Native American Ceremony

I think I am writing this for myself as much as I am for anyone who wants to hear about our ceremony last Saturday night. First, thank you for all your comments, emails, texts, pictures of candles lit, people telling us all over the country that they were holding some sort of prayer/meditation for us. We felt so supported.

Pulling off this ceremony was no small feat. The more I saw how involved it was to put this together, the more shocked I was that my sister made it happen in less than two weeks. Sometimes these ceremonies take 6 months to a year to pull off. People came from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado..most of them driving. And even my sister didn’t know many of these people. You must be wondering why? Why drive 30 hours for someone you have never met, know nothing about? That’s what Lance and I were asking ourselves. The answer is simple. That is what these people do. If someone is suffering or sick, they come and pray.  Maybe they have suffered in the past and they want to give back. We can relate to that. They have the purest hearts and the best intentions and that became clearer and clearer as the night went on.

I started realizing the day before when my sister arrived with some friends how much was going into this ceremony. They (meaning the people involved to make this ceremony happen…and trust me when i say it was a lot) pray on everything…how they prepare the food, how they put up the tee pee, how they tie the polls, how they cut the wood, the water, the fire, EVERYTHING is full of intention and prayer. At one point, Lance was helping prepare the food chatting about this and that while my sister and her Native friend were dead silent. I quickly filled Lance in on how you are supposed to be preparing the food in silence, with intention and prayer. He was silent from that moment forward.

Saturday night. We arrived at 7:45pm. All I could see besides people milling about in the dark was this enormous tee pee pitched outside with a glow of a fire being started inside (no matches were used). It looked a lot like the picture above only there was the whole front range of snow peaked mountains behind and the night was clear with Venus and Jupiter shining brightly in the sky. When we went into the tee pee, we had very specific places to sit, next to the person who conducts the ceremony and his wife.  I cannot express enough how meticulous everything is run with such a specific protocol. I was a little ambivalent about what I had gotten us into mostly because this was a 12 hour ceremony, sitting up all night long. I like my sleep! There were approximately forty people sitting all around the tee pee and at least half were Native Americans.

Lance was asked to speak of his story from day one, all the details that we have been through so that these people knew exactly what was going on and what to pray for. Then I was asked to speak which was really through a lot of tears but they understood.

The most crucial and well attended part of this whole ceremony was the fire. The fire is everything. Well the water is too because without heat and without water we cannot survive. Tending the fire is A LOT of work. One person is appointed to tend to the fire but others help. The fire is a prayer and an art form in itself.

Without going into all the details, there is drumming and singing all night long. The songs are Native American prayers. In between all the singing and drumming, there were very specific prayers made to Lance and I sometimes spoken in English and sometime Navajo. People would share stories which helped us understand why they would come all this way for someone they had never met.

I can’t really explain the whole process of the tee pee meeting (as a Native said to me…you can explain all you want but you really need to experience it) but there are a lot of rituals and prayers and cedar burning. There were children 13 and 14 years old that sat perfectly still, sang the most beautiful songs and just kind of blew my mind!

Around 5AM I heard a rooster crow and I have to admit, I was like, “Oh Thank God this is almost over.” (I was uncomfortable and getting restless). Little did I know this was hours before we were getting out!!! I had a moment of panic and whispered to my sister, “I can’t do the sweat lodge after this!” and she looked at me in her still position that she had been in ALL NIGHT LONG and said to me, “What are you worrying about that for? That’s not for another 4 hours. You should be in the moment.” Point taken but 4 more hours?!!

After the ceremony and after the 2 hour sweat lodge, there was a feast organized by my friend Roxanna. For a moment, I thought, “I can’t believe I invited people to come here.” I wasn’t exactly feeling social. However, it was incredible when they all came, how naturally they all fit in and how they all commented on the love and peaceful and inviting feeling that was just emanating from the place.

It was a magical and moving night…one that we will never forget. We were so touched by the intention of these people. We are so grateful for everyone who participated near and far. Our gratitude is deep, our hearts filled, once again we are humbled.

Hágoónee’ (that’s goodbye in Navajo),



27 thoughts on “Native American Ceremony

  1. words can not express how totally AMAZED I am by that story!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    what a blessing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    what a BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL experience!!!!!!!!!!
    love to you both !!

    PS Thank you so much for sharing and for being so BRAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Nancy, thanks for illuminating the experience of the Native Ceremony. Sounds very powerful (and hard too — the stamina required!). Interested to hear more, especially the sweat lodge part! So cool that people came from far and wide to participate–a beautiful reminder of the goodness that exists in people.

