E-mail Newsletter


Events & Workshops

(See calendar for specific details on dates, times, and locations)


Advanced I Course
Evening Gathering

Pipe Ceremony

(1 1/2 to 2 hours; no charge)


We invite you to a traditional Pipe Ceremony at Hearthland Gathering Place.  The Pipe Ceremony is a community prayer circle in which we pray with a sacred tobacco pipe in honor of our relationship with all of Creation.  Pipe Ceremony is a beautiful way to empower your prayers, bless the people in your life, and weave a web of community relationships.

Intended for those students attending Advanced I, the ceremony is open to all people of all faiths.  We will begin promptly at the starting time.  The ceremony will last one to two hours.  We will sit on the ground, so bring a mat and/or back-jack to sit on.

On July 9, 2005, this ceremony will be facilitated by Chuck Skelton.  Chuck Skelton is a traditionally trained healer of Blackfoot descent.  He is founder of Bear Spirit Medicine Lodge.  Chuck is an ordained minister and former seminary adjunct professor.  He is a spiritual counselor, psychotherapist, and traditional healer in the Chicago metropolitan area. 
Phone 847-869-2873.

                                                       - - - - - - - - - -

What is Pipe Ceremony?

Pipe ceremony is a time of community prayer.  Ultimately we pray to the Creator, the Source of all that is or was or will be, the God who is both Father and Mother to us all.  During Chuck Skelton's pipe ceremony, he welcomes whatever names of Creator you wish to use: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, all these and others are welcome.

At the monthly open pipe ceremonies Chuck offers at his home, participants sit on the floor. Because the ceremony is one to two hours, a back jack or cushion is recommended.  Pariticpants sit in a circle.  At the circle’s center is an altar of sacred objects and in the center of the altar is a candle. The altar helps us remember our relationship with all of Creation and might include such things as dried plants, animal bones, medicine bundles, drums, rattles, and so on.

The ceremony begins by smudging.  Smudging simply means wafting a little bit of smoke over your body. The smoke comes from smoldering herbs, often white sage which has a pungent earthy aroma. We smudge to bless you and welcome you into the ceremonial space.  The sage will ground you and bring you present in the here and now.

Then we sit down on the floor and begin the ceremony.  Usually there are at least two separate opportunities for each person to pray.  Traditionally prayers are voiced aloud so that we share our prayers with the community.  If you are not comfortable praying out loud, silent prayer is also welcomed.

Typically a pipe is passed around the circle at least twice.  You may smoke the pipe if you wish, or you may simply honor the pipe by holding it to your heart.  If you are not used to smoking a pipe, it can feel awkward at first.  That’s OK.  In a circle of people not familiar with pipe it is difficult to keep the pipe lit the whole way around the circle, and that’s OK too. The more you come to pipe ceremony, the more comfortable this will become.

Note: It is extremely important to treat the pipe gently and with respect. As the pipe is handed to you be aware that it is a deeply sacred object.   Always hold the pipe by the bowl (the stone part) and never just by the stem.  Be very careful that the pipe does not come apart in your hands.

In a prayer ceremony, only tobacco is put into the pipe.  Sometimes when the pipe is smoked in a social context, a blend of smoking herbs can be used. The blend, called knick-knick, typically contains herbs such as red willow, mullein, mint, sage, or others.  These herbs gave a pleasant-tasting and -smelling smoke, and thus it is often used in social situations or when tobacco was not available. However, hallucinatory or mind-altering substances are never used in the pipe. There are several plants native to the Blackfoot territory which have psychoactive properties but no tradition or history of Blackfoot using them is known, in pipe or otherwise.

There are several types of pipes.  Some pipes are personal pipes that are meant for one person to use in private.  These pipes tend to be small.  Some pipes are ceremonial pipes that are only used in very specific ceremonies.  In fact there are some pipes which may be smoked only in a ceremony which can be performed only once a year.   Other pipes are community pipes which are made to carry the prayers of a community of people such as a clan, society, or lodge. Medicine pipes are used by medicine people for healing and transformation work.  Some pipes are highly decorated, with ornately carved bowls or stems and adorned with furs or, occasionally, feathers or stones. Other pipes are simple and undecorated.

A pipe must be made in two separate pieces: the bowl and the stem.  Being made of stone, the bowl is male, although it is carved in a female shape.  Being made of wood, the stem is female, although it is carved in a male shape.  When the two pieces come together, it is an act of creation; all the creative power of the universe is contained in the assembled pipe.

A pipe ceremony typically lasts one to two hours depending on how many people are there and how long is needed for prayer.  During the ceremony, there may be times when the pipe carrier offers teaching stories or songs.

As the ceremony progresses, you will feel a deep sense of peace and wellness.   The incessant chatter of your mind will slow or even stop.  Matters outside the circle, issues of the past or future, will concern you less.  You will become ever more present here and now in the circle of prayer.  This is what we call grounding.

We are looking forward to your presence at the pipe ceremony.

May you be deeply blessed.

(The pipe ceremony description was authored by a healer and teacher in the Bear Spirit Medicine Lodge, and used with permission of Chuck Skelton)

- - - - -        

Please see the calendar for contact information to register for workshops on specific dates. General questions regarding the workshops can also be made to Carol directly at:

E-mail: carol@carolschultz.com
Phone: (815) 254-8325
Carol Schultz
P.O. Box 509
Plainfield, IL 60544

Animal Communication is not an alternative or substitute for good veterinary care, proper nutrition, training, or exercise.

Home | About Carol | Consultations | Events & Workshops | Calendar | FAQ
Testimonials | Code of Ethics | Links | Forms | Contact | Site Map