I must be blind cause I don't see our last Medicine Path thread....only the one from 11 months ago. I wonder if it archived even though none of other closed threads did. Strange. Sorry I opened 2 Yellowstone Cafes...I misunderstood.
I've always loved this:
Dream Catcher Legend; Lakota Dream Catcher History
Long ago when the word was sound, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider picked up the elder's willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life, how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and on to adulthood. Finally we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.
But, Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, in each time of life there are many forces, some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they'll steer you in the wrong direction and may hurt you. So these forces can help, or can interfere with the harmony of Nature. While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.
When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the great spirit, the web will catch your good ideas and the bad ones will go through the hole.
The elder passed on his vision onto the people and now many Indian people have a dream catcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good is captured in the web of life and carried with the people, but the evil in their dreams drops through the hole in the web and are no longer a part of their lives. It is said the dream catcher holds the destiny of the future.
Turtle is Earth Medicine.
She is probably telling you,
that you need to get back to the earth.
You need to become grounded,
and notice the world of nature that surrounds you.
This medicine is about having confidence in yourself,
It is the time of pride and giving recognition,
to those who have helped you through you life,
and also to yourself.
Learning how to relax and be a child again.
To have fun and not take life so seriously.
If coyote walks with you
then he teaches you how to make people laugh,
also you are someone that is able to convince others,
of anything you imagine.
This medicine teaches us about being true to ourselves,
and to others, about unconditional love.
This medicine seems to have alot of people walking with it,
and that is because he is the teacher,the protector,
and picks one mate for life.
Wolf is about the unity of family,
and also teaches about psychic energy and your inner self.
Raven signals a change in consciousness,
an inner realm or discovery.
Magic is in the air.
He teaches you about courage,
about taking charge and not always being the follower.
This medicine is about clairvoyance,
and about being ask to keep many secrets.
And also having the knowing or insight of secrets not told.
-PRAYER & ABUNDANCE-
Giving thanks to what you already have in life,
and praying for those who don't.
The buffalo is a animal of sacrifice,
and it was his great love for the people by giving his life,
so that they could live.
That makes him very sacred medicine.
If mouse walks with you,
then you are able to see people with a magnifying glass.
You are able to see every detail of a person,
that perhaps another person might not see.
Tells you to pay attention to your dreams,
and to seek truths,
for there you may find it.
Beaver is telling you to put all those great ideas in your head,
Stop being a talker and do it.
This animal teaches us how to be divert.
How to use your intuition,
to achive victory in any task that may be in your life.
Says you speak with great voice,
and all listen to you.
He has no sense of time,
and also he helps to take you places in the dreamtime.
Teaches you how to listen but not be seen.
Being present but noone notices.
Squirrel medicine shows us how to collect,
and save things for future use.
Or he's telling you that you need to do this.
Learning how to use your gifts and talents to achieve power.
This medicine tells you that,
you need to totally cleanse your body,
To rid it of the negativities that have enveloped you.
Clearing your distractions.
-LIFE-FORCE or MANNA-
Teaches you about communing with nature,and building your life force energy to all that it can be.
They have proven that,
the sonar from a dolphin,
triggers something in the human brain to heal.
So this is a very powerful medicine and animal.
People with whale medicine are keepers of ancient information
encoded in their DNA,
and retain everything they read,
these people are fairly telepathic.
Spot on June on the animal spirit list.
exactly how I learned it.
I especially love the part about the mouse, symbol of innocence. ..fyre is a typical mouse, forever young, as fluid as the ocean, child of the south, red..which are all the four mouse attributes. ..THANKS FOR THE LIST.
Vicky, thanks for the new thread, hope your sweet pup gets better. ..with you in spirit. ..will smudge for herâ¡
thanks tasunka, love learning, found a lot on this but to many to list in one go, if it is ok would like to do some more
I notice we are missing the grizzly (strength)and black bears ( family), deer (understanding)
hummingbird(joy), and some others,so,please if you have the knowledge.
my animal spirit medicine cards are still in storage,the above are from memory,what little I've got left,ha!
