Prayer Sticks are used in the Winter Solstice celebration. The ritual of the Prayer Sticks honor ones ancestors. Re-commitment is made to one's belief system. Prayers are offerd. Gratitude is expressed.
Prayer sticks are made by everyone in a family four days before the solstice. On the day of the Solstice, the prayer sticks are planted. At least one stick is planted by each person of the family in small holes dug by the head of the household.
- Made out of cedar and are forked
- Are equivalent to the measurement from the maker’s elbow to the tips of their fingers
- Are taken from a tree that the maker feels connected to.
- Tobacco is offered to the tree
- Permission is asked to take a part of its relative.
- The bark can be stripped or.
- The bark can be carved on the stick.
- One feather should be added to the prayer stick. Traditionally this is a wild turkey feather.
- A bit of tobacco is placed in a red cloth and tied onto one of the forks.
- Fur or bone from an animal that the maker wishes to honor is tied onto the stick.
- Metal or stones should not be tied to the stick.
- It is also customary to say prayers silently as one makes the prayer stick
Many Native American Artists make and sell prayer sticks but one can easily follow the directions above and create a personal ceremonial Prayer Stick to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
Whether you have a Prayer Stick or not, take time on December 21 to give thanks to those who have gone before you for they paved your way. Honor your friends and relatives who have contributed to who you are and to your welfare. Reflect on 2009 and ask for guidance as you plan for 2010. Then you can resume work on making your Holidays merry and bright.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!