatever the case may be, at some point the seeker is faced with the inevitable spiritual dilemma of one’s own divine connection.

Most American Indian Spiritual leaders hold other spiritual paths in the highest regard and are not in judgement of race. In this day and age it is of utmost importance for all religions to have respect for one another and to learn from one another as well. It is crucial now for us to see the bigger picture, far above our cultural influence and personal opinions is the bigger picture. What is the Center of the Universe’s view on Native Spirituality as opposed to anything else? What does God think about what kind of spiritual group you are a part of? what is important to our Mother Earth in terms of how we pray?

In Indigenous American spiritually we say that “there is no wrong or right way to pray” and “don’t make someone wrong for praying”. When involved in the task of spirituality it is important to keep a clear and unhindered perspective. beyond every thing you think you know, there is the reality of your connection to the divine. It is essential to strip your self of illusions about spirituality, to lay bare and honest ones intentions on the path.

Indigenous spirituality does this very well, but, for the spiritual seeker we advise you to learn everything you can about spirituality. Keep your mind as open as you can. All spiritual paths should lead to the same place and most of them may have some piece of the puzzle. Tolerance between the worlds’ religions may be the key for all of us to having a better relationship with the divine. Try for a moment to disregard the human concept of god and imagine Gods’ perspective of the whole issue.

There should be less emphasis on form and more emphasis on function. Having a pipe (Canupa) means nothing without being on the other end of it with a prayer. Whatever path you follow, others will criticize you for that and if we are to reach world peace , the criticisms need to come to an end. Tolerance, respect and love are what the spiritual paths teach and even an atheist will agree that these things are great. If you are on the Red Road don’t forget why you do what you do.

The Sacred





 

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We live in a world of rapid change, of changing priorities and changes in our perception. Have we as humans recorded this change, Have we measured the the passage of our perceptual change? How much has the light of knowledge dawned and to what degree have the shadows receded? We know there has been a change in the world around us, so what of the change within us? What is the spiritual significance of this change in our lives, for spiritual people?

For the spiritual seeker there is a clear distinction of what is sacred and that which is mundane. Our beliefs and our experience determine the degree and the extents of the boundary of the sacred. It is our perception of the sacred that defines the world around us, not only for the spiritual seeker, but for us all. The way we feel about things, our opinions and our perception paint the world around us. Perception is everything to us and it determines the quality of our life.

To our forefathers and mothers, the world around them was traced with certain dividing lines. There were places of great holiness according to the stories of old. There have always been those geological wonders that inspire in humankind a sense of divinity. Places, that according to the creation stories were blessed from some  divine event. Likewise, in the desolate waste land there exists a not so sacred place, perhaps a place of danger that is to be avoided. Perhaps a place condemned by myth.

For untold thousands of years we have lived with this precept of that which is sacred and that which is profane. In the minds of all of our ancestors were the dividing lines of varying degrees of sacredness, of sacred space. The ancestors listened to the teachings of the elders of the sacred center, Hocoka Wakan. Like the top of the sacred mountain. Not just the mountain that is sacred, but its’ summit. That pristine untouched place, pure and undefiled by man.

The lesson of the medicine wheel is one of sacred space and in it’s center is that neutral ground, the origin of all. From every place in the wheel the center remains, the scenery changes and our awareness of the center changes yet it is still the center. This central point represents the first place, the creators’ first perception, its’ first vantage point. I am here! This is the time before time and it deals with space, the center of the universe!

In all ceremonies you will find such a space, hallowed ground upon the altar, maybe even too divine to touch, like the sacred mountains’ peak! One can locate such places easily, even to the untrained eye looking within the center of the Sweat Lodge or out to the center of the Sun Dance. The elders tell us of the wisdom of walking with sacred foot steps from this center into the rest of our lives. Every foot step taken in humility and respect in a sacred way upon our holy mother earth. Here we define the limits of sacred space, push the boundaries of divinity with our own respect and love for Mother Earth.

In the Creation stories emerge all that there is from the center and then space is measured and divided as the body of the divine mother, made out of the very primordial essence of the Creator. So here we have that level of sacredness that pervades all space, with every thing as sacred and not merely by virtue of its’ origin but also by virtue of its existence. It is sacred because it is, because it is not void. Void, then, could represent the mundane, the boring, even with the understanding that these are special too. There is this sense then, that a cursed place of wondering ghosts and wicked spirits is within the realm of this holy creation even though it is profane and cursed.

Here we venture into the realm of consecration, the act of forgiving a place. This is the idea of lifting a curse on a broken space, of filling the void of desolation with love and the acknowledgement if its divine origins. In the act of forming the altar of soil we consecrate it and by showing its center with the placement of the staff or blessed object we affirm the center of the universe and the origins of all space. Making a place a physical representation of the creation stories, redeeming a mundane place by acknowledging it as part of the goddess’s body.

With our minds we cast the divisions of sacred places even into modern day. The most non-spiritually focused person will still have that special warmth for ones place of birth. Affinity for ones childhood home and places of play are sacred within the mind of desacralized man. De-sacralized : to have removed the aura of sacredness from; secularize. For those with no concept of holiness, some things are still definitely special and for them, and therefore, sacred.

Within all creation myth is that sacred point of beginning which is marked by the center. From that center something very special happens, Movement! Like the center of the Aztec calendar we can see the central glyph of Ollin, motion, the Lakota God, Skanskan. This speaks of movement that came from stillness and stagnation, time that elapsed after timelessness. Just as form came from the void, motion came to the stagnant.

Here we have another thing that can be measured and perceived. Like space, it is the quality of our perception that determines the relativity of time. If you are waiting in vain for a very late friend, that time spent can be downright nasty, not sacred! Finally when the point of meeting with your friend and joy begins, time quickens and is savored as sacred in every cherished movement.

In essence, the act of ceremony is the re-enactment of the creation stories. The religious rite is now enacting the dawn of time and space. In the Sweat Lodge, Yuwipi, Sun Dance and every spiritual rite in every sane and sacred tradition one can find this division of sacred time and space. For the ancestors, the beginning of time was a holy time and the act of ceremony transformed the mundane time into sacred time, The consecration of time!

Our ancestors had a lot of sacred time. The four sacred divisions of the day and night, the dawn of light being the beginning of time and a space between time. The midday when the shadows are smallest and mark the apex of the sun, then dusk in its calmness and rest, also a space between time. Then midnight ( some say 2 or 4) when all is at rest and the Eagle is said to take a drink of water and the Mole ascends to feel the air. As it is with space, in the big picture we can see that all time could be seen as sacred by virtue of it not being non-movement.

For the Spiritual, time is a sacred movement of Great Mystery from beginning to end, from the time of the creators first awareness until the very fulfillment of that awareness all the way into omnipotence! From the first motion until that point that every thing that could have been done, moved and realized has been done. So the ancestors listened to the wisdom of the storyteller account that each passing moment in this life is to be lived in respect and honor and that each transition from one moment into the next is a sacred dance of the divine.

To modern man time is limited and not as vast as it was for his ancestors. It is measured by its limit and not by its infinity. For him time is running out and he is waiting, waiting for that place in time that, to him , is sacred. We live in a time where special time exists in leisure, after work. For our ancestors work was sacred, ritual drama and thought were seen as sacred acts and not as mundane things. To the original ancestors, leisure was more mundane than the hunt and the work.

Rather than speculating through the lens of our myopic spiritual opinions, let us look at what can be measured and counted with scientific processes. The elders speak of vast expanses of space and time as being sacred, The Sacred Mountains. Now they are seen more as national resources and places of leisure rather than the breasts of Mother Earth. Time can be counted for the domestic human in terms of seconds, minutes and hours rather than by experiences.

For industrialized humans, all time is mundane until those special moments finally arrive. Now the sacred has become the weekend, the party and for him the only true rituals are weddings and funerals. Most of the time is in passing now and in wait for something not boring. Such sacred events such as giving birth have been reduced to a medical procedure. The holiest of holy, in women’s time, the menses or moon-time is seen with shame and embarrassment, especially the first Moon-Time. Time is slipping away for the domestic human, and yet it is a dance for the aboriginal. Time always seems to be running out for those attempting to not be late and for Industrial man, death awaits him to mark the end.

Lets look at the modern spiritual seeker and domestic man on the timely path of salvation and redemption. Here we can easy measure that sacred time has been scheduled as a day of the week and sacred space has been confined to the inside of a church building! Even for the religious, the sacred has receded, it has been extracted from within the home. The personal shrine within the home and hearth and has been placed behind lock and key under the charge of a “spiritual middle man” who will intercede with God on you behalf. The spiritual path has devolved into an academic pursuit rather than being measured in terms of experience alone.

At the center of spirituality as well as life it’s self is our perception and our perception determines what we are aware of. Like all domesticated animals, we are focusing on our thought rather then our emotions. domestication is where neurosis are born and the mind prods and judges the feelings (which is the reverse for the untamed). The intellect is over shadowing bodily awareness and it can be proven scientifically. At the expense of our direct instinct we seem to be trading our knowing-ness for reflection, thinking about things.

Our modern cultures’  pursuit of intelligence may cost us our symbolical mind altogether. The symbolical mind has receded into our subconscious with the increase of language, meaning that we think more and more with words and less and less with symbols. This allows humans to be more intellectual at the expense of our ability to directly perceive things. This is scientific fact. What people are not measuring scientifically (anthropologically), are the changes in spiritual experience among domestic culture.

We now live in a world where the earth itself is seen as profane and something to be harnessed and dominated. With our perception we paint the world around us and as we open our minds to rationalization we can also be seen as closing our our minds to the Spiritual. The spirit is outside of math, measurement and logic. The spiritual defies the mind just as the void defies form. The Sacred is becoming superstition and collectively the human race is shutting itself off from non-rational possibilities. “Miracles” are quickly becoming “impossibilities”.

It is up to us to keep the dream alive and who knows what fate awaits our kind? Do not rely too heavily upon the mind. Many wonderful things are coming from the organization of human affairs, let’s not cast ourselves into the mundane in the process. Hold on to the magic unbridled, release everything you think you know and deify the unnatural ways though which you have been conditioned. Arrive alive in sacred space and time. Here and now, everywhere and forever! Shine as brightly as you can.

Show Father sky and Mother Earth your urgency, live life aloud and rise above your petty comfort zones. Resist being comforted into a state of complacency, refuse being lulled away into the suckling comforts of domesticated inertia. Fight and overcome what is rightfully yours as humans, for the wildness and unpredictable spirit untamed. Reclaim what you really want of your selves, feel the power of Nature and the timeless connection to the very center of all that is. You are an Immortal being, fearless and impervious to everything on this earth.

Claw through your thin domestic veneer and be who you were always meant to be. Come alive and face the storm with abandon. Show some backbone in your life and roar aloud! Be bold and real, stop cradling your precious internal dialog and false self image. Go beyond all that and break through to your savage, real and animal connection to your Mother Earth.

Aho Mitaku Oyasin!

 

SPIRIT HELPERS

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SPIRIT HELPERS

With a basic understanding of Comparative Religion, it is easy to see that spiritual traditions are all fundamentally the same. Especially with respect to the major deities. No matter your tradition, you focus upon the center of the universe and the source of all life. All religions and spiritual paths inherently celebrate the same thing really. Aside from the obvious creator/creatrix, there are the spirit helpers, Angels, messengers, immortals (saints) and spiritual intermediaries.logo FSICC,9

A Spiritual Helper can be several things. First and foremost is the idea that one of the major deities of the creation stories is presiding over you and helping you. Secondly, there are the Messengers, those beings who carry our prayers to the Major Deities / Gods and Goddesses so that they might hear them and eventually answer them.

The messengers are Divine beings. Regardless of your tradition and what you think you know, these Divine beings can be many things, Angelic beings (Wakinyan), Fairies (canotila) and Little People (Wiwila). All of these messengers have a few things in common. They were all created to work for the Gods and Goddesses (Collectively known as Wakan Kin), and do not procreate as we do.

Then, lastly, there are the Spirit helpers in the form of Immortals. Immortals are many different beings. These are the saints, or mortals who have attained special power by fortifying their souls. In most Indigenous traditions, these can be humans, animals and other mortal beings that have transcended their limitations. These are the Spirit Helpers that make one tradition different from another. This type of spirit helper is what makes a tradition different than no tradition. and this is what I want to talk about here.

Some descriptions of Native American saints are wrongly labeled as ghosts. What is known as the Ghost Nations, can be more accurately described as Immortals. This concept is not limited to humans and can be an animal, plant or other being that has attained enlightenment. For example, a great bear of the forest may somehow be granted power for some brave selfless act and thereby attain sainthood.

In all of this is the idea that some Immortals are better than others to have as Spiritual Helpers. Immortals are important and unique in that they can tell you things and help you as a friend. The eagle can see where the buffalo are and show you how to find them. The Human immortal can speak and give advice.

In the Lakota language, all of these Spirit helpers, as well as any divine beings, are known as Tunkasila. Roughly translated this means grandfather, but the term is applied in a genderless way. When someone says “Wakan Tanka, Tunkasila”, it can be understood as Creator, Spirit helper. A female Immortal would still be referred to as Tunkasila because the spirit world is somewhat more genderless than the physical realms. Tunkasila are the ancestors, whether they be the gods, Goddesses, gnomes, fairies, stones, trees or whatever.

