Monday, February 26, 2007

When Mother Nature Prunes

This weekend, Mother Nature went on a rather extensive pruning spree where I live in Central Iowa. We received a rather hefty dose of ice followed by a foot of the heavy white stuff. For those of you who have wondered what sort of a place this psychic clairvoyant lady lives in, here is a quick picture of the gazebo in my back yard. Yesterday, I stood looking in this direction and the breaking of tree limbs sounded like gun shots. This morning I could stand outside and as the ice began cracking and melting off the trees, I could have sworn a thousand people at once were trying to pop ice cubes out of ice trays. Mom Nature saw fit to trim off the top of my red bud tree and take out a black walnut that I was wondering if I should cut down anyway. Guess she made the decision for me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lakota Sweat Lodges

I was honored to have my Medicine Man friend Lester come over to the house this past week to help me with a few things. Over the past year plus, we have come to find that our friendship and respect for each other has developed into quite the unique working relationship. My medical intuitive and psychic skills, combined with his understanding and deep connection to Spirit proves to be a winning combination in helping folks with their health problems and emotional issues.

I have been impressed time and time again with how strongly and quickly a traditional Lakota Medicine Man can get things done with her or her chanupa (sacred pipe) and Sweat Lodge. It pulls together a combination of factors that I don't see in healing methodologies elsewhere.

First, in order to seek help from a Medicine Man, you must opagi him or her. Opagi is a word that means literally "an offering of smoke." The action of approaching the Chanupa carrier (or Water Pourer) with a pouch or can of tobacco to ask for a lodge to be held to help with a difficulty you are having means that you have taken the first proactive step to make a change. By choosing to ask a Shaman for help means that you recognize that the Spiritual component is an extremely necessary one. For health related issues, the Western cultural equivalent would be approaching your minister to ask him or her to pray for your health, knowing they will also be acting as your doctor.

An Opagi, or offering of smoke, means you actually go out and purchase a can of organic tobacco and gift it to the Medicine Man when you ask for their assistance. Since most of us don't have this sort of thing just laying around the house, making the effort to go out and purchase it, set up a time to meet with the Shaman and take the time to tell him or her what has happened, what you need and why sets several things into motion. First, the Universe knows you are taking the those initial baby steps toward getting help. Second, by acquiring the tobacco and visiting the Water Pourer, you are honoring him or her in a time honored, sacred, traditional way. Third, by saying out loud what has brought you to this place of unbalance or dis-ease, you are sharing your story and taking the first steps at getting the problem out into the open so it can be dealt with.

When you opagi or ask for a healing lodge for yourself, the list of stuff you have to do to get ready for that lodge to take place is not small. It consists of: providing enough wood for a 3 hour bonfire's; acquiring anywhere from dozen to two dozen or more granite rocks that are the size of a melon; getting more tobacco as gifts for the Water Pourer, Fire Tender, and Drummer; making a star quilt or purchasing a quality blanket such as a Pendleton Wool blanket; bringing a large pot of fresh soup for everyone to share after lodge; making whatever number of tobacco ties and flags the Water Pourer requires of you for that lodge; being ready and willing to complete the process of saying thank you to the Spirits and the Shaman by doing a traditional Wopila ceremony at a future time designated by them.

That's a LOT of stuff to do....especially if you are sick or emotionally don't have it in balance for whatever reason. Isn't going to a Western physician and taking a pill a lot easier? Well...maybe that's true.

But the Lakota protocol steps up the healing process in many ways that traditional Western medicine does not. There are so many things to do go get ready for a healing lodge, that a single individual really is forced to ask for help from all kinds of friends and family, even strangers, to make sure the lodge happens. I've been known to call all my friends and ask them if they have melon sized rocks on their property or in their gardens that I can have...but then I have to explain WHY I need them. Thus I am forced to retell my own story. I must explain about the rocks and the sacred fire and about this non-traditional method of seeking health and balance. It requires that to share what's going on in my life with others. It reconnects me to them and them to me, and helps me move the old stuck "stuff" that caused me to get ill in the first place out of my body! It gives others an opportunity to listen, care and offer love and support in their own way.

In making prayer ties (the Lakota word is chanli apahcha or tobacco bundle) you are asked to say a prayer for what you want when tying each of dozens of little colored cloth pouches on a piece of sinew. Again, there is nothing equivalent in our own culture that physically creates a visual representation of prayer after prayer after prayer. The string of little cloth bundles is a tangible representation that we are proactively seeking help from the Creator(s) to get unstuck in life. The repetition solidfies within ourselves and within our connection to Spirit what it is that we want and are working with God/Goddess to create. Each tobacco tie then becomes another baby step in taking back one's own health and balance.

The gift of a blanket to the Water Pourer is not one FOR him or her...but one they in turn will give away as they see fit. You are purchasing an expensive item or putting your own energy into creating one from scratch. I advocate the creation of a blanket if you can do it....I can tell you that in making the effort, each and every stitch then becomes sacred and the thousands of stitches take you forward in thousands of tiny threads that interweave you, the blanket and the Spiritual universe.

Finally, when you ask those closest to you to attend the lodge, you are really asking those friends and family members to prayer for you! You are opening up to allow the energy and love of others to heal you. The conscious asking makes it so that you don't stay an island, alone and isolated struggling with your own healing. You proactively seek love and help and let other's in on that process. You're asking them to go through this hard journey with you. They consciously choose to enter and show they are willing to suffer the tremendous heat and steam of the sweat lodge to help you heal. Only really good people with true loving and caring energy are willing to make that sacrafice!

Finally, in the minutes before the lodge takes place, the Water Pourer gets together with you and the chanupa is filled. Each pinch of red willow bark that goes into the pipe is a clear request directly from you to Spirit about what you seek for your health, happiness and rebalancing. You consciously choose to involve the Creator(s) in your healing process.

Adding it all together, this kind of healing process is a far cry from the Western model where you see the doc, get the prescription filled, and go home, take the pill with a glass of water and lie in bed alone.

The speed at which I've seen this Lakota protocol work on an individual's health has been nothing short of astonishing! Looking over the long list of traditional details and how they force us to reconnect with ourselves, others and Spirit to's no wonder the Lakota have held onto this system for thousands of years.

It simply works!