Treasures, Treasuries, and Thoughts

I swore I would never do a blog! So much for swearing. I didn't think that I would have much to say or share. I was wrong! I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, loyal friends, sharing colleagues, and the support from so many that I will never run out of topics to write about.

I have opened an on-line store at a place called Etsy (rhymes with Betsy). The items on the left are available for purchase there. These will change from week to week to show you my latest creations. The link to the store is in the upper left corner of this page.

I also have items for sale listed on Art Fire. The link to my Art Fire Studio is

I hope you will visit this blog, my Flickr page ( and my Etsy and/or Art Fire stores often. (

So come along on my Trail of Treasures! It will be a Spirit Journey for me and I invite you to join me on the trip.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 21: Winter Solstice

Example of prayer stick available from
While all the world is knee deep in Holiday shopping, planning the menu for a succulent Christmas feast, writing that annual newsletter, and creating "Visions of Sugar Plums", another important holiday in Native American culture is often overlooked or completely forgotten.

Winter Solstice is Dec 21. For Native Americans it is a time of transition, of looking back at the old year and looking forward to the new. Many cultures around the world have celebrated the winter solstice for hundreds, even thousands of years as they watched the days grow shorter and waited for the sun to return.

Native Americans honor the cycle of life during Winter Solstice.
Endings are remembered and new beginnings are anticipated just as our ancestors did before us. While different tribes and their individual members honor Winter Solstice in many ways, here is one tradition that you might like to learn about.

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.
Each prayer stick is named for an ancestor.
Traditional prayer sticks have these characteristics:
  • 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!


Sixsisters said...

Lovely post Joni. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday.

jstinson said...

Thanks Joan! And I wish the same for you and yours!


Thank you for the wonderful sharing about the Winter Solstice.

And, now the sun will begin to stay longer in the skies and each day will gain more daylight hours.

Thanks to the Blessed Creator of all--:)

Gail Devoid said...

Wiccans celebrate the solstice in a similar manner. That the Native American practices are so much like ours does not surprise me.

The Filigree Garden said...

I enjoyed reading about the making of prayer sticks. I wish I had seen your post earlier. Much light to you and your family!