Sunday, August 29, 2010
Indian rituals, ceremonies, and religious observances, tobacco is the unifying thread of communication between humans and the spiritual powers. The spirits are said to be extremely fond of tobacco and that the only way they could get it was from the Indians, either by smoke from a pipe or by offerings of dry tobacco.
Tobacco was placed at graves as an offering to the departed spirit. Requests to elders to relate oral traditions or other special knowledge were accompanied with a gift.
"Tobacco is in the east on the medicine wheel and has the quality of communication with Spirit. Tobacco smoke is visible breath that takes prayers to the Great Spirit. Tobacco also has the quality of connecting people with each other and bringing peace.
Tobacco offered directly or as smoke allows for communication with the spirit. As a Mesquakie told a student seeking to understand Native American culture: 'We use it (tobacco) in ceremonies; we put it in the fire, and then we can talk to the spirits.
Secondary methods involve those making the offering to bring the tobacco smoke into themselves and then blow it towards the spiritual recipient. The sharing of the smoke between the one making the offering and the spirit receiving it creates communion between the two. The sacred smoke may also be spread over oneself or over objects and persons as a blessing."
*Quote taken from Article Herbs by Marsha Smith Heron