Native American Spirituality

In Response To Questions 111410

Author Message usa.png Pahinh Winh/Carol Two Eagle 


Joined: October 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Walkin' the earth on Turtle Island

In Response To Questions 111410 
Hanh mitakuyapi.  Hello my relatives.  This is a formal, respectful greeting in the Lakota Way.
  Before we go any further, I thank you for not asking if I mean "the Sioux Way" - most emphatically, we are not "the Sioux".  That's part of an ephithet from when Europeans first invaded Turtle Island.  European group A was standing with ITI (Indigenous Turtle Islander) group A & asked, "who are those people over there?"  If ITI group A got along with ITI group B, they told them whatever the B people called themselves.  If they didn't, then they called them some ephithet or at best, their word for "enemy".  The Europeans then passed the 'slam' along & went their merry way, renaming & insulting everyone & everything originally here.  Has made quite a mess over 518 years.

  About the Holy Pipe - properly it is called a C'hannunpa (chah-NOONH-pah.  The 'nh' indicates a nasalized 'n' as in French, since most word processing programs won't do diacritical marks.)   It is never used to smoke dope! Not by a 'real' Pipe Keeper, anyway.  Idiots have done it.  Idiots kill & cripple themselves doing all manner of idiotic things.  I have less than no patience for idiocy - not that you would ever guess it.  I'm such a stoic. Not..

  Everyone who Keeps a C'hannunpa authentically gets theirs by one of these means: It is handed down by a relative who has seen that they are suitable to Carry this incredible spiritual responsibility.  Or, it is brought to them by elders who see they should do this HOly Job.  Or, someone - sometimes elders, sometimes a courier - brings a person stone & tobacco. Or, a person has visions (generally, unsolicited, which are more powerful) & is given a C'hannunpa by a spiritual person because their visions are interpreted as indicating this is their calling.  C'hannunpa are never to be bought or sold; the stone is never to be bought or sold; nor do women become Keepers by sleeping with some so-called medicine man.

  There is a Teaching about a Pipe & It's Keeper - Everything a Keeper does affects everyone who comes within the sphere of influence that that Pipe.  Therefore, Pipe Keeper's lives are defined by a number of taboos.  There is no such thing as being a part-time Keeper.  There is not an instant of 'time off'.  Each Channunpa & It's Keeper are tied together by a spiritual bond.  This is not a 'perspective'.  It is not breakable.

  Because of missionaries & their efforts to destroy wome's power & standing within th original cultures, & they intentionally slaughtered Women of Power & often,beheaded us & paraded our heads on pikes, long ago we began to hide our Women of Power & lie about our existence.  The down side of that is, if you tell a lie long enough, it can come to be regarded as the truth.  Thus today, it is often said that women never Kept C'hannunpa & so 'of course' no woman who Keeps a C'hannunpa today is authentic.
  Given that a Holy Woman brought the original C'hannunpa to us Lakota, this is obviously hogwash.  She was not a delivery service courier & her title was not  "instructor".
  She was Holy.  The legend of how She brought the C'hannunpa to us proves that.
  Next time, I'll tell you that legend.  Mitakuye oiasin - mee-TAH-koo-yeh oh-ee-AH-seenh - All (are) my relatives.l

What have you done today to help heal the Sacred Hoop of the world, of which you, too, are a part?
Hanh mitakuyapi.  About how we got the Holy C'hannunpa -

  Lila ota ehanni - A long time ago - the (Lakota) People were starving.  They had forgotten to be grateful to the spirits & our Holy Mother the Earth, & they suffered for it.  Every day, people went out searching for food, but there wasn't so much as a root to be found.  The situation was dire.  The People were down to eating their hanpa (mocassins).

  Two men were hunting some distance from camp when they heard a beautiful singing.  When they looked in the direction of the sound, they saw a pure white cloud.  As they watched, it came towards them - & the singing got louder.  Eventually the cloud opened, & they saw a beautiful Woman walking toward them, with the white cloud fanned out around her.  She was wearing a beautiful white skin dress decorated with superb quillwork, & She was carrying a bundle.  Obviously, She was a Holy Woman.

