LISTENING WOMAN

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Some of you have wanted to know what my pipe looks like. Here it is, loaded with your prayers, resting on the wolf pelt that is my pipe bag and medicine bundle.

Sleep experts advise you to never do anything in bed but sleep and have sex. They say your brain must be trained to shift into sleep gear when you hit the sack, or you’ll be at risk for insomnia. I’ve had insomnia for years no matter what I do or don’t do in bed. So, over the past year or so, I find I’ve made my bed my go-to place for nearly everything. I eat there sometimes, I write in bed, read in bed, maintain a tiny office in or near the bed, conduct most of my phone conversations on my bed, meditate and pray in bed, and have now taken to bringing my pipe paraphernalia to bed, and doing ceremony on the bed covers on the months when I’m alone doing the ritual.

A couple of dear friends were planning to join me for this month’s prayer ceremony, but had to cancel at the last moment, so it was me alone on the bed with Darter the cat and the two dogs flanking the sides. I began as I always do—by smudging my hands with white sage smoke, and then smudging the two pieces (bowl and stem) of the pipe. Outside my window, birds were still calling to each other, and the sun had not yet fallen completely below the tree line.

Next, I pulled out my small sack of tobacco, opened my laptop computer, and read through each prayer sent to me in the past week. With each prayer, I added a pinch of tobacco to a small stack beside the pipe. Then, I whispered all of own prayers out loud while holding yet another pinch of tobacco in my fingers. This, too, I added to the little pile. My prayers were long. I added prayers of joy, peace, and healing for everyone who had sent prayers my way in this past year. Then, I added prayers for everyone whose lips had touched the pipe over years. I prayed for guidance from my ancestors, and from all the ancestors. I prayed for the restoration of the Earth to her full glory, and for divine intervention in all our human affairs. Heaven knows, we need it.

When I load the pipe, I turn to each of the seven sacred directions (the four cardinal points, Earth, Above, and Center) and, holding a pinch of tobacco in my fingers, I call to them each in turn and ask for their presence in the pipe. I’ve been performing this prayer ritual for so many years, that there are certain phrases I find myself using again and again. One of these is my invitation to the seven sacred winds/spirits to bring their blessings, their teachings, and their wisdoms to the pipe.

But on Sunday night, curled up there on the bed with the dogs snoring nearby, I found myself saying something else. As I turned with my tobacco offering to each direction, I asked them instead to bring their power to the pipe and the prayers I was sending. Each time I did this—seven times in all—I felt a slight shiver. Something in me sensed that I had “upped” the amperage of the ceremony.

When I lit the pipe, all seven directions joined in, none stronger or more obvious than the others. They had all come and were circled and ready. I imagined the presence of Listening Woman at my side, and I tried to follow her lessons of listening deeply to—and in—the silence. With each breath, I prayed over and over for peace, healing, and happiness for all beings, and for all those who prayed with me in the past, the present, and those to come.

When the smoke finally died down, I sat with the pipe on my lap and asked if there was a message. This is the question that sprang into my mind: “Do you know what you’ve done?” I knew instantly that this had something to do with my invitation to the spirits to bring their powers. I answered back, “Yes.” Again, the same question, asked three more times, and again my answer, “Yes.”

Then, these words: “Power is in motion now. Power is moving.” I found myself start at those words. A tiny shudder of fear went through me. “Is this ominous?” I asked the silence. The reply in return: “Rejoice, rejoice!”

For all of you who have sent your prayers over these months, I believe we’ve shifted into a higher energetic gear. It is important that we move with forward now with great intention, integrity, and hopeful expectancy. Because Power is moving now. Power is in motion. Thank you for your prayers, and for letting me help you send them off into power. Let’s all see what happens now!

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