With visible breath I am walking.
A voice I am sending as I walk.
In a sacred manner I am walking.
With visible tracks I am walking.
In a sacred manner I walk.
Song of the White Buffalo Calf Woman
who brought the sacred pipe to men.
THE SACRED PIPE
Sacred Pipes are the most important ceremonial objects in the Native North American Tradition. It is not easy for me to talk about the Pipe, because for me, only the heart can know the Sacred Pipe, it is not a conception of the mind. There are certain mysteries in life that words can’t or don’t need to describe. They are not things that we need to believe or to understand, to analyze or to know, but those things we need to experience and feel with our heart and keep them sacred in there.
I remember the first time I saw a beautiful painting of a Sacred Pipe, all of my being was deeply moved inside and without any apparent reason, I begin to cry. It was a good cry, a cleansing and healing coming from my heart. My spirit recognized something that my mind didn’t know yet. This happened to me again when I read of someone’s first sweat lodge experience and when I saw an old picture of two painted Sun dancers. It also happened, when the first time I passed the night in a tipi and while I sat beside the fire and heard an ancient song and when I kept the sacred fire at night and watched the flames dancing in the night. These feelings guided and nourished my spirit and my heart and gave me more faith in what I was doing. I have had these mysterious experiences and feelings coming to me still to this day, when I connect to the Ancestors, to Nature, to the Universe, to my Elders, when I´m in ceremonies or when my spiritual grandfather or grandmother comes to me in my dreams.
I felt at home, loved and accepted when I was with my Elders and I felt honored and respected for who I am spiritually and physically. Not for what I look like, what kind of clothing I have, what kind of car I drive, which ethnic group I come from, what religious beliefs I hold, what is my professional title, or how much money they can get out of me, or whether I am better or worse, richer or poorer, weaker or stronger than them. I was and am still amazed and deeply touched by the simplicity and honesty, the kindness and wisdom and the unconditional love and respect with which I was treated by my Elders and many other traditional native people I met on my journey.
To walk beside my Elders on the Sacred Red Road was and is still a very beautiful, but also a very hard and challenging journey for me. Because I needed to work every single day on my ego and on all my false conceptions I had about myself and my life. Because I had to be truthful to myself and to others and that is one of the hardest things to do. And because I didn´t knew how to accept and forgive, to honor and change what I saw in the mirror of truth; to accept and forgive my ignorance and arrogance, for the things I had done without love or was still doing in my life. It was and is still hard sometimes, because my ego resists and doesn´t like it, it tries to avoid seeing, to acknowledge the truth and to change it.
The way of the Pipe is a road of sacrifice and of acceptance to suffer for the wellness, healing and happiness of all beings, even for nations, communities, families and people we never met or will meet and for lands we have never seen or been. It is a Road where we have only one enemy and it is our own ego self. Where we have to accept and forgive the past, where we have to pray for the healing and well-being of people that are hurting us today or have in the past, or our loved ones, our ancestors, our nation and our Mother the Earth. It is a Road of integrity and honesty, humility and selflessness, respect and caring for all life. It is to walk in balance and peace with the self and with the others and to do our part, to give our best every day, to help others to live life in harmony with themselves, with Mother Earth and with each other, so as to make the Planet a better place to live.
