We believe in the night sing, the power of inyan, the 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 as a hollow bone for the spirits’ work.
The Night Sing, or Lowanpi, is probably the most fascinating rite in the western hemisphere. Anthropologists believe that it has its origins in Siberia and that it spread from there to many places throughout the world. It is believed to have been practiced in Nepal and northern China thousands of years ago. There are ancient traces of it among the Laplanders’, The Mongols, The Icelandic peoples’ and in Amazonia.
In the 1950′s it is said to have died out in Siberia but it has made a recent come back from North America. Versions of the Yuwipi/Lowanpi have long been practiced by tribes of the Northern and Eastern United states. The Tent Shaking rite among the Ojibwa were well documented in the 1800s, as well as the various plains tribes.
When the Medicine Man is tied and bound it is known as a Yuwipi rather than Lowanpi. It is this act of tying, untying, the frame drum, as well as the general events of the ceremony are what allowed Anthropologists to trace the yuwipi to Siberia and beyond. The Canli Pahta, or prayer ties are a purely Lakota element in this beautiful practice.
Recently, people say things like “these ceremonies came about when our people had to hide their spiritual practices”. These views are inconsistent with Anthropological and Archaeological facts as the Yuwipi is thought of as the Neanderthal’s primary religion. There is no question that the Yuwipi/Lowanpi was never one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the White Buffalo Calf Woman. This suggests that the Prayer Ties and the use of the Sacred Pipe were, at some point, added to the Yuwipi. Similarly songs as well as other elements have come from the Yuwipi/Lowanpi and entered into the Sundance.
These ways may have come from Siberia ,but the reverse may be the case just as well, especially in the case with mastodon hunters who followed the herds. It is believed that the yuwipi, the ceremony that truly defines Shamanism, moved with the migration of the mastodon. The Lakota primarily hunted Mastodon before the buffalo, as did various other tribes.
The healing that occurs in these ceremonies may not be accompanied by any tactile sensations. This does not affect the power of the healing. The most difficult manifestation seems to be for the spirits to make sound. Auditory experiences seem to occur less (the singing or speaking of spirits) than tactile ones. There are no real generalizations though, it is up to the Spirits alone, next it is up to the Medicine Man’s relationship with those beings and last but not least the faith of the participants. It is strange to see the (new-age) shamanic drumming sessions that are so popular now. This practice is directly mimicking the ancient ways without any of the outward manifestations (or initiation that are usual to these ceremonies. It is Interesting to note that certain individuals are born with, or acquire the ability to create situations characteristic to Yuwipi.
Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli are two individuals known to have brought about such situations. first thing one could experience in a Yuwipi or Lowanpi is levitation and movement the rattles and various other objects. Next would be flickering lights, rain, hail, wind and other similar sensations. The third type of manifestation one could expect is the touch of a spirit’s hand, the touch of an animal, Little person, or other such being’s touch.
The Yuwipi ritual may be held for very specific purposes. Among them are healings, finding lost or stolen objects, and finding solutions to problems. It is part of a trinity of rights, Yuwipi, Sweat lodge and Vision Quest. After performing a sweat lodge the right begins in a room in which all lights can be extinguished. The leader or Yuwipi man is bound within a quilt and laid face down in the center of the room, (Yuwipi means they tie him up). The room is plunged into total darkness as the lead singer begins to drum and sing with great enthusiasm. In the darkness the spirits play the rattles and untie the leader. The lights are turned on and the Yuwipi man narrates the events of the ceremony and the sacred Canupa is passed round. This all takes about four to six hours and is an evening event. Yuwipi is followed by a potluck. The Yuwipi is an important Ceremonial that we are excited to have in our community as well as visitors from all over.
Singing for Yuwipi / Lowanpi is a very serious matter. The lead singer and the accompaniment should not take it lightly. It is of utmost importance for the singer to be able to sense the man in the middle within the cover of total darkness as well as the coming and going of the various spirits that may be present. To get started the sacred Canupa will be filled with Cancasa with the accompaniment of the Pipe filling song or Opagipi Olowan. Sometimes two other pipe songs may be sung with it. Then for the tying this song can be sung although it is not necessary.
It is important that this all happens swiftly and without delay (tying). As soon as the man is in the center face down the lights are extinguished and the directional song (Tatetopakiya Olowan) is sung. There are some very important things to know about this song. This song is received by the medicine man during vision quest and is his personal song. It is sometimes known as an altar song or as Wicakicopi Olowan (they call them song). This type of song can only be learned in person Unless a regular directional song is being used. A good example of this would be the directional song of the sweat lodge. Other spirits are called in now with the calling songs, the Deer, Mole, Bat and stone spirits’ (Yuwipi Wasicun) would take precedence for us. The calling songs can vary greatly with circumstance and the Yuwipi Bundle itself.
A prayer song is sung signaling the time of prayer. This can happen in a number of ways depending on the situation. Basically this is when the spirits are asked for healing or the whereabouts of someone or something. The spirits may go look to check something out or retrieve an object or Ghost. Healing songs would now be sung as the spirits get to work on the sponsor and whomever stands to receive a healing. This usually happens either by the sponsor, select individuals or by everyone.
The spirits’ may perform tasks in answer of the prayers during the healing round but may continue working into the next set of songs. Depending on the medicine man a wide variety of songs can be sung at this point. Now it is common to hear Kettle songs, Ceh’ohomni Olowan. These are better known as Heyoka songs or Thunder being songs.
These clown songs originally are used as part of the Kettle Dance and other Heyoka rites. It is said that the ghosts of the Heyoka Medicine men intervene in the Yuwipi /Lowanpi cerimony to affect a cure, who really knows? These songs may be sung solely to call the Thunder beings as well as other related spirits. Many other songs can be sung, there are the stone songs, spider songs, and all the various animal songs.
The spirits Do the untying with the untying song. This song is known as Wicayujujupi Olowan. Now Spirit dancing songs are sung. This songs known as Waci Olowan are sung in the sweat Lodge as well as the Sun Dance. In the lodge it is used in the most active time for the spirits which is the third door. During Sundance it is sung while the pierced dancers are breaking free or just after that. During Yuwipi this is at the point of untying. Sometimes in a ceremony such as this a version is used calling the stone spirits to dance, it is up to the Yuwipi man. At this point regular Sweat and Sundance songs may be sung for the spirits pleasure, for them to dance.
No matter how the ceremony progresses or how it is preformed or whatever, the Spirits go home song and the closing song are always song. Sometimes a few songs are sung just before this.
28. Closing Song ( spirits go home song ). This is a must know song! For most every ceremony whether its’ for a simple Sweat Lodge or to end a Sun Dance!!!
Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Hot aninyan kin najin pelo, Tunkasila ta wokonze ca, Lena cicu welo. Hot aninyan kin najin pelo.
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.
Mientras partimos, nuestra voces se eswchan, Mientras partimos,nuestra voces se eswchan, Es la voluntad de el Abuelo, Que te doy estas ofrendas, Mientras partimos, nuestra voces se eswchan,
Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo, Kola, lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.
Anpetu okihica cicu welo, Kola lena cicu welo wayankiyelo.
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.