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The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  934 ratings  ·  26 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published October 15th 1989 by University of Oklahoma Press (first published 1953)
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Manitonquat Manitonquat
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In his book The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, Black Elk indeed rescued from oblivion the only known complete record of the seven central sacraments of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) religion.

It is a priceless document for theology scholars, and for all those interested in Native American spirituality. An important companion piece to his autobiogarphy Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not very interesting but certainly informative.
Tooraj PX
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: عرفان
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 ...more
Ron Potter
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really helped me understand the cultural differences that lead to the problems in the mid-1800s. This one is a keeper. I will read it again.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read for ALL Americans and anyone interested in the history of the United States.
Melvin Marsh, M.S.
Not a favourite of mine even from an anthropological POV, a little dry of a read. Informative though.
Madeline Ross
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So much wisdom of this world and the next gleaned from this book.
Roger Bradbury
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it

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
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
John Mccullough
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 29, 2009 added it
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.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Not as good as "Black Elk Speaks", but good analysis of rituals.
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Paul by: Suzanne Shope
Dillon, Montana
Lloyd Henry
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
full of spiritual wisdom for those with an open mind and heart
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A great book about a great American Indian tribe
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Joseph Brown lived with Black Elk who later entrusted him with the spiritual details of Sioux life. Contained a few details and ceremonies I had never heard of before.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I learned so much about Native American spirituality and rituals. Highly recommend for people who are interested in Native culture.
Eliza Buffalo
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a classic for anyone interested in Lakota religion and ways...
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Sep 17, 2012
David Price
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Sep 29, 2011
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Mar 19, 2015
Edward Estrada
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Jan 07, 2017
Clarke Owens
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Nov 24, 2015
Farhad Aslani
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Sep 22, 2019
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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