I just get up nice pics. See ya later.xx
What Animals are telling us
Nature contains all knowledge.
All the strength of life.
Power animals are those in spirit that walk with you through life,
and give you daily messages, here is what they mean
-Eagle is telling you,
that you are close to the Creator,
and this is the time you are able to
be more in tune with yourself.
To follow what path pleases you in life.
Hawk tells you to look around at your surroundings,
and notice what messages are being sent to you.
Hawk gives you the power to overcome stressful situations
Elk teaches you to pace yourself,to increase your stamina,
and to connect with people of your own gender for friendship.
Deer is telling you to be gentle,love people for who they are,
and to apply gentleness to present situations.
Bear means to tell you that you seek truth in matters,
you have a inner-knowing,
and need to be in silence to recollect yourself.
Right now you feel you need to transmutate a thought or desire,
to achieve wholeness within yourself. Snake medicine is a strong medicine,usually the medicine of a shaman or magician,
also means changing consciousness.
He tells you to be yourself and you will gain respect.
And learn to respect yourself.
And repel those who seek to take your energy.
Otter tells you to stop worrying,to relax.
She teaches you to love without jealousy.
Otter is balanced energy.
Butterfly tells you about transformation,how you are changing.
What colors are you drawn to lately?
Do they make you feel better?
Having clarity in your personal life and career.
Breaking down illusion to transform your life,
and changing the habits that aren't beneficial for you.
Being able to say" No",
teaches you not to always say yes,
to the things you know you are unable or don't want to do.
Badger people are quick to express their opinions,
no matter what the consequences.
But also, he can teach you to have some fire when you need to.
Teaches you to get rid of doubt and fear and anxiety.
To try to not panic so much in situations.
When turkey walks with you,
he teaches you about being able to give,
and being able to always help people or animals in need.
People with ant medicine are people that have patience,
and are able to wait long or for something better to come along.
There are plenty of people that could use some ant medicine.
You have the ability to see someone for who they truly are,
no matter what shields they may bring up.
Is asking you to dance either in celebration of the earth,
or in a exciting moment in your life,
or perhaps a new love.
Learning how to pay attention to your dreams,
both awake and sleeping.
This is the medicine of the dreamer.
This medicine comes to tell you of your higher purpose.
To show you that there is much more in life for you.
Is telling you.....
to except the beautiful changes that are happening now to you.
Tells you to let go of your past life,
so that you may be born again,and start new.
Telling you to create,
or warning you of entangling situations that might arise.
There is or will be alot of love,
and joy and beauty surrounding you.
Tells you to be always willing to learn new things.
Teaches you to relax,
and how to strengthen your family unity.
Tiger helps you to get a task over,
with that you don't want to do,
he helps you to have the confidence,
that you need to achieve this.
If cheetah is walking with you,
then things are going fast.
He teaches you how to get things done immediately.
Teaches you about being on your own,
believing in yourself,
not needing anyone to help you,
also having psychic insight.
Cats teach us about self.
TAS, I am so sorry I forgot to carry the picture over from the other thread. I wasn't thinking. Remind me next time to use the one you started with in the other Medicine Path threads as it's too late to change it now. And I really, really love the blue one with the bear and other animals so you may want me to use that one instead.
June, I love the story about the dreamcatcher and the other posts about animal spirits, introspection and rebirth.
This post was modified from its original form on 04 May, 17:46
great idea ,like the new animal graphic
could you,whenever you have time put links in
the older path threads
I just do Not know how to link them, still learning..
thanks in advance
please post in the cafe,this thread is for Native American graphics
thanks for signing the petition for the children..