    And of course, I can picture Lance chatting away during the silent food prep. Love that image — so Lance! 😉

  3. Nancy and Lance, I am so moved that you were able to experience that amazing ceremony. Thank you for sharing the story with us all. I have had you and your family on my altar since the posting before this one, sending you prayers and energy. Just know that there are even more of us out there loving you! May the Divine be there holding you, supporting you, and filling you with love. Patty

  4. Wow. What an amazing experience. It brought tears to my eyes. What wonderful, selfless people. XOXO

  5. That sounds incredible! What a unique and amazing experience. I’m thinking of you both and praying each day for your health.

  6. I just cried reading that (sitting at my desk at work)– How amazing to think about people driving 30 hours, praying and meditating all night for someone they didn’t know, and the kids, all beautiful. Lance is so special and deserving of that. Thanks for sharing. You and Lance were of course in our thoughts here on the east coast (and across the country I know). Wish we were closer but your other two sisters, Kate and I, are always here for you both. Lots and lots of love, meg

  7. Thank you for sharing and for your bravery. I am reading this in a busy cafe in downtown SF and just burst into tears overwhelmed by all the courage and hard work you and the community have brought to this whole process. you are in our hearts constantly and just know that you are making a difference in our lives as much or more as we hope our prayers are making in yours. The most important thing at the end of the day is to love and be loved and thank you for doing both so beautifully.

  8. 505-474-3422 is the phone number of homeopathic physician Rae Lunden. At least half her clients are living with / fighting / or healing from cancer. Carcinosin and other remedies have been proven to kill cancer cells in a 2009/10 study at MD Anderson. Here is the link to the published study about one type of cancer:
    I hope you will give her a call, tell her your situation and see what she suggests. I see her. She is soft-spoken, kind and very good at what she does. Blessings to you. Barbara

  9. Great stuff Nancy! Your way with words and the honesty with which you tell the story is truly awesome. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Lance.

  10. Thank you for your generosity in sharing with detail such a rich experience. I feel very lucky to be in on it. With love, Sandra

  11. Why we wait til someone’s hurting to gather our loved ones close, share sacredness, food and loving energy is a crime. Your experiences and generosity in sharing them is a gift to every one of us you are touching. Thank you nancy and lance and blessings to you both. Xoxoxo

  12. I am thinking so much of you & Lance, keeping you in my heart & prayers, especially as I take my daily walks with Baby Nate in the beautiful desert here at sunset.

    Much Love to you both,

  13. Lance and Nance,

    I appreciate that you shared such an incredible experience-all along this journey, you two have shared with such generosity and inspired me (and clearly many others)-You motivated me to get back to practices that are so important for all around well-being. So, while I hope to somehow support you virtually, you have given to others immensely.

    And, how amazing that you were blessed with such a powerful ceremony. The story of your experience landed in my heart.



  14. What a vast honor to be a part of such truth. I myself am humbled just hearing about the experience. The sheer selflessness that has arisen in these kind people out of the enlightened knowledge that we are all one is a gorgeous sight to behold living in the mainstream culture of selfISH that we currently live in. It reminds me that the way one lives is always a choice,and you can choose who and what to align yourself with. And it seems you and Lance have chosen very, very well. As it has also chosen you :))))
    I remain, as always, deeply inspired. And you are continually in my prayers as well.

  15. Whoa! That does sound like something you have to experience for yourself to truly understand but well told Nancy, I was spellbound just reading. What a gift from Lynn to organize and from all the people that shared their talents. Sending love, Kate

  16. Hi Nancy & Lance,

    What a great story! I’ve been thinking of you both so much this year, especially during yoga. You are two truly incredible people with such strong souls and your stories & blogs have been so special to read throughout these last months. I can tell you have an absolutely awesome community of friends & support, it’s really amazing to read. I just wanted to tell you I’m sending all my best prayers & energy your way. I will continue you to do so and wish you you lots of love!!!!!!
    xoxo, Kelly

  17. Dear Nance and Lance,

    Wow, that was an incredible story and perfectly told! I loved the honesty, humility, and humor that you were able to capture…what a cool experience and a cool sister you have, to have made it all happen.

    Much love and prayers to you and your family. Andy

  18. How profoundly moving and, as you say Nancy, humbling, that all these friends and strangers came together to help a fellow human being. Nancy, thank you for your total honesty in sharing this experience. You and Lance continue to be examples of how to live fully and with intention. Sending love and positive energy to the whole family.


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