Sunday afternoon, I sat in a small circle with my friend and herbalist, Megan, and with my husband, Carter. I pulled my dear pipe out of its wolf skin sack, smudged myself and all the smoking implements, and smudged the pipe. I placed my laptop computer on a stool beside me, and opened up a page to all the prayers for this month. I read each one aloud holding a small pinch of tobacco in my fingers as I did this. At the end of each prayer, I said, “Spirit, hear this prayer.” A tiny pile of tobacco grew next to my pipe bowl.
Carter and Megan smudged themselves as I offered up these prayers. It was a sunny afternoon, cool, springlike and beautiful. Then, I loaded the pipe with the prayer-filled tobacco and some extra and invited in the seven sacred directions and their spirits to join us…
Before I lit the pipe, I said my own prayers aloud. I am currently praying daily for three—count ‘em—THREE friends suffering with brain cancer: A man, a child, and a dog are wavering between life and death this month. I felt so grateful that my personal prayers were about moving to the next right place. How much some of us are made to carry—it boggles and humbles me.
I passed the pipe to Megan and then to Carter who offered prayers of their own. Then, I put a match to the pipe bowl. Instantly, the tobacco lit and the pipe began pouring out billows of smoke. I turned to each direction, took four draws from the pipestem, and blew the smoke out to the guardian of that direction. Suddenly and abruptly, the pipe smoked stopped dead just after I had offered prayers to the north. Before I could continue to offer prayers still to the Earth, Grandfather Sky, and All My Relations, I fussed with the matches and relit the bowl. Again, the pipe flared to life.
After all the offering breaths to the seven directions was complete, I smoked the pipe in silence for awhile before passing the pipe on to Megan, who smoked and then passed it on to Carter, who was sitting in the north end of the living room. Suddenly, the pipe went dead again. It did not die slowly or fizzle to a stop. The smoke was just utterly, suddenly gone. I reached again for the matches, and the pipe flared up again, and we completed a couple more rounds of smoking and praying silently until all the tobacco had been used up.
When I was putting the pipe away, I said “What was that about? That North thing?” None of us had any immediate clarity on what the pipe may have been saying. The North, as you may remember, is the direction of spiritual attainment, life and death transitions, the hard lessons of life, and the home of the ancestors. It is guarded—in my tradition—by the white buffalo, the white owl, and the white wolf. In each of the past few pipes, the North has featured in some important way. I have alway felt that the North was very much a part of our prayer circle, as so many of the prayers we ask are for help in devastating circumstances. Perhaps the North just wanted to make herself known yet again? I don’t know. Does what I am reporting have any significance to you, dear reader?
Meanwhile, Looks Far Woman carries the energy to help us discern our visions and our dreams as her moon grows and wanes for a full month. How appropriate that this Clan Mother’s energy is tied to the season of spring, when our dreams, hopes, imaginings, and visions are fired with the returning energy of the sun!
May the sunlight of spring warm you this month, and set a flame beneath all your hopes and dreams, giving them the energy to grow and thrive. May you blossom like the spring flowers, and giggle like the spring rains on a pebbled slope.
It is now Tuesday, late afternoon. Tonight, we sign a contract to sell our house. Our planned move looms ahead of us, and we are both excited and nervous. Such a huge change, yet not so huge in the scale of life as many of the prayers that were offered this month. I promise not to whine!