This post was modified from its original form on 06 May, 14:25
This post was modified from its original form on 06 May, 14:26
The Dakota Nation includes the native peoples who once lived in the northern forests and along the upper Mississippi River in northern Minnesota. In time, the Dakota Nation divided into three groups (Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota), each moving in different directions, but still maintaining close ties to one another.
The Lakota are one division of the Dakota Nation, also known as the Western Dakota or Teton. When the Dakota Nation split into three main groups, the Lakota moved from northern Minnesota to the plains north of the Black Hills to the Platte River, and westward into present day Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Known as the great buffalo hunters of the west, the Lakota are the largest division of the Dakota Nation.
The Lakota were the first of the Dakota to leave the forest. Their name means "forest dweller". They headed out west and lived a migratory life, following the buffalo they needed for food, clothing, and shelter. Even though they ranged far from their Minnesota homeland, they still brought back furs to trade into southern Minnesota each summer.
The Lakota consist of seven main bands today:
Blackfeet (Sihasapa)- Reservations at: Cheyenne River, Standing Rock
Two Kettle (Oohenumpa)- Reservation at: Cheyenne River
Miniconjou- Reservation at: Cheyenne River
Hunkpapa- Reservation at: Standing Rock
Itazipo- Reservation at: Cheyenne River
Sicangu- Reservation at: Rosebud
Oglala- Reservations at: Pine Ridge
Because the Lakota were always on the move, and the climate was too dry, they planted very few crops. They utilized wild plants such as onions, potatoes, turnips, strawberries,gooseberries, grapes, plums, and sweet red prickly pears.
Along with what they could find growing wild, the Lakota primarily hunted buffalo. The Lakota utilized the American Bison (buffalo) for food as well as for their hides. They used bows and arrows for hunting which were so strong that they could shoot an arrow entirely through a buffalo.
Buffalo meat was often boiled in holes in the ground and enjoyed during a hunting celebration following the return of the hunters. However, most buffalo meat was prepared for later use. Some was dried in the sun to make jerky. The Lakota's favorite way to eat buffalo was to make it into pemmican. To make pemmican, buffalo steaks were dried, laid on a large, flat stone, and pounded with smaller stone. When the meat had the consistency of a powder, it was mixed with melted fat or marrow, and sometimes wild cherries. The mixture was put into hide bags with melted fat poured on top to seal it. Buffalo prepared in this way could keep for 3-4 years.
The Lakota lived in tipis in small family arrangements. They could be easily transported to follow the buffalo. tipis were pointed structures, consisting of poles covered by hide or cloth. Sometimes as many as 16-18 buffalo hides were sewn together for use as a tipi covering. The opening to the tipi was held together by wooden "pins". A smoke hole in the top of the tipi allowed fires to be built inside.
Buffalo hides were used to make robes, tipi covers, clothing, moccasins, bags, carrying cases, and boxes. The working of hides was generally done by women, who would tan them, remove the hair if necessary, and transform them into useful items.
Lakota clothing was made primarily of buffalo skins. The women would spend many hours following the creation of the structure of the item of clothing decorating it with beads, bones or other natural objects of beauty.
Like other Dakota groups, many Lakota bands would meet in the summer and engage in group activities including political council meetings, religious ceremonies like the Sun Dance, sporting events, marriages, and coming-of-age ceremonies. Summers were a special opportunity to see family members who were members of other bands.
Except in the winter, when they camped in the Black Hills, the Lakota were always following the buffalo herds. They obtained fast horses in the mid 1700s and were excellent riders. The large amount of horses they owned combined with their remarkable horsemanship resulted in their ability to travel longer distances than any of the other Dakota groups.
The Lakota would use a travois, the French word for shafts of a cart, for long distance travel. The travois was made of two long poles that were crossed and fastened above the shoulders of a horse with the ends dragging behind.
For travel on water, the Lakota used bullboats, which featured a round framework of willow covered with buffalo skins. They were awkward, but watertight.
TAS, I'm not sure what you mean by putting links in the older path threads. Just let me know and I'll do it.
