We were told by Bunny Sings Wolf, a Lakota healer and our new maske’, which is a noun for female friend of a woman, that Mato Tipila which means bear lodge is the Lakota name for Devils Tower. It is sacred ground for not only the Lakota but all Native Americans. It is a most awe inspiring place. It is steeped in history and whispers the voices of the ancestors who came before us. It rises some 1200 feet above the Belle Fourche River. It is composed of Phonolite which is supposed to “sing” when struck by a hammer.
Lynn and I were up and at the tower at sunrise. Valuable lesson: being at the base of the tower at sunrise does not make for a good sunrise photo. In spite of that, we were the only humans there and it was both eerie and energizing.
The month of June is designated as a sacred time and climbers voluntarily stay off the mountain. We don’t know why, but when we were there, three climbers were making their way to the top. If you look closely you will see them.
Lynn and I had a stone massage with Bunny Sings Wolf. She is a gifted Lakota healer, but she is also an incredible artist and musician. She has deep Lakota roots and is very active in preservation of the tower and the ceremony connected to it. You can read more about this nation’s first national monument by simply googling Devils Tower. Spend some time and read the legends. And plan a trip in your future. Well worth it.
Advice from the Tower by Ilan Shamir
Reach for the sky
Stand up for yourself
Tell stories of the past
Stay strong together
Be respectful of Sacred Places
Be rock solid!