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Tea, Ceremony, and the Way to Peace

Chief Phil
Chief Phil

Out on the hardpan of Arizona’s Sonoran desert, huddled together in the blackness of a low, stick-framed structure covered with heavy tarps, a dozen people form a tight, ceremonial circle, seated around a stack of orange-hot stones.

The blazing rocks warm the otherwise pitch-black space, uniting heat and darkness in a mystical bid to blot out both time and space. With the clank of a metal ladle slowly drawing water from a bucket, heads bow, throats clear, and the heartbeat-throb of a drum begins.

Under the intonations of a Lakota prayer, water from the dipper splashes and sizzles the hot stones, steam rises, and an ancient song lights up the space as well as the people.


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