I really love this photo for some reason.
Sorry Vicky,new stupider phone
I neant links to the older threads...
so glad you're pup is better. ..
Beautiful quote, TAS. I must snag it. Forgive me for not posting a link to the old thread. I totally opened this thread wrong. I forgot to use your usual picture and the link to the old thread....sorry. I'll do better next time. Thanks for the reminders.
Lakota people believe there are 405 helping spirits that you are born with that are literally assigned to you: A small army of helpers whose main function is to be of service to you. One of the most effective ways to access help from the spirit helpers is the shamanic journey. The shamanic journey is common to all cultures and the nature of the journey is remarkably similar, even in cultures widely separated by era and geography. In the spirit world, both time and place are illusions.
they come with a guide book,and you can use them kind of like tarot cards
But,I just use the information,for the reasons stated in the above post.
Great graphics, TAS. I especially love the last one....it is so vivid and colorful. I wish the first one (the man and eagle) was bigger...it would run a close race with the last one. Interesting looking cards.
sorry,but I had to delete that picture,it was making me sick
Marie,don't take it personally
I know you were trying to stay on topic..
thank you for deleting TAS and I'm sorry....I see my post last night should have been in the Yellowstone Cafe....sorry. Marie, I know you didn't realize it was dead.
Isn't this dress beautiful?
This post was modified from its original form on 13 May, 16:37
This post was modified from its original form on 16 May, 7:48
This post was modified from its original form on 16 May, 13:32
I love all the pictures...I actually thought the girl with the eagle was a painting. Interesting photo of the Fire Ceremony.
Very sad quote, TAS, and true. The picture is beautiful though.
This post was modified from its original form on 19 May, 11:52
What an awesome & educational project to bring the Lakota language to families! I hope it comes to fruition soon. I am seeing Spanish channels all over television so why not programs/channels for the people that were in America first!
TAS, I didn't see a petition for either the maize contamination or Wakan Tanka film so I was unable to sign anything.
no petitions that I know of,just Dandelion wanted it shared widely
I misread the other story,thought it was native american not native mexican,not that there's a huge difference,indigenous is native ,even corn!!
Since people of all nationalities fought and died, I thought this would be appropriate.
I love the photo June and also the quote! Thanks for sharing.
That is not my jewelry Marie...your ring is pretty. I wish you would have posted your message in the chat thread so I could answer you but this is for Indian stuff.
This post was modified from its original form on 01 Jun, 12:32
somewhere in my past I am supposedly partly related to sacajawea
I have read several books about her,and lewis and clark
Ewwww....seriously! Why would you post this? I don't want to see that pic or your stupid drama,grow up."TAKE IT OUTSIDE."
....go back on your meds.
PUT THAT ANIMAL ON SOME ONE'S FRONT DOOR SO THEY CAN NOT GET OUT OF THE HOUSE....LMAO.....POOR THING.
I don't know what happened to that poor animal,and I do not know if this sounds like an odd thing to do........I donated butterfly credits to raise a fam animal humanely to honor the life of this animal.
KK, better off donating to the rainforest
Some yahoo murdered this water buffalo
And another bigger one posted it.
You are 2 sweet.
I hear the raise a farm animals gift is bogus, ad they are killed anyway.
Ladies I'm sorry I haven't been in this thread for a few days. I am incensed over that horrible picture of the poor buffalo that Marie posted and I deleted it. I'm not sure who she was talking to in that manner but it will not be tolerated. Kaya, I, too, use some of my credits to help farm animals so I understand. I mainly donate to the rainforest, plant trees, give fresh drinking water but of course I donate to animal stuff, too. TAS you posted some nice quotes; I especially love the one about the fire going. I really enjoyed reading about the music and it's roots...very interesting and educational. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Thanks Gabra, music is native to us all
"A song and a smile feel the same in any language"me.
