Last night, I settled down by myself in the living room with my pipe and my computer for our monthly prayer ceremony. We’ve been having ice here the past two days that coats the roads, tree branches, decks, and fences. I’m glad I had decided not to invite anyone over for the ceremony. It would have been treacherous for them to come.

As always, I laid out my pipe and tobacco. After smudging everything with white sage, I opened my computer to the file where I keep all your prayers. Some had come in last-minute, and I was glad they slipped in under the door, so to speak. For each prayer, tobacco was offered and placed in a silver bowl. I added mine last. The bowl held prayers for the Earth, for certain loved ones, for help with relocations, right livelihood, new endeavors, hard times, and all our relations. There were prayers for healing, for gratitude, and for wisdom.

With all the prayers resting in the silver bowl, I began loading the pipe and calling in the seven sacred directions. Hannah, my dog, came and settled in beside me. Darter the cat rested on the ottoman at my back. The fireplace was warm and glowing, calling out to us with merry little crackles and sparks. Upstairs, Carter was in his favorite chair, watching the football games. Occasionally, I would hear him cheer on the teams with a hoot. The dishwasher was slogging along in the kitchen…

Sometimes, I take my pipe out somewhere to a private place to do ceremony. Last night, I found a certain sweetness calling in the sacred in the midst of the ordinary machinations of the household.  It reminded me that the holy is in all things at all times.

What I noticed in particular with this month’s ceremony was the quality of the smoke itself. It fairly poured out of the pipe in thick, blue bellows. I thought that it looked like water, unleashed from the binding tethers of gravity. It flowed through my fingers, slowly as though it carried much weight. Up it lifted, high into the room, covering the air above me in a cloud of gray fog. A message—“All will be well”—rose out of the pipe bowl and streamed in thick plumes to the fog above my head.

I sensed the presence of Wisdom Keeper, and also the hearts of many, many relations—both two-leggeds, but mostly the others, those precious others that add so much richness to our lives. When I finished the last puff of tobacco, my pipe bowl was so hot I could not touch it. The beeswax coating on the bowl had even melted. I’ve never had this happen before, and I sat with the pipe a long time at the close of the ceremony, pondering what I’d seen, felt, and heard.

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to carry your prayers each month. It is an honor and a joy, and I never finish a pipe without feeling full to the brim with hope and peace. Thank you for sharing with me, and special thanks to Cindy, and to Leslie, who I know were praying along with me in different parts of the country. I felt you both.

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8 Responses to SMOKE LIKE WATER

  1. Cindy says:

    And let me add, the words “all shall be well” came from my lips after I invited the Clan Mothers and spoke my prayer aloud to the four winds. And I was comforted, as only a mother can comfort.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Oooh, Cindy, I got shivers when I read your words. Surely, we were in unity in our prayers, and “All shall be well.”

  2. Aletheia mystea says:

    Hi Susan. First I’ve been meaning to ask where do you get the beautiful images from that come with these posts?

    I added some extra thoughts last night thru the prayer waves and centered myself into the ceremony. It’s a powerful time for me right now and the results if all combined energy was no sleep til around 12-1am!! Which is way late for me since I get up at 5ish.

    Any way I could feel what you described above and actually wondered last night what kind of experience you were having. Now I know and I felt it loud and clear!!

    Thanks again for creating such a sacred space for us and may it all come back to you beyond anything you could ever imagine!!


    • Susan McElroy says:

      Aletheia: I believe that holding a country-wide circle of like-hearted sisters really empowers the prayers. After the ceremony, as I was putting my pipe away, I discovered that part of the wooden bowl of the pipe had actually burned! I am stunned! Oh, and I get those lovely images on the Web. I don’t know if I’m infringing on someone’s copyrights, but I just find these beauties in google images.

  3. Sandy Taylor says:

    Thank you Susan so much. It sounds like you had some powerful prayers working. The hotness of the bowl maybe signify the strength of the prayers. I thank you for them. May you continue to have good health and happiness.

    Thank you
    Sandy Taylor

  4. kathey says:

    Hey Susan, I am enjoying so much reading about your prayer circle and the strong presences of the pipe and smoke. I am hopeful that my prayer request made it along with the others to you in time. And that it was included. I feel greatly energized and cleansed myself after reading about the ceremony. Today is the day of the birth of my grandson, Nels, and with his being of asian heritage we are all delighted that he is a little dragon! Full of mystique and power! life is good.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Kathey, congrats on your grandson! I, too, was born in the year of the Dragon. And yes, your prayers made it. The last thing I do before beginning the ceremony is checking into my blog to look for last minute prayer requests. Maybe the dragon was blowing its fire through my scorched pipe this time around!

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