In Native American traditions people speak of animal totems. This has to do with family ties to the animal nations. It is believed that far in the past most humans and animals could change their species. Humans could transform themselves into animals and animals could become humans. There are still a few individuals that can do this. This is known as shape shifting. As the story goes, humans and animals intermarried creating ancestral inter-species relations.

Ones’ animal totem has to do with an ancestral link with a particular animal. most people can see, when looking at a family, what animal is more prevalent. You can tell which parent past on the animal of their family to their children. The bear is a very prevalent family totem among all humans. This is so because bears came from humans. In the same way that it is believed that humans came from primates, we believe that bears come from people. That is why many tribes won’t eat Bear meat, it is considered cannibalism. Likewise, a medicine woman who works with the buffalo or has a strong family connection to the buffalo, will not eat buffalo meat.

A healer may have an ancestral link to the Elk nation, yet may have a “ghost” Spirit Helper of the mountain lion (for example). Inherently  a totem animal is a spirit helper of sorts, in that there is a connection to another nation, as relatives.

All beings are created in the image and likeness of the creator, on earth as it is in heaven, as above, so below. That’s true for everything and every event we experience. In Lakota philosophy this is known as Gapemini. For every visible/physical thing there is an invisible/ethereal counterpart. Likewise, for the creator to make the trees, it would have first had something like a tree within itself (for example). So, all trees have an over-soul, an angelic being “Tree” after which all trees were modeled.

There then is a messenger or angelic being representing of all forms of life in the universe. In the Lakota belief there are then 405 angels. That is why we make 405 tobacco prayer ties for the Hanbleceya (Vision Quest Ceremony).This is to address them all, perhaps only one or two of them will come to hear our prayers, but they are all invited. It is interesting to note that in European Christian lore, the Angels started to be depicted as humans (and as males), when in the original biblical descriptions, they are combined animal forms and never depicted as people.

Whatever the case may be, there are many types of helpful spirits. what I am wanting to focus on are the spirits that make one altar more effective than another. The reason why ancient traditions are more effective than domestic, contemporary traditions, is because they have more seniority and more validity with the founders of the universe.

People of our modern culture have difficulty understanding this concept. Those who do experiment with different spiritual paths, usually settle for something more tame and comfortable. These times are forging a whole new era of simplified, domestic religious systems. The problem with this is purely metaphysical and has little to do with doctrine or philosophy. It has to do with who you know and what kind of connections you have (spiritually).

Suppose you wanted a job as an executive for a large business. You would have to get credentials, get the right kind of education. The person hiring you would have to actually like you, You couldn’t just act like a jerk and expect to get the job. You would have to show that you have the skills to communicate by communicating in the right way. Suppose you got the job, you would have to learn who is who and fit into the pecking order And it would be of utmost importance to go through the proper channels.

As it is in the spiritual world, Just like anything else, it is all about who you know, the friends you make and your ability to forge and maintain good relations. A medicine man may gain a few Spirit helpers in his lifetime. This is within the context that he has a 26 thousand year old tradition backing him up. A tradition that forms a collective of Spiritual immortals that could not be achieved in any other way.

When someone just starts a new religion it will not have the power that an ancient tradition has. Most people in our culture would never even know the difference. In Indigenous Traditions, miraculous events are commonplace. Contemporary traditions scoff at this, claiming that it is the work of evil spirits. Some of the most powerful traditions of this earth have been massacred under this pretext.

When a ceremony is about to begin some of the The spirit Helpers are signaled by the activity itself, others are called from far away with songs. It is said that we were given intelligence and a voice originally for the communication with spirits. Some how we are so busy talking to ourselves or each other that we barely notice the spirits nowadays. All animals may use their voices to speak to one another, but if you pay close attention, you can catch them in the act of calling out to the very center of the universe, praying.

The Messengers or Angelic Beings are likewise specially attuned to the human voice. They were designed to hear us, to help us, as part of our birthright. An audio recording of Incantations to a spirit will not conjure that spirit, only the true voice will do that. If you have been praying for something and it has not come to pass, perhaps you haven’t spoken your prayer out loud. Many spirits may be able to read your mind, but not necessarily the messengers meant to carry your prayers.

It is interesting to notice, if you pay close attention to a spirit that is listening to a person’s prayer. notice what happens when the normal speech of the prayer breaks into a shaky crying voice. The spirit reacts with great urgency! Perhaps this is why in some spiritual traditions, prayers are recited, purposefully, in a shaky, weeping tone.

 Many spirits recognize any rite as being a ritual, especially by the presence of fire and water,  fire and water are part of what forms a doorway for spiritual beings. Just to make up a ritual one may attract attention but that is not always a good thing.  When a leader of an ancient tradition of any kind presides over a ceremony, he or she calls a group of spirits specific to that tradition.  To lead a made up ceremony may call upon one’s individual spirit or ones own ancestors.  When calling ancestors you should be aware of many things, as an example, when they show up, they may be angered by the breaking of some family taboo.  It may be something long forgotten by you in the present.

For example, if you have family ties to the Deer Nation, and your family was forbidden to eat deer for thousands of years, but somehow lost that ancestral vow, you could be in quite a fix when that spirit shows up. If your ancestors made any agreement with the spirits you would have to remedy that in the present, after all, you are here on behalf of your ancestors and therefore have somewhat of a responsibility to them.

Some spirits of one tradition may not jibe with the spirits of another.  In most all religions and systems of magic, it is understood that whatever you offer you attract. If you offer alcohol, you will attract spirits that like that stuff. Don’t offer Buffalo kidney to a vegetarian Hindu goddess! this represents what we call the mixing of medicines.

In the Voodoo tradition,  for instance, you will notice altars of conflicting deities are kept separate and not crossed. Different and even enemy forces of nature my be honored by one person, yet their altars are not lumped together like some new-age mishmash. These things are subtle to us, but very important to them.

When someone becomes a Medicine Man or Woman it is because they are initiated in a true tradition, regardless of anything else.  Whatever the case, a position like that exists because a group of spirits are assigned to a person by another person according to that tradition.  By merely understanding Native American spirituality by itself one may not  necessarily enlist the help of those spirits. There has to be an unbroken line of tradition making the connection.

As an example, from the Catholic tradition one can see then, the emergence of the Protestant faith. This is an interesting example because the protestants actually cut themselves off from the Catholic saints. Aside from God, the other major deities and the Angels, the protestants basically had to start from scratch. Over time they gained Spirit Helpers.

Keep in mind that there really is no wrong or right way to pray. The creation herself is the body of the goddess. No one goes unheard. We are all inherently connected to the source of all that is. No matter what wrongs we commit we are all inextricably connected to the creator. We are made out of the very substance of god and cannot even escape our divinity if we tried. It is a reality that we, as beings, can offend the spirits in the same way we could offend each other and even ourselves. Part of any Indigenous tradition relies upon the adherence to ancestral vows.

Nevertheless, though beings may take many forms and many bodies, we have one spirit. There is one force fueling all perception and that is the one thing beyond math and comprehension. The fabric of the universe is woven with one thread! Each one of us, and everything, has a direct connection to Wakan Tanka.

What makes a Tradition powerful is it’s collective of spiritual Helpers, particularly the immortals. Spirituality is the same with anything else. There is a structure and order to all things. When we are born, we work hard to learn to move. We learn slowly to stand, walk, Talk and everything else. the same thing goes with the spiritual path. We can’t just walk right after being born. In the spiritual life is no different.

A true spiritual tradition is characterized by it’s saints or Immortals. When a person claims to have spiritual power outside of a traditional context it is actually very rare.  There are many who take up a priest like position alone, like the new-age shaman or the solitary practitioner among neo-paganism.  The problem here lies in the issue that one person cannot enlist the help of enough spirits to form a group of spirits that characterize a true tradition.  The spirits of Native American spirituality in general are a culmination of thousands of lifetimes of spiritual work, sometimes more.

Being a Medicine Man or Woman is not dependent on what you know or how you behave.  Those factors do determine how long you keep that power.  Like many indigenous paths, a two way communication with the spirits is inherent.  This allows everyone to be informed directly rather than from written or oral instruction.  As you can imagine all this could be very dangerous without a traditional connection to a living lineage.

What does enlist the help of spiritual forces regardless of anything are the making of offerings.  A personal sacrifice, changing your behavior, leaving behind your ugly old ways or putting water out for your ancestors.  This is something that anyone can do and is probably the best thing to do to form spiritual alliances.

What we Believe

PETA WAKANPETA WAKAN

VISION STATEMENT

 TO BE A COMMUNITY WHICH AUTHENTICALLY PROMOTES AND SUSTAINS: TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS AMERICAN RITUALS AND CEREMONIES; AWARENESS OF AND PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD LAND AND WATER STEWARDSHIP; HARMONIOUS LIVING WITH ALL BEINGS AND NATURE THROUGH A SELF-SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY. OUR VISION IS TO SUSTAIN, ADMINISTER, PROTECT, FACILITATE, SPREAD, EDUCATE, EXERCISE AND EXPRESS TO AND FOR ALL PEOPLES THE INDIGENOUS AND ABORIGINAL RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES, WAYS OF SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION, AND WAYS OF LIVING IN HARMONY WITH THE EARTH, EACH OTHER, AND GOD, WAKAN TANKA.





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MISSION STATEMENT

OUR MISSION IS TO PROVIDE AUTHENTIC TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS CEREMONIES AND RITUALS. OUR COMMUNITY WILL BE ORGANIZED FOR THE EXPRESSION OF INDIGENOUS SPIRITUALITY AND TO PROVIDE RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR ALL PEOPLES WILLING TO LIVE IN A SACRED WAY.

 

PURPOSE STATEMENT

 WE PRESERVE INDIGENOUS CEREMONY AND RITUAL, BECAUSE IT IS AN ENDANGERED SPIRITUAL PRACTICE.  WE WANT TO HELP HUMANKIND BY PROMOTING AND ENSURING THE SANCTITY OF THESE TRADITIONS BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THEY ARE IMPORTANT FOR OURSELVES, FUTURE GENERATIONS, AND FOR THE SPIRIT; FOR THE HEALTH OF HUMANITY AND OUR PLANET. WE PROMOTE ACTIVITIES THAT NOURISH, STIMULATE, AND FURTHER DEVELOP HUMAN CREATIVITY THROUGH SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION, CULTURAL IDENTITY, CULTURAL ART, AND HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, AS WELL AS TO PROMOTE UNIFICATION OF ALL CULTURAL RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL WORKERS. WE HELP BY TEACHING PRAYER TECHNOLOGIES AND OFFERING WORKSHOPS, CLASSES, RETREATS AND OUTREACH PROGRAMS. WE ARE A LIVING EXAMPLE OF A HARMONIOUS AND SELF-SUSTAINING COMMUNITY.

 

STATEMENT OF FAITH

MITAKUYE OYASIN/ALL OUR RELATIONS

 WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALL RELATED.  WE ARE ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, REGARDLESS OF RACE, CREED, COLOR, AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION.  WE ARE ALL RELATED TO EACH OTHER AS HUMANS. WE ARE ALL RELATED TO THE ANIMALS, THE TWO LEGGED, FOUR LEGGED, WINGED, AND ALL CREATION. WE ARE ALL IN TURN RELATED TO THE EARTH, SKY, AND ALL THAT THERE IS AND THAT WE COME FROM THE STARS.  AS INTELLIGENT BEINGS, WE ARE OBLIGATED TO ACT RESPONSIBLY AS STEWARDS OF ALL CREATION.

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WAKAN TANKA/GOD

 WE BELIEVE IN THE ONE GOD, THE GREAT MYSTERY, WAKAN TANKA.  AS EVERYTHING HE IS FOUR DIVISIBLE BY FOUR AND AGAIN DIVISIBLE INTO THE SIXTEEN GREAT POWERS OF THE UNIVERSE: CHIEF GOD, GREAT SPIRIT, CREATOR, EXECUTIVE, STONE, EARTH, SKY, SUN, THUNDER BEINGS, BEAUTIFUL ONE, WIND, MOON, BUFFALO, BEAR, FOUR WINDS, AND WHIRLWIND. THE SIXTEEN EACH DIVISIBLE BY FOUR INFINITELY INTO ALL THERE IS, KNOWN, UNKNOWN AND UNKNOWABLE.

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CHANUNPA/SACRED PIPE

 WE BELIEVE IN OUR PRAYERS, IN THE POWER OF THE SACRED PIPE, AND THE WHITE BUFFALO CALF MAIDEN WHO BROUGHT THE PIPE TO THE EARTH FOR ALL IT’S PEOPLE.  WE BELIEVE IN HER TEACHINGS, HER BLESSING POWER AND THE PROMISE OF HER RETURN.

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INIPI WAKAN/SWEAT LODGE

 WE BELIEVE IN THE PURIFYING AND CLEANSING POWER OF THE SWEAT LODGE CEREMONY, THE SACRIFICE MADE BY THE STONE NATION, THE TUNKASILA (SPIRITS), AND BY ALL THE PARTICIPANTS. WE BELIEVE IN PRAYING WITHIN THIS MOTHER’S WOMB FOR SOBRIETY, CLARITY, GUIDANCE, AND HEALTH.