  One of the men was terrified, & he began to pray as a means of showing respect to Her.  The other man had improper sexual thoughts about Her because She was so beautiful; & made improper remarks about Her to the first man.  The devout man chastised his friend, saying, "She's Holy!  You will suffer for your thoughts!"  The disrespectful man laughed at this friend & said, "She's just a beautiful woman carrying a bundle.  When she gets closer, I'm going to enjoy her."  The devout man prayed harder, now for them both.

  When the Woman was some distance away, She stopped, & the white cloud stopped with her.  She said, "I know what you're thinking" to the disrespectful man.  "Come to me.  I won't hurt you.  I won't do anything."  The disrespectful man laughed & called his friend a fool, & swaggered to Her, thinking to do improper things with Her.  When he got to her & the white cloud, the cloud closed around the man, the Woman, & the bundle.  The devout man heard terrible screams from his friend.  He was so terrified, he nearly fell on the ground.

  Then the white cloud fanned out again, & the disrespectful man was nothing but a pile of bones on the ground, being crawled on & eaten by terrible snakes.  The Woman was fine.  The devout man nearly passed out from fear.

  The Woman called to the devout man, "Come here.  You are safe with me, because you showed respect.  I need you to do something.  It's important."  The devout man was now so terrified, he couldn't think.  His feet took him to the Holy Woman by themselves.

    She told him to return to camp & tell the People what had happened.  Also that She was bringing them a Holy gift of tremendous power & value, & that they should prepare a proper Big Lodge & a feast.  That She would bring this Holy gift to them in 4 days.

  The man did as he was told, but most of the People just laughed at him & called him a liar & stupid.  Except for one old woman.  The power of the Traditions has always rested with the women, especially the old women, and this Elder ordered everyone to do as the man relayed in the message.  The People did it, although some grumbled that it was a waste of time, & so on.  By the 4th day, everything was ready.  The People were dressed in their best.  Their meager food supply was ready, as for a feast.  They waited all day.  By sunset, People were ready to banish the devout man for being a fool & causing them a lot of wasted energy & time.

  But as things were getting ugly, everyone heard singing coming from out on the prairie.  When they looked toward the sound, they saw a white cloud coming along the ground toward them.  The singing was coming from the white cloud, just like before to the devout man & the arrogant man.  Everyone was struck dumb except the devout man & the Elder woman.

  When the white cloud came close, it fanned out on 3 sides of the Holy Woman, & She stepped ahead of it, with the bundle.  She opened the bundle at the altar of the Big Lodge, & showed it to the People.  She told them that it was Holy & had tremendous power, both in its stem, which is the male part, & the bowl, of red stone, which is the female part.  She taught them that when the stem & bowl are united, It makes a direct "hot line" to all the Holy Power of the universe, so It should only put together when someone is going to pray with It.  To put it goether anyother time, especially if it is not surrounded & plugged with sage, is to invite disaster.  Ten She taught them how to use It, & the first of our Seven Sacred Ceremonies.

  Before She left, She told them that She would return again, to teach the People more ceremonies; & after that, She would return when life on the earth was in terrible times.  If She had to return a 4th time, She would take the Channunpa back to the Source, & the world would end.  She has since returned 3 times.  We are currently in the Time of the Prophecies, at a turning point.  Another special woman would be able to stop Her from taking the Holy Pipe away - this woman is called the Woman Who Dances The Four Winds, which is a prayer to heal the Sacred Hoop of the world.  The Elders told me that I am that Woman, some years ago, when I first picked up my Pipe & began to walk with it.  This is not something that a person would seek.  It is something that a sane person would try not to seek.  I certainly tried to avoid it.  But it is my Job; the Elders showed me that; they said I "fit the profile" for this person, & in the Traditional Way, if a person knows of a problem & has the ability to relieve or cure that problem & does not then they shoulder a burden equal to the burden they could have relieved & didn't.  Since the spirits showed me that the mess was already 'too big', & it wouldn't get smaller by itself, we all know, I picked up my C'hannunpa & have walked with it since.  

