A Personal Prayer P...
 
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A Personal Prayer Pipe


Historian
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Recently, I was asked in a PM about how a person aquires a personal prayer pipe in Lakota tradition.

A personal prayer pipe in the Lakota language is called a canunpa wakan, (can from canli meaning 'tobacco'; unpa meaning 'to smoke'; wakan meaning 'sacred').

I was taught long ago that if a person, on the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable, experienced, and recognized spiritual interpreter, seeks to have a sacred prayer pipe to use for personal use, they may bring tobacco offering to a known and recognized pipe maker. They present the tobacco to the pipe maker, asking that he pray with it and ask the spirits to tell him what type of prayer pipe to make, what type of wood, and what the bowl should look like, etc. If he accepts the tobacco offering, thus agreeing to pray with the tobacco and make a sacred prayer pipe based on directions from the spirits, it is then customary to compensate him for his efforts with a gift.

It is important to remember, in the way I was taught anyway, that a canunpa, when newly made, is just a piece of stone and a piece of wood. It has no ability to convey prayers.

However, the canunpa becomes wakan or a sacred prayer pipe, when it has been blessed in a ceremony. It then becomes a living thing with a spirit, and during the ceremony when it is blessed, the canunpa, and person who is pledging to take the responsibility of caring for the canunpa for the rest of their life, are joined in a bond as relatives during the ceremony.

I was taught that you do not own a sacred prayer pipe, but you care for it like a relative.

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fleur
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hello Historian,

Another interesting post IMO, thankyou

I remember earlier I think you said you were the holder of a personal pipe?

May I ask, on what occasions do you use yours?

Is it one that has been handed down, or one gifted for you, or made by you?

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Historian
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hello Historian,

Another interesting post IMO, thankyou

I remember earlier I think you said you were the holder of a personal pipe?

May I ask, on what occasions do you use yours?

Is it one that has been handed down, or one gifted for you, or made by you?

Yes, I care for a personal prayer pipe.

I use it every time I pray in a sincere and humble way.

My prayer pipe was made specifically for me.

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fleur
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Hello Historian,,

It is good to hear and read your words which come from a true place of knowing, first hand.

It can sometimes get a little tiring, to say the least, trying to find authentic information regarding Native American Indian culture and philosophy, for those of us that still carry it in our hearts from a bygone lifetime.

Sometimes the pipe and sage here can cause choking smoke and make the eyes sting so much the truth is hard to see. The drum skin becomes slack and distorted that we cannot find our rhythm. The sweat lodge means no more than having a trip to the sauna....hardly the same thing!! 😉

You know, many many years ago I read Bury My Heart in Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown of course..... The starting place of many people in search of the cultural traditions. I remember It tore at my heart reading that book, it really upset me..I felt the pain of that genocide...and from my ancestors,
I heard the words "Yes, it was a sad time, but dont bury you're heart in Wounded Knee" , a poignent message!

anyhow, back to the thread.....love 'em, any more????:p

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Historian
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...You know, many many years ago I read Bury My Heart in Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown of course..... The starting place of many people in search of the cultural traditions...

Have you tried:

Teton Sioux Music - by Frances Densmore, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 61, Washington, DC, 1918.;
reprinted as Teton Sioux Music and Culture - by Frances Densmore; University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1992.

Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of Seeing - by Severt Young Bear and Ronnie Theisz, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1994.

The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living - by Joseph M. Marshall, III, Penguin Books, 2002.

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Historian
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There are many other resources published about Lakota spirituality, or what is sometimes referred to as "The Pipe Way" or "The Red Road". However, for every traditional and authentic text about these ways, there are at least ten others that are off base, or just a mish-mash of cultural information with half-truths. So be careful what you choose to read.

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