September 8

The Pipe Story

"The Pipe"
This is a teaching from Tunkashila (Grandfather):
To hold the Pipe you must understand the relationship between the two - the stem and the bowl, and their desire to be connected to one another. The bowl and stem represent the desires of Woman to be with Man and Man to be with Woman. Our Pipe is many things including the embodiment of this desire for union between Man and Woman. This is part of what White Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach the Oyate (people). The young man who turned into bones and dust was a man who did not respect right relationship between Man and Woman. That young man was not ready to understand and so he viewed White Buffalo Calf Woman as an object he could use for his own fulfillment rather than desire he could be in union with. This ultimate disrespect of Woman led to his death. It is this continued disrespect of women that is leading to the death of our Nation today. Without our women, we are broken.
Understanding the right use of desire between Man and Woman is what will unite the people and bring us back into balance with one another. This is the medicine of the Pipe. Our Nation cannot be strong when we do not have balance between Man and Woman. White Buffalo Calf Woman saw that we as a people needed this understanding. She came well before Her time to teach us. Our Nation can only be as strong as our marriages and right now there are few strong marriages and so there is instability in our future. White Buffalo Calf Woman came to help Man understand the sacredness of Woman. That is why this great divine being sent by Wakan Tanka came as a Woman. Wakan Tanka did not send the Oyate a man. He sent us a Woman because this was the teaching we needed in order to sustain our race and be one with Wakan Tanka. Balance is everything. Balance is life. White Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach us Sacred Balance.
White Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach us how to pray to Wakan Tanka and She came to teach the Oyate how to be in right relationship, to teach Man how to be in relationship with Woman. It is the most sacred of all unions and our sacred holy Pipe reflects this union when the stem joins the bowl. This joining is a celebration that should be recognized every time we smoke. When we connect the stem to the bowl we must recognize this is the sacred union of Man and Woman and how Wakan Tanka wishes for us to live our lives - in sacred unity. This is the teaching of marriage as told to us by the Pipe. These are the lost teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman.
Respect for Woman has been lost. Is it any surprise our Nation has grown weak and continues to be vulnerable when we have lost our respect for Woman? Woman is our most sacred being, our most sacred gift from Wakan Tanka and we abuse Her and deny Her and resent Her as the reason for why we as men suffer so much. Where has our dignity gone? When we deny our women we shame ourselves as men. Denying our women is the most loathsome behaviour men could consider. It is shameful and I have no pride as a man watching us denigrate our women.
In truth, White Buffalo Calf Woman came to save the men. We owe Her our life. Without Her teaching we cannot exist for without our sacred women we cannot be.
Through the Pipe White Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach us...

The Bowl
The bowl is of Mother Earth. It holds within itself all of the medicine of Mother Earth because it is carved from Her body, all of Her teachings, all of Her wisdom. The bowl is the heart of Mother Earth for it is only the heart that can hold desire for oneness with the Great Mystery Spirit, Wakan Tanka. The bowl is Mother Earth's cupped hands sacredly holding Her heart's desire. The smoke that rises from Her bowl is all of Her heart's desire for Wakan Tanka. The smoke is Her desire rising up to meet Him, to speak to Him, to let Him know She is there and this is who She is. She Herself does not lift Herself up to Him. She cannot, She is Earth.
The bowl is the feminine essence of desire for the masculine, of desire for right relationship and balance with the masculine, to be wanted by him, to be received by him, to be accepted by him.
The bowl is round because Mother Earth is round. This means all things travel around inside the bowl. If the bowl were square with four corners prayers would not rise up to Wakan Tanka. Prayers cannot flow between four walls, they bounce and reverberate instead. In the bowl prayers move without obstruction allowing the prayers to be what they are - truth. Prayers in the bowl are the truths of those ready to send their prayers up to Wakan Tanka. In this manner, there can be no lies between the prayer and Wakan Tanka, between Mother Earth and the Great Mystery Spirit.
Mother Earth is round and all things move around Her and within Her. That is why all our sacred medicines are made from the circle, because the circle is Her and She is All There Is. She allows all truths to be told. Mother Earth has created a space - the bowl, for all of Her children to be able to speak. She loves them that much and She knows that Her children are hurting and they have much to say to their Great Father.
The bowl holds all of the love of Mother Earth and all of Her love for all of Creation. This is Her prayer that She holds and lifts up to Wakan Tanka - Her love for Herself, Her love for Her children, Her love for all of Creation. Our Mother is a very sacred being to hold so much love and to hold all things within Herself.
The bowl is the love of our Great Mother.

