I was gifted a Native American Ceremonial pipe made by my friend Roland Daroadie aka rekamepip or pipe maker John Barrett. I originally used it on Veterans Day that year to honor all veterans past, present and yet to serve especially Johns father who had recently passed away.
I use the Lakota Pipe Ceremony on this day, with straight Virginia tobacco, Memorial Day, it was to honor those who gave their all for this nation, on Veterans Day it will be repeated again to include those that have served and continue to serve. May their sacrifice be always remembered.
The Lakota Pipe Ceremony
The pipe holder stands holding the bowl of the pipe in his left hand, the stem in his right, pointing the stem to the East. He sprinkles a small amount of tobacco on the ground as an offering to Mother Earth and The East. As he loads a small pinch of tobacco into the pipe, he will say something like:
"The East is Red. The East is where the Morning Star rises, the Star of Knowledge. Red is for the Rising Sun which brings us a new day and another chance to learn. We thank the Great Spirit for each day we are allowed to live upon Mother Earth under Father Sky, Tunkashila. We pray for Knowledge, for from Knowledge comes Peace".
The pipe holder faces the South and again gives tobacco to Mother Earth, continues to load the pipe, saying something like:
"The South is Yellow. Yellow is for the color of Spring and the warm south wind, and the yellow hoop. While we load this pipe, we give thanks for our strength, growth, and healing that is brought forth from the south wind. We use this as a time of planting so that the seeds may grow into a new life."
The pipe holder faces the West and again gives tobacco to Mother Earth, continues to load the pipe, saying something like:
"West is Black. West is where the Sun sets. West is were the Spirit Helpers live and black stands for the Spirit World. We will all go to the Spirit World and we will all know one another and our deeds. We seek our spiritual wisdom in the West and pray for help from our Spirit Guides".
The same is done for the North:
"White is for the North. The White Giant covers Mother Earth with the white blanket of snow. White Buffalo Calf Woman, Ptecincala Ska Wakan Winan, came to us from the North. We stand here seeking endurance, and health from the North".
The pipe holder now touches the stem to the ground, saying something like:
"Green is the color of Mother Earth. We are all part of Mother Earth, each rock, each four legged, each two legged, all creatures, plants and minerals. We are all related. We respect our Mother Earth and protect her".
The pipe holder now holds pipe above his head with the stem up at an angle, perhaps at the Sun or Moon:
"Father Sky in union with Mother Earth are our true parents. Father Sky gives us energy for our lives and heats our bodies and our lodges. We are thankful for Father Sky".
The pipe holder now holds the stem straight up:
"Great Spirit, Creator of us all, Creator of all things, Creator of the four directions, Mother Earth, and Father Sky, we offer this pipe to you".
Now the pipe is lighted, and passed around the circle sunwise from east to south to west to north, returning to the east, each person free to offer a prayer or saying if they choose.
On completion of its journey around the sacred circle the pipe is capped with sage or bark, and separated, the stem from the pipe, set aside in its pouch until it is smoked again. The typical pipe pouch has separate compartments for the pipe and the stem so that they do not touch when not being used in ritual ceremony.