Above picture, breech cloth, breast plate, on the leggings the fringe is light green, dyed with hemp plants. .
This post was modified from its original form on 10 Jun, 15:41
The song is a happy song and video, Gabra. Who is Justice?
TAS does the picture you posted have significance or is it just decoration? It's pretty.
I may have posted this before but I love this song.
Whatever you got? Pretty much, unfortunately
The preferred plant was tobacco, it makes the most visible smoke. ..but hemp, seeds, weeds, berries, peyote. . (Only certain elders are allowed to dispense)...
The purpose of the pipe is to cleanse the area through fire, and use the smoke to see the unseen (spirit) world.
thanks on the info about the peace pipe, TAS. I had always wondered about that. Great quote by Geronimo; a month of great music? Where is it going to be held, what is it for and what bands? Sounds awesome.
My marina is also an open air concerts venue, resort.
Big acts come .last night was Steve Winwood from Blind faith among other groups he played with.
Sarah Maclachlan is playing next week. ..the grateful dead, yes, Lynyrd skynyrd, Ringo Starr all star band. ..I'll keep you posted.
Oh, I forgot the best part is I can hear it from my bunk. ..
How awesome to be able to lay in your bunk and be rocked to sleep by the waves and the music, TAS. I am soooooo jealous! Keep me posted....there are going to be some really good acts!
Vicki, I love the quote regards to daylight savings time. It's so true about many things we try to change.
Tas, Where are you now? Some wonderful venues coming your way.
Carlene,I was being sparing,there are like 4 concerts a week when they get going...I used to hear them from down the street at a different marina,but where I am is THE ACTUAL PLACE,,now,remember how the orange was so blasted away that Willie Nelson was playing here back in April,,well
I am still at the same place undergoing repairs,,,(like usual),,,and then hope to get in some cruising before heading to Mexico for the winter...
and eventually back to the desert in like 6 months when it's not 100+ degrees
so I am in cali like you,they water these gardens like crazy,I had to bite my tongue from yelling at them,the gardens are gorgeous though,..
This post was modified from its original form on 19 Jun, 14:43
Yes Carlene, the quote definitely makes sense doesn't it. I'm glad you like it. TAS, doesn't seem like you hang your head in one place very long. I would have loved being on the go in my younger years but now I'm happy to take an occasional trip. lol But I like hearing about your adventures. I used to love to hear about Orange's, too, except now I find out they were only imaginary. She did a good job convincing me it was true, though.
Funny you should mention her stories.
She gave a half baked story in another group, and asked me to reply..I didn't, so she got pissy,"no reply, , such is life"
So I finally replied in a post..."no reply"
If negative emotions cause illness, why would a person , who was used and led on not want to avoid that source ofnegativity", a hypothetical .
This post was modified from its original form on 19 Jun, 17:35
Great quotes, June! The first one really speaks to me. I agree TAS, why would someone want to be around negativity if it causes them illness. I hate negative people....well I can deal with an occasional negative attitude but not a constant. That really brings me down and I'm sure everyone else gets bummed out by them, too.
Hesquiat-Maiden : I've never seen Indian an girl/woman with nose jewelry. Has anyone else?
Is that a bone in her nose? Very interesting.
“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.”
~ American Indian Proverb
Beautiful pics. I absolutely love that white dress,Vicky. Sometimes you wonder why some animals speak to people more than others. -why some are favored. Perhaps it's on the list. What are yours? I like most animals, but wolf and cougar are my favorite. I like snow leopard too, but didn't see it on the list.
Yes June! it would be interesting to see more. I wonder about Manatee and black leopard. I understand cougar is sometimes referred to as panther, too.
Tasunka, I have a very old hard back book I keep wrapped now. It is on Sacajawea. It gives two different tales of what may have really been her last known days.
Modified to add that Sacajawea is the name of the elementary school I went to in WA state. Supposedly we all pronounce her name wrong.
