Yuwipi Ceremony


The Yuwipi ceremony originated with Woptura, the Oglala Lakota. There energy condenses in such a way that the spirits can manifest in physical form. In this ritual, all those present are touched by the spirits and experience healing. Yuwipi is Lakota and means “they bind him”. This expression has something to do with the course of the ceremony, which is summarized below.


Before the actual ritual, there are many preparations to be made. The altar necessary for the ritual is set up, ceremonial food is cooked and a sweat lodge ceremony is held. It takes place before the participants enter the room where the Yuwipi ceremony will be performed. There is a short break between the sweatlodge and the Yuwipi where participants can change and have a drink.

When everyone is seated in the ceremony room, the Yuwipi man says a prayer. His hands are tied behind his back with a rawhide strap and he is wrapped in a blanket, which is wrapped and knotted with a long rawhide rope.

Once the blanket is placed over the Yuwipi Man, his life in this reality ends.

The Yuwipi man is placed in the altar by the helpers because he can no longer move himself. It is thus the last offering for the spirits to achieve what the ritual is for.

The light is then switched off. The ritual takes place in a completely darkened room.

Now the singers begin to sing songs. After a short time, those present see lights and hear rattles, which are picked up by the spirits and move through the room.

After a few songs, the prayer group begins. Here the women begin and the prayers go around in a circle. Some say their prayer aloud, others silently. The prayer ends with the words “Mitakuye Oyasin” or “All my relatives”. This lets the next person know it’s their turn.

The last to pray is the woman sitting with the pipe. She prays for everyone in the room and asks the spirits to give back the Yuwipi man’s life as she loves him and he is needed.

After the prayer round, more songs are sung and the healing round begins. In this round, the spirits touch everyone present and give them their energy. This energy releases blockages and has a healing effect. After the healing round, the Yuwipi Man is untied by the Spirits and he is free again. Songs of thanksgiving are sung, lights are turned on, and the sacred pipe is smoked.

The ceremonial food given out by the helpers has become medicine through the blessing of the spirits.

At the end, everyone can share their experiences with the others in a discussion group.