Sunrise at Bannock Point, Whiteshell Provincial Park, Canada – Photo by Leah Schroeder
In the next few blog posts, I intend to share a few experiences that celebrate reclaiming the Sacred Feminine. My close friend, Diane, asked me to write about The Pipe.
Last October I was given a Sacred Pipe. Since receiving it I have been learning about what it means to be a Pipe Carrier and exploring what this responsibility means for my life.
Firstly, I use the term Pipe Carrier, because I do not own this pipe. It is a gift from Spirit. It belongs to Spirit. I carry it. I care for it. I protect and honour it. I learn from it. I bring it out for ceremony. I pray with it and feel the love from it and share my love through it. I share it with others.
One might question the idea of smoking a pipe in a day and age when we understand the negative effects of smoking tobacco. Firstly, there is a significant difference between commercial tobacco and traditional tobacco used for ceremony. Second, I choose to use kinnikinic (also known as bearberry, or uva-ursi) or on a rare occasion, traditional, organic tobacco. Traditional tobacco & kinnikinic are sacred medicine. Smoking this pipe or participating in a pipe and water ceremony is a spiritual practice that I do when I feel guided to.
Thousands of years ago all women carried what I have heard indigenous women refer to as sacred bundles. The Pipe, the Drum, the Rattle, and Sacred Medicines were likely elements women carried in their bundles. Through the colonization of women around the world, many cultures lost this practice as, in these same cultures, honouring the sacredness of women was also lost.
There are many different kinds of pipes, each with their own teachings and brought out for different purposes. The pipe I carry is a Women’s Pipe. The teaching I have received is that when I bring it out to smoke it in ceremony, I can pass it to other women to smoke from it as well. Men are also allowed to share in it by touching the bowl to their heart instead of smoking from the pipe.
I was challenged recently to gain deeper understanding of this teaching and to learn more about the pipe I carry and the role it plays in my life.
For me, this pipe represents my sacredness as a woman. It is a piece of that sacredness that I have reclaimed. It is one way I acknowledge my connection to Spirit and to the Earth. When I pass it to other women to smoke from it, it gives them an opportunity to acknowledge their own sacredness and express that connection to Spirit and to the Earth. It is a gift and a bond we share as women. When passed to a man to hold it to his heart it gives him the opportunity to honour the sacredness of women. He also feels honoured by the opportunity to participate and receive the love from the women and the pipe as he holds it to his heart. The spiritual connection is shared through that love. It is a sacred dance, the balance of masculine and feminine. Both men and women are empowered by participating in a way that honours each other.
I mentioned earlier the pipe and water ceremony. Included with this spiritual practice is the blessing of the water. It is an acknowledgement of women’s connection to water – the water of the Earth – our Mother, the water in which we carry life, the water that is part of our body. It is my practice to send blessings and healing to the water of the seven directions, East, South, West, North, Above,, Below and Within. I also receive blessings and healing from this water at the same time.
A cup or bowl of water, (traditionally a copper cup or bowl) is part of the ceremony. After the blessing, I drink from the water and when with other people I share it with them. The water is also shared with the Earth. My practice at home, when I do the ceremony on my own, is to share it with all of my plants, add a bit to my water fountain and I share the remaining water with the Earth outside my home. I usually do this at the time of the full moon, when the water has also been charged with the energy of the moon.
I am still learning. I know that my work involves empowering women and carrying this pipe plays a part in how I do that. When I hold this pipe, I feel the love in my heart. Loving myself and allowing that love to radiate out from me to share with others is the gift this pipe has brought to me. I carry it with deep reverence, respect, humility, strength and with an open heart.
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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master, ThetaHealing® and Integrated Energy Therapy® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca . “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 49 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I spent 17 years working in Financial Services. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges have led me to begin practising Reiki , ThetaHealing®, and now IET®. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”