Black Elk of the Sioux has been recognized as one of the truly remarkable men of his time in the matter of religious belief and practice. Shortly before his death in August, 1950, when he was the "keeper of the sacred pipe," he said, "It is my prayer that, through our sacred pipe, and through this book in which I shall explain what our pipe really is, peace may come to those peoples who can understand, and 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." Black Elk was the only qualified priest of the older Oglala Sioux still living when The Sacred Pipe was written. This is his book: he gave it orally to Joseph Epes Brown during the latter's eight month's residence on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where Black Elk lived. Beginning with the story of White Buffalo Cow Woman's first visit to the Sioux to give them the sacred pip~, Black Elk describes and discusses the details and meanings of the seven rites, which were disclosed, one by one, to the Sioux through visions. He takes the reader through the sun dance, the purification rite, the "keeping of the soul," and other rites, showing how the Sioux have come to terms with God and nature and their fellow men through a rare spirit of sacrifice and determination. The wakan Mysteries of the Siouan peoples have been a subject of interest and study by explorers and scholars from the period of earliest contact between whites and Indians in North America, but Black Elk's account is without doubt the most highly developed on this religion and cosmography. The Sacred Pipe, published as volume thirty-six in the Civilization of the American Indian Series, will be greeted enthusiastically by students of comparative religion, ethnologists, historians, philosophers, and everyone interested in American Indian life.
Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) (December 1863 – August 19, 1950) was a famous wičháša wakȟáŋ (medicine man and holy man) of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He was Heyoka and a second cousin of Crazy Horse.
Since the 1970s the book Black Elk Speaks has become an important source for studying Native spirituality, sparking a renewal of interest in Native religions. Black Elk worked with John Neihardt to give a first-hand account of his experiences and that of the Lakota people. His son Ben would translate Black Elk's stories, which were then recorded by Neihardt's daughter Enid, who would then put them in chronological order for Neihardt's use. Within the American Indian Movement Black Elk Speaks became an important source for those seeking religious and spiritual inspiration. They also sought Black Elk nephew and medicine man, Frank Fools Crow, for information on Native traditions.
در ابتدا خیلی برام جالب و بدیع بود، خصوصا نمادگراییهاش و ارتباطهایی که در پانویس بین جهاننگریهای مختلف هندو، بودایی و ... با جهاننگری قوم سو اشاره شده بود. ولی به مرور تکراری شد و جزئیات زیادش حوصلهم رو سر برد
فقط میتونم بگم کاش انسان سفید، از سر مدارا و نوعدوستی، جای بیشتری برای «راه نیک سرخ» مردمان سرخ باقی میگذاشت
در پیشگفتار این کتاب آمده که قبل از این کتاب تنها اثر شایسته درباره سرخپوستان آمریکای شمالی، کتاب فاجعه سرخپوستان آمریکا بوده، در حالیکه کتابهای کارلوس کاستاندا در مورد شمن های سرخپوست یا به قول خودش جادوگران قبل از اینها به فارسی برگردانده شده و شامل اطلاعات زیادی در خصوص تفکرات و مردم شناسی سرخپوستی است. اگر چه این کتابها روی بخش خاصی یعنی جادوگری تمرکز دارد. آشنایی من با تفکرات و جهان بینی سرخپوستی هم به این کتابها بر میگردد که با "تعلیمات دون خوان" و "هنر خوب بینی" شروع شد. از نظر محتوایی کتابهای کاستاندا خیلی بهتر از این کتاب است. این کتاب پر است از جزئیات برگزاری مراسم سرخپوستی. تنها نکته مثبت کتاب به نظر من شرح نمادهای مختلف (رنگها، اشیا و حرکات) در این مراسم است. این کتاب میتوانست بسیار مختصرتر نوشته شود و در عین حال هیچ موضوع مهمی را از دست ندهد. از ویژگیهای آزاردهنده متن کتاب تکرار بسیار زیاد کلمه "مقدس" در متن بود که همچون ضربه های دارکوب در زمان مطالعه کتاب بی انقطاع ادامه داشت (بماند که این روزها نسبت به این واژه حس منفی زیادی دارم) شاید این هم بخشی از واقعیت باشد که وقتی مرد مقدس در شهود خود گاومیشی را می بیند که از سمت واکان تانکا (خدا) به او آئینی می آموزد، این ها همه حاصل از مصرف گیاهان روان گردان باشد (شاید هم روح القدس سرخپوستان در شکل گاومیش یا چهارپایان و بالداران دیگر ظاهر می شود).. اگ�� مراسم و آئینهای سرخپوستی و صحبت با جانوران به نظرتان خیلی عجیب رسید یادتان باشد این موضوع مشترکی در فرهنگهای مختلف است: دعای رفع عقرب: تیز نظر کند به ستاره سهی و آن ستاره کوچکی است نزدیک به ستاره وسطی از ستارگان بنات نعش (دب اکبر) و سه مرتبه بگوید .... (مفاتیح الجنان)
