The Sun Dance

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The Sun Dance Nisarg Gandhi February 5, 2013 GNED172- Section 351 The Sun Dance The leaders of the Lakota Sioux of the Great Plains believed the Sun Dance ritual provided them with extraordinary powers to guide them and their people. What is the Sun Dance and how does it fabricate the Lakota Sioux's religion? The Sun Dance is performed in three different stages, each providing a step closer to the spiritual realm. The body is cleaned in a sweat lodge, then a pipe is smoked and finally the Sun Dance ritual is completed by performing a dance. The ritual is not as simple as it is mentioned above. It is a series of events that leads to the individual taking part to be blessed with visions from the sun god, Wi. The ritual begins with the participants cleansing their body in a sweat lodge, where they not only cleanse their body from the outside but also the inside by sharing with other participants their sins and negative thoughts. This step allows the participants to get purified of all sins. All the participants have to be shown the idea that they are all parts of the world and this is done be smoking a pipe. Each part of the pipe symbolizes a different god. The red stone symbolizes Inyan (the God of Stone) and Maka, the Earth. The stem of the pipe symbolizes the connection between Skan, the Sky God (heaven), and Wi, the Sun God. Finally, the feathers symbolize the power all these gods hold. The smoke from the pipe is spread in all directions connecting all the realms and once the participants smoke the pipe they also are part of the universe, in the presence of the gods. All the events starting from the purification to the connection of the mind, body and soul, with the gods, the participants make their way to the final part of the ritual, the Sun Dance. Pure young girls are to cut down a cottonwood tree chosen by male elders. The
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