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Smoke/Sacred Pipe & their Role in Shamanism
By Lune

Hello all. My friend's funeral was yesterday and it was very sad, but also a bit bizarre, as for someone that was a practicing Hindu, it was very Christian *Lune scratches head puzzled* However I guess there was some reason. But suffice it to say, although it was helpful to express my grief on a physical level, it left me spiritually a bit... open? unfinished? So then we all piled out and stood around outside, The smokers all having a cigarette, I had a strong urge to have one. I don't smoke, but being taught by a shaman that smoked, I used to roll a cigarette and smoke one every now and again as it helped diffuse energy, in the same way my teacher used it. So wanting a smoke was a bit weird, but I was able to use the smoke to say goodbye to my friend in my own way and felt my love reached him in the spirit world via the smoke. Now what IS the role of smoke in shamanism? That is how I used it. Had I had some sage I would have just lit that and let my prayers rise with the smoke. Or maybe, what is the relationship between smoke and spirit?

You just said it, it's used to carry messages between world or between us and spirit.

It is very common during the funeral process to smoke cigarettes in NA teachings. The smoke is not inhaled though, just used to carry the prayers to Spirit. Smoke in shamanic terms makes the unseen seen, can be used to lift prayers to Spirit as it rises, or to summon visions. This is what it means to "smoke someone". Through the smoke visions will come clear and you'll gain information on them. It's sort of like reading an energy signature, Lune, with visual effects. It's also used in healing sessions sometimes. I'm sure there are more uses for it but those are the ones I'm familiar with. Northernwolf was right, you did hit it on the head. *Soft smile* I just tossed in a couple extra tidbits. *Grins*

In a lot of Native Ceremonies such as Funerals, cigarettes are put into a bowl and people help themselves to them. They are used to smoke in a ceremonial way, or dropped as an offering. When my husband, a Dakota elder, passed over we had bowls of ciggies all over the place as a lot of people came to offer condolences. We made sure they were topped up at all times during those first days and the wake and funeral.

I didn't inhale, me and... was it Clinton? So I was a bit startled to read that. I didn't inhale for a) I didn't need to in order to send the prayer through the smoke, I just held it in my mouth. and b) purely practical reasons of I think after years of no smoking whatsoever I might have fallen on the floor dizzy from head-spin!!! Still thinking about the energy signature in visual, or however you said it. Thanks Cinn and NW Hey that reminds me of a time when one of my lecturers said of my tattoo "how are you going to explain that one when you are the prime minister of Australia, Leonie?" I said very primly "I will say I didn't inhale" I thought I was very witty!!!

You have a tattoo! I didn't know that. What is it?

Interesting line of conversation! Greetings All! I have never smoked. The first time I tried it I puked But lately (after Vision Quest) I have had the urge to smoke Now I know it's the pipe and prayer I am craving not the cigarette, but we don't have a pipe carrier in our group. I’ve known a couple people who have private pipes. So I guess my question is "What are the ethics to using a pipe?" and "Do other spiritual paths use a pipe or smoke?"

From what Cinn told me the ethics of a pipe carrier, hence related to a sacred pipe are long. But I don’t remember. I'm sure she does though

Like Lune and.. Clinton I never inhaled either! hehehe I think with all the various taboos around using the pipe in NA ceremonies, I would just let the smoke of a cigar go up to Spirit, but then I am very much for trying to smoke a cigar. I always wanted to do that! hehe

A ceremonial Pipe must be handled and led by the Pipe Carrier. A personal pipe is used privately, can be shared if you feel the energy of the people you are with are suited to the work you are doing. So those with pipes can share at the SLC if you want to, or you may want to pick one up for yourself (or make it!) and use it privately. If you want more information, Tarra, I have it but it will take me awhile to get it all down for you. Let me know if you want it.

Making a pipe!!! Now there's an idea... Maybe I could get Eddy to make me one *Lune bats eyelids at Eddy* Poor Eddy, at this rate he will never get round to making guitars as he will be too busy making things for me LOL But what about some plans or pictures and appropriate ceremony going into the making of them? It sounds much nicer to make one then any of the pipes I have seen for smoking that green stuff. They are so tacky. Hey so it is tobacco they smoke or like sage or what? And is bought tobacco ok even though it is full of chemicals? To be honest even if Eddy did make me one, I don't think I would use it, but still want to know more.

I need to introduce myself to you, I am Gloria, a friend of Cinnamon's and I am making the new website for her. She has told me that I can add to any of the pages, and have added a few comments here and there. My late husband was a 4th generation quarrier of the sacred stone and a Pipemaker for over 50 years, he was Sisseton/Wahpeton Dakota. He passed in 2010 of cancer. I am English and since his memorial (a year after his passing) I have been living back in the UK. He and I owned and ran the Little Feather Indian Interpretive Center in Pipestone, Minnesota, since the 80's, which is where we met Cinn. Over the years I have watched him quarry and make Pipes, I have answered people's questions about the Pipes and about the quarrying and the genuine Catlinite that comes from the sacred quarries. Before he passed he asked me to write a book about the Pipe, and all that goes along to get to the finished item. I am in the process of that right now. I have been a Pipe carrier for over 30 years and do ceremonies for people who aren't able to. Usually for healing.