کتاب شامل دعاها و مناسک تکراری زیادیه که اگرچه خستهکننده بودند ولی جهانبینی عمیق و در عین حال سادهای رو منتقل میکردند. مادر (زمین) و مادربزرگ (روح زمین) و پدر (کائنات) و همه فرزندان زمین از قبیل ملت ایستاده (درختان) و ملت چارپا (بیشتر به گاومیش اشاره داشت) و ملت بالدار (پرندگان) و ملت دوپا (انسانها) و همه و همه تجلی پدربزرگ یا واکانتانکا (چیزی شبیه به مفهوم حق در عرفان ابنعربی) هستند و از این جهت همه چیز در این دنیا مقدس و یکیه (وحدت وجود). پس همه اعمال ملت دوپا هم باید مقدس باشند. به هنگام راه رفتن آگاه باشند که روی زمین مقدسی قدم برمیدارند و به هنگام غذا خوردن و حرف زدن و گوش دادن و هر عملی آگاه باشند که چه اتفاق مقدسی در حال رخ دادنه. و حتی در جایی دیگه میگه که ما به هنگام جنگ صورت و بدنمون رو رنگ میکنیم چون از واکانتانکا خجالت میکشیم که در این عالم مقدس ما رو در حال چنین عمل ناپسندی ببینه. چپق مقدسترین بخش تمام آیینهاست. توتونهای مختلف رو که نماد همه عالماند توی کاسه چپق که نماد واکانتانکاست میگذارند و چپق رو به ۶ جهت پیشکش میکنند و هربار دعایی میخونند و میکشند و این به آتش کشیدن یعنی همه عالم فدای واکانتانکا. تمام اهمیت آیینها به آگاهی از معانی و چراییشونه چون طوطیوار انجام دادنشون از نظر گوزن سیاه هیچ فایدهای نداره (چندان به مرجع تقلید اعتقادی ندارند). عموما درون تیپی (چادر سرخپوستها) نماد دنیا و بیرون اون نماد عالم غیبه و اینکه در تیپی رو باز و بسته میکنند و برای لحظهای نور از بیرون به درون تیپی سرازیر میشه یا از تیپی خارج میشن و بر میگردند، در همه این کارهای به ظاهر بیمعنی معنایی هست (برای آنها که میاندیشند ;) ) یکی از آیینها که خیلی شبیه به چلهنشینی خودمونه «زاری برای شهود» هست. منتها وقتی شخصی به شهودی میرسه و اون رو بازگو میکنه بقیه هم از اون شهود استفاده میکنند، انگار که شهود خودشون بوده. در واقع اعتقاد بر اینه که راهنماییهای واکانتانکا از راههای مختلف به انسانهای مختلف الهام میشه و ما باید از تمام این الهامات استفاده کنیم. چون همه چیز به شخص ما یا بدتر از اون به یک شخص خاص و تاکید میکنم به یک شخص خاص الهام نمیشه. به امید بازگشت همه انسانها به راه واکانتانکا که صورتها و اسامیش به بیکرانی خودشه...
Black Elk is one of my heroes. From Black Elk Speaks to The Sacred Pipe I have always loved the teachings and wisdom of Black Elk. He should be required reading if you truly want to understand the sacred ways of the Sioux Nation.
Excellent detail & thoroughly written out, but a little hard to read if you're not into reading about multiple rituals. I'd be intrigued to witness it in person, what an amazing and enlightening experience it must've been for the author.
I am surprised to find The Sacred Pipe still available. I hope the current version has a glossary that describes the basic elements, mythical figures, and rites of the Oglala Sioux. I am from the Great Plains, and I know who White Buffalo Calf Woman is, but other readers may not.
I've been a Black Elk fan since last year when I read Black Elk Speaks. Then, last month I was on mission trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation and really enjoyed a presentation on the Lakota spirituality and the seven sacred rituals. I then discovered that there was this book of Black Elk describing the rituals, so I bought it (at the Red Cloud School gift shop) and began reading it while on the rez.
There are very interesting insights in spirituality, some of which I will use, particularly in my always developing "theology of the plains." But overall the book was not that engaging as the lengthy descriptions of the rituals bored me. It is important that the Lakota were able to preserve detailed, lengthy descriptions of their rituals, as they were banned for generations. So, this is an important book for their culture and my boredom at parts of it should not reflect on its value and significance.
Black Elk conveyed great wisdom from which humanity could benefit. I was touched by this closing paragraph in the description of "The Throwing of the Ball" ritual:
At this sad time today among our people [the book was published in 1953] we are scrambling for the ball, and some are not even trying to catch it, which makes me cry when I think of it. But soon I know it will be caught, for the end is rapidly approaching, and then it will be returned to the center, and our people will be with it. It is my prayer that this be so, and it is in order to aid in this "recovery of the ball," that I have wished to make this book.
