Healing Ceremony

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Native American Woman Finds Strength in Spiritual Ceremony

Editor’s Note: In a world where random violence seems to be a constant threat, it can feel like we’re on our own, unprotected and unsupported. As part of our occasional series “What’s Your Story,” Sheila Jumping Bull of Oakland describes how she found strength and solace from a spiritual ceremony called “Wiping of the Tears.”

By Sheila Jumping Bull

Shiela Jumping-Bull records her commentary in a KQED studio as part of the "What's Your Story?" series.

Shiela Jumping-Bull records her commentary in a KQED studio as part of the “What’s Your Story?” series. (Shuka Kalantari/KQED)

Two years ago I was shot in my leg while waiting for the bus. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After being shot, I was told that I would never walk again, or that if I did, I’d have to walk with a cane. Being that I had to stay in bed for three months straight, not being able to walk or hold my own baby or do anything for myself, I became depressed. I didn’t want anything to do with life. Mentally, I was not here. I couldn’t believe what was going on. I was angry, confused and hurt.

We have a medicine man that comes to our Native community, once a month. He does ceremonies, sweat lodges, talking circles. He did a ceremony called Wiping of the Tears. I didn’t want to participate in this ceremony, but a lot of people from the Native American community told me that I should because it would help me.

As I prayed and as these songs were being sung, I could feel my spirit coming back.
A Wiping of the Tears ceremony is where you call upon your ancestors and those who have passed before you to come and help heal you — and take away your pain. As the medicine man sings these songs, these sacred songs, these ceremonial songs, you pray, and you ask for their guidance, their strength, their love, and their help. Continue reading