This post was modified from its original form on 24 Jun, 15:18
Interesting,Sherry , supposedly there is a statue of her son,Pomp
somewhere in Europe,as he went there in his lifetime with some respect,I heard.
He made the whole trip with them..
I also have read many books about her,an amazing woman..
My animal spirits,although the Sioux believe we have over 400,,,is the dog
and the dolphin...I believe they share a common ancestor,and science has proven there might be?
I wish I knew a lot about indian history, etc. like you, TAS and Sherry.
Native American - Earth Drum
Saw a great t shirt at the grateful dead concert. .
It was a mix of Jamaican and Native American wisdom:
DON'T WORRY BE HOPI. ..
June, beautiful videos....both the stories and the music. Very soothing. I may borrow your second video and post in my buffalo group on Facebook.
TAS, very wise and true quote; I, too, will post that on Facebook. Love the quote on the t shirt.
"Something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it." ~ Ancient Indian saying.
June, thank you for the translation of Rhythm of the Heart.
Great quote TAS....it took me a minute to see the buffalo on the graphic above the quote. Is that skulls in the pic too? Very interesting.
Shawnee Sioux War Dance
Rare and old footage of Native American drumming from 1894
Great videos, June. The last one is very historical and videos and/or pictures of long ago like this makes me wonder how were they made with the equipment that was available at that time. Thank goodness they have been preserved....boy does it bring us back in time while watching them. Thank you for sharing.
We bought the 40 +thousand acres in august of 2012,,, to be free for the animals and the flora and fauna forever in 2012 on my birthday. ..I have a birthmark on my leg in this exact shape, telling me this is why I was born...to help save it...
TAS for some reason I was under the impression you decided not to buy this land. I am so glad you did though and I'm sure the animals are, too. Do you prefer sailing over staying on the farm? Of course you can have the best of both worlds.
Oh, that is incredible about your birthmark being in the same shape as the land/black hills. It indeed sounds like a message.
Not my farm,,,,40, 000 acres, the great sioux nation raised 9 million dollars to acquire.
Called the black hills because the forest is so dense looks black from space..
In s.Dakota. .
This post was modified from its original form on 25 Jul, 20:33
Okay now I'm thoroughly confused, TAS. lol You posted "We bought the 40 +thousand acres in august of 2012,,, to be free for the animals and the flora and fauna forever in 2012 on my birthday. ..I have a birthmark on my leg in this exact shape, telling me this is why I was born...to help save it." The way it reads it sounds like it is your land. It's awesome to know that there are still dense forests out there. That brings joy to my heart and I hope no one ever cuts any of the trees down.
WE, THE TRIBE, ROFL, VICKY
Thanks for clarifying about the 'we', TAS. hahaha! I love your quote above. Hi Gabra!
Geronimo,sitting bull, Chief Joseph,and who is the other face?
Vicky did it say?
about the Black Hills,the best part is that the land and animals will be wild and free for as long as the Sioux manage it..it is the center of the Universe,according to sioux belief..and is one of the holiest places there is!!
I'm not sure who the other one is, TAS. Which one is he that you don't know his name and I'll try to find out. I pray that the Sioux will continue to manage the Black Hills.
The Native American Sweatlodge
A Spiritual Tradition
A Crow sweat lodge.--Museum of the American Indian
The Sweat Lodge Ceremony, now central to most Native American cultures and spiritual life, is an adaptation of the sweat bath common to many ethnic cultures found in North and South America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and Africa. It was prompted by the influence of European culture with its corrupting effect on native culture. With the introduction of alcohol and the inhumane treatment of native people, the need to re-purify themselves and find their way back to traditional ways of living became evident, as they were becoming increasingly poisoned by European culture. The Sweat Lodge Ceremony was the answer.
With the help of Medicine Men and Women, they could repair the damage done to their spirits, their minds and their bodies. The Sweat Lodge is a place of spiritual refuge and mental and physical healing, a place to get answers and guidance by asking spiritual entities, totem helpers, the Creator and Mother Earth for the needed wisdom and power.
