The Four Winds are evoked in many Lakota ceremonies. The Four Winds are all wakan. Wakan is a Lakota word which represents mysterious powerful beings or spirits.
The first wind is the WEST, Yata. This is where Wakinyan (the Thunderbird) lives. It is where all animals are created and the West Wind is present when man and animals die. The West Wind is strong and mighty but good natured. It is where the sun goes to rest. The eagle is the akicita (marshall) of the West Wind.
The second wind is the NORTH, Woziya. The tonweyapi of the North are the white owl, raven and wolf. Tonweyapi are aides – they can be marshalls, soldiers, spies or counselors. The North Wind is strong and usually cruel but occasionally jolly. The things he touches grow cold and die. The North Wind decides if the dead people are worthy to pass or wander forever cold, hungry and naked.
The third wind is the EAST, Yanpa. The nighthawk is the tonweyapi of the East. The East Wind sleeps a lot. It is called on to help the sun and the dawn appear. And it gives a place for the moon to regrow. The sun and the moon know and see everything on earth and they tell it to Yanpa. Lodges face east to please Yanpa. The East Wind is evoked by the sick asking for a rest.
The fourth wind is the SOUTH, Okaga. The tonweyapi of the south are waterfowl and the meadowlark. The South wind makes beautiful things, flowers and seeds. It is the giver of life. It is kind and brings good weather. The south is a place where spirits can go after death.
The winds are sometimes at odds with each other over women or other things. Iktomi (spider wakan) purposely stirs up trouble among the Four Winds so he can have fun watching them fights.
Is there a Native American symbol awarded to great warriors for valor, courage, and bravery in battle much like the Silver or Bronze Stars awarded to soldiers? If not, can you make a suggestion? Thank you very much.
A Lakota friend of mine sent me this. I hope it is helpful. You can browse our feather hair ties here. Feather Hair Ties. Paula
Mitchell Charles Zephier
Cétan Ho Wasté (Pretty Voice Hawk)
Mitchell Zephier grew up on the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Indian reservations. After marrying on Roxanne Apple Rosebud he gave re-birth to Plains Indian Jewelry, particularly Lakota metal adornment. He has mentored over 34 apprentices in the arts of metal-smithing and marketing.
Mitch collaborates with fellow Lakota artists. Mitch has won numerous awards including first place at Red Earth Show, several awards at the internationally prestigious Sante Fe Indian Market as well as presented his work at far off Native American venues like Schimutzun Celebration in Connecticut. He has also earned the South Dakota Governor’s award.
Mitch has other forms of artistic expression. His album Cherish the Children won a National Native Music Award for Best Children’s Album. Mitchell Zephier’s latest venture is to team up with fellow artists to explore, on film this time, the issues that affect the lives of Native Young People in Cloud Horse Production’s Lakota 4 Life, a Zephier inspired look at the issues, decisions, responsibilities and opportunities facing Native Youth today.
Other family members and friends that work on the jewelry include his son Wakinyan Luta Zephier , Belle Starboy, Webster Two Hawk Jr., and Roger Dale Herron.
How perfect to feature this beautiful lady at this time of year during the gorgeous fall.
The No Face Doll
The No Face doll has its origin in the corn-growing Northeastern tribes as the dolls were traditionally made of cornhusks, with darkened corn silk for the hair.
As legend has it, Corn Spirit, sustainer of life, asked the Creator for more ways to help her people. The Creator formed dolls from her husks, giving the dolls a beautiful face. When the children of the Iroquois pass the dolls from village to village and from child to child, her beauty was proclaimed so often that the corn husk doll became very vain. The Creator disapproved of such behavior and so told the doll that if she was going to continue being part of the culture, she would need to develop humility.
The doll agreed but couldn’t help but admire her own reflection in a creek. The all-seeing Creator, sent a giant screech owl down from the sky to snatch the doll’s reflection from the water. She could no longer see her face or bask in her superior beauty.
So when a Northeast Native American mother gives a doll to her child, it is usually a doll with no face and the mother tells the child the legend of the Corn-Husk doll. Native Americans want their children to value the unique gifts that the Creator has given to each of them, but not to view themselves as superior to another, or to overemphasize physical appearance at the expense of spiritual and community values.
White Sage (grown in California) seems to be the most common New Age sage used for smudging but the Plains Indians use the type of sage that grows native to South Dakota and Wyoming for their ceremonies.
It is often called Wyoming sage or Black Hills sage. It has a powerful healing aroma. If you have never smudged with it, you might find it to be replacement or alternative to white sage.