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HANBLECEYA/VISION QUEST

 WE BELIEVE THAT THE EVERLASTING WORD OF GOD IS SPOKEN FROM EVERY PART OF DIVINE CREATION, THAT THROUGH NATURE AND THE SACRIFICE OF THE VISION QUEST RITE THE GREAT MYSTERY SPEAKS TO US ALL DIRECTLY WITHOUT EXCEPTIONS, INTERMEDIARIES, OR INTERPRETERS.

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YUWIPI – LOWANPI/NIGHT SING

 WE BELIEVE IN THE NIGHT SING, THE POWER OF INYAN/STONE, THE MIRACULOUS HEALING POWER OF THE ANCESTORS AND THE SACRED SONGS. WE BELIEVE IN THE WIWILA/LITTLE PEOPLE, ANIMAL SPIRITS, AND THE VARIOUS OTHER TUNKASILA/SPIRITS. WE BELIEVE IN THE EMPTINESS OF THE MEDICINE MAN/WOMAN AS A HOLLOW BONE FOR THE SPIRITS’ WORK.

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WIYANG WACIPI/SUN DANCE

 WE BELIEVE IN THE ANNUAL SUNDANCE, THE PIPE, THE SACRIFICE OF THE SACRED COTTONWOOD TREE, THE POWER OF THE SUN, AND THE ETERNAL FLAME.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE SACRIFICES OF THE DANCERS, SINGERS, AND SUPPORTERS BENEFITS AND PURIFIES ALL THE PEOPLE.

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ALL NIGHT PRAYER VIGILS/TIPI MEETINGS 

WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRED FIRE, THE HOLY WATER, THE SACRED INSTRUMENTS, THE HALF MOON ALTAR, AND THEIR BLESSINGS.  WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRAMENTAL USE AND THE HEALING POWER OF THE PLANT NATIONS.  WE BELIEVE THAT OUR PRAYERS ARE HEARD AND ATTENDED TO. WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL BE JUDGED, HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ACTIONS IN THE AFTERLIFE, AND IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

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CALENDAR

 WE BELIEVE IN THE NATURAL RHYTHMS OF DAY AND NIGHT, THE FLOW OF THE SEASONS, THE MOVEMENT OF THE STARS, AND THE EXULTATION OF THESE OCCASIONS THROUGH ANY INDIGENOUS TRADITION OF THE EARTH.  WE CELEBRATE IN SACRALIZING THE ACT OF SONG, DANCE, RITUAL DRAMA, AND CEREMONIAL EXPRESSION.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE TIMES SHOULD BE KEPT, HONORED, RECKONED, AND OBSERVED.  WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRED HOOP AND THE CONTINUITY OF LIFE.

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TIOSPAYE/SPIRITUAL FAMILY

 WE BELIEVE IN FAMILY, EXTENDED FAMILY, ADOPTED FAMILY, AND OUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY. WE BELIEVE IN HOLDING REGULAR MEETINGS TO GOVERN, REWARD, AND DISCIPLINE OUR GROUP IN A HUMANE ABORIGINAL MANNER. WE RESPECT, HONOR AND ARE OBLIGATED TO CARE FOR OUR ELDERS AS WELL AS OUR MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN NEED. WE HONOR THE DECEASED THROUGH FUNERARY RITES BY MAKING OFFERINGS, PRAYERS AND CARING FOR SOULS.

PETA WAKANPETA WAKAN

Modern Indigenous American Traditions





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Who practices Modern Indigenous American Traditions?  People from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Like all good traditions and spiritual practices, they have the tendency to grow. In terms of Native American spirituality, the Lakota traditions have done the best. This is so because the Lakota people have always shared with others, adopted people as family (Hunka) and have always helped others without hatred and judgement. That is why it is a blossoming tradition. Most native traditions, like the Navajo for example, have had a hard time generating interest among their youth in the practice of traditional ceremonies. Since they have been reluctant to pass their sacred ways outside of their own blood relatives they have suffered the total extinction of many important rites in very recent years. Nowadays the Navajo are related to every race on earth and come from all walks of life. Sadly, Navajo spirituality is still dwindling.  Like most nations of the earth, a small percentage of Navajos are involved in Lakota ceremonials!

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Nebraska

There is this illusion that indigenous traditions must remain unchanged, like the anthropologist frowning over the Sun Dance Chief taking flesh offerings with a surgical scalpel instead of a flint knife. The anthropologist has totally missed the point and cannot see the practicality, wisdom, and level of detachment inherent in non-domestic spirituality (attachment and sentimentality are enhanced in domesticated animals).

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The true indigenous spiritual leaders have the same ethics and humility as most of the world religions. In the first century, Christianity immediately spread from being Jewish to embracing Greeks, Ethiopians and anyone else that expressed an interest, this is a natural phenomenon that can be seen everywhere. One might argue that Native spirituality cannot be compared to Christianity even though it is the chosen path of most Native Americans. Others would say that in the story of Christianity the Jews represented the good traditionalist, staying in line with the sacred ways. Nothing could be further from the truth because the Jewish tradition has always been open to the public. People all faiths continuously convert to Judaism and always have. It is not uncommon for a man to undergo a circumcision operation in the hopes of becoming admitted to Judaism. Like the rest of us, they too are international, global citizens!

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Guess which one is the tribal Elder!

 

_LAN9309Like all paths to God, you’ll find a Catholic and Protestant versions of all of them. There are the purist fundamentalists, the spirit filled ones in rapture, as well as closet atheists who think they are spiritual because they are part of a religion. All of them play important roles as it truly takes all kinds!

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We are constantly reminded at our ceremonial functions of the strange circumstances of the changing world in which we live. There are a lot of misconceptions about spirituality in general and folks these days have allot of different motives for being involved. It is up to us that the coming generations not pollute indigenous ways by making them domesticated. This has been what has hurt the worlds greatest spiritual paths more than anything else. Domestication is warping our perception, the only thing we take with us beyond this life!

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What makes Indigenous traditions, of any kind, so powerful is that they are wild and untamed. They access that part of the human psyche that is unmolested by industrialization.  It is ever important for the human race to hold on to the magic that is swiftly receding away from us. Many new age philosophies would disagree with this, but let me point out that they are a strictly domesticated variety of human beings. When any animal is domesticated, or even when wild animals are caged or subjected to routines, they tend to slip into neurotic behavior patterns, like living in a made up fantasy world.

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England

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Inter-faith gathering

Many do not realize that the Sun Dance is an international religion, for example. There has emerged many powerful medicine men and spiritual leaders representing Indigenous American traditions from the world over. Many people are against this (mostly non spiritual people).  It is truly mysterious how the spirit moves, a person may acquire spirit helpers through association with a tradition, through marriage, by ordination and by birth. Sometimes it runs in the family as was the case with Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli. There is also the case where someone is born with miraculous powers outside of spiritual tradition altogether.

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Daniel Dunglas Home

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There are hundreds of cases of human foot prints fossilized in stone, anywhere from 1 million to 90 million years old, a testimony to the awesome mystery of humankind and what lurks deep within our human consciousness. Modern Indigenous American Spirituality is in constant flux as we ourselves are redefined by what we know, and that goes for all of spirituality, everywhere!

Only the last remaining indigenous traditions of the world still have miraculous, seemingly impossible things as commonplace. Spiritual leaders of domestic religion, sadly, cannot begin to imagine the reality of  the aboriginal spiritual world (what’s left of it)

.Eagle and Condor, Aztec prophecy of the North and South American Spiritual Alliance

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SPIRITUAL ADVICE

SPIRITUAL ADVICE

PETA WAKAN

FOR THE SERIOUS SEEKER

1. Be connected. Understand that you have a direct connection to the divine and that you are ultimately responsible for your spiritual growth. The native path is about tapping into the connection you already have. Seek advice and learn from others, but know that you are the only one in charge of your own spirituality.

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2. Be honest to yourself about your spirituality. Don’t believe anything you are told, especially about yourself. Question everything you think you know. The allure of fantasy is very potent because it make us feel special, Be humble and be simple. Take it all with a grain of salt, even the truth. Contemplate that the most valuable truth is wordless.

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3. Have courage, Work hard, pray hard and be inspired. Dig deep within yourself and muster up every ounce of of volition that you can. Be excited, feel yourself being filled with charismatic enthusiasm, dauntless unwavering unbridled ferocity. Claw through your fine domestic vanier and unveil your true self, the untamed, unattached nature of your immortal spirit!

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4. Ask for help, tell Wakan Tanka what you want. Tell all the spirits what you want and tell them to prepare you. Ask them to lead you to the right teachers, to just go ahead and give you the magic (if possible). Use your voice (which was given to you for this purpose), cry out into the heavens to receive what you need for spiritual empowerment.powwow 2012 069

 

5. Be a selfless servant with ruthless boundaries. Be humble and kind without being stupid or gullible. Practice kindness, gentleness, nonviolence, and be in harmony with nature. Do not judge or assume, be nice. Among other things, the spiritual path is a matter of attracting the right friends (spirits), you won’t be able to do this if you are erratic, violent and arrogant.

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6. Make sacrifices, put out water for the spirits. Take the time and effort to spend good quality time pursuing your goal. Do Hanbleceya (vision quests) and other rites. Show the center of the universe how much you want it. Show them with your blood, sweat and tears, and do so with a prayer. Be practical with your offerings and never boast about what you have done!

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7. Honor the children. Never allow your spiritual work to compromise children. Take care of the children first, for they are the most important thing on the spiritual journey.  Children and elderly are exempt of all ritual obligations. Never put god\goddess before your children! If you don’t have children, make sure that children benefit by what you do, they may become your future.

For more advice, ask us a question:

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There are many important ways we can progress on the spiritual path. first lets take a look at what that really means, to progress spiritually. One can rationally observe that every one is inherently spiritual, that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience here on earth. This leads to the age old question of why we are here. We are here to fulfill eternity, for Wakan Tanka to to be everything and experience infinity through everything. In the beginning was the void, and from that void of nothingness was an awareness. This awareness felt empty and soon it longed to aspire, to be somthing else. It strove to see itself in new ways, to grow.

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This, then, was the birth of inspiration, and reflects that spiritual urge to aspire and grow. This awareness then became the Creator by sacrificing part of itself. To make this story short, the Creator Sacrificed itself on and on, Transforming into water stone air and fire, and all that is. This process continues today, and as Wakan Tanka is infinite, one could say that God has already completed his task, and to some part of itself we are in the past. To another part of itself we are right here and now, from within every cell in our bodies and from every conceivable and inconceivable direction. All of everything is made of Wakan Tanka. So what is this spiritual urge? Why would we seek to come closer to what we could never escape? Everything is made from god and everything is god, and is independently divinely aware.

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The reason for our existence is to fulfil the creators destiny, we are all involved in this, every single thing that there is, is part of this amazing dance. To understand the spiritual path we need only to look to the old creation stories. Like the the Creator, we have this urge to grow and aspire, and we do. As human beings we grow and naturally reach out for more and more, until, as infants we can take the risk of standing on our own. There is the part about making a sacrifice, taking a risk to expand our view of the world. As we grow and learn physically we are also learning things that will serve us well after this life. In essence, the spiritual path is all about growth.

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Everything we learn here in this life are tools to serve us beyond this life. Avoiding danger, communicating, maneuvering, making friends and solving problems are all tools we will need in the afterlife. In all aboriginal spiritual traditions, we as human beings, eventually have to make the journey through the stars, across the milky way and beyond. It is a big universe out there and we’ll need all the experience we can get to be successful. Thats what we are learning, all of us are growing in a very practical way.

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What i am trying to say with all this is that by being spiritual and focusing upon spiritual matters, we are nourishing our souls. Indigenous rites like sweat lodge and hanbleceya (vision quest), for example, are tools designed to help us  fortify our souls. We are inspired, through nature, to sacrifice of our comfort zones and old ways of being, to grow and expand our horizons.

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We all know, deep inside, the truth that there is one spirit, indivisible, that is eternal and inexhaustible. Our souls are the vehicles that carry that one light of the spirit. Reflected within every soul is that divine life force that fuels us and gives us life. When we say Mitaku Oyasin, we are saying my relatives, all of them. We are all directly connected to the source of all that there is, body, mind, soul and spirit. We are all related, not just in that we are all made out of god’s body. we are all fueled by and connected to the very center of the universe. In essence you could say that we are each other!

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What makes us individual then, is our soul, which houses our spirit. By building upon our souls’ structure, we fortify the spirits’ container. This allows us to expand and grow as a reflection of the very journey that Wakan Tankan took in the creation stories. We do this through spiritually nurturing activities. We do this through aspiring to grow, through self sacrifice, and change. From this clear viewpoint we can see that the spiritual path is truly a very practical journey. The spiritual path has little to do with ancestry and culture and has more to do with getting the job done.

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Keep in mind that not all so called “spiritual paths” are beneficial. Many newer traditions are still in the experimental stage. A two thousand year old tradition is still in the stages of working out the kinks and may not even endure. When you think about it, even an eight thousand year old tradition is really not that old. In light of all this it would make sense to learn everything you can about the most ancient spiritual traditions of the world and make use of all the tools available to you. Do so with the clarity that sees beyond cultural romanticism. Learn, and regardless of anything else BE spiritual!

mitaku oyasin!

