The Black HillsTracing the Sacred Landscape of the      Lakota by the Night Sky
“Devil’s Tower”
Lakota religious resurgence
Climbing the Tower
Religion at Devil’s Tower
Sacred Hoop      • Red clay valley which        surrounds the Black        Hills corresponds with        a large circle of...
The Stars• “The stars were called, „The holy breath  of the Great Spirit,‟ the woniya of  Wakan Tanka. Thus, when the Lako...
Connection of Stars and Land• Specific star constellations associated with  features of the landscape  – For example Harne...
Ceremonies• Ceremonies performed at these places by  Lakota people are also performed  simultaneously in the sky by spirit...
Freedom of Religion• Associated with the freedom of movement  on the Great Plains• Red Cloud’s last speech in 1903  – Need...
Buffalo• Embodiment of the power of the sun• Following the buffalo meant following the  sun• Harmony between human beings ...
Why write this book?• For Lakota young people and for non-Indians• “…so that they (through learning how the  Lakota experi...
Fallen Star• Messiah, Saviour, Holy One• Oral Tradition received on 4 levels  – Physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritu...
Dried Willow Constellation             • Red Willow bark used               in Pipe             • Gathered in Spring      ...
Big Dipper• Associated with the wooden spoon used by  shamans/medicine men to carry live coals of  fire• Live coal of macr...
Rekindling Life in Spring• “It was a cosmic ritual to rekindle the sacred  fire of life on earth. The higher powers,  usin...
Other Constellations          • Seven Little Girls            (Pleiades)             – Tied to Harney Peak          • The ...
Spring Journey to the     Black Hills           • Sacred Hoop             – Everything contained               inside     ...
Sacred Journey
Freedoms: of Religion and Movement• Calculating the first  Spring Journey   – 1000-100 BC[E]   – Procession   – Correlatin...
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10 15-12-rel142

  1. 1. The Black HillsTracing the Sacred Landscape of the Lakota by the Night Sky
  2. 2. “Devil’s Tower”
  3. 3. Lakota religious resurgence
  4. 4. Climbing the Tower
  5. 5. Religion at Devil’s Tower
  6. 6. Sacred Hoop • Red clay valley which surrounds the Black Hills corresponds with a large circle of stars – Cosmomagical thinking – Microcosm duplicates Macrocosm
  7. 7. The Stars• “The stars were called, „The holy breath of the Great Spirit,‟ the woniya of Wakan Tanka. Thus, when the Lakota observed the movement of the sun through their constellations, they were receiving spiritual instruction. Their observations when interpreted by Lakota Oral Tradition and their star and earth maps, told them what to do, where to do it and when.” (1)
  8. 8. Connection of Stars and Land• Specific star constellations associated with features of the landscape – For example Harney Peak is associated with the Pleiades (Seven Little Girls) – Sun moves into the Pleiades in the Spring and directs the people to move there
  9. 9. Ceremonies• Ceremonies performed at these places by Lakota people are also performed simultaneously in the sky by spirit beings• Results in a “hierophany” – Drawing down of power from the sky to attune the group to Wankan Tanka
  10. 10. Freedom of Religion• Associated with the freedom of movement on the Great Plains• Red Cloud’s last speech in 1903 – Need for freedom of country and buffalo – Not just economic but religious
  11. 11. Buffalo• Embodiment of the power of the sun• Following the buffalo meant following the sun• Harmony between human beings and powers of the universe
  12. 12. Why write this book?• For Lakota young people and for non-Indians• “…so that they (through learning how the Lakota experience the earth’s sacredness) will be inspired to seek out and recover their own traditional ways of knowing the earth-- not as dead matter spinning in empty space-- but rather, as our very mother, a living and a holy being.” (2)
  13. 13. Fallen Star• Messiah, Saviour, Holy One• Oral Tradition received on 4 levels – Physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual – Childhood, youth, adult, elder
  14. 14. Dried Willow Constellation • Red Willow bark used in Pipe • Gathered in Spring before Thunders • As Sun enters Dried Willow marks the end of Winter – Horizon Astronomy
  15. 15. Big Dipper• Associated with the wooden spoon used by shamans/medicine men to carry live coals of fire• Live coal of macrocosm is the Sun – As it moves into Dried Willow constellation it lights the cosmic pipe
  16. 16. Rekindling Life in Spring• “It was a cosmic ritual to rekindle the sacred fire of life on earth. The higher powers, using the stars and the sun, performed a celestial Pipe ceremony to regenerate the earth. This cosmic ritual was mirrored by the People still in their winter camps, performing the same ceremony at the same crucial time, participating thereby in the renewal of temporality, in the regeneration of the new and living earth.” (7)
  17. 17. Other Constellations • Seven Little Girls (Pleiades) – Tied to Harney Peak • The Race Track – Tied to Black Hills – Site of a race between 4 and 2 legged • Bear’s Lodge – Tied to Devil’s Tower
  18. 18. Spring Journey to the Black Hills • Sacred Hoop – Everything contained inside • Between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice
  19. 19. Sacred Journey
  20. 20. Freedoms: of Religion and Movement• Calculating the first Spring Journey – 1000-100 BC[E] – Procession – Correlating dawn at Spring Equinox with Celestial Pipe ceremony • Summer Solstice with Devil’s Tower Constellation

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