When we came to the clearing, it was obvious that we had arrived. It felt like the right place. He pointed to the exact place I felt drawn to, and began cast the boundary of the sacred space with prayer ties once I took my position. The significance of his words here magnified by the hours of silence they broke.
None of the Lakota religious ceremonies I have ever participated in were easy. Success was always earned through physical, emotional and spiritual discomfort and endurance. And the Hanblecha was no different.
But the results were life changing.
I have perpetuated my own similar practices, intermittently over the years. The last time, a group of Kinsmen and I rented a place; not easy to get to, and not easy to find. But once we arrived, we found it to be a more than adequate environment for us to conduct a rewarding Útiseta ceremony.
The key to a spiritual retreat, is the "retreat." It is as much about the travel, as it is the destination. The very process of a pilgrimage properly prepares the mind for the events, soon to come, once arrived at the a place set aside for sacred things.
I have heard many groups, over many years; talk, plan, and dream of owning their own land. Of building their own temples. With only a select few having accomplished those dreams. But last week, one more was added to the short list of success.
I am proud to announce that last week several acres of remote and undeveloped land was purchased near Red Rock Canyon State Park in Southern California.
A place now called Vakinheim or "home of Awakening."
A place we can retreat to, when we need to re-awaken ourselves; this land has been acquired and designated to serve as a Spiritual Retreat Center.
There are plans for multiple individual primitive camping sites, and a open air Mead Hall. But no plans for electricity or plumbing. We're keeping it old school.
Site development is scheduled to start next week. The inaugural Land Taking and Dedication Ceremony is scheduled for early next spring.
The Vaknir Kinnish Commonwealth now owns its own tribal land.
We're planning to sell t-shirts.