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12 Lakota Virtues

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A view from the arbor

12 Lakota Virtues

Essential to balance and happiness, there are 12 Lakota Virtues that were a part of everyday life for our Native American ancestors. These are lessons that were taught by storytellers who lived the lessons they imparted. They practiced what they preached. These virtues were and are the foundation of Lakota culture. The teaching is that our quality of life is not measured by material possessions but by how well our life’s journey flows and dances through these virtues. In Lakota “wicozani” is a word which describes wealth by living a happy well balanced life with physical and mental health in harmony with creation. We remember how our ancestors lived, remaining true to ourselves and to them by listening to the stories while being mindful of these important specific teachings.

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These are the 12 Lakota Virtues:

1. Humility (Unsiiciyapi) – The first and most important step in life and especially on the spiritual path is humility which is the opposite of pride. In terms of spirituality, if the step of humility is skipped it results in delusions of grandeur. Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues. If you brag about your generosity then it spoils the generosity.

2. Perseverance (Wowacintanka) – In spite of difficulties we persist in our efforts which is a deeply empowering source of strength rising from within. To taste success we sometimes are forced to pick ourselves up and the gift is feeling how much life is worth living as we accomplish what we have set out to do. Many of our ancestors were faced with challenges that could only be helped through spiritual strength. This perseverance was what carried them through even to the afterlife.

3. Respect (Wawoohola) – A basic teaching among all tribes was that of respect towards all beings (sentient and insentient) which includes plants, animals, stones, wind, little people, and all of creation. In our present culture this important virtue has become lost with a general message of excess as well as intolerance for those who are challenged, elderly, or different in any way than ourselves. Our Lakota ancestors would ceremonially hunt their bison which would provide clothing, shelter, and food for the people. Every part was used and their spirit was honored by placing their skull facing east to meet the rising sun in unison with the rhythm of life.

4. Honor (Wayunonihan) – Being honorable means having strength of character by being a good person. Honor goes hand and hand with respect and many of the other virtues. To live the virtues it shows that someone has the integrity and dignity that makes up honor. Humility waters the roots of the tree of honor which then bears the fruit of love. By having honor means that one would choose the path of non violence and compassion rather than dishonorable actions.

5. Love (Cantognake) – More than just compassion, love is having the flame of emotion in one’s heart. Love rules over all things. The whole universe exists because of love, it is the motive of all creation.  It is not attachment because love can even be the incentive to be unattached. Love represents the balance that exists in everything. The warmth of the sun’s rays is the sun’s love for us. The ultimate love is spiritual joy which is responsible for life. Deep within each one of us and everything is this basic emotion known as Spirit.

6. Sacrifice (Icicupi) – Sacrifice is giving of oneself. The fruit of love is sacrifice. In the beginning the Creator sacrificed itself to make all that there is and through this humble act we can understand the significance of offering ourselves. In order to accomplish anything, one must be able to make a sacrifice. Whether it be the small sacrifices in your daily life or major sacrifices of your lifetime, we all reap what we sow by this fundamental act. We sacrifice our time and effort every day just to get things done but on a larger spiritual scale we can give of ourselves and give back to the Creator and Creation.

7. Truth (Wowicake) – Truth is being honest about yourself and the world around you. There is ultimate truth and then there are all of our individual truths. In this world of illusion we must rely upon our inner truth to know which way to go. Through gaining an understanding of life we learn to see beyond the illusions into what is real for us. We all have our own individual perspectives, it is relying upon our own perception within the greater reality that allows us to be in truth.

8. Compassion (Waunsilapi) – Doing what is right in caring for others as you would yourself is what makes a person compassionate. One need not feel sorry for or sympathetic to  anyone in order to live this virtue. In fact it is that inner strength that allows us to have the unconditional love that creates true compassion.

9. Bravery (Woohitike) – When an understanding of destiny and chance matures within the mind there is a dawning of faith within the heart. This is true courage. Bravery is born of the wisdom of life and death as well as one’s honor. It is not blind or reckless and can come from the very depths of our being in times of need. This open act of vulnerability despite circumstances can help us defy even the worst odds.

10. Fortitude (Cantewasake) – After learning patience and inner endurance one gains the strength necessary to have fortitude. Emotional stability, being alert, and having determination can help in having this persistent integrity. This is not an inflexible force. It is a quiet, gentle voice of a Grandmother with deep faith, trust, and understanding.

11. Generosity (Canteyuke) – “To have a heart” is the literal translation of this Lakota word which is a timeless virtue residing in the heart. True generosity has always been encouraged and exemplified in Lakota society while accumulating material possessions was greatly discouraged. As our Earth Mother gives everything, we should in turn do the same. True generosity embodies love and the understanding of impermanence.

12. Wisdom (Woksape) – Only after one has learned about life and is able to act on all the other virtues, can one be considered wise. First we attain knowledge then we learn to apply that knowledge. Wisdom is acting on what you know. Our gift to life is wisdom as well as life’s gift to us. It is knowing the difference between truth and the illusion. One can have knowledge without wisdom but one cannot have wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom is a reward from life for persevering through all of the virtues.

 

The power of Native song

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Sept 09 054The power of Native song is felt not only in how it is sung but most importantly in it’s origins. Hearing someone sing Amazing Grace can be riveting and moving experience.  The reasons for this are found in the circumstance in which that song was composed like many old church hymns, Amazing Grace was written under conditions of great duress and emotional intensity.  When one hears such songs it actually invokes the spirits involved and the flavor of the moment that imbues the song with real magic. This can be seen as evident in a very pragmatic and scientific way.

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  A song of any kind represents a connecting link to a time and place of  it’s origins.  This takes place the way that electricity follows the current of a long copper wire.  It is simple to determine if a song carries power, what feelings does it evoke?  In our numb domestic culture it has become increasingly hard for people to sense the spiritual beings because they come as feelings.  In a domesticated world where most people aren’t even in touch with their own feelings, sensing the feelings in the wind like a wild animal does is quite unlikely.  Every so often you may sense a spirit without knowing what’s really happening.

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  Let’s say you’re going through some old boxes and you handle an old hairbrush.  You look at it’s color or design and put it somewhere else thinking nothing of it.  Later around dusk you get a peculiar sensation reminding you of the smell of soap that was in your grandmother’s bathroom during your childhood.  This scenario represents the visitation of a spirit.  As humans we may link the sensation we had of spirits in our grandmother’s bathroom with the smell of her soap.  This is one reason why aromatic smudge herbs are used in any ritual in any culture.

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Most people would think nothing of these kinds of feelings and would call them “memories”.  In a similar way one could get feelings handling a personal item that belonged to someone else’s family.  One may get an odd sensation or deja vu without realizing that they are sensing a spirit’s presence.  One too may assume, from the explanation, that the spirits sensed are ghosts, like the sensation of the grandmother.  What these sensations are, are elemental beings that follow an ancestral lineage like the water spirits sensed by the child in the grandmother’s bathroom.  Using this story as an analogy one may say that the smell of the soap or the handling of the hairbrush are like the songs in the act of calling the spirits.  Singing Amazing Grace in an all night Tipi Meeting you can feel the energy, or the flavor of the moment, dramatically shift.  Although the song is still within spiritual content it is still totally different in it’s origins and the mood from which it was born.

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In the sweat lodge when someone sings a European based pseudo Indian camp song it feels like the generated momentum of the lodge is all of a sudden  flushed away leaving the strange barbaric feeling of Spanish Conquistadors or the lineages of other early settlers. The spirits in this case follow the families, the languages and other European influences, as well as the line of the song.  What I mean by the line of the song is it’s history.  Like an electric wire this line has the means of transmission.

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There’s another aspects of songs where the concept of the “line of the spirits” is concerned.  Let’s say you made up a song with the intention of attracting a spirit.  Within the “flavor of the moment” that characterizes the spirits presence, you sing your song, and with it calling attention to yourself with this song.  You then have created a direct line to that specific spirit.  (Although this works do not assume that the spirits will behave the way you want or expect).  One could use a fragrance in the same way there is a connection between memory of smells with emotions.  In invoking spirits we are invoking memories, feelings.  The spirits are these feelings directly.  When you have a certain feeling of any kind you are actually embodying a spirit.  So by all this one can see that for a domestic human to summon the spirits of the wild, without a direct spiritual line of connection, is nearly impossible.  That is another one of our reasons for protecting and sharing these sacred ancient songs.  They can be of immeasurable aid to the future population of nerds that our culture is creating.  At a time when intelligence eclipses intuition altogether there can still be the hope of the spirits possible intervention.

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Taking a close analytical analysis of primordial spiritual songs we can find some very interesting points.  First of all, ancient spiritual traditions of the world use what is known as the pentatonic scale.  It is based upon the number five and it predates the harmonic scale.  Pentatonic scale is used exclusively for spiritual applications even in cultures predominated by the harmonic scales.  The pentatonic scale flourishes in American culture through Blues and Gospel music which have African roots.  In all indigenous cultures when invoking the spirits, a falsetto is employed.  This clearly illustrates an emotional relationship between man and spirit and it shows that some spirits are attuned to crying.

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Another marked difference in primordial spiritual music is the beat.  Domestic music uses a beat that is to the time of the song that is how children in industrialized cultures are taught to clap hands in school.  Native American music, like African and other aboriginal societies, utilizes the opposite.  Professional drummers from modernized cultures have to unlearn the tendency to clap to time, finding the heartbeat in the background of the song.singing andrea and Chris

In all Lakota spiritual songs and Native American spiritual music the songs start out high and end up low following the natural laws of gravity.  In hearing song birds in nature even when a bird’s song goes high it is always followed by a radical plummet back down again.  Even when the Catholic Church banned the pentatonic scale they still used it along with falsetto  and the high to low intonations for Latin prayer recitations._LAN9309

It is obvious that the difference in native dance music and others is that the volume is louder and the range is further breaking through the yodel all the way to the other side.  Anyone can do this with practice by building the muscles of the larynx and learning how to relax other muscles at the same time.  Lakota song, like it’s language, are toned from the center of the head rather than from the soft palate   This gives it a resonant nasal quality.  This is lacking in English where all the sounds are projected out of the mouth with the front of the mouth, unlike primordial languages.  In domestic society we have found changes in human language, our thoughts as well as our habits. An interesting change that has occurred is that the male alto voice types are becoming rarer.  This may be due to hormonal changes related to domestication.

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The most important difference in aboriginal music are the origins of the songs.  A song is a gift from the spirits.  A person receives a vision with a gift of the song for the people.  Most all of the native songs have come about in this way and not from regular composition.  This is illustrated by the lyrics which are in first person from the spirit’s standpoint.  This is a very important point to remember because it too defines authentic aboriginal song and is totally absent in industrialized cultures.  A Lot of people find our blog site looking for English sweat lodge songs.  There is no such thing as an English sweat lodge song nor is there such a thing as a Spanish sweat lodge song.  None of the Spanish and English so called Indian songs were gifted by the spirits, these songs were all composed.  None of these contemporary songs are in first person from the spirits point of view.  None of them use falsetto, pentatonic scale, have a back beat or go from high to low.  So if you hear someone singing a song claim to have been a Native American spiritual song yet it is in a harmonic scale do not take them serious.summer 11 151

To recognize a fraudulent song, as you can see, is very simple.  But there are other things that define domestic compositions.  “We all fly like eagles,  high above the earth, circling the universe, with wings of pure light”.  The example begins not only with a fantasy statement but also completely untrue in every way.  It expresses the need to be greater out of a low self esteem which is a distinct character trait of this modern culture.  It is common in the Lakota songs to hear this statement “I am a common man” or “a common man is saying this”.  The most prevalent phrase in Lakota songs is“pity me” (have compassion).  Secondly is “help me” as well as ”God I am suffering”.   This is reflected by most spiritual songs of any traditions regardless of age or culture.02907292013_1242

The purpose in making distinctions in spiritual and non spiritual songs is to defend true spirituality without allowing fraudulent mystics to damage the authentic power.  Even if it is done innocently and inadvertently, measures need to be taken to safe keep the ancient traditions of the earth.  In the same way there should never be a drive thru or email confessionals in the church, there should never be bogus Indian songs as part of any sweat lodge.  the reason for this preservation is not to stop the evolution of a native path but to stop the domestication of it.  That de-claws it making it an obedient pet rather than a fierce panther that inspires reverence and change.  It controls the spirit by denying it access to the people, it transforms the medicine power into a badge of honor rather than as a spiritual gift.

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A Blossoming Tradition

 

Who practices Modern Indigenous American Traditions?  People from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Like all good traditions and spiritual practices, they have the tendency to grow. In terms of Native American spirituality, the Lakota traditions have done the best. This is so because the Lakota people have always shared with others, adopted people as family (Hunka) and have always helped others without hatred and judgement. That is why it is a blossoming tradition. The Navajo have had a hard time generating interest among their youth in the practice of traditional ceremonies. Since they have been reluctant to pass their sacred ways outside of their own blood relatives they have suffered the total extinction of many important rites in very recent years. Nowadays the Navajo are related to every race on earth and come from all walks of life. Like most nations of the earth, a small percentage of them are involved in Lakota ceremonials!

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There is this illusion that indigenous traditions must remain unchanged, like the anthropologist frowning over the Sun Dance Chief taking flesh offerings with a surgical scalpel instead of a flint knife. The anthropologist has totally missed the point and cannot see the practicality, wisdom, and level of detachment inherent in non-domestic spirituality (attachment and sentimentality are enhanced in domesticated animals).