The Stem
The stem is the rod of our Great Father, Wakan Tanka. Like a lightning rod the stem directs energy to Mother Earth and supports Her. It's long shaft is the direction of all Wakan Tanka's energy and light. He is the magnificent Creator and the stem focuses His magnificence to Mother Earth because She deserves to know how magnificent She is and this is how Wakan Tanka tells Her. His love for Mother Earth channels its way through the stem to Her. It locks into place with Her and there is no gap between Them. Nothing can get in between Wakan Tanka and Mother Earth when the stem fits into the bowl, nothing. This is Their union. It is in this place that They become One.
It is the most sacred place of all, the point where the Two meet. Stem to bowl Wakan Tanka fits into Mother Earth. He offers His strength. He is there to support Her. This is the only way it can be. Mother Earth cannot lift up to Wakan Tanka and so as the Great Mystery Spirit He is He moves to be with Her. He supports who She is and His support gives Her the space to be who She is. He comes to Her. Wakan Tanka comes to Mother Earth.
The stem is the vessel by which Wakan Tanka unites with our Great Mother.
When the stem comes into the bowl the Two meet and Their union of joy begins. The Pipe is more about marriage than it is about anything else. It is about union. This point of contact where They meet is divine and holy. This is the source of Creation because where Wakan Tanka meets Mother Earth life happens. It is the most powerful union in all of Creation. The most powerful, the most Wakan.
We decorate the stem with the feathers of our great brother Wanbli Gleska - Spotted Eagle, because he is the most holy of those from the air. He flies closest to Wakan Tanka so we believe he knows Wakan Tanka best of all the animals of Earth. We use his feathers because they represent the light and speed by which Wakan Tanka's love travels to Mother Earth. The Eagle feathers represent Wakan Tanka's journey to Mother Earth.
The feathers should hang loose so they can move the way Wakan Tanka moves. The great breath of Wakan Tanka does not move in only one direction. His breath moves in all directions. His breath reflects all the sacred directions of Mother Earth. A beaded strand allows the feathers to move in an unrestricted way. When the feathers move know that this is Wakan Tanka's great breath coming to be with you. He is present. The feathers show you His breath and that He has come to hear you.
We use Wanbli Gleska's spotted feathers because the two colours represent feminine and masculine in equal balance with each other, one does not dominate the other. This is Wakan Tanka's wish to tell Mother Earth that He does not come to Lord over Her. He comes with balance in mind respecting All That She Is. He comes to Her with a prayer that She will receive Him because without Her He is nothing. He cannot exist without Her. Without Her He can only be spirit. All our relations on Mother Earth are Wakan Tanka in form. In this way, Earth and all things in and of Her are sacred because they are all Wakan Tanka.
Once the Pipe is made this union should be celebrated each and every time the stem is joined with the bowl because it is a sacred action. It is the action of joining Wakan Tanka with Mother Earth. This action of joining stem to bowl is Wakan Tanka's teaching for Man to honour union with Woman. It is Wakan Tanka's wish that we remember the sacredness of Woman. Each and every time we join stem to bowl we must remember this teaching. We must pause, and hold sacred this divine union. It is a powerful joining. We must never forget. We must never forget the beauty of Woman. We must never forget Her sacrifice. We must never forget Her devotion. She is All That Is and She is all that matters.
Together, stem and bowl, They are the Creators of All That Is.
The Medicines
All our prayers that we send up are our desires to be heard and received and loved by the Creators. Our prayers are our intentions to have our heart's desires made manifest here on Earth. Prayers go into the bowl in the form of medicines (plants). These prayers of ours are first received by Mother Earth. She holds them sacred in Herself and wraps them with the love of who She is. She cradles our prayers in Her bowl. She accepts all prayers from all Her children as the cries and dreams of our hearts. "Give your prayers to Me, and together we will give them to Wakan Tanka."
These plant medicines are the travelers for our prayers. They pack our prayers and take them to Wakan Tanka. Talk to your plant medicines. Give them the prayers. They then go into the bowl of Mother Earth where She holds them but you must first give your prayers to the plant people. They carry your prayers. They are sacred. They are Wakan for they are the carriers of the sacred prayers. You must have a relationship with your plant people first. They are your messengers to the Great Spirit, Creator of All Life. Know that this is who they are, then they can carry your dreams. They sit within the bowl where Mother Earth holds them, embracing them, waiting for Wakan Tanka to come and together Wakan Tanka and Mother Earth share your dreams.
The medicines burn. They sacrifice themselves for your prayers. They turn your prayers into smoke that can travel into your body, into your being. When you draw in the smoke, the breath of the Great Wakan Tanka, you are bringing into yourself the presence of our Great Mother. You bring Her into your lungs which then moves into your heart and back out to the Great Spirit. You breathe in the Mother's love for you. You breathe out the breath of our Great Father. The Great Holy Mystery Spirit travels in your body in your lungs and heart reaching every cell of your being. You become one with Wakan Tanka. Through your body He can sit upon Mother Earth and experience Her world through your senses. He knows what it is like to be human.
The plants have carried your prayers. Mother Earth has held them sacred. You have used Wakan Tanka's vessel to bring them into your body where you and Wakan Tanka become one. He then knows your pain. He then knows your suffering. Bring all your suffering to Wakan Tanka. Do not bring your suffering to each other. Bring it to Wakan Tanka. He comes to be with you. Only through the Pipe can Wakan Tanka know the suffering of humanity.
The Pipe brings you and Wakan Tanka together. Now you can know each other.

We recommend that you wrap the Pipe and her medicines in something sacred, just like a baby wrapped in secure bundles. The Pipe is a sacred living being and holds our most powerful teachings. She came to us to teach us how we could reach Wakan Tanka.
The Pipe belongs to the two who have made it. It holds all your dreams and prayers and your right relationship with each other and your right relationship with all that is sacred. Protect your dreams and prayers. Do not leave them out where they can be bothered by others. They are personal and sacred and should only be shared by you.
Keep the Pipe near her family members, near her other relatives because this is where she feels most at home. She belongs with all the other sacred beings. These are her family members and she is happiest being with them.
She is a sacred bundle. Keep her accordingly.

Contributed By:

Perry Brown - Mkwa (Bear) 


Elders, Sacred Pipe, Teachings, Traditional Stories

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