Been asked a lot of questions lately about pipes, some from people completely unfamiliar with the significance for the nations and some who know but asking how do I feel about certain things?
For that reason today is a twofer Saturday having already blogged earlier on a different subject.
Pipes have a spiritual value and representation, some considered more so than others, and I’ll qualify that as we progress – unfortunately for some they’ve become a prop, lot of talk about taking an oath on a pipe or used for show during legal proceedings like Peltier and AIM have done.
Discussions and opinions vary – anyone who has a pipe can be said to be a pipe carrier but the significance of that also depends on the person and the pipe – a person carries a pipe or a person is a pipe carrier.
With age and history the older a pipe is the greater deference is shown, people just look at and react to them differently.
An example would be the bible for christians, with a new one they will show respect but might also underline certain words or passage, something I don’t believe they would do with an old one.
Another would be a crucifix or cross has a revered iconography for Christians, yet a cross or crucifix used by a priest in a ceremony is held in a higher regard – if that’s the correct choice of words.
If a cross or any article is blessed by a priest it’s considered to take on something of an added significance ,something is imbued as priests are held to not only be spokesmen for their god but an actual spiritual stand in transcending their own moratlity during sacrements and rituals.
There are those who say a pipe should never be photographed and yet talk openly and freely about our ceremonies – that’s a little contradictory to me.
There are those who claim to be medicine men and pipe carriers and yet have commodified every aspect of who we are as a people and our beliefs.
As such they may carry a pipe but are not a pipe carrier in my opinion.
One I thing I do know and validated by every traditional “pipe carrier” or custodian of any other scared object I’ve ever known is the one who holds and tends does so with humility, dignity, and an abiding concern for their people.
They haven’t any sense of ownership any more than a librarian thinks they own the books in the library they tend understanding that such objects belong to the people and nations.
In that ownership access is a right, not a gift, as the gift was given to the people, not the individual.
Scared pipes have been and are an integral part of ceremonies and should remain so – that too is a right.
Do I have a pipe? Yes, but I am not a “pipe carrier” in the context spoken of here.
Do I flaunt it or engage in theater with it? No.
Have I or would I ever post a photo of it? No I would not in accordance with my personal beliefs. What others do is their choice.
I also have something of an issue with a title or position being bestowed upon an individual in what is an hereditary passage as I do not believe any are qualified based on heritage alone – it is more about character and what some might refer to as a calling.
So much corruption has taken place over the last few decades there is a real danger of losing understanding and integrity when it comes to our customs and traditions.
As nations, as a people, our beliefs are intertwined with animism, what we own, handle, or tend becomes imbued with an element of the nature of the one who is owning, handling, or tending – for me that is a serious consideration when it comes to charlatans and those who market and otherwise corrupt our ceremonies and beliefs.
Some will say all pipes are sacred, maybe they are, but I say it is the intent of the one who creates it, their character, and the purpose for which it is employed that either adds or subtracts from the overall value.
For if we are to say we imbue a part of ourselves, our thoughts, and the reality of the manner in which we live our lives then those things become a consideration.
A corrupted pipe can be cleansed but I believe a made for show one is a different story and it is not singularly about form as people globally have and smoke a variety of pipes having nothing to do with ceremonies or beliefs.
I believe pipes in this being imbued much the same as sacred objects are specific to the nation they originate within and should remain there while recognition and respect should be shown by all nations.
They were never meant to be a part of a private collection, displayed in museums, sold, listed on ebay, or held by someone not of the nation they are specific to.
And it is for this reason I declined the passage of a pipe from another nation to me – not out of disrespect, rather respect, and that is all I will say about it.
What I have expressed are my beliefs and make no claim they are universal, some may agree and some may not.
I claim no authority or expertise, what I speak is the result of what I have been taught, witnessed, experienced, and the understanding I have arrived at due those influences.