  Healing is not a job for the faint of heart.  It is warrior work, because healers battle evil spirits.  Because women's jobs include birthing, burying, & healing, & because a Woman brought us the Holy Pipe, it is a woman's job to Dance The Four Winds.  It is a very hard garment to look at, let alone to wear, that I am the woman from the Prophecies who Dances The Four Winds.  But that doesn't make it any less true.

  I am the lead dancer - everyone is needed to dance, too.  Thus my signature / question,"What have you done today to help heal the Sacred Hoop, of which you, too, are a part?"  Mitakuye oiasin - All {are} my relatives.  This is both a blessing & a reminder of where we really stand in the order of things in the world, in the Lakota Way.
  Next time, I will tell you more.

What have you done today to help heal the Sacred Hoop of the world, of which you, too, are a part?
<< About Arrogance >>  Hanh mitakuyapi.  The churchtians aren't the only ones with dona-hey 'deadly sins' – every culture has them, mine included.  And high on the list is “arrogance”.  The majority culture calls it “pride”, but like so much else, what is really meant is “false pride”.  There is nothing wrong with having pride in your legitimate accomplishments – that's good.  There is nothing wrong with knowing how your accomplishments stack up against whatever standards exist for your endeavors.  You need to know where you stand relative to the standard(s) or you can't ever improve.  You're 'shooting in the dark', so to speak.  Out of the darkness, into the Light – my lifelong motto, gifted to me by the spirits, & it has served me well as I've walked along..

    The arrogant man in the legend of how we got the Ch'annunpa / the Holy Pipe didn't die a bad death because of anything the Holy Woman, the white cloud, or the Holy Pipe did.  He did it to himself.  “What goes around”..  It sometimes comes back to bite a person faster than they expect.  Instantaneously, even.

   His result is also a living example of the old Teaching, “Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.  But the form may be considerably different than you thought you asked for.”  I have a true-life example of this.  Lila ota ehanni – a long time ago – I new someone who became a multimillionaire due to injuries he suffered in a terrible car crash.  He remained in his vehicle even when it rolled, but he was impaled through the windshield by a steel fence post.  
  His injuries were horrible, his scars were the stuff of nightmares, and so was his healing.  I can't count how many people say they wished they had his money.  No, they don't! - because in order to do that, they would also have to get it in the same way he got his fortune.  Think about that, takoszja..

  In the Lakota Way, we are taught we must strive to “walk our talk”.  Today, because of the inroads of washichu schooling, there are a lot of lost souls out there, getting into a lot of needless trouble & suffering - & causing it.
  But in the Lakota Way, there is also a Teaching about those who Walk With A Pipe.  People like me.  That Teaching is, “As the Keeper of a Pipe lives, so live the People who come into that Pipe's sphere of influence”.  We who Keep Pipes do not own Them; we are owned by Them.
  We are Tested, often & hard.  Sometimes we fail.  Then we have to do penance.  And our hearts had better be good, or we'll get smacked hard by the spirits for lying.  They know the purity of our hearts far better than we ever will.  The washichu way argues that.  And falls on its face every time.
  These Traditional Ways are not some recent invention or development – they are the result of thousands of repetitions by thousands of people over thousands of years.  That builds a huge amount of spirit – power into the processes.
  The repetitions aren't 'by rote', & they aren't 'lock step', but they are very similar.. you might say 'according to a format'.  We have many songs to choose from when we do ceremony; which ones we use is always up to the ceremonial leader.  Before the washichu came here, we had thousands of them.  Today, after 518 years of assault, we have hundreds.  But we still have 'some', & those are the most powerful ones, I believe.  Doesn't really matter; they work, & that's what's important.