The true indigenous spiritual leaders have the same ethics and humility as most of the world religions. In the first century, Christianity immediately spread from being Jewish to embracing Greeks, Ethiopians and any one else that expressed an interest, this is a natural phenomenon that can be seen everywhere. The Catholic Pope is nether Jewish, Greek, or Italian right now he’s of American Indian heritage! One might argue that Native spirituality cannot be compared to Christianity even though it is the chosen path of most Native Americans. Others would say that in the story of Christianity the Jews represented the good traditionalist, staying in line with the sacred ways. Nothing could be further from the truth because the Jewish tradition has always been open to the public. People all faiths continuously convert to Judaism and always have. It is not uncommon for a man to undergo a circumcision operation in the hopes of becoming admitted to Judaism. Like the Navajo they too are international, global citizens!

Like all paths to God, you’ll find a Catholic and Protestant versions of all of them. There are the purist fundamentalists, the spirit filled ones in rapture, as well as closet atheists who think they are spiritual because they are part of a religion. All of them play important roles as it truly takes all kinds!

Black Bear

We are constantly reminded at our ceremonial functions of the strange circumstances of the changing world in which we live. There are a lot of misconceptions about spirituality in general and folks these days have allot of different motives for being involved. It is up to us that the coming generations not pollute indigenous ways by making them domesticated. This has been what has hurt the worlds greatest spiritual paths more than anything else. Domestication is warping our perception, the only thing we take with us beyond this life!

What makes Indigenous traditions, of any kind, so powerful is that they are wild and untamed. They access that part of the human psyche that is unmolested by industrialization.  It is ever important for the human race to hold on to the magic that is swiftly receding away from us. Many new age philosophies would disagree with this, but let me point out that they are a strictly domesticated variety of human beings. When any animal is domesticated, or even when wild animals are caged or subjected to routines, they tend to slip into neurotic behavior patterns, like living in a made up fantasy world.

Many do not realize that the Lakota Sun Dance is an international religion, for example. There has emerged many powerful medicine men and spiritual leaders representing Lakota traditions from the world over. Many people are against this (mostly nonspiritual people).  It is truly mysterious how the spirit moves, a person may acquire spirit helpers through association with a tradition, through marriage, by ordination and by birth. Sometimes it runs in the family as was the case with Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli. There is also the case where someone is born with miraculous powers outside of spiritual tradition altogether.

220px-Daniel-Dunglas-Home-levitation

There are hundreds of cases of human foot prints fossilized in stone, any where from 1 million to 90 million years old, a testimony to the awesome mystery of human kind and what lurks deep within our human consciousness. Modern Indigenous American Spirituality is in constant flux as we our selves are redefined by what we know, and that goes for all of spirituality, everywhere!

Only the last remaining indigenous traditions of the world still have miraculous, seemingly impossible things as commonplace. Spiritual leaders of domestic religion, sadly, cannot begin to imagine the reality of  the aboriginal spiritual world (whats left of it).

Ceremonial songs in the Lakota language

Spirit  Helpers
Spirit Helpers
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Welcome to the Song page

We are currently teaching many songs in the Lakota language to support Ceremonies such as the Sundance, Yuwipi/Lowanpi, Inipi (Sweat Lodge), and Ghost Dance. Ongoing Ceremonial Song Classes and other events are all listed on our Calendar of events. There is a strong need for more singers so we encourage anyone interested to join us. Lyrics to other songs are also at the bottom of the page.

The Singing Stone would like to invite you to our Song Classes. Our song Classes are in the Lakota language and take place most every Saturday 3-5 p.m.in Crestone, Colorado.  conjurespirits@gmail.com . We look forward to singing together. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!

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 Sweat Lodge Stone song

 Spotted Eagle song

Miye toka heya anpetu owakinyelo

Wanbli gleska wan heyaya u welo

Miye toka heya anpetu owakinyelo

As the sun rises, I am first to fly

A spotted eagle is coming saying this

As the sun rises, Iam first to fly

 Animal calling song

Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo. Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo,

Wankantanhan wanbli gleska oyate wan, Kola wica wayelo, sitomniyan wanmayank u ye.

Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo. Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo.

Makata sinte sapela oyate wan, Kola wica wayelo, sitomniyan wanmayank u ye.

Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo. Tuwa tokiya kola wayelo.

Wankantanhan wahe oyate wan, Kola wica wayelo, sitomniyan wanmayank u ye

Somewhere, someone is my friend. Somewhere, someone is my friend.

From above, a spotted eagle nation, do not doubt his power, he is my friend, Everyone behold! He comes to see me.

Somewhere, someone is my friend. Somewhere, someone is my friend.

From the earth, a black tailed deer nation, do not doubt his power, he is my friend, Everyone behold! He comes to see me.

Somewhere, someone is my friend. Somewhere, someone is my friend.

From above, a mole nation, do not doubt his power, he is my friend, Everyone behold! He comes to see me.

 Black Tail Deer Song 2

Maka kic’un pi, maka kic’un pi, sinte sapela maka kic’in pi,

tuwa eheha wayelo, Maka kic’un pi, sinte sapela maka kic’un pi, tuwa eheha wayelo

They wear their earth, they wear their earth, black tail deer wear their earth.

Someone I have made say they wear their earth, black tail deer wear their earth.

 Spider song

Maka sitomniyan, okiya wau yelo, Iktomi wan heyaya uwelo, Miye mawakan yelo.

Maka sitomniyan, okiya wau yelo, Iktomi wan heyaya uwelo, Miye mawakan yelo.

All over this world I come to help, a spider says these things as he comes, Me, I am sacred.

All over this world I come to help, a spider says these things as he comes, Me, I am sacred.

 Prayer song

Tunkasila Wakan Tanka heya hoye wayelo, Tunkasila Wakan Tanka heya hoye wayelo.

 Tunkasila omakiyayo makakijelo.

Grandfather, Great Spirit, a voice I am sending, Grandfather, Great Spirit, a voice I am sending.

Grandfather, help me for I am suffering.

 Kettle dog song

leceya sunka wan yuta pe, leceya sunka wan yuta pelo, wiohpeyata wakinyan oyate wan

sunka wan yutape wakan yutapelo

 Stone Calling Song

Hoyemakiyayo cemakiyayo, Taku ya chinkia iyece tu ktelo, Tunkan sabicya eya ce hoye wakiyelo.

Cemakiyayo hoyemakiyayo, Taku ya chinkia iyece tu ktelo, Tunkan sabicya eya ce hoye wakiyelo.

Send a voice to me, pray to me, What you want will be given to you, A blackened stone, you have said, So a voice I send to you.

Pray to me, send a voice to me, What you want will be given to you, A blackened stone, you have said, So a voice I send to you.

This is The Singing Stone’s Yuwipi set in the order that they are sung.

1. Pipe Filling Song

Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo.

Hecanuki nitunkasila waniyang u ktelo.

Canunpa wanji yuha ilatake ci.

Miksuya opagi yo.

Hecanuki taku yacinki iyecetu ktelo.

 Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo.

Hecanuki nitunkasila waniyang u ktelo.

Hocoka wanji yuha ilotake ci.

Miksuya opagi yo.

Hecanuki taku yacinki iyecetu ktelo.

English

My friend do it like this, My friend do it like, this My friend do it like this.

When you do it this way the Grandfathers will come down to see you.

With this one Sacred Pipe sit down.

Remember as you fill the pipe.

When you do it this way what you want will happen.

My friend do it like this, My friend do it like this, My friend do it like this.

When you do it this way the Grandfathers will come down to see you.

In this one Sacred Circle sit down.

Remember as you fill your pipe.

When you do it this way what you want will happen.

Español

Mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi

Cuando se hace haci los abuelos bajan a verte

Con esta pipa sagrada siéntate

Recuerda que cuando llenas tu pipa

Cuando lo haces haci, lo que quieres sucede

Mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi, mi amigo haslo asi

Cuando se hace así, los abuelos bajan a verte

Con esta pipa sagrada siéntate

Recuerda que cuando llenas tu pipa

Cuando lo haces haci, lo que quieres sucede

2. Song To Tie

 Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo, Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo,

 Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo ,Anpetu ki le mitawa yelo.

English

This day belongs to me, This day belongs to me,

This day belongs to me, This day belongs to me.

Espanol

Este dia me pertenece, este dia me pertenece

Este dia me pertenece, este dia me pertenece

3. Yuwipi Altar song Is learned in person and should never be sung outside of ceremony.

4. Stone Song 1

Wakan oyate wan waniyang u ktelo, Wayankaya yo.

English

A sacred nation is appearing, Come and see.

Espanol

Una nación sagrada se levanta ven a ver.

5. Stone Song 2

Wankata peta wanlakelo, Henake tunkan pica wanlakelo.

Wankata peta wanlakelo, Henake tunkan pica wanlakelo.

English

Up above you have seen a spark, They are stones that you have seen.

Up above you have seen a spark, They are stones that you have seen.

Espanol

Arriba alto, has visto una chispa, Hay piedras que has visto

Arriba alto, has visto una chispa, Hay piedras que has visto

6. Black Tail Deer Song

Le miye ca tanin ya nawajin yelo, Le miye ca tanin ya nawajin yelo,

Sinte sapela le miye ca tanin ye nawajin yelo.

Le miye ca tanin ya nawajin yelo,

Sinte sapela le miye ca tanin ye nawajin yelo.

English

This is me visible I am standing, This is me visible I am standing,

The black tail deer, visible I am standing.

This is me visible I am standing,

The black tail deer, visible I am standing.

Espanol

Este soy yo, visible, aquí de pie. Este soy yo, visible, aquí  de pie.

Venado de cola negra, visible ante ti estoy de pie.

Este soy yo, visible aquí de pie

Venado de cola negra, visible ante ti estoy de pie.

7. Mole Song

Maka takiya taku wakan wan u welo, Maka takiya taku wakan wan u welo.

Wahehela wan u welo, Wani yanku yelo.

Taku wakan wan echela, Wana u welo, Wana e yelo, Wani yanku welo.

English

From the earth something sacred is coming, From the earth something sacred is coming.

A mole is coming, It is coming to see you.

There is nothing not sacred, He is coming, He is here, It is coming to see you.

Espanol

Desde la tierra algo sagrado viene. Desde la tierra algo sagrado viene

Un topo viene., viene a verte.

No hay nada, que no sea sagrado, el viene, el esta aqui, viene a verte.

8. Bat Song

Hanhepi ki mita wayelo wayankiye yo, Hupakiglake wan heya u welo.

English

The night belongs to me  look this way, A bat has come, saying this.

Espanol

La noche me pertenece mira hacia aca,  Un murciélago ha venido diciendo esto.

9. Prayer Song

Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye.

Makasitomniyan hoye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye, Iwayeci namah’un ye.

English

Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say

All over the world a voice I send, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say, Hear what I have to say.

Espanol

Escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir

En todo el mundo una voz  envío, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir, escucha lo que tengo que decir.

10. Doctoring Song

Wanktahan wau welo, Wanktahan wau welo,Wanktahan wau welo,

Wicatancan piya ,wakaginkta ca wau welo, Wanktahan wau welo.

English

Up above I am coming, Up above I am coming, Up above I am coming.

A body I am going to make well, so I am coming, Up above I am coming.

Espanol

Desde arriba yo vengo, Desde arriba yo vengo, Desde arriba yo vengo,

Un cuerpo voy a hacer bien, haci yo vengo, Desde arriba yo vengo.

11. Aurora Borealis Song

Makpiya tahin ki le miyelo, Makpiya tahin ki le miyelo

Wamayankiyo, inyan wasicun ca nape wayelo.

Makpiya tahin ki le miyelo,

Wamayankiyo, inyan wasicun ca nape wayelo.

English

The aurora borealis this is me, The aurora borealis this is me

Behold the power stone of a dreamer is my healing hand.

The aurora borealis this is me,

Behold the power stone of a dreamer is my healing hand.

Espanol

La aurora borealis, este soy yo, La aurora borealis, este soy yo

Siente la poderosa piedra de un sonador, es la mano sanadora

La aurora borealis, este soy yo

Siente la poderosa piedra de un sonador, es la mano sanadora

12. Stone Doctoring Song

Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo.

Tunkan tatioblecha wan, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tip i ghi le camu welo, Ilelea tipi ghi le camu welo.

English

Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this.

The lodge of the stones, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this, Within glittering sparks, I have done this.

Dentro de las  chispas brilladoras yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto.

El temascal de piedras, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto, Dentro de las chispas brilladoras, yo hice esto.

13. Medicine Song

Pejuta wan cicu ktaca wayankiyeyo.

English

A medicine I am going to give you, look this way.

Espanol

Una medicina te voy a dar, mira hacia aca.

14. Spider Song

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

Wankata hot anin kun le miye wamayankiyo ewaye namah’un yelo

English

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Up above my voice is heard, behold me, so listen to me.

Espanol

Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibe la escuchame.

Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibe la escuchame.

  • Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibela escuchame.

Desde lo alto mi voz se escucha, recibe la  escuchame.

15. Spider Song 2

Iktomni wan tahia mani u welo, tahia u welo tahia mani u welo, Iktomni wan tahia mani u welo.

