Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Many Kinds of Sacred Pipes




Walking In Beauty
Awake Inside a Sacred Dream
I remember who I was
I remember where I was going
My heart was eaten by the winds
My heart was torn into four parts
I have gone all around myself
I have gathered myself
recovered myself
I have heard them say
it could happen in just this way


Some people have heard of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe. This very sacred object is an ancient sacred pipe bundle belonging to a specific group of Sioux Indians of the Northern Plains. This particular sacred pipe is described very well in the book "Black Elk Speaks", which has been translated into many languages.

Some Ojibway people believe White Buffalo Calf Woman was a sacred woman of the Ojibway people whom we called "Sky Woman". Sky Woman was a great sacred spirit who has many teachings in our history. The Sacred Pipe of the Ojibway People goes back in time to possibly over 10,000 years. The White Buffalo calf Woman Sacred Pipe is about 800 years old. Arvol Looking Horse is said to be the Keeper these days of that sacred pipe.

There are many other sacred pipes. What makes a pipe a sacred object is what we call the ritual and ceremonial intervention of the qualified tribal elders. Sacred objects which have made this connection are Real Sacred Objects. Not every tribe of indian people honor or use the sacred pipe. In general it is mostly the tribes of the north which follow these teachings of the sacred pipe.

The World Journey of the Sacred Pipe represents 14 Sacred Pipes authorized, blessed and made sacred by 38 tribal elders from numerous tribal families. These sacred objects are now on a journey, a circle around the Mother Earth. The reasons for this project are many. The rules and laws which govern the behavior of these sacred objects were determined by those elders over a 30 year period of time. These sacred objects in the World Journey of the Sacred Pipe do not pretend to be associated in any direct way with the White Buffalo Calf Woman Sacred Pipe, or other pipes that may come to your attention.

One of the Sacred Pipes in this bundle of the World Journey is over 500 years old. The newest one, made in a special ceremony, is about 25 years old. All but 4 of these sacred objects were stolen by some indian people at Taos Pueblo some years ago. Taos Pueblo is a deeply troubled community with many problems overlaid with a great fantasy projected onto them by the hordes of tourists who arrive there every year. Some years ago while staying at the Suazo home in Taos Pueblo, some of his relatives, possibly as a form of protest, stole the bundles containing a group of very sacred pipes. Over the years we have watched and waited for more information to arrive on this subject. We have watched the curse of this bad behavior fall on all the members of this old family. In the meantime our group has continued to work with what remains of these Sacred Objects and taken no actions, only the patience of waiting and waiting for more information to come to us; which we believe it will one day.

Looking around the internet one might find many people talking about American Indian Pipes. There is a lot of noise, pretending and lost people who have purchased pipes, or stolen pipes, or otherwise done nothing so much as add to the general state of confusion regarding Native American teachings. I am often amazed at the pretentious posturing of people with clearly fabricated names pursuing what seems to them a romantic ideal about tribal culture but which is in reality a very deep and disturbing sickness of the soul. Some modern people perhaps feel great guilt about what has happened to Native American people. In this guilt they assume names and behavior which is an imitation of the behavior of the sacred. It is very strange situation and a source of great pain to the tribal elders. We call these people Ghost Walkers.

For some years our group made available some sacred pipes to be placed in Federal Prison systems around the United States. Federal Law (900-235 I think it is) allows sacred pipes and other sacred objects to be used in the religious ceremonies of American Indians doing prison time. Some very sacred objects are inside these prisons. In a future entry we will discuss this issue in greater detail.

We have a saying that the sacred pipe in the hands of a fool, and there are many, is the same sacred pipe in the hands of our most sacred people, of which there are only a very few. Sorting out the delusions and the truth of sacred pipes is an important part of the work of these teachings, of all teachings in fact. Understanding what is true and what is not true is an honorable part of the education process and one to be undertaken with caution and respect.

American Indian Tribal Society is filled with broken and wounded people. The reservation system is not healthy. For many Native American people, this is a passionate and often confusing issue. There is a lot of anger and judgement that gets passed around. This to is part of the learning. For many tribal people whose culture does not include in any way objects such as the sacred pipe (and this includes many, many tribes) this talk about sacred pipes is a matter of some ridicule and even greater confusion.

People who buy or steal sacred objects and then claim to be keepers and teachers of the sacred are in every tribe and sprinkled throughout the internet and society in general. Pay attention. Ask questions. The modern world has for many generations done all within its power to destroy American Indian people. Somehow through all this terror, genocidal practices and theft of our sacred teachings, we have somehow managed to still be alive. Sacred objects and qualified teachers of those sacred objects exist in real life and are moving around now in the world. Sometimes the real truth shows up in surprising places. Most of the truly sacred objects are in the hands of quiet and gentle people who may live among you/us almost invisibly.

The World Journey of the Sacred Pipe is a quiet exercise. It is a ceremony conducted by just a few people working with other very small groups of people. The Sacred Objects are not on display and not for sale. Many times it is only the song, only the smoke, only the dream that is shared. We call this Walking In Beauty Upon The Good Red Road, the North Road, from there to here. I wish I understood better how to separate the trouble from the sacred. However, for reasons I do sometimes understand, these two energies are linked together right now.

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