My late husband working on a Pipe stem in the Center. Notice the Orbs alongside of him.

Yes, there is special tobacco to use, not store-bought commercial grade at all. And the process for making a pipe is ceremonial for many aspects go into it. It's like fashioning any tool, and since this is the NA tradition it should follow their teachings. If you decide to do this, and it is a lengthy process, you are welcome to email me and I'll send you information so you can do it right. There is ceremony for using it too be it privately or in a group setting, certain ways to handle the Pipe, different uses call for different applications. We can discuss this somewhat here on the board, but I don't want to put out 1/2 the story and have anyone think that's all there is to it either. So I hope you can understand why I may sound a little guarded here. Using a Sacred Pipe is not something that should ever be taken lightly. It's a responsibility and it needs to be honored
as such. Not that you wouldn't, but others might not so it does concern me that I get that point across.

How do non-smokers handle pipes in ceremonies?

They tap it on each shoulder to honor it Earthwalker, then pass it to the next person.

Mum Osprey:
I have been doing my genealogy and one of my gg grandfather's was a pipe maker in 1860's and I was surfing the web and I came across a site on American Indian pipes, but I didn't take much notice of it as I was looking for pipes made in U.K. in the 1800's. Now you have me interested and I will have to go back to see if I can come across that site again.

Greetings All! Sorry I disappeared It's been a whirlwinds of 3 weeks. First off my sister has to have by-pass on her heart. Any prayers and energy is greatly appreciated. Then we got 1/2 a buffalo, her robe and skull to be processed. Great meat!! but the robe could take up to a year to process. Sorry I didn't announce the Sweat Lodge Ceremony done Sat. Jan. 18th. Some of you found us because it sure was crowded Because of a full lodge I did close this energy. If anyone needs SLC please feel free to ask me. And now on to the point of this post I have felt the need to smoke a pipe since my Vision Quest. I don't own one, would like to and our groups' Pipe Carrier is in Washington state. Yes, Cinnamon, Please teach me about the Pipe. Shall we take a poll and see if it could be a lesson here at Spirit Lodge? I know you are busy, and will help any way I can. We have all been asked to use our pipes and pray for Peace. This comes from Art RunningBear and a core group from Reno, NV. Which fits right into my needs, funny how that works

Hello Tarra, Yes, of course prayers and energy will be sent to your sister! No question about that. *Soft smile* Mine are on the way. As for the Sacred Pipe, yes, I can teach some lessons on that, and if there is enough interest here I'll be happy to. I wouldn't be able to find that time until after the end of the month though. If that's okay with everyone then I'll start the project then. I'll wait and see how much interest there is between now and then. Otherwise we can do that by email. Hello Earthwalker, as for non-smokers handling pipes in ceremonies, the smoke is not inhaled, just kept in the mouth and then released (except for certain situations such as healing sessions where the recipient of the healing inhales to cleanse and purify) it's not a problem for those who are non-smokers. This is not done with commercial tobacco either (except in extreme emergencies), more often it is herbal mixtures sometimes called KinnickKinnick.

I would be interested in having some lessons on it. To be honest, Cinn, I am not thinking it likely I WOULD make a pipe, (I have it in my head it is pretty hard, and complex to make a pipe?) Not to mention I would be afraid I would get something wrong in the use of it, as I have a very strong tendency to "make it up as I go along" and might not suitably honor the NA traditions properly. (this may sound like an excuse, but it is true. To understand adequately to be able to do
the NA ceremony properly with honor, I would need to go to America so I would at the very least know the LAND and so forth So many things of NA are "not quite right" for Aust. and need adjusting, let alone for tropical Aust.) But there is no harm in learning the theory, and I am sure one day I will make it to America, then after that maybe....

Greetings, I've already started a stem. The piece of wood came to me at the last Sweat Lodge Ceremony as for the bowl I was reading in 'Mother Earth Spirituality' by Ed McGaa about a white stone native to Nevada. Soft like pipestone. I was shown a white bowl with a blue bird on it when I did breath work 3 years ago. We will see if I can make a bowl, that would be the hard part.

My late husband was a friend of Ed McGaa, he is mentioned in Ed's book 'Mother Earth Spirituality', Ed used to come and get his stone from my husband.

Cinn - kinnick kinnick is usually tobacco based but has other botanicals in it as well. The name means 'that which is mixed' and each region has it's own blend depending on what botanicals they have available. Chuck used to make his own version of it that was very mild, I miss it. If anyone has any questions about the Pipe and quarrying the Catlinite I would be happy to answer them for you.

If you are interested in making a Pipe yourself, directions can be found HERE.

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