Tahia u welo tahia mani u welo, Iktomni wan tahia mani u welo.

English

A spider comes walking, He comes walking, he comes walking,              A spider comes walking.

He comes walking, he comes walking, A spider comes walking.

Espanol

Una araña viene caminando, el viene caminando, el viene caminando.

Una araña viene caminando.

el viene caminando, el viene caminando Una arana viene caminando.

16. Thunder Being Song 1

Leciya ya tuwa maki pan pelo, Leciya ya tuwa maki pan pelo, Wiohpeyata wakinyan oyate wan, Kola maki pan pelo

Leciya ya tuwa maki pan pelo, Wiohpeyata wakinyan oyate wan, Kola maki pan pelo.

English

Over here they are calling for me, Over here they are calling for me, To the west a thunder being nation., My friends are calling for me.

Over here they are calling for me, To the west a thunder being nation, My friends are calling for me.

Espanol

Por aqui estan llamando por mi, Por aqui estan llamando por mi, Desde el oeste una nación de seres relámpago, Mis amigos llaman por mi.

Por aqui estan llamando por mi,  Desde el oeste una nación de seres relámpago Mis amigos llaman por mi.

17. Thunder Being Song 2

Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo.

Tehi ya wamiconza pe, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo, Oyate hanta po itateya mawani yelo.

English

People move aside, I walk in the wind, People move aside, I walk in the wind, People move aside, I walk in the wind.

A difficult time is predicted for me, People move aside, I walk in the wind, People move aside, I walk in the wind.

Espanol

Gente muévase  hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento, Gente muévase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento, Gente muerase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento.

Un tiempo difícil  esta predecido para mi, Gente muévase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento, Gente muerase hacia el lado, yo camino en el viento.

18. Thunder Being Song 3

Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo, Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo, Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo

He wamakaskan wanji gyi Cante eiyapa wayelo, Leciya ya tokeya mawani yelo.

English

Over here I walk first, Over here I walk first, Over here I walk first.

I make some animals’ hearts beat, Over here I walk first.

Espanol

Por aqui yo camino primero, Por aqui yo camino primero, Por aqui yo camino primero.   

 Yo hago que  lata  el corazón  de algunos animales, Por aqui yo camino primero.

19. Thunder Being Song 4

Wankata taku wakan ke he wanla ke, Wankata taku wakan ke he wanla ke lowan, Makasitomniya kola ceyakiya pelo wan, Wankata taku wakan ke he wanla ke lo .

English

Up above something sacred you have seen, Up above something sacred you have seen, All around the world you have prayed to him, Up above something sacred you have seen.

Espanol

En lo alto algo sagrado has visto, En lo alto algo sagrado has visto,

En todo el mundo has rezado por él, En lo alto algo sagrado has visto.

20. Calling Song

Tunkasila wamayank uye, Tunkasila wamayank uyeyo, Tunkasila wamayank uyeyo

Ikce wicasa ta canunpa wan Yuha hoye wayelo

Mitakuye ob wani ktelo, Heyaya hoye wayelo.

English

Grandfather come and see me, Grandfather come and see me, Grandfather come and see me.

With the common people’s pipe I send a voice

So I may live with my relatives, I keep sending a voice.

Espanol

Abuelo ven a verme, abuelo ven a verme, abuelo ven a verme.

Con la pipa del pueblo, Yo mando una voz.

Par así  vivir con todas mis relaciones, Yo sigo mandando una voz.

21. Sone Song 3

Hot anin ye, Hot anin ye, Wankata hot anin ye, Hot anin ye, Wankata hot anin ye, Hot anin yelo

Wankata inyan wan, Hot anin ye, Hot anin ye, Wankata hot anin ye, Hot anin yelo.

English

Voices are heard, voices are heard, Up above voices are heard, voices are heard, Up above voices are heard, voices are heard.

Up above a stone, voices are heard, voices are heard, Up above voices are heard, voices are heard.

Espanol

Voces se escuchan, voces se escuchan, desde lo alto se escuchan voces, voces se escuchan, desde lo alto se escuchan voces, voces se escuchan

por encima de una piedra

22. Spider Untying Song (1)

Cokata wankan y mica kta ca, Cokata eya ya nawajin yelo, Kola ehek’un lecun we yelo, Kola ehek’un lecun we yelo.

English

He is preparing a sacred center for me, I am standing in the center sending a voice, My friend, you have said this, do it this way, My friend, you have said this, do it this way.

Espanol

El prepara un centro sagrado para mi, Estoy parado en el centro mandando una voz, Mi amigo, tu has dicho esto, hazlo de esta forma, Mi amigo, tu has dicho esto, hazlo de esta forma.

23. Dancing Song

Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo, Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo, Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo.

Inyan wasicun ca ,waci yau welo wayankiyeyo, Waci yau welo wayankiyeyo.

English

Take a look as I come dancing, Take a look as I come dancing, Take a look as I come dancing.

The white stone spirits, take a look as I come dancing, Take a look as I come dancing.

Espanol

Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando, Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando, Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando,

Los espíritus  de piedra blanca, ven a mirar, que vengo bailando, Ven a mirar, que vengo bailando.

24. Pipe Offering Song

Wayankiye, wayankiye, wayankiye, Canunpa kile wakan yelo wayankiye.

Wayankiye, wayankiye, Canunpa kile wakan yelo wayankiye.

English

Take a look, Take a look, Take a look,This pipe is sacred. Take a look.

Take a look, Take a look, This pipe is sacred. Take a look.

Espanol

Toma una vista, Toma una vista, Toma una vista, Esta pipa es sagrada, Toma una vista, Toma una vista, Toma una vista,  Esta pipa es sagrada.

25. Offering Song

Lenake, wayang u yelo, Lenake hiyo uye

Waunye ki lena hoye miciciyiyo He mitakuye ob wani wacin yelo, Tunkasila omakiyayo.

Canli pahta ki lena hoye miciciyiyo, He mitakuye ob zaniya waon wacin yelo Tunkasila omakiyayo.

English

Look, all of these I have given you, Come take what I have offered you

With this cloth I have pledged myself to you, With my relatives I want to live, Grandfather help me.

With these tobacco ties I have pledged myself to you, With my relatives in good health I will live, Grandfather, help me.

Espanol

Mira todo esto que te e dado, Ven a coger lo que te e ofrecido

Con esta manta me ofresco hacia ti, Con mis relativos quiero vivir, Abuelo ayudame

Con estos amarres de tabacco me ofresco hacia ti . Con mis relativos en buena salud voy vivir, abuelo ayudame

26. Offering Song 2

Hoye yayo, hoye yayo, Hoye yayo, hoye yayo, Tunkasila le ampelo.

Ikce wicasa ta canunpi ki leyuha, Hoye yayo, hoye yayo, Tunkasila le ampelo.

English

Sending a voice, sending a voice, Sending a voice, sending a voice, Grandfather on this day.

A common man is holding this pipe, Sending a voice, sending a voice, Grandfather on this day.

Espanol

Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Abuelo en este día

Un hombre común  aguanta una pipa, Mandando una voz, Mandando una voz, Abuelo en este dia

 

27. Closing Song 1

Tunkan unsi unlapi yelo, Tunkan unsi unlapi yelo, He mitakuye ob wani kta ca, Lena cicu welo.

English

Stone spirits have pity on us, Stone spirits have pity on us, With my relatives I will live, So I give you these offerings

Espanol

Espíritus  de piedra ten piedad de nosotros, Espíritus de piedra ten piedad de nosotros, Con toda relaciones yoy a vivir haci te ofresco todo esto

28. Closing Song 2

Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Tunkasila ta wokonze ca, Lena cicu welo. Hot aninyan kin najin pelo.

English

As we leave our voices are heard, As we leave our voices are heard, It is Grandfather’s will, That I give you these offerings. As we leave our voices are heard.

Espanol

Mientras partimos, nuestras voces se escuchan, Mientras partimos,nuestras voces se escuchan, Es la voluntad de el Abuelo, Que te doy estas ofrendas, Mientras partimos, nuestras voces se escuchan.

 29. Ending Song

Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo, Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.

Anpetu okihica cicu welo, Kola lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.

English

My friend, I have given you these. Behold them, My friend, I have given you these. Behold them.

The day has made it possible to give you these offerings, My friend, I have given you these. Behold them.

Espanol

Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo, Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo

El dia ha hecho  posible poder darte estas ofrendas, Mi amigo te e dado esto, recibelo

click here for a lyrics download (Microsoft word)

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Ceremonial songs in the Lakota language and lakota sweat lodge song lyrics

Important Details
When singing this style of song, be sure to pay close attention to the drumbeat. It is either a fast steady beat or a slow thunder beat, like a heartbeat. Some of these songs are hard to play without the right beat. When singing along it is helpful to tap along with the drum. Another point of consideration is distinguishing between vocables and lyrics. Vocables are sounds and are not written among the lyrics. Usually the syllable and melody of the vocables match the lyrical part of the song. Usually the song begins with vocables. Very rarely are the vocables after the words.

When singing alone or without accompaniment you would sing the songs the way they are written. When singing with others you would use a call and response. That is when the song leader calls out the first line of the song; the group would then repeat that line. Some of these recordings have a call and response although they are written without it. As a rule of thumb with the call and response the group joins in just before the leader sings the vocable sound He. This sound is found at the end of some of the sentences He.

Other things to consider in singing these songs

Some of these songs are specific to particular lineages. In that case only one or two words may be different from one tiospaye to another. Most of these songs are general and are sung by many groups and at different ceremonies. An animal calling song is for calling in the power of specific animals. A stone song is for calling in the powers of stones. Be sure you are not calling things unnecessarily.

These songs are very powerful and not to be idly whistled or sung in the shower. Put down a pinch of tobacco as an offering first. This can be placed in a special spot, it can be rubbed or sprinkled upon the drum. A little water is good for the spirit of the drum, but before singing songs always put down tobacco. It is important not to “cry wolf” with the spirits. If these songs are sung idly too much the Spirits may stop responding.

By learning songs from a C.D. or computer they may attract lesser nearby spirits. They may not have the same impact until they are sung along within a genuine tradition. The more powerful spirits follow an oral line of association that is lost without actual contact with lineage holders. By singing and learning these songs here the spirits may eventually draw you into the ceremonies and traditions that use them.

Do not sing any thunder being songs at night out of context. This will attract ghosts, it could be very dangerous. Thunder being songs call thunder beings during the day and ghosts at night. Honestly, one should never really sing any kind of song carelessly outside at night. In the event of attracting ghosts sing the “Sending the Spirits Home” closing song. It is good to know that song to send spirits back home, especially when it is helpful to them. Thunder being songs include any heyoka or kettle songs. The dog song should only be sung at the Kettle Dance unless practicing.

Healing songs are for doctoring people. The songs themselves are a healing medicine. They can be sung in sweat lodge, Yuwipi, or on their own as a treatment. Canupa songs (pipe songs) should generally be sung when the pipe is present. If you carry a canupa it is O.K. to sing those songs whenever but always give a tobacco offering to the drum, especially when rehearsing. Pipe filling songs should only be sung while loading the pipe facing west. Again it is alright in the process of learning to sing the pipe filling songs, having offered tobacco to the drum and ending your lessons with the “Sending the Spirits Home” closing song.
There are various different closing songs when reaching near the end of a ceremony. For instance, in the fourth round of the sweat lodge one might sing a closing offering song. Be sure to check with your leaders about this as they vary from tradition to tradition. Some of our closing songs may not be used by other lineages to close. It all depends on what the spirit helpers of a tradition are used to. When visiting a sweat lodge you know little about it would be safest to not lead any closing songs at all.

There are a handful of songs not available here that are too specific. These are the opening Yuwipi/Lowanpi songs for calling in the directional spirits. They vary from ceremony to ceremony and from one medicine man to another. To get these songs you will have to learn them in ceremony. That is the only time those songs are ever sung. By learning all of these songs on our site we will become a Lowan Wicasa (song man) or a Lowan Winyan (song woman). Although not a prerequisite to being a medicine man or woman in the Lakota tradition you would have to be crazy to even attempt to embark on that path without most of these songs. Singers are integral to these ways, anyone knowing all of these songs are needed and honored regardless of race, creed, or color. If you put yourself out there you could travel the world over with expenses paid just singing at ceremonial events.

Sundance coyote song

kola lemiyeca he wau welo, kola lemiyeca he wau welo,

wama yanka yo wau welo, anpe wi ki iyoh’late he

ociciya kinte ca he wau welo, wama yanka yo wau welo wau welo,

kola lemiyeca he wau welo, kola lemiyeca he wau welo,

wama yanka yo wau welo, hanhe wi ki iyoh’late he

ociciya kinte ca he wau welo, wama yanka yo wau welo wau welo.

My friend, this is me that is coming, My friend, this is me that is coming

Look at me, I am coming, Under the sun, I have something to say

I have something to tell you, that is why, Look at me, I am coming

My friend, this is me that is coming, My friend, this is me that is coming

Look at me, I am coming, Under the moon, I have something to say

I have something to tell you, that is why, Look at me, I am coming

Stone Song 

Makasitomniyan hoye wayelo, Makasitomniyan hoye wayelo.

Tunkasila wamayanguye, Makasitomniyan hoye wayelo.

