I was married just a week when Melissa, a good spiritual friend of mine, called me one day and asked if I’d be interested in joining a tipi talk, medicine wheel evening with John Two-Hawks, a Grammy award winning musician and his wife, Peggy Hill at their home near my new mountaintop home in the Ozarks. Melissa said she thought I would get a lot out of it, and especially Kevin, my beloved new husband, who has a very nature based belief in God, Source, and Creator. I immediately said, “YES! But let me confirm with Kevin, first.” Kevin was immediately enthusiastic, and we signed up to be one of a total of nine people on June 27 in Two Hawks’ medicine circle, learning the Lakota ways, the Lakota beliefs, and how we must live with Mother Earth in a respectful way.
We arrive at Two Hawks’ tipi and are escorted to a circle around a not yet ignited camp fire for introductions and small conversations. Two Hawks appears dressed in his Lakota Medicine Man hides and beaded chest coverings with his hair braided back. I am in immediate awe of his calmness. I am glad we are here in his and his lovely wife’s presence on their land, Creator’s land, about to have a spiritually filled night. Kevin and I learn that the home of the Lakota is a tipi is not spelled with “e” but with an “i” and that the medicine wheel is one of contemplation, prayer, and connection to spirit. Two Hawks teaches us the Lakota way of prayer ties, the path of red or the path of black or blue in life which we much choose, and how to construct a prayer tie properly with a pinch of tobacco and simple cotton cloth in one of the four colors–red, yellow, white, or blue. We all make a red prayer tie to honor the nine recently killed victims in the St. Louis hate based church shooting and one more for a personal prayer. Kevin and I choose yellow for our prayer ties to represent new beginnings, new love, future. The prayer ties each of us did for the shooting victims are in red, for blood, passion, and forgiveness. The powers we have as humans are to change, to evolve toward love and compassion. The Lakota knew this century before, and the prayer wheel represents a union of all races and all beliefs, as Two-Hawk explains each color’s significance. We adjourn from the introductions and are instructed in prayer ties, and begin our entrance after a sage smudging into the prayer circle walk. As I walk around the stone enclosed prayer circle, stopping at each position to feel the peace, I look to see where I will tie my prayer ties to overhanging branches, In front of the next to last direction, the white prayer flag, the point of spirit, south’s sacred vibration, I feel my heart buzz and expand in my chest. There is not a doubt in my mind that this IS my place in the world. I am happy and circle once more to the overhanging oak branches at the entrance, which is East, to place my prayer tie for those who died in the shooting, and then again I circle to the pines near the West and the South prayer flags, representing the storms of life we must overcome, to place my yellow prayer for a good future, half way between the South and the West, as I see my marriage, so many storms passed, and so much “new life” —spiritual life after the death of my former dreams. It is all good, and Creator blesses us with a conversation and very touching historical talk from Two Hawks, a campfire song in Lakota, and his flute music filling our ears and hearts with love.
Lakota Medicine Wheel
The medicine wheel is a sacred symbol used by Plains tribes and others to represent all knowledge of the universe.
The medicine wheel consists of a circle with horizontal and vertical lines drawn through the circle’s center. Sometimes, an eagle feather is attached in the wheel’s center.
Lines – The horizontal and vertical lines represent the sun and man’s sacred paths, respectively; the crossing of the two lines indicates the center of the Earth where one stands when praying.
Feather – The eagle feather is a sign of Wakan Tanka’s – the Great Spirit’s – power over everything.
Color placement on the wheel varies based on individual band customs.