Prayer at Bear Tipi
The early morning light danced through the tall pine trees, weaving curtains of soft golden light. I walked along the broad, well used path, thankful for being there so early. Bear Tipi - better known as Devil’s Chimney- is a popular place for visitors, and even on a cold off season day it can get crowded. The rock itself loomed ominously over the right side of the trail curving into the air like a giant buffalo horn. It is one of the sacred sites in the Black Hills, a sacred site for the Lakota, Cheyenne and other tribes. Still in use today for ceremony, one finds many prayer ties and offerings tied to the trees surrounding the extrusive rock.
On the Northern side of Bear Tipi I left the trail and walked towards the edge of the rock face. Closer to the rock the air was filled with the early morning songs of many of our winged relatives flying between the trees and their nests on the crags of the towering rock. I found a good space on a huge granite boulder and lay out the sacred pipe I was carrying with me on my prayer walk.
Holding the red stone bowl with my left hand and the long wooden stem with my right I raised them to the sky. At that moment, Mother Earth, the female in everything was being united with Father Sky, the male in everything. The herbal mixture in the pipe, all those little bits, represent all our relations, all beings. The universe itself is represented and is in the sacred pipe, and that is what we offer to the Great Mystery when we pray - everything. I connected the pipe. Silence. Brother eagle appeared and flew in circles above the pipe. Stillness. I offered the pipe to the Four winds, Mother Earth, Father Sky. I prayed for peace, together with all my relations, the inyan - the stone people, those who swim in the seas the rivers and the lakes, the little creatures who crawl in the soil, those who slither on the grass, the four legged, the two legged, the plant people and the standing people, the winged nation, the ancestors, the star people, the angels; I prayed and held in my heart all my brothers and sisters, and became so overwhelmed by gratitude for all life that I cried. The smoke, carrying our prayers rose up to the clear blue sky.
Using a square piece of red cloth, some tobacco, a stone person given to me by my spirit sister Sue, and some sage from my garden back home I made an offering and tied it onto a strong
standing person. I breathed into it prayers of oneness for all the tribes, all the circles of luminous humans doing the good work - for all of us.
I hadn’t realized how silent it had been throughout until I disconnected the stem and the bowl, ending the prayer. Suddenly the birds started singing and flying around again and the forest seemed to come alive, whispering : ‘yes, we were all praying with you, all of us together!’ I walked onto the path. I heard many voices, and soon there were people everywhere. It happens every time, but it always amazes me how sacred space is granted to us for ceremony. How thirsty the Earth is for our prayer!
When I got back to the beginning of the trail I found a note on the car, from Shakuntala and Ollie, two lovely awakened humans I met on another sacred mountain a few days earlier. ‘Glad you made it!...’. Yes, so am I!
Love is everywhere, We are never alone...
I pray for peace on Earth, healing and liberation for all beings.
May all beings be happy! We are all related -mitakuye oyasin - Ho!
May there be no more fear, no more war, no more violence, no more injustice,
no more poverty, no more hunger, no more homelessness, no more illness, no more desperation,
no more unnecessary suffering...
I pray for a world of love, of beauty, of song, worship and dance around the tree of life, a world of oneness, in harmony with the universe, a world for all the children to play - happy, healthy, free; a world of peace.