More Ceremonies to
Nourish the Spirit
Children's Blessing Ceremony
This is one's of Wind Daughter's favorites. Firstly, the children who have participated in the Children's Program come and share with us by dancing, singing and sharing from their experience at the Gathering. Then some of the Teachers have the honor of offering blessings to each of the children with smudging, gifts of sacred feathers, medicine pouches, special stones, and seeds from the Three Sisters of corn, beans and squash.
Prayer Tie Ceremony
Prayer Ties are little, cloth bundles that contain prayers. They contain tobacco or corn meal with tobacco. These herbs are are sacred medicines. tobacco has the ability to bind a prayer or keep it in tact. Corn meal is a feminine energy, so when put together with tobacco, it becomes a very, balanced medicine. The prayer is whispered or said out loud into each prayer bundle, as it is tied together, often on one single string.
They are often made in a series of 7 bundles to represent the 7 Powers of the Universe. It may be one group of 7 or even hundreds of bundle ties. It is a wonderful way to make these prayers while preparing for any Ceremony, especially Vision Quest, Stone Peoples' Lodge or any time needed to pray to Creator.
The Prayer Ties can be hung in a Lodge. Then they can be offered to Nature's 4 Elements by burning in a sacred fire, hanging in a tree for the wind, put into a river/lake water or buried in the Earth Mother. They are an offering to the Creator for Gratitude and Blessings for our lives and being allowed to live.
A single Tobacco Tie is a square piece of cloth, usually red folded into a tiny present form containing tobacco or other sacred herbs. It is good to give a Teacher a single Prayer Tie in gratitude for their spiritual teachings. Also to a Fire Keeper at a Sweat Lodge, at a Pipe Ceremony, Fire Ceremony or any time you have received a blessing or teaching that you are grateful for.
Teachings of Four
& Tobacco Teachings
Indigenous Peoples look for meanings and signs from Great Spirit's Creation. One sign that they have observed is the many examples of four:
child, adolescent, adult, elder
east winds, south winds, west winds, north winds
spring, summer, autumn, winter
red people, yellow people, black people, white people
sun, moon, stars, planets
roots, stems, leaves, fruit
day, night, moon, year
air, water, fire, earth
crawler, flyer, two-legged, four-legged
The four Sacred Herbs are tobacco, sage, sweet grass and cedar.
Tobacco is used for the making of prayers because it binds together a prayer. It is therefore used in the Sacred Prayer Pipe, Prayer Ties and Sacred Fires. Sweet Grass draws sweetness and goodness to the people or to an area. Sage has the ability to cleanse and clear negativity to self or a space. Cedar can be used for prayers or cleansing. Sage, Cedar and Sweet Grass can be used for Smudging Ceremony.
It is comforting to have a Nature Name, one that connects you explicitly to Mother Earth. A Naming Ceremony can be performed by an Elder by the offering of tobacco as a request. It can be done ceremoniously in a group circle, privately, in a Stone Peoples' Lodge, during a Pipe Ceremony, Medicine Wheel, Moon Ceremony, or unceremoniously by an Elder. It can occur whenever or wherever an Elder decides it is appropriate.
Maybe certain things come to your mind-spirit that seem to be calling you as a name or part of a name, such as clouds, rain, animal, sun, dance, snow, a certain quality, etc. Tell the Elder this. Then the Elder will go within to listen to their Spirit Guides for an answer to your name. After given a Spirit-Nature Name, it is good to then thank the Elder with a Gift. Your name might stay with you for many years, for or a lifetime, or maybe a new name will come in to be included to the one you have, or replace the previous name. Always listen and treat your name as Sacred. It is a vibration when spoken, a vibration that is needed for your Spirit to illuminate with Light.
Indigenous Earth Peoples did not gather wealth. In fact, the more wealth that came to them, the more they gave away. If there was a celebration such as birth of a child, Naming Ceremony or Coming of Age Ceremony, etc., they would not expect to receive gifts from people. Contrarily, they gave gifts to the people to show gratitude for their blessings from Spirit. This is the heartfelt Giveaway Ceremony.
At a Gathering people bring an item or clothing that is of value to them, but which they are willing to part with so that another person can get joy or usefulness from it. A large blanket is spread out on the Earth where the items are placed. They are smudged. Then each person can make a selection starting with the Elders, Children and then Adults. This Ceremony is usually done at the end of a Medicine Wheel Gathering. It reminds us of the Buffalo that gave everything of itself, so that the People could live.
Flute Playing Ceremony
The Flute is relatively easy to play. But it goes deeper than the need to just play an instrument. It expresses the Soul and emotions through music which is important for the Healing of every human being. The sound of the Flute is a soft sound that seems to call the Spirit from within while in Ceremony. It creates Sacred Space. It calls us to unite with Nature, to feel the oneness. The Flute calms the mind and emotions. It unites the Mind with the Heart. The Flute mellows the Spirit while it offers up the Breath of Life to the Creator.
The Talking Stick for Native Peoples is an ancient and powerful communication tool. The person who is holding the Stick is the only person who can speak, all others must listen quietly and respectfully. Never to interrupt. Some cultures do not use a Talking Stick per say but use an eagle feather, wampum belt, peace pipe or sacred shell. It teaches patience, self-discipline and to respect the person speaking.
Talking Sticks are most frequently used in council circles, ceremonies and at the beginning of cultural events such as Potlatches, and in storytelling circles. If an Elder is present, they speak first. Listen with respect, support, compassion and quietness.
Read story - The Great Bear Path
Native Americans told stories to teach or explain, especially about their past, so it would not be forgotten from generation to generation. Oral story telling was a way to preserve their myths, spiritual and historical knowledge. Their children were never to forget their roots. The stories were teachings of how to live in harmony and cooperation with the Natural World and the Great Mystery of Life.
Food Feast Ceremony
The sharing and eating of Food is always a Ceremony. Some cultures call it a Potlatch. The food is smudged first. Then an Ancestral Food Plate is prepared and placed for the Spirits of our Ancestors before the People can eat. We love and honor them. They join with us in the sharing of the energy of the food that we have prepared. Our Elders of Grandmothers and Grandfathers are highly regarded, as they are the first ones who partake in the eating of the Food. They are followed by the Children, then the rest of the Adults. Food is an ancient way to bring the tribe of peoples together to share in the nourishment of food in a community way, a good way. Most often, Food shared today is vegetarian or vegan, however, Meat stews are often a part of tradition.
Three Sacred Foods are the Three Sisters of corn, bean and squash. Spoken stories of these foods are that in a time of great need, the Sky Peoples came down and told the Earth Peoples how to grow these foods for their tribes so that they could live.