The sacred reality of the stone Spirit Wheel high above the Bighorn Basin on Medicine Mountain began with the wisdom of one man who carried a spirit wheel lance in 500 BC and led his people from the darkness to the light. Thirteen hundred and eighty six years later, the so-called Great Sioux War began in 1876 with a surprise attack on a predominantly Cheyenne village on the Powder River.
Old Brave Wolf was blind, and his daughter, Elbow Woman, sat him upon a horse she then led from the village on a rein. The three made conspicuous targets, but though bullets whined and crackled around them, they walked away unscathed. Across his lap Old Brave Wolf had rested his spirit wheel lance, which became his eyes in that darkness and rendered the soldiers sightless. The spirit in the wheel was alive and long since had been called into the wheel.
Amongst the Ancient and the Old Ones were those who knew this gift. A spirit, it seems, was called into the wheel of stone on Medicine Mountain and there it still lives and breathes, so still they come, not knowing why, from the four corners of the earth to touch something of that time long ago that still lives within them.
Day 1, Friday, July 13: Arrive Rapid City, SD and shuttle to your hotel for a relaxed evening prior to the commencement of your journey into Cheyenne culture. Stay: RAP.
Day 2, Saturday, July 14: Seekers of faith and curiosity come from all around the world to look upon the Medicine Wheel. It’s an allure that transcends race or creed; like the scent of earth in fresh rain remembered in one’s genetic memory. This special journey begins at the sacred heart of the Tsistsistas universe - Nóávóse, Bear Butte, known as the Mountain Where People Are Taught. Stay: Spearfish, SD.
Day 3, Sunday, July 15: Today we visit the Bear’s Lodge, known in the mainstream as Devil’s Tower, and begin to discover that within tribal culture, the Medicine Wheel and the evolution of the indigenous cultural and spiritual sites that surround it form a matrix that speaks of ancient knowledge: a pledge to renew the covenant between the people and the spirits, the people and the buffalo, and all of the living, be they four-legged, rooted or winged. Stay: Sheridan, WY.
Day 4, Monday, July 16: There may be more than one hundred and fifty spirit wheels of stone on the Great Plains. Some stand before such wheels and see only an imperfect beauty that does not conform to the needs of the modern eye or the linear mind. But for those who watch and listen, seeking inspiration from the stories of the ancient quest for renewal in a sacred place that holds the powers of conception and emergence, the beauty is unmistakable and they begin to appreciate the commitment of the Old Ones to adhere to the Creator’s will. This day, our story of that commitment continues at Gourd Buttes, where the practical enactment of the sacred is undertaken every fall. Stay: Sheridan, WY.
Day 5, Tuesday, July 17: Lake De Smet; the sacred water where we look into the Center Place, then on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation we view the symbolism of native imagery with respect, standing before rugged cliff faces and amazing sandstone features at the Deer Medicine Rocks to witness visual representations of the sacred where the voices of the Old Ones resonate through the communicative pattern of rock art. Stay: Sheridan, WY.
Day 6, Wednesday, July 18: At Legend Rock we witness the visual interpretation of the Creation and Emergence set high on a cliff face, deep in the mists of time. Stay: Riverton, WY.
Day 7, Thursday, July 19: Castle Gardens; the sacred site that heralds the renewal of birth. To many a mass of interesting rock etchings, but to some, a code for the unborn and their continued existence. And here still is a teaching for the future if only we can reconnect to the ancestral memory, instead of inheriting then leaving only random pieces. Stay: Riverton, WY.
Day 8, Friday, July 20: This day we travel to the uniquely western town of Cody, Wyoming, beginning at the Plains Indian Museum the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, known as the Smithsonian of the West where we absorb the historical artistry of Plains Indian Tribes in patterns, color and exquisite craftsmanship. We also take time for shopping in Cody’s boutiques and western stores, and you might choose to enjoy dinner at the famed Irma Hotel, named for Buffalo Bill’s daughter, Irma. Stay Cody, WY.
Day 9, Saturday, July 21: Because in native culture, this earthly world is considered merely reflective of the real world in the galaxies above, the ceremonial journey is neither nomadic, nor coincidental. Your earthly journey traces the heliacal rising of the Blue Star, the White Wolf (Sirius), the Morning Star of the Spring Moon (Fomalhaut), and the Red Wolf (Aldebaran) and thus you too are following the narration of tribal existence and the sacred events that formed the origins of the Medicine Wheel. We venture to the north of Yellowstone where we seek the part of the story held by the Winter Solstice at Obsidian Cliff. Stay: Cody.
Day 10, Sunday, July 22: This is the journey of the Tsétsêhéstâhese. For high on Medicine Mountain was the Cheyenne world in its making within the Old Ones’ spiritual universe. We have traversed ancestral landscapes across the Black Hills and the Bighorns, reaching the zenith at 9,642 feet on a pommel of rock and fragile meadow; the apex of Medicine Mountain, where we know that it is not simply the shrine or enactment of ceremony alone that consecrates this ground, but the sacrifice given in its making and the annual return of ceremonial dance forever etched into earth and rock. Stay: Billings.
Day 11, Monday, July 23: Depart from Billings, MT OR STAY ON for some world-class relaxation:
HOT SPRINGS OF THE PARADISE VALLEY
Day 11, Monday, July 23: Trace the switchbacks along the Beartooth Pass across the most ravishing landscapes Montana and Wyoming have to offer! We level to the plateau where we soak in views over a picnic lunch. Traveling on the Chief Joseph Byway our destination is the northeast gateway to Yellowstone National Park and America's Serengeti – the Lamar Valley; home to wolves, grizzly bears and elk. Our evening is spent ‘spotting’ for wolves in the Valley. Stay: Yellowstone.
Day 12, Tuesday, July 24: We spend the morning amid the travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, discovering that here in Yellowstone there is a greater concentration of geothermic features than anywhere else on the planet. This afternoon we follow the Yellowstone River into the aptly named Paradise Valley where, flanked by the Absaroka and Gallatin mountain ranges, the serenity of a gorgeous Montana afternoon drifts into a relaxing summer evening at the renowned Chico Hot Springs. Dip in the hot springs pool, eat poolside or in the world famous restaurant; this is a place of true rejuvenation. Stay: Chico Hot Springs.
Day 13, Wednesday, July 25: Relaxation or adventure – the choice is yours. The Yellowstone River offers an amazing ride down class three rapids in Yankee Jim Canyon, or a gentle float trip through sensational vistas. Horse back rides are available through gentle rolling hills, or you may choose to relax and reflect poolside with the geothermic hot springs water to soothe you, body and soul. Stay: Chico Hot Springs.
Day 14, Thursday, July 26: Depart from Bozeman, Montana. NB. Please do not book flights before 12 noon.
Your tour cost is dependent on how many people in your room. Please call NOW to ascertain if you are eligible for any of our generous tour discounts.
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USA South Dakota Wyoming Montana Local Culture Cultural Journey Pilgrimage/Spirituality