  When I first began to Walk with 'My' Pipe, I went through some incredibly hard testing.  “Many are Called, few are Chosen” requires some proving.  It isn't a matter of whether or not a person wants that testing – the spirits decide & we either pass or fail depending on our reactions to the testing.  It is not fun.  It is not easy.  It is generally terrifying.  It truly proves – at least for someone like me – the truth of my observation that “Courage is not the absence of fear.  Courage is doing what you know you must, even if you're so scared you fall down while crawling.”  I've been there, & done that.  It takes a great deal to terrify me..  So when I say I have no doubt about who's really in charge, I know from personal experience.  Not from mere personal perspective.

  For years I had had a vision of a man who turned out to be the current Keeper of the Holy White Buffalo Calf Pipe – the One the Holy Woman brought to us Lakota so long ago.  His name is Arvol Looking Horse.  It was a tremendously saddening thing to learn that his faith is minimal; but it's because he thought that Keeping that particular Pipe would enable him to do nearly anything, & he took it very hard when he found out that's not true.  
  I lamented to the spirits about this, because it really hurt to learn this truth; & they responded by means of a vision in which I learned that the Keeper of the White Buffalo isn't the only – or the most – important Keeper!  That was a stunning thing to learn.
  They showed me that how every Keeper lives makes a bigger difference, & to some degree, that's why there are so many of them.  Roughly, it's a parallel to the old teaching about not putting all of one's eggs in one basket.  Do you see the wisdom of that?  I don't mean to be rude, but it should be intuitively obvious to you, & I trust that it is.  Just the same, you would do well to contemplate this..

  We'll go on with this next time.  Mitakuye oiasin.

What have you done today to help heal the Sacred Hoop of the world, of which you, too, are a part?


<< Purposes of the Holy Pipes >>

  Since missionaries first came here, we IndigenUs Turtle Islanders  & our Traditional Ways have been under assault.  Most focused have been attacks on our Traditional beliefs, especially those regarding spirituality.  Someone once defined 'spirituality' & 'religion' as, 'spirituality' is believing & living in a way, while 'religion' is a set of practices & protocols surrounding or encouraging a set of beliefs.

  Missionaries are not 'really' about 'saving people's souls'.  They are really about 'collecting those souls into a religion & corralling them there.  This stifles creativity & individuality of practice.  In our Traditional Ways, certain aspects of worship are in a format, but we have no formal prayers.  Our spiritual guides tell people who ask “how do we pray”, “from your heart of hearts” or “from the center of your heart”.  We also caution people to be careful of the words you use, because you will get what you ask for, but the form may be radically different from what you thought you asked for.  Because of that, we always caution people to ask for things to come to them in a good way – for them or for all concerned, as is appropriate.  Because of this, missionaries have tried hard to eradicate our Traditional Ways.  So far, they have made dents in our numbers, but they have failed to eradicate our Ways.  I pray they will continue to fail.

  It is one thing to say “I wish I had so&so's money”, but if so&so got his/her money via a long painful recovery from terrible injuries, you don't want that.  A word to the wise.

  Such foolish statements are more dangerous if the speaker is handling – or sometimes, just carrying – tobacco at the time, because Takuskanskan made tobacco specifically to carry every thought, wish, & emotion that comes close to it to the spirits as a prayer.  It does this automatically & spontaneously.  Because of this, tobacco is a holy entity or person.  It is to be shown respect.  If a person does not, & uses tobacco casually, it will teach respect by taking over that person's will (addiction) & eating their offending body parts (cancer, emphysema, for example). Tobacco is smoked in the Holy Ch'annunpa.  Sometimes with other holy materials, but never with drugs.  It is never to be used for any smoking that does not include prayer or contemplation, seeking answers to some question or problem.  Never.