I did find the chapter on the Sun Dance difficult to read. If you are unfamiliar with the sun dance, it is very sacred rite that involves the cutting of flesh and the tying of one's body, via ropes, to the central tree and dance till the flesh is ripped. Fully aware of its sacred importance to the Lakota, I have difficulty understanding this ritual. I understand why it has been revived, as any of us would work to recover our cultural rituals had they been banned, but I wonder if the culture had been left to develop if there would have been more contemporary (and less bloody) versions of the ritual that would have developed? Think of how yoga, for instance, derived from early blood sacrifices and martial rites of the Hindus, as the ritual became more internalized. Also reading the one chapter on the Sun Dance reaffirmed my appreciation for being a Protestant and the radical view proposed by Luther that ritual actions are not required for us to receive grace.
Valuable as a detailed exposition of the seven sacred rites of the Oglala Sioux by the last of the tribe's holy men, Black Elk, this book has significant ethnographical and historical interest - especially for its detailed descriptions of the Sun Dance Ceremony, of the Vision Quest, of the keeping and releasing of souls, etc. The ritual for these are given in full, with their step-by-step procedures and the actual words and gestures used. Unfortunately, the editor, Joseph Epes Brown, has provided little more than a transcription of Black Elk's words, unaccompanied by any serious analysis or scholarly research. He provides few footnotes, and those are rarely helpful - are seemingly only random thoughts occurring to him at the moment. And he provides only a cursory biography of Black Elk - only a few sentences - completely ignores his exposure to Christianity, his baptism and "conversion" to Catholicism decades before he spoke to Brown. And he does not place the Oglala religion in context - does not comment on whether these seven rites were peculiar to the Oglala or common to all the Sioux tribes - whether there are variations in practice between the tribes. Does not place them in the broader context of Native American spirituality. Moreover the reader is not given any assurance that this is an accurate translation of Black Elk's words - no information about the extent that they may have been affected by Black Elk's son Joesph in translating them into English or been further modified by Epes Brown in the process of editing them into publishable form. These many omissions leave the reader feeling a deep desire for more information - for much more than that provided by this book if he is to assimilate Black Elk's words - if he is to get a true understanding of his spirituality. One the other hand and in defense of Brown, perhaps his intention was to allow Black Elk to speak for himself - unfiltered - to expose the reader directly to the thought of the Oglala holy man - to force the reader to make of it what he may. This the book does, and because it does, it is a unique record of the thought of a holy man and of a culture long gone.
1. The keeping of the soul 2. Inipi: The rite of purification 3. Hanblecheyapi: Crying for a vision 4. Wiwanyag Wachipi: The sun dance 5. Hunkapi: The making of relatives 6. Ishna Ta Awi Cha Lowan: Preparing a girl for womanhood 7. Tapa Wanka Yap: The throwing of the ball
The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its Powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real Peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.
I refer to this book again and again and have a well-worn 1986 paperback of the original 1971 Penguin printing. It's more of a reference book than something you read once. Joseph Epes Brown recorded his conversations with Black Elk, a Holy man of the Oglala speaking about the rites associated with the pipe. It's a book of theology and philosophy and filled with sacred knowledge. This is not a light read. And it is definitely not a how to book. It should be read with the understanding that this is a description of sacred ritual that takes place within the context of a specific period of time and within the cultural context of a group of people. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the sacred rituals associated with the pipe. The book also gives a greater understanding of the La Kota people who are intrinsic to any knowledge of Native American culture and history.
Black Elk is an interesting man. He was a Holy Man for the Sioux and then converted to Catholicism. However, reading this book, I didn't feel that Black Elk was true to his conversion and may have done it as merely a matter of convenience. Either way, it was fascinating to learn more about the sacred rituals of the Sioux.
Although it was an interesting read, it did, at times, get extremely tedious and repetitive. The editor should have added an introduction to each chapter that helped give more background, history, and context to the ceremonies. I found that just reading Black Elk's recitation of the rituals wasn't enough to give me a full impression and understanding of the importance and significance of those rituals. In fact, some of the rituals seemed to blend together in purpose.
The ending of the book is a bit poignant with Black Elk hoping that future generations don't forget the rituals.
I found the book insightful to know what the Sioux hold dear and important. I liked reading about the reasons behind the rituals and to learn why they feel these rites are important. I also enjoyed reading about the more subtle ideas within the rites.
The part I did not enjoy was reading the prayers. There were many of them, even for the same rite, and they're very repetitive, and not just in the number of four times, but even between the different rites there is so much similarity. For me reading the prayers allowed me more of an insight into what I could do differently in my own rituals and helped me to clarify for myself what I hold as important and why.
My own ideas of spirituality and religion differ quite a bit from what I read here, but it was enjoyable all the same.
I'm not really sure how to rate this because it's just what Black Elk told Joseph Epes Brown, so am I rating what he told him??? These rites are fascinating and definitely worth the read. The only thing is that some of them get a little long (and redundant) as the holy men pray for everything to be in the pipe. But that is what they did, so it seems as though I'm rating the rites, but I'm really not.
This is a major book which looks in depth at an important religious tradition that still lives. It is detailed in descriptions of the rituals as well as a lengthy explanation of why things are done as they are. A deeply emotional book because it is not written in an emotional way. A genuinely American document.
Straight translation of Black Elk describing the rituals. The valuable parts where in the footnotes, where the translator explained terms in comparison to Christian, Islamic, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. concepts.