Many years ago I was gifted a Sacred Pipe (Chanupa) for helping to build a Sweat Lodge for a community in Virginia. I knew this was a very sacred act of honoring someone and to be quite honest, I had no idea at the time what to do with it.
So, I wrapped it up and it sat in my closet for quite a few years until my first Medicine teacher came to town to teach a weekend on The Medicine Wheel. The brother who had gifted me with the pipe said, hey Rose, you need to get this “awakened.” So I did.
Little did I know that she would use this opportunity to teach me and the entire group about the Pipe.
In the Medicine Wheel, which is one of the most ancient forms of divination and healing, the North is the direction of Transformation ( I will write a whole piece on the Medicine Wheel later). In the North is where we connect to Spirit and Wisdom. It is here, the earth element, where we find our deep roots to our ansestors. It is here in this place that we remember to pray.
Many years ago when the people where suffering ( like NOW), two men were out hunting. They saw a woman dressed all in white approaching them. She asked these warriors to go back to the people and prepare the tribe, for she had a gift to share. These men knew she was sacred ( wakan) and someone of power.
When she came, she shared with the people the sacred Pipe. She said that if the people prayed and used the Pipe for healing, the people would heal and live.
When you open the bundle, there is a stem and a bowl. The stem represents the male energy of the Creator and the bowl is the sacred feminine. When they come together, they create the energy of the Universe and Sacred Union.
When she left, leaving the bundle with the people, she walked to the North and before their eyes, she changed into a White Buffalo and then a White Buffalo Calf, thus giving her the name, ” The White Buffalo Calf Woman.”
So, back to my story.
So after the workshop, my life continues to shift and change as my 25 yr. marraige ended and suddenly, I was a single Mom, heartbroken and broke.
I ended up moving from Virginia to Maryland , so my private practice slowly ended.
I found myself meeting the dark night of the soul. And, I heard a voice that said, ” Take out the Pipe.”
For months I sat with it, prayed and kept the bundle next to me as I slept, esp. the nights I cried myself to sleep with heartache, worry and grief.
The Pipe brought me solice. I could feel healing around me.
I was being guided by the spirit of the Pipe.
The main message I kept getting was….forgive.
Then, that summer, I went out to South Dakota to support a friend who was Sundancing and the elders asked me to dance for my life and my son.
THAT was when I REALLY started to understand the spiritual power of the Pipe ( chanupa).
That first year I Sundanced I had a breakthrough. I started to see with my whole being, that if I surrendered and truely opened my heart and prayed for others, that I learned so much about myself. That most of my suffering was a perception of my own issues. The more I let go and forgave myself and others, the closer I came to my own happiness.
I ended up Sundancing for eight years. And then I knew it was over.
I will tell my entire Sundance story later.
The Pipe has become a close allie to me and I have shared and taught it’s wisdom for many years.
After 9/11 I had a Pipe Ceremnoy here every Monday night for 2 years as a service to the community.
Then, after Katrina, I started them again once a month and we continue to have them here upon request and also for special occations.
I would like to thank Grandmother Lillian Pitawaniquat from the Ojibwa nation, for her teachings on the Pipe. She helped me to see on a deeper level the divine feminine and the energy of the Mother in the Ceremony itself. To see the Pipe an an inclusive energy , for all our relations.
My deepest gratitude for the Lakota people, and all those who perform and are part of the sacred ceremonys in the Native American traditions.
All My Relations!
( which means, we are all connected!!!)