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Tobacco & Tobacco Ties - Discussion
By CoyoteMoon

What is the proper way to use tobacco as an offering? I've only used it once. And what are "tobacco ties"? I've never been told what they are before.

Hi Jake, I'm on my way to work, and I know you'll get lots of answers to this, but go to Cinn's post on “Prayer Beads”. Tobacco ties are also called Prayer Ties, so something else for you to Google. As for offering Tobacco, I offer it in gratitude for blessings received, I carry it with me and offer it to the winds for the souls of the animals I pass on the road, I offer it to the Spirits of my house, and the land I live on. It's very important in Pipe ceremonies, I'm sure there's an article or two on that in the library. Hope that helps a bit.

Here is what I had posted on my board…

Prayer Ties Prayer ties are used in a ceremony that is done in a safe , quiet place while you are balanced and focused.

100% cotton cloth perhaps in seven rainbow colors,
tobacco or cornmeal,
with cotton string or yarn.

Cut or tear the cloth into 2 inch squares. Use all the colors – red , orange, yellow green, blue, purple and burgundy for the Great Spirit may call you to work with specific energy of one of the colors or a combination of them.

Loose-leaf tobacco or cornmeal is used to fill the prayer ties white cotton or yarn is used to tie them.

To begin the ceremony, Lay it all out in front of you, hold the tobacco or cornmeal close to your heart and place the prayer inside. Then put it in the center of a cloth square bring the edges up, and wrap three times with the string or yarn, twist the leading edge of the string into a loop and cinch it around the first three wraps. This forms the fourth wrap and when pulled tight acts as a cinch knot. As the prayer ties increase you can roll them into a ball, wrap them around a smooth stick or lay them in a neat circle within your prayer space. Keep adding to them over the course of days or months or you may do a series for one ceremony only.

At some point they will need to be “released”. This is done by hanging them outside in a sacred place, or by ceremonially burning them. There are many other ways I've read, I’m sure others will post their ways. be nice to read them as I like doing them for journey work and around the Sweats.

Jimmy WhiteBear:
Tobacco or Prayer ties are used as an offering to the spirits. Depending on what you’re going to do in ceremony and for what reason will depend on how many Ties you make for the offering.

In one tradition, one can make up to or just over 400 tobacco ties for the ceremony. There is no set number, it is what the Spirits tell you to make to achieve the sacred space you are trying to obtain.

Sometimes, an elder or lodge keeper will tell you how many and of what colors to use. Cotton is used now a-days because it is the easiest to get but long ago before Cloth came to the people, dyed hide was used to wrap tobacco in.

If you can't afford to purchase the seven different colors of cloth, use red in place of all the colors. If you are strapped and unable to buy cloth then one pinch of tobacco offered to each of the seven directions is also good. The act of offering something to the spirits is what is important.

The important thing to remember is that the "Intent" is what is important not that you have tobacco, sage, sweetgrass, cedar, cornmeal etc.

The calling in of the spirits is as simple as facing each direction and asking each of the spirits to join in the sacred ceremony.

Offering an acorn, rock a feather etc. helps the spirits to understand and helps you to make the connection with that spirit you call upon. Connecting with the Spirits, Mother Earth, Creator, etc. opens the realms to which we or the spirits want us to visit and learn from...

Hope this helps?

Oh....I'm so excited....I have about 30 baby tobacco plants in my kitchen! This is my first try and I'm only in my second step of many steps to having the tobacco to smoke and offer. So many times, what I offer feels, not enough? I often pull my own hair out of my head to offer. But, this tobacco, I feel, will be good. A teacher of mine considers real money to be a good offer. I mean, it makes sense to me too. I worked for my money, it has great value.

Out of tradition I have given and accepted tobacco ties. But, I usually go with what feels right at the time. When I received the Hawk wing for Christmas, I pulled hair out of my head....yes, there was pain, lol, but, there was also pain, I know, in the process of me receiving the wing. I offer and see if it sits well, if not, I add.

Good topic and good to be back in Spirit here.

Jimmy WhiteBear:
"A teacher of mine considers real money to be a good offer"

Who are you offering money to? or who would it be offered to? Although money can do a lot of good it most definitely has a major negative value in spirituality. Money represents greed, power and much more and in all my teachings (what I have learned) I am told it is a negative and should not be introduced as part of spirituality. Pulling a strand of hair although painful it can be is considered sacrifice of self to obtain spirit.

I am not saying you can't buy things of spiritual value, I was taught if you buy something it needs to rest for 4 or more days before using it. It needs to be smudged, blessed and kept wrapped up in red cloth when not in use.

Karen, my apologies for my response to "money", Spirituality can't be bought and paid for, only the tools and it is best to receive them by gift. That is not always the way we obtain the things we need... but it is the best way!

Would it be appropriate to use tobacco when you are asking for something? In this case, for healing. Thanks for the insight on what Tobacco Ties are.

Yes, Coyote, that's very appropriate. For anything you would pray for. That's why they are also called Prayer Ties too.

To me, money is a good energy, especially when worked honestly for. My ways may seem absurd to some, though, for me to offer, say a shiny silver dollar, to a respected poke patch, I feel I am giving something I value to receive something I value. I only have so much hair, lol. (sorry)... It is just my way. And, besides, I enjoy watching what most people view as negative become very good. I am a shining example. A friend of mine once gave 100.00 to a Spiritual situation, where no physical entity received the money and by all accounts the money is "gone". And, for her, on a limited income, to say the least, this was a very large gesture. It came from her heart and it comes from mine. And, I would hope there is nothing seen as negative that comes from the heart. No apologies needed. I enjoy the discussions.

At Sundance Tobacco ties are made in a diffferent way, they are larger and they have streamers, these are called Flags and are hung on the Sacred Tree by Sundancers before they dance.

In different cultures material flags are put on trees or buildings and are there for sacred reasons. Buddhists hang them to what we would think of as washing lines, here in England I have seen them hanging on trees close to Avebury stone circle, and also in Glastonbury at the sacred Chalice Well. In Scotland they are hanging at sacred Wells in various places. In America I saw them in Wisconsin, hung on fences when Miracle the White Buffalo was born, those fences were taken down and kept when they were overloaded with ties and gifts and new one replaced them. At Pipestone National Monument, in Minnesota, where the sacred stone is quarried they are tied to trees and at Bear Butte in South Dakota they are also tied along the pathway going to the top and various other places around the area. At Sitting Bull's grave you will see them and also at the Little Big Horn in Montana and the Medicine Wheel in Wyoming.

Where-ever people pray material is used along with a botanical of some type to show respect to the Ancestors or the Creator, or to the water, wind , sun or moon. They are left for the elements to take what they will once Spirit has accepted the prayer or gift. Whenever you see one you know that prayers have been said at that place. Please don't touch them as they belong to Spirit.


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