What follows are firsthand [remixed] accounts of how, through various channels, 4 womben’s personal rituals evolved en continue to do so. Good Lifeways Woman’s experiences continue:

I had a dream that I was fasting. I was in the Black Hills in this meadow with tall grass. It was surrounded by pine trees. On my altar there were only three flags instead of four. So I was sitting in the altar, and a close friend brought my pipe. She said, “Here! Are you ready?” And I thought, “She has alot more faith in me than I do. I don’t know what she thinks I can do.” But I took it [the pipe]. It sounds like I was conquering myself in my dreams, saying, “All you have to do is pray. Just pray.”

So I took the pipe and I closed my eyes, and then I opened them and it was day. It was day, and the sky was baby-blue.

Off in the distance there were pine trees. On the top of the pine trees, way off in the distance, was what looked like an eagle. And here came this big bird, a huge bird. I assumed it was an eagle….and then it came over me, right above me, and turned into a man…..when he came down, his face was masked, his face was covered, and he had holes for his eyes and little owl ears, but

the rest of him was covered, and he did something to my arms and made a circle in the dirt, he made a symbol, and then….

I realized later that instead of an eagle’s face he had an owl’s face. The eyes were the sky. It had no eyes [pupils]; you could see right through the sky – and this voice said, “Are you ready?” So later I went to see Ted Has Horses, and I told him about it and he turned to me like this and said, “Are you ready? Well, that’s good.”

These passages suggest how dreams are interpreted and used to develop ritual.  In her dream Good Lifeways Womban is offered a pipe. In the traditional way (of the indigenous people of Turtle Island), the Canunpa Wakan, or Holy Pipe, is at first refused. To the Lakota the pipe is synonymous with a calling to the sacred, a calling to doctor. She accepts this awesome responsibility to her vision by taking the pipe in her hands…..

The question repeated in these vignettes “Are you ready?” – implies a challenge and is meant to be rhetorical. The answer [in this hadithi]

tdot postcards

can only come from experiencing the multi arts installation yourself. Its answer is already known to the spirits…..

[excerpts from Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers – Medicine Women of the Plains Indians –  Walking in The Sacred Manner by Mark St.Pierre & Tilda Long Soldier]