As many of you already know, CDA has become associated with The Singing Stone Native American Church. All of the facilitators at CDA have full membership status with The Singing Stone Native American Church.
The Singing Stone is headed up by Chris Long. Chris is a Peyote “roadman” and a Lakota Sioux Yuwipi medicine man. He has 15+ years experience doing this work.
There are more than one Native American Churches that we could have aligned with and because this is the case we felt it necessary to be selective with this alliance. We felt it important that we not only look at every aspect of such an alliance including the energetic aspects. This is why we (Zach, Scott, Amy and Sean) took the time to spend a week with Chris and Andrea Long on their land in Crestone, CO. During this week we had the opportunity to spend some face time with The Singing Stone family, participate in three of their ceremonies ( Sweat Lodge, Yuwipi Ceremony and Peyote Ceremony).
Crestone, CO is about 4 hours south of Denver in a flatland valley with dramatic Rocky Mountain views. It is a hub of spiritual retreats and activity with several Buddhist monasteries, Ashrams and retreat centers scattered around the tiny town. Apparently it is sometimes compared with Sedona, AZ in terms of energy vortexes etc…. I don’t know all the details about the vortexes, but when Amy and I went hiking up into the mountains above Crestone we were both happily surprised to feel quite mariado (sans medicine) a few minutes into our hikes…pretty damn cool.
We planned our visit to allow for some private meeting time with Chris Long and it also coincided with a weekend retreat already scheduled such that we were joined by about 25 other people from Denver. This way we could maximize our understanding of how The Singing Stone worked, their philosophy, their medicine and vice versa.
In the days leading up to the weekend retreat Chris and I traded stories about our backgrounds/lineages, how our respective work has evolved and what our visions for the future are. It was during these discussions that we discovered Chris’s Lakota Sioux lineage is from Norbert/Elmer Running. As it turns out my family, when we lived on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, went to Norbert Running’s healing ceremonies and Sun Dances on a regular basis. Chris indicated that there was a good chance that the spirits from that lineage were calling me back!
Talk about synchronicities! Both Chris and I had already felt a connection from our phone conversations and with this new information, the bond became even stronger.
The weekend schedule was as follows:
Friday Afternoon- Sweat Lodge Ceremony (cleansing/purification to open the weekend)
Friday Night- Yuwipi Ceremony
Saturday Night- All Night Peyote Ceremony
Sunday Afternoon- Sweat Lodge Ceremony (final cleansing/purification to close the weekend)
The Yuwipi ceremony is quite unique on many levels. According to archeologists, it is the oldest known ceremony on “record” with some saying it was performed back in Neanderthal times. This ceremony existed in ancient Europe, Asia, and Siberia before moving to the Americas.
The Yuwipi ceremony, as I understand it, is used for healing illness, to find people who have gone missing, or to find a lost object. Other ancillary information may be received by the medicine man from the spirits during the ceremony as well.
At the beginning of the Yuwipi, the medicine man has his hands securely tied behind his back, then a blanket is wrapped/tied over the medicine man’s body/head. Then the medicine man is placed face down on top of a buffalo robe in front of an altar. On and around the altar are several rattles, round stones, eagle feathers, tobacco ties, animal skulls and mole hill dirt.
Once the medicine man is in place on top of the buffalo robe, the lights are turned out such that there is complete darkness in the room. In a corner is a team of singers who start to sing specific Yuwipi ceremony songs and continue throughout the night with the medicine man instructing them what songs to sing and when.
During the ceremony the medicine man is calling on and connecting with his spirit allies to come help with the work at hand (healing etc…). He is using his body as the channel through which the spirits can travel from their world into ours such that they can help during the ceremony.
This ceremony does not use any plant based medicine such as peyote or ayahuasca. Despite no medicine being ingested, there is definitely some interesting stuff that goes on.
In this particular case/ceremony, as soon as the lights went out and the singing started I saw flashes of light and heard rattles 20 feet in the air. Rattles and light moved all over the room- around me, in the corner, near the ceiling (20 feet up) for the entire ceremony. Animal howls were heard across the room and loud thumps on the floor were heard/felt right in front of me. I could also feel the spirits as the came through doing their work. It was clear that this type of activity was not due to any person in the room as it would have been physically impossible for them to do so. My experience was by no means unique as others in the group confirmed my personal observations. In addition, at the end of ceremony, when the lights came on rattles and round stones were randomly strewn about the room. The round stones had been flying around and then lightly landed in various strange places like participants laps etc… This was all without any medicine ingested by anyone in the ceremony. Wow.