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The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) Paperback – 1 Oct 1989

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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; New edition edition (1 Oct. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806121246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806121246
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A transcription of the words of Black Elk, a Sioux holy man, concerning the religious rites of the Oglala Sioux. Recorded by Brown on the Sioux reservation, the material is organized around the seven major rites in which the sacred pipe is used, beginning with the myth of White Buffalo Cow Woman.

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By c martin on 6 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was looking for more information on the use of the sacred pipe in shamanic practice and this is a good read on the subject
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3 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
The book was about a young boy who was having vision at an early age. Not only that he was very ill when he had his first vision. At the end he became a Shaman which is closed enoughed as being a preist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
111 of 112 people found the following review helpful
If you want peace, read this book 31 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
Joseph Epes Brown was fortunate in meeting men who possessed great human and spiritual qualities, especially Black Elk who had a unique quality of power, kindliness and sense of mission. Born in 1862, Black Elk grew up when his people had the freedom of the plains, hunted bison; he fought at Little Bighorn and at Wounded Knee Creek and knew Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and American Horse. He traveled with Buffalo Bill to Italy, France and England. During his youth Black Elk was instructed in the sacred love of his people by Whirlwind Chaser, Black Road and Elk Head from whom he learned the history and deep meanings of his people's spiritual heritage. Through prayer, fasting and deep understanding of his heritage, Black Elk became a wise man, receiving visions and acquiring special powers to be used for the good of his nation. Because of his sense of mission Black Elk wanted this book to be written so that the reader could gain a better understanding of the truths of the Indian traditions.
In his foreword Black Elk tells us: "There is much talk of peace among the Christians, yet this is just talk. Perhaps it may be, and this is my prayer, through our sacred pipe, and through this book in which I shall explain what our pipe really is, peace may come to those people who can understand, an understanding which must be of the heart and not of the head alone. Then they will realize that we Indians know the One true God, and that we pray to Him continually. I have wished to make this book through no other desire than to help my people in understanding the greatness and truth of our own tradition, and also to help in bringing peace upon the earth, not only among men, but within men and between the whole of creation."
The wisdom of the Indians is based on such concepts as "The Earth is your Grandmother and Mother, and She is sacred. Every step that is taken upon her should be as a prayer" and "Every dawn as it comes is a holy event, every day is holy." The Indians developed their own religion based on the gift of the sacred pipe given by a very beautiful woman who approached two Lakota Indians out hunting. One of them had bad intentions and he and the mysterious woman were wrapped in a cloud. When the cloud lifted the sacred woman was standing there and at her feet was the man who was nothing but bones and terrible snakes were eating him. Black Elk interpreted this as an eternal truth: "Any man who is attached to the senses and to the things of this world, is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by snakes which represent his own passions." The mysterious woman presented the tribe with a pipe and stone, explaining the significance of the gift. On her departure she said to the Standing Hollow Horn: "Behold this pipe! Always remember how sacred it is, and treat it as such, for it will take you to the end. Remember, in me there are four ages. I am leaving now, but I shall look back upon your people in every age, and at the end I shall return." These four ages find a parallel in the Hindu tradition during which true spirituality becomes increasingly obscured until the cycle closes with catastrophe, after which the primordial spirituality is restored and the cycle begins once again.
Through the rite of the keeping of the soul, the Indians purified the souls of the dead and increased love for one another. This rite is followed by the rite of purification, known to us as the sacred lodge. The ritual of "Crying for a Vision" was used long before the coming of the sacred pipe. Crazy Horse received most of his power through "lamenting" or crying for a vision for some great event or ordeal such as going on the war path. "But perhaps the most important reason for 'lamenting' is that it helps us to realize our oneness with all things, to know that all things are our relatives; and then in behalf of all things we pray to Wakan-Tanka that He may give to us knowledge of Him who is the source of all things, yet greater than all things." Chapters are devoted to the Sun dance - one of the greatest rites; to "The making of Relatives" reflecting the relationship between man and Wakan-Tanka; preparing a girl for womanhood; and the rite of "The Throwing of the ball." Through these ceremonies we learn how the Sioux have come to terms with God, nature and their fellow man.
If you question the superiority and validity of the goals of western society; if you are conducting a self-examination; if you are re-evaluating the premises and orientations of our society; if you are concerned about our environmental crisis; if you are concerned about the problems created by highly developed technology; if you are questioning our basic values concerning life, nature and the destiny of man; if you are open to look at the models represented by the American Indians; if you want talk about peace to become action about peace you will find something of value in this book.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Rituals Described in Great Detail 7 Mar. 2004
By grasshopper4 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I recommend reading this book if you are interested in the rituals and culture of the Lakota. It provides clear and interesting discussions of major rituals that form important components of their way of life. The material is drawn largely from interviews with Black Elk, and the writing really explains significance of important details in the various practices. The book also provides a good basis for understanding how the cultural practices fit into Lakota history. This book is also a fine one to read in relation to "Black Elk Speaks," "The 6th Grandfather," and "When the Tree Flowered."
42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
A work of the Great Spirit 21 Jan. 2002
By J. Mueller - Published on
Format: Paperback
Black Elk has channeled a deeply spiritual work from the Great Spirit, and in my mind will become another of the worlds holiest scriptures. Black Elk has lifted his self to saint hood right alongside the great ones. I love his work. I would recommend this book to all spiritual aspirants.
The whole of creation is essentially one, all parts within the whole are related...realize that at the center dwells Wakan Tanka, and that center is really everywhere, it is within each of us... May we walk with love and mercy upon the path which is holy... "Mita kuye oyasin!"
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Sacred Pipe 9 Jan. 2007
By Yellowhawk - Published on
Format: Paperback
Black Elk is and was sacred Elder. Through his life we are given this knowledge. He has helped many to understand the way of the Lakota; following the natural law. While not all Lakota follow the traditional ways as closely as they did before the arrival of the white man, they are still connected to these rites and inhierently understand these teachings. It's only to outside world that these things become suprising moments of clarity. Joseph Epes Brown took time before it was too late, to record these teachings, which is a blessing and a gift of knowledge to all who would read, understand and heed these words. If you wish to learn what dwells is in the hearts of Native American people, you would do well to open this book and your minds.
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Book! 4 Aug. 2000
By W. Lambdin - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Brown actualy lived with Ben Black Elk's family for a period of time while gathering material for this book, and he has the accurate information.
This book has several nice photos of the famous holy man Nick Black Elk.
Questions or comments E-Mail me. Two Bears
Wah doh Ogedoda
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