I have been told;
“Remember, the Pipe is your balance in life. This is the only weapon you will ever need to use on your journey from today. It is a spiritual weapon of true peace. When people hurt you or others whom you love and care about, this will be the weapon you will use. You pray for them, you wish for them the best from your heart. You forgive them. Remember there are no bad people, only suffering people and this is why we are hurting each other. You wish for them healing, happiness and a good life. You wish for them healing and a better understanding of their life, a better way to act in life. You don´t judge them, but you love them. You pray for them and suffer for them in the sweat lodge, in your fasting and at the Sundance. You offer for them your hunger and thirst, your weakness and your pain, your blood and flesh. You remember that we are all family, we are all related and you do it for them. This is all the weapon you will need to defend what you truly love and care about. This is the weapon to fight your real enemy, your own self. How you take care of this Pipe, is how this Pipe will take care of you and that’s how your life will be, that’s how the life of the people and the Mother Earth will be. You won´t carry this Pipe, this Pipe will carry you, it is not yours, it belongs to your family, to the people, to Mother Earth, to the Creator. This is not a commitment for a day, a week or a year, it is a commitment for life. You have to be ready to serve with this Pipe, twenty four hours a day, seven days of the week and three hundred sixty five days of the year. With this Pipe, you are responsible for the well-being and the safety of the people asking for your help. But at first, you have to be responsible for yourself in the way you walk with this Pipe. You will need both your hands to carry it and you need to hold it close to your heart, you need to focus on keeping yourself and your life in balance. You can’t walk around carrying this Pipe in one hand and a bottle of alcohol, or drugs in the other hand, because you will fall. And your family, your community, your nation and Mother Earth will fall with you. You will hurt yourself and all of them. What will you do, if somebody knocks on your door one night crying for help, that her son wants to kill himself, or his wife is sick and dying? What can you do to help them, if you are drunk or drugged? If you fight and hurt somebody or if you use alcohol and drugs and hurt yourself, you fall off the Sacred Red Road and lose your ability to take care of this Pipe. If you are honest with yourself and you truly repent what you did and truly want to heal what happened, you have to ask for forgiveness to the Creator, to Mother Earth, to your Medicine Helpers, to your People, to your Family and to the persons you have hurt. You have to put away the Pipe and the Medicines and pray. You have to cleanse yourself in the sweat lodge and abstain from using your medicines until you go and fast. In your fast, you ask for forgiveness and ask to the Creator, if you are ready and can walk again with the Pipe and with the Medicines in a good way. You have to be humble and strong in your commitment. You should never touch the Pipe if you are angry or intoxicated, you should never use it to gain material or personal benefits or to hurt or to damage anything or anybody. Always remember that you are not higher than anybody else because you have accepted that responsibility. Don´t put yourself or don´t let people put you on a pedestal, because you will fall and the higher you put yourself or let them put you, the longer and more painful will be your fall. When you walk with the Pipe, you walk in front of the people. You need to be humble, because they will watch everything you do. There will be people that will truly see you and honor you, care about you, respect you and help you in your walk. But also there will be people that will judge you, make fun of you, envy and be jealous of you, even try to hurt you and try to block your way. You have to remember that you walk with the Pipe for all of them, and no matter what´s going on, you have to pray for them. The Pipe will teach you and will help you to walk in balance, in peace and in beauty”
These are not all of the instructions, only part of what I have been told and what I have learned, about how to walk the way of the Sacred Pipe. Native North American Tradition is a way of life, it’s not only in the mind or in the words, we have to live the teachings and we can only learn them through applying them in the here and now. This is the strength of the teachings and this give us the strength to keep going with them and to live by them on the road.
When we receive a Sacred Pipe or receive instructions to make one, we don´t smoke that Pipe until we have been properly prepared and put out to fast for four or for seven days without food and water. We fast with that Pipe and ask to the Great Spirit if we are ready and we can walk with that Pipe for the rest of our life. Our Elder will light the Pipe for us for the first time in the sweat lodge when we have completed the fast and then give to us the teachings of how to walk with the Pipe.
There are two different kinds of Sacred Pipes. Personal Pipes are for personal use and are shared with only our family to pray. Community pipes are shared with others in public ceremonies. When this kind of Pipe comes, it comes with instructions from the Spirit and from the Elders, of how and for what reason it is meant to be used. There are men’s Pipes and women´s Pipes and Pipes to share with both genders. There are Pipes for the youth, Pipes to make treaties and specific ceremonial Pipes. With the Pipe comes a purpose, a mission, a commitment to serve the people in a specific way.
The Pipe is only a piece of stone and wood, and no more important, special or sacred for somebody else, but for me it is the heart of my Elders, the heart of Mother Earth, the heart of the Great Spirit and the heart of my heart. I stumbled and fell sometimes on the Sacred Red Road and put aside my medicines once for almost a year and I suffered. When I turned back to them with sincerity and humbleness they started to support me again unconditionally, like before.
I have no words or concepts to express my gratitude to the Pipe and to the Medicines and for everything I received through them during all these years, for the people I helped and for myself. I pray to keep my heart and my feet on the Sacred Red Road in a good way for the rest of my life and to continue to serve the Creator, for the healing of Mother Earth, All my Relations, the People, my Family and myself. Aho, all my relations.
I would like to pass the eagle feather to you and I invite you to express what is in your heart. I created this site for you. All your comments, insights and sharing’s are welcomed. When you express your thoughts, feelings about the site or your experiences on the Sacred Red Road, please do it with respect and caring, with an open mind and heart in the benefit of all of us. This way we can share and inspire each other with our hearts. Thank you for taking your time to read the site. All my relations.
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If you want to organize ceremony, teaching or healing with me, send me your inquiry and I will answer as soon as I can.
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