A traditional Sweat Lodge is a wickiup made up of slender withes of aspen or willow, or other supple saplings, lashed together with raw hide, or grass or root cordage, although in some areas the lodge was constructed of whatever materials were at hand, from a mud roofed pit house to a cedar bark and plank lodge. The ends of the withes are set into the ground in a circle, approximately 10 feet in diameter, although there is no set size for a Sweat Lodge. That is determined by the location, materials available and the builder. The withes are bent over and lashed to form a low domed framework approximately 4 - 5 feet high at the center. The pit in the center is about 2 feet in diameter and a foot deep. The floor of the lodge may be clean swept dirt, or natural grassy turf, or may be covered with a mat of sweetgrass, soft cedar boughs, or sage leaves for comfort and cleanliness, kept away from the central pit.
The lodge in former times was covered with the hides of buffalo, bear or moose. In this day, the animal skins have been replaced with blankets, plastic sheeting, old carpet, heavy gauge canvas sheets and tarps to retain the heat and the steam.
In many traditions the entrance to the sweat lodge faces to the East and the sacred fire pit. This has very significant spiritual value. Each new day for all begins in the East with the rising of Father Sun, the source of life and power, dawn of wisdom, while the fire heating the rocks is the undying light of the world, eternity, and it is a new spiritual beginning day that we seek in the sweat ceremony.
Between the entrance to the lodge and the sacred fire pit, where the stones are heated, is an altar barrier, beyond which none may pass except the lodge or fire keepers, to prevent participants from accidently falling into the fire as they emerge from sweat. Traditionally this barrier altar is a buffalo or other skull atop a post, placed about 3 paces from the entrance and 3 paces from the fire, to warn of the danger. At the base of the post is a small raised earthen altar upon which are placed items sacred to the group or clan, sage, sweetgrass, feathers, etc., bordered with the four colors, and a pipe rack for the chanunpa.
Common to all traditions, and the sweat, is the ideal of spiritual cleanliness. Many sweats start with the participants fasting for an entire day of contemplation in preparation for the sweat while avoiding caffeine, alcohol and other unhealthy substances. Prior to entering the sweat the participants usually smudge with sage, sweetgrass or cedar smoke as a means toward ritual cleanliness.
Bringing personal sacred items is allowed but some rules apply. Items such as Eagle feathers, whistles and medicine pouches are allowed and welcomed. You should not bring anything that is not natural into the Sweat Lodge, such as: watches, ear rings, gold, silver, eye glasses, false teeth, etc. In many cultures a female on her moon is not allowed into the sweat, but in some they are.
A Sweat Ceremony in many traditions usually starts with the loading and offering of the sacred chanunpa ~ "peace pipe" ~ in prayer, that the participants may know and speak the truth in their supplications of Grandfather, Earth Mother and the spirits. In other traditions, when you are called upon to go into the sweat lodge you will have some tobacco to offer to the sacred fire, saying a prayer or asking a question, the smoke from the tobacco carrying your request to the Great Spirit. As you prepare to enter the lodge the sweat leader smudges you with the smoke of burning sage, cedar, or sweetgrass, wafting the smoke over you with an eagle feather. You then crawl into the lodge in a sun-wise (clockwise) direction, bowing in humility to Great Spirit and in close contact with Earth Mother, and take your place in the circle, sitting crosslegged upright against the wall of the lodge.
When all are inside the sweat leader calls upon the doorkeeper to drop the flap covering the lodge opening. The lodge becomes dark, and at this point the lodge leader announces that all are free to leave the lodge at any time if they cannot endure. (If you must leave, speak out "Mitakuye Oyasin," "All my relatives." The other participants will move away from the wall so that you may pass behind them as you leave in a clockwise direction.) He then asks for a short, contemplative silence. After the brief silence the flap is rais