All around the earth I am sending a voice, All around the earth I am sending a voice.

Grandfather hear me, All around the earth I am sending a voice.

Pipe Song

Maka cokayan canunpa wan ahi unpahpelo wayankiyeyo,Hecaya uha hoye wayelo.

Thank you Song

Wakan tanka tunkasila, Wakan tanka tunkasila, Pilamaya yelo, Canunpa wakan ca mayaku welo, Pilamaya yelo, Wicozani wa mayaku welo, Pilamayaye pilamaya yelo.

Canunpa wakan ca mayaku welo, Pilamaya yelo, Wicozani wa mayaku welo, Pilamayaye pilamaya yelo.

Great Spirit, grandfather, Great Spirit, grandfather, I thank you, You have given me a sacred canunpa, Thank you, You have given me a good healing, Thank you, thank you.

You have given me a sacred canunpa, Thank you, You have given me a good healing, Thank you, thank you.

Heyoka Thunder Being Song:

Makpiya mimemeya canku yape, Makpiya mimemeya canku yapelo, Henake akicita pica winyan wakan a canku yapelo.

Makpiya mimemeya canku yape, Henake akicita pica taku wakan a canku yapelo.

Clouds circling is their road, Clouds circling is their road, They are warriors, upon a road around a sacred woman.

Clouds circling is their road, They are warriors, upon a road around a sacred thing.

Hanbleceya Song 1

Tekiya wahi najin yelo, Tekiya wahi najin yelo, kola wamayankiyo.

Tekiya wahi najin yelo kola wamayankiyo.

Wiohpeyata kiya hoye wayelo kola wamayankiyo, Tekiya wahi najin yelo kola wamayankiyo

With difficulity I am standing, With difficulty I am standing, friend take a look at me.

With difficulty I am standing, friend take a look at me.

A voice I have sent to the West, friend take a look at me.

With difficulty I am standing, friend take a look at me.

Prayer Song

Makpia tipiwa ogna micagelo helo, Tunkashila ehapikun lecanu we

A dwelling in the clouds, he has made for me, Grandfather you have said and done this.

Ghost Nation Song

Tuwa tokiya kola lowanpelo, Tuwa tokiya kola lowanpelo, Tuwa tokiya kola lowanpelo.

Anpo hinapeki itokabya tuwa Lowanpe hena ehapi ca, Kola lowanpelo.

Somewhere my friends they are singing, Somewhere my friends they are singing, Somewhere my friends they are singing

They have said this, My friends they are singing

Prayer Song

Hoksila wamayankayo, hoksila wamayankayo, Miyohan wan wakanca wanji koyag Cinktelo, anpe wikiheyaca kola wayelo.

Child, take a look at me, child take a look at me, My power I have made you wear in a sacred manner ,The sun has said this, so I am his friend.

Doctoring Song

Ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye, Winyan ta canupi ki, ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

Winyan ta canupi ki ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

Ga glinajin miye Ikce wicasa ta canupi ki ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

Ikce wicasa ta canupi ki ga glinajin miye, Ga glinajin miye.

It has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

a woman’s pipe had made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

A woman’s pipe has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it It has made me stand before it.

The common man’s pipe has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

The common man’s pipe has made me stand before it, It has made me stand before it.

Prayer Song

Wankantanka unsimala yo, He makakijelo, Canupa kile he uha hoye wayelo

Wankantanka unsimalayo, He makakijelo, Canupa kile he uha hoye wayelo

Great Spirit have pity on me, For I am suffering, This pipe I have prayed with

Great Spirit have pity on me, For I am suffering, This pipe I have prayed with

Stone Song

Inyan wan hinajin wayanka piye

Before you a stone I have made appear. Come and see.

Black Tail Deer Song
Maka kic’un pi, maka kic’un pi, sinte sapela maka kic’in pi,

tuwa eheha wayelo, Maka kic’un pi, sinte sapela maka kic’un pi, tuwa eheha wayelo

They wear their earth, they wear their earth, black tail deer wear their earth

Someone I have made say they wear their earth, black tail deer wear their earth

Stone Song

Hokaowin u welo, Hokaowin u welo, Inyanwan wakan yankina, wana Hokaowin u welo

Hokaowin u welo wakanyan u welo

It is coming around, It is coming around, A stone in a sacred manner, Now it is coming around

In a sacred manner it is coming.

Doctoring Song

Inajin yo he waniyankinte,Tunkashila he waniyankintelo, Inajin yo he waniyankintelo.

Inajin yo he waniyankinte, Tunkashila he waniyankintelo, Inajin yo he waniyankintelo.

Stand up, he is going to take a look at you, Grandfather is going to take a look at you, Stand up, he is going to take a look at you.

Stand up, he is going to take a look at you, Grandfather is going to take a look at you, Stand up, he is going to take a look at you.

 

Hanbleceya song

kola kawinga yo ehapelo, kola kawinga yo ehapelo, kola kawinga yo ehapelo. wiohpeyata inawajina ahitun nawajin yelo, kola kawinga yo ehapelo.

my friend turn around you have said,my friend turn around you have said, my friend turn around you have said.to the west I stand looking toward you, my friend turn around you have said.

About Sweat lodge songs


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About Sweat lodge songs

Most Lakota sweat lodges are very similar, Most have four rounds and the same basic format. whether the rocks are all brought in at once or what ever, you first set the stage and then you call in the spirits, Just like any thing else. Some Lodges the first round is in preparation for the invocation, in others it all happens first round right off the bat. Next you address the spirits, you pray, ask them some thing or just say hello. Then comes the doctoring or at least, the point where the spirits act, where they move about.

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First you call your friends over, then you ask them advice or just talk, then you entertain them and they respond, they can give you advice. Just like having guests over, you’ll probably have to feed them and even get them back home. So it is in the world of invoking spirits, not much different than inviting embodied guests over! The songs follow a logical sequence. my aim in saying all this is not to teach those who want to run Sweat Lodge’s without traditional initiation. Singers are rare though, so I would like to invite you all to learn Lakota Sweat Lodge Songs here! Most Sweat Lodges performed all over are Lakota in origin. Some were passed without proper instructions. Others may have been copied without formal initiation and they should seek a teacher. Pouring water for a sweat lodge without  knowing an invitational song is like trying to drive a car without gas, still  a lot of people seem content doing this. Furthermore, pouring water for a sweat lodge without singing a closing song is like trying to steal a car without gas, It may have serious implications.

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Some individuals fail to appreciate the powers that these traditional songs conjure up. Perhaps they had their eyes closed during the lodge! In this modern world it can be difficult for the domesticated mindset to grasp the concept of invocation, this is understandable.

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All too often the lack of songs in a Sweat Lodge can be attributed to the simple fact that the leader just can’t sing. If that is the case you must find a singer, just like the olden days, you find singers to call the spirits. Learning songs is is not only therapeutic, it can give you the key to the doorway of another dimension. Song has always been the invocation  key in every culture of human kind. One need not take our word for it though, find out for yourselves!

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Knowing the Correct sequence of the sweat lodge songs can dramatically transform everyone present. Some people learn the basics and maybe a song or two.Then they Are transformed into experts almost overnight! Like they say, The one eyed man is king in the valley of the blind. What ever the case may be, it is important to understand that it is essential to formally have received an altar fom a true tradition. Know that these traditions (denominations) do things differently.

It is the singer that is entrusted with the power, the humble voice in the background. So remember, First open the door with a directional song, then, while the door is open, sing individual calling songs. Next round pray and sing prayer songs. Then they dance and heal with dancing and healing songs. Then thank them, make offerings (give gifts) and send them home! This is the same with any ritual anywhere!

Sweat LodgeEaster

To correctly perform a Sweat Lodge one needs to undergo Hanbleceya (Vision Quest). Herein lies the secret to spirit helpers, the origin of songs as well as the connection to specific ancient lineages. Learn the songs from our song posts, keep in mind the sequence, some song sets we have listed are in order.

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Click this link to Hear and Learn sweat lodge songs!

Check out our site for more songs or come and learn directly from us most every Saturday from 3-5 pm. Crestone Colorado. Contact us for details and availability!

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Lakota story characters

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Tekpankali

Lakota story characters

Anog Ite Originally Ite, daughter of Wa and Ka and wife of Tate. Caught in a seduction, she was condemned to have two faces, one beautiful and the other hideous. A figure of disharmony, of turning aside from tradition. She is the mother of the Four Winds and Yum, the whirlwind. Because of her separation from her children, she causes birth pains to women and makes babies cry. She appears in dreams to young women, offering to teach them crafts, quill work in particular, which was a skill in which practitioners did not follow social norms.

Anp Spirit of light, particularly the reddish sunlight of dawn, source-less radiance.

Capa The Beaver Source and patron of hard work and domestic tranquility.

Cetan The Hawk Source and patron of swiftness in action, and inner stamina.

Han Spirit of Darkness Pre-existent to all things, Han and Anp follow each other to exile beneath Maka and return, balancing light and dark.

Hanwi The wandering Moon; created by the Sun to accompany him.

Hehaka The (male) Elk The source and patron of sexuality and intimacy. He is the relationship counselor and can be compared to cupid.

Heyoka , the sacred clown, both a divine entity and the effects of the spirit upon humans. Double-faced, showing joy on one side and grief on the other. He is the source of meteors, and people who dream of Wakinyan often become heyokas – doing everything backwards. These are known afterwards for their healing powers, and powers of dream interpretation, although they go through life terrified of thunder and lightening.

Hihankara (Owl-Maker) A crone Goddess who stands at the entrance to the Sky-Road (the Milky Way). She examines each who approaches, and if they do not have the correct tattoos, she pushes them from the path and they fall back to earth to wander as ghosts. Hihankara is comparable to the Greek Charon, the ferry man of souls.

Gnaska The Frog  patron of sorcery and magic. He is somtimes seen as a greedy trickster in some storys. Gnas means to fool. The Toad, Makpia, has to do with undoing sorcery.

Hogan The Fish patron of water, particularly as a cleanser and purifier.

Iktinike Son of Wi Banished to earth by the Sun for telling lies.

Iktomi, Son of Inyan and Wakinyan, is the tricky spider man, he has the power to speak to all things, living or inanimate. He gave the power of speech to humans and can talk to Wakinyan, He is regarded as heyoka, wise but a prankster, responsible for many difficulties humans have. He panics animals, and can shape shift or become invisible.

Inyan, Stone the Creator. patron of the Arts, original ancestor of all and source of all.  Because there was nothingness, he sacrificed a part of Himself in order to spawn the Universe and have a place to be. This act of self-offering caused him to become stone. His blood is water that became all the rivers, streams, and lakes. He made the Earth (Maka) his wife and created the Wakinyan to be his active counterparts. Iktomi and Iya are his sons. He is the spirit of Wakan Tanka.

Iya, Cyclone An evil child of Inyan and Unk, responsible, directly or indirectly, for all evil in the world. In his monster-like aspect he devours any animal or human and his breath is said to cause illness. Iya, is the brother of Iktomi and amounts only to destruction and sorrow.  Wakinyan is at war with him which started as jealously because Wakinyan was Inyan first companion.

Ka The first woman; wife of Wa and the mother of Ite. Banished to Earth and separated from Wa she became known as Wakanka, a great witch. If she chooses, she helps or hinders those she encounters.

Keya The Turtle patron of health, longevity, and healing rituals, especially surgery. the power of the feminine and protection.

Makpia, is a patron of sorcery and magic, The toad has to do with Rain, and especially with healing and undoing sorcery.

Maka The Earth Created by Inyan from his own substance. Maka was unsatisfied, cold and barren or too hot until Skan created Sun and Moon to follow one another in regular order.

Mato, The Bear  patron of wisdom and medicine. He is known as Hununpa or Tobtob. From him one learns knowledge of herbs, mushrooms, about love, fearless bravery and the language of the spirits. He is a healer, the wisest and is the spiritual archetype of all bears. Mato is said to have created the four legged animals. the bear is considered a two legged.

Mica , Sungmanitu, Coyote Trickster divinity especially involved in Tatanka Lowanpi, the girls puberty rite ritual wherein young women carefully wrap their first blood and place it in a tree so that the spirits of the tree will aid in their fertility. Mica tries to carry the bundles off so that he may control the girl.

Okaga A fertility spirit associated with the South as bringer of the south winds and warm weather. Okaga is the fourth brother of the Four Winds.  He is from the south and he marries Wohpe.

Skan source of all force, movement and power. He is the Sky and the wind is his helper. He sets the universe in motion along with the the order of all things. Skan is the judge of gods and mortals alike. Skan is comparable to the Greek Hermes.

Sungmanitu Tanka The Wolf Source and patron of the hunt.

Sunka The Dog patron of innocence and humility. Divine companion to humankind, He is the one responsible for watching over the humans and is their medicine when all hope is lost. The Dog is offered up to the wakinyan in the most dire situation as mans most valuable thing and then becomes  their most potent medicine as an inducer of humility.

Taku Skanskan The power of movement, one of the powers in wakan wicoh’an saced ceremony. That which causes every thing to move in the yuwipi / lowanpi.

Tatanka The (male) Buffalo Source and patron of plentiful food, health, and general tribal well-being. He is a magician, teaching proper rituals. Tatanka is regarded as remaining within the physical remains of the animal, especially the skull. He is the defender of young women’s first menstrual bundles that Mica tries to steal.