  When the Holy Woman brought the Ch'annunpa to us Lakota, She taught us that It is for healing & helping.  Healing is not work for the shy, retiring, or cowardly.  It is warrior work.  Healers battle evil or malicious spirits.  Any Ch'annunpa is never to be put together unless it is intended to do some work, because when the bowl (the female part) & the stem (the male part) are joined, any air moving through it becomes the breath of life to any prayer, emotion or thought nearby.

  Therefore, since women who are on their moon times give off death energy because their bodies are getting rid of dead tissue, they are to stay far away from Sacred objects, most especially Ch'annunpa & tobacco.  We call them “ishnati” - “set apart” or “isolated”.  They should do it on their own, but washichu being the way of the majority culture, many non-Indn women get very upset by this requirement & argue it.  These Ways are thousands of years older than Churchtianity & not nearly so sophomoric as the m.c., so we force these women to stay away if need be.

  Some years back, a young woman came to me & a man I was with at the time.  He had a Pipe, although he had not Sun Danced, so was not a proper Pipe Keeper.  She had been given a Ch'annunpa by Sun Bear, & wanted to learn to keep It properly, she said.
  Since women only got Ch'annunpa by one way – going to bed with that faker – I was suspicious of her request & didn't want to accept her tobacco, because it is so obvious that this is a form of prostitution & any dummy should see it instantly & refuse.  The man wanted to try to help her.
  We discussed it & I predicted some big problem, but I agreed to go along, because when it happened, I would give her her tobacco back – unused.  I would put it in limbo until she either proved me wrong – not a common occurrence – or we had to deal with whatever problem.
  I had built a moon lodge & since my moons were nightmarish – horrible pain, cramps, hemorrhages, & sickness – I used it.  I built it when I was on a moon, praying hard the entire time to heal the conditions inherent in moon & turn those energies to something good & healing.
  We instructed her to absolutely never take a man anywhere near it.  She promised.  She broke her promise.  She took her boyfriend to it & he stuck his head inside “to see if he could feel the energies of the moon time”.  He was instantly taken horrendously sick with cramps, vomiting, pain, sweating, & fever.  She came back on her moon – with similar symptoms.
  The boyfriend took off carrying on about evil spirits & curses.  She came to us begging for help.  I refused, & gave her back her tobacco.  My man did ceremony to help her, & she got a little relief.. but her boyfriend was terrified & refused to come for ceremony.  He went through the symptoms every 28 days for a year or a bit more.  So did she.  They earned this.  I have no sympathy for stupidity, because stupidity is avoidable.  She was warned; therefor she was not ignorant.  By definition, she had knowledge.  Belief is not necessary.  She did the thing anyway; that is stupidity. My sympathy basket is empty.  My 'give-a-damn is busted', as the CW song says.

  I was born tied to the Holy Pipe.  Elders told me this, after certain things happened to me at various times of my life.  Therefore I was born with certain gifts & with gifts of those kinds, comes responsibility – to use them appropriately.  I have not always gone along with this graciously.  I have suffered considerably for that willfulness.  But I have learned.  
  Among the things I have learned is that only fools ask the spirits & the Holy Pipe to help someone who was warned & who went ahead & did the wrong thing anyway.  My man tried, & he ended up suffering considerably for it, because unless the supplicant meets certain requirements, which she didn't, he was asking the spirits to do a wrong thing.  That neither helps nor heals, in the long run.  The Pipe is for helping & healing, but not willy-nilly.  I refused to try to help her get around her stupidity because she earned what she got - & my moons eased considerably.  Without my asking.  Duwahleh! / Wow!
  I thanked the spirits & fed them all kinds of good things for a whole year.  Gratitude greases the wheels of progress, I have found.  And having suffered past description, I was really grateful.  That young woman & her arrogant boyfriend suffered as I had before they did their stupid thing.  Education / Learning are not always easy; but we sometimes insist on learning the hard way.

What have you done today to help heal the Sacred Hoop of the world, of which you, too, are a part?