Tatankan Gnaskiyan (Crazy Buffalo) An evil spirit who wreaks havoc upon love affairs, causing fighting, murders, or suicides.

Tate The Wind Created by Skan to be His companion. Tate took Ite as His wife. She bore Him four sons, but was banished. Tate received permission for them to dwell upon Maka. They settle in the middle of the world, where Tate sends his four elder sons to the cardinal points, to establish dominion over them.

Unhcegila An evil spirit that dwells in secret places, resembling a large reptile. Disappearances and mysterious deaths are attributed to him.

Unk (Contention) Created to be a companion for Maka. She is the mother of Iya and Gnas. She was so beautiful that Maka became jealous and sent her away into the  depths of the waters, where she, with Iya, became the progenitor of all evil beings.

Unktehi A group of evil monsters, males living within water and females on land. Dangerous and malignant they cause flooding and contaminate water sources. They are also teachers, instructing humans in body painting for ceremonial purposes.

Wa, The first man; husband of Ka and father of Ite. He aided Ite so was banished to Earth and separated from Ka. Here, he became known as Wazi, great wizard. He helps or hinders those he encounters as he chooses. See Waziya.

Wakan ,  That which gives and takes life, the control of the life force.

Wakanpi General term for spirits, supernatural beings, Gods and Goddesses. Both good and bad, all watch over humans and expect proper ceremonies to be executed in their honor.

Wakan Tanka The Great controler of life. Wakan Tanka is the supreme power of the universe. The term refers on one level to the spiritual powers of the universe assembled together around a council fire. It is a council of spirits representing all of creation, and a single entity. So in Wakan Tanka is the collective power of all Gods and other entities. Together, they are one. Wakan Tanka controls all space and time, and is present in all things.

Underlying Wakan Tanka is the spirit Inyan, who caused all things to be by sacrificing his own essence, thereby infusing all things with it, animate and inanimate.  Wakan Tanka is addressed directly in prayer and ritual, but His influence in the material world is diffused through his elements and aspects.

Wakinyan, Thunderbeings The creators of all grass, living in the west the thunderbirds are winged bird-like creatures and patrons of cleanliness. They are known to have the voice of thunder and the glance of lightning. They are the enforcers of divine law. They offer protection to humans from Waziya. The Thunderbeings are eternally at war with the Unktehi, the monstrous forces of evil. Thunderbirds rule the heyoka.

Wambli The Eagle Overseer of battle and hunting kills and
patron of councils, especially hunting councils.

 Wamani Omini Hoksila The Whirlwind boy , fifth child of Tate and Ite. Has to do with mental health and the mind.  He rules good and bad luck in games, gambling and with love.

Wanagi The soul (nagi) of a dead person, as well as the spiritual aspect of one’s physical self, the body’s ghost. The spirit is a part of the wanagi along with many other things. (The soul in a living person is a Woniya). Wanagi leave the earth to travel the Sky Road (the Milky Way), but first they must successfully pass Hihankara.

Waziya the wicked wizard of the North. He is the north wind, consort of Wakanka, the archetypal witch. He is patron of winter, famine and disease. He also guards the aurora borealis, and controls ice and snow. Waziya is the father of Anog Ite. Waziya was formerly known as Wa (The first man).

Wi The Sun, is one of the four superior spiritual beings. He is Chief of the spirit world, the earth and the inner earth.

Wiyohipeyata The West, Spirit with the authority over all things that happen by night, associated with completion.

Wiyohiyanpa The East Spirit with the authority over all things that happen by day, associated with beginnings.

Wohpe Daughter of Skan and born of that one parent (movement). Wohpe is the Goddess of  beauty, harmony and happiness.  She is the helper of the Grandmother Earth, wife of the South wind (Itokaga). She teaches games, behavior, and dance. She is known as the mediator and the beautiful one. Wohpe means meteorite. She is also known Ptehincalasanwin, She is represented by the color blue and her stone is turquoise.  Another aspect of wohpe is the White Buffalo Calf Maiden, or Pte San Wi. In this form She gives the pipe and seven sacred rites to the people. Her other gift is the calendar.

Wanagi The soul. The soul is comprised of many parts, the ghost, or shadow is one aspect of the soul. There also is one’s reflection, or image,

 Zuzeca The Snake, Can be a bad omen. Represents hidden things, it is the symbol of the divine mother Earth (Maka Ina) along with the Rabbit.

ALTAR DESIGNS


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ALTAR DESIGNS

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Often people ask us about ritual protocol.  Why are things done a certain way?  What color prayer flags (robes) go in which direction?  There are very specific reasons for these details but most importantly know that the rules vary from one medicine person to another.  In addition to this each root family or tiospaye has specific rules. An altar design from Fools Crow would differ from that of Henry Crowdog.  The directional colors vary as well as some of the songs that are used.  Each Medicine Man or Woman receives from the Universe a vision.  The vision usually instructs the changes that should occur in the altar design.  although the changes maybe slight they are powerful symbols to the spirits that they call.  So that’s one reason why an altar design is different from another, they call different spirits.  Such a vision (of an altar) comes with a song.  That is why the Yuwipi or Lowampi ceremony have different altar songs.

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So when attending a different sweat lodge don’t expect that the songs you are used to will be sung.  One word may be changed, there may not be a drum or there might be a rattle ( wagmuha).  The sweat lodge door may face a different direction. Generally, as with the Sundance, it faces west to call the Wakinyan or Thunder Spirits ( Lakota ).  

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If you are encountering difficulty or any problematic situations you can most likely look no further than the altar to find the solution. An altar cluttered with crystals and unnecessary items is usually the root cause of strife in any ceremonial event. Do not allow participants to place unrelated objects upon the altar. What we want here is a flow directed by the spirits themselves, so without proper instruction, having nothing upon the altar would be far better than clutter!

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Oftentimes we will sponsor a sweat lodge with other Pipe carriers and or medicine people.  We will have to ask them, what color prayer flags (robes) do you want and in what direction?  Do you want a buffalo skull on the altar and which direction should it face, toward the lodge or the fire?  Should we make prayer ties and what color?  After we find out which way everything goes, you can find out the reasons why things are the way they are.  The leader should know all the answers to the directional colors their presiding animals, spirits, the altar design, the meanings of the songs as well as when and why they are sung. 

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An All Night Tipi Meeting may vary profoundly from one Roadman to another.  This is especially so because The native American Church is an inter-tribal religion.  There are two branches in general the Half Moon and the Cross Fire.  Each Roadman / Roadwoman facilitates the ceremony differently.  Usually it is understood that at a different fireplace or altar the form of the ritual will be different in a lot of ways, yet basically structurally the same.  Even the symbolism can have different explanations.

Rules for singing Lakota Ceremonial Songs

Important Details about Ceremonial songs

“Rules for singing Lakota Ceremonial Songs”




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  When singing this style of song, be sure to pay close attention to the drumbeat.  It is usually either a fast steady beat, Like a ruffle, or a slow thunder beat or like a heartbeat. In general there are these two types of drum beat with many different styles and variations, fast and slow. Some of these songs are hard to play without the right beat. Slow songs work best with a fast beat while fast songs seem to fit a slow beat  When singing along and not drumming it is helpful to tap along with the drummers. this will help to learn the correct rhythm.

The easiest mistake in the act of singing Lakota songs is singing to the beat of the drum. We are taught in school to clap to time with a song. In most drumming systems of Indigenous cultures and even our modern culture, we use an off beat. While clapping, most of us use an on beat rather than an off beat. An on beat is the opposite of an off beat.

Usually, when clapping one would start a song with the clap and the clapping would happen at each syllable, that’s the on beat. What you want is the drum beat between each syllable, starting the song after the clap and the syllables of the lyrics occurring between the beats. Lets use an example, the song “Mary had a little lamb”, what you want is to hear the drum beat * between the syllables. Ma*ry* had* a *li*ttle* lamb*. Like that.

A good way to get it right is to practice drumming with a heart beat (thunder beat), that’s a two beat. One two, one two, one two, the “one” being the loud beat and the “two” being the more quiet of the heart beat. Practice starting the song on the “two”. If you were clapping you would start the song when your hands are furthest apart and each syllable would occur when your hands are apart (the off beat).

 Another point of consideration is distinguishing between vocables and lyrics. Vocables are sounds and are not written among the lyrics.  Usually the syllables and melody of the vocables match the lyrical part of the song. Vocables can be compared to the European equivalent: Fa La La La La, La La La La (deck the halls).  Usually songs containing vocables, begin with vocables. Very rarely are the vocables after the lyrics or between the words.

When singing alone or without accompaniment you would sing the songs the way they are written.  When singing with others you would use a call and response.  That is when the song leader calls out the first line of the song; the group would then repeat that line. Ladies would join in on the third line, unless of course there are only two singers, a man and a woman. Some of these recordings have a call and response although they are written without it. As a rule of thumb with the call and response the group joins in just before the leader sings the vocable sound He.  This sound is found at the end of some of the sentences, He.

Other things to consider in singing these songs

Some of these songs are specific to particular lineages. In that case only one or two words may be different from one Tiospaye (family lineage)  to another. Most of these songs are general and are sung by many groups and at different ceremonies. An animal calling song is for calling in the power of specific animals. A stone song is for calling in the spirits of stones. Be sure you are not calling things unnecessarily.

Saguache

These songs are very powerful and not to be idly whistled or sung in the shower. Put down a pinch of tobacco as an offering first. This can be placed in a special spot, it can be rubbed or sprinkled upon the drum. A little water is good for the spirit of the drum, but before singing songs always put down tobacco. It is important not to “cry wolf” with the spirits. If these songs are sung idly too much the Spirits may stop responding.

By learning songs from a C.D. or computer they may only attract lesser nearby spirits. They may not have the same impact until they are sung along within a genuine tradition. The more powerful spirits follow an oral line of association that is lost without actual contact with lineage holders. By singing and learning these songs here the spirits may eventually draw you into the ceremonies and traditions that use them.

Kid's songs

Thunder Being songs are for addressing the Thunder Beings who are the law enforcement branch of the Creator.They sung to invoke the healing power of the thunders. Do not sing any thunder being songs at night out of context. Thunder being songs call thunder beings during the day and ghosts at night. Honestly, one should never really sing any kind of song carelessly outside at night. In the event of attracting ghosts sing the sending the spirits home Closing Song and the Ending Song. It is good to know these songs to send spirits back home, especially when it is helpful to them.

Thunder being songs include any Heyoka or “kettle songs”.  Heyoka people, or sacred fools, may sing these songs at other occasions. If you are not initiated as a Heyoka, meaning that if you have not performed a kettle dance successfully, you should avoid singing these songs out of context. Any one can sing most of the Thunder Being songs in the sweat lodge and yuwipi ceremonies provided that they are followed by the proper closing and ending songs.

When Heyoka people sing, since they are contrary to the proper way, they will use an “on beat” with the drum rather than an “off beat”. The dog song should only be sung at the Kettle Dance (Heyoka Initiation). Heyoka people may sing this song out of turn, don’t do this, it is asking for the spirits to “take” a dog as an offering.

Healing songs are for doctoring people. The songs themselves are a healing medicine. They can be sung in sweat lodge, Yuwipi, or on their own as a treatment. Canupa songs (pipe songs) should generally be sung when the pipe is present. If you carry a canupa it is okay to sing those songs whenever but always give a tobacco offering to the drum, especially when rehearsing. Pipe filling songs should only be sung while loading the pipe facing west. Again it is alright in the process of learning to sing the pipe filling songs, having offered tobacco to the drum and ending your lessons with the “Sending the Spirits Home” closing song.

There are various different closing songs when reaching near the end of a ceremony. For instance, in the fourth round of the sweat lodge one might sing a closing offering song. Be sure to check with your leaders about this as they vary from tradition to tradition. Some of our closing songs may not be used by other lineages to close. It all depends on what the spirit helpers of a tradition are used to. When visiting a sweat lodge you know little about it would be safest to not lead any closing songs at all.

class

There are a handful of songs not available here that are too specific. These are the opening Yuwipi/Lowanpi songs for calling in the directional spirits. They vary from ceremony to ceremony and from one medicine man to another. To get these songs you will have to learn them in ceremony. That is the only time those songs are ever sung.

Always remember the origins of these songs, some of them are 12 thousand years old, some of them are relatively new. The important part is that they came to people through dreams and visions and were not composed in a mundane fashion. A song, then, connects to a spirit, a group of spirits and a person.

In essence it is not essential to know the meaning of a song for it to be effective. It is really good to know the meaning, but the songs are for the spirits. There should not be any element of performance in singing these songs. All these songs are for the sake of the spirits, not for entertainment purposes. Some domestic scholars are under the impression that the drum is used to lull the people into a “trance like state”. The drum is to call the spirits, any “trance like states” should be attributed to the presents of the spirits.

By learning all of these songs on our site we will become a Lowan Wicasa (song man) or a Lowan Winyan (song woman). Although not a prerequisite to being a medicine man or woman in the Lakota tradition you would have to be crazy to even attempt to embark on that path without most of these songs. Singers are integral to these ways, anyone knowing all of these songs are needed and honored regardless of race, creed, or color. If you put yourself out there you could at least get well fed!

THE SPIRIT HELPERS

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