By Food Babe
Tea is something I drink every single day. It’s sacred at my house – I even have a whole drawer devoted to it! I drink it because it is amazing for your health. There are so many varieties of tea that can improve digestion, metabolism and even prevent certain diseases. This investigation into tea ingredients has been in the making for a long time. What I’m about to share with you totally rocked my world forever and I’ll never look at tea in the same way again. Do you really want to know what’s in your tea?…Then read on.
Food Babe’s Tea DrawerThe ancient Chinese tradition of drinking tea dates back thousand of years to the early Chinese dynasties and aristocrats who drank the beverage for its medicinal properties. In ancient times, leaves from the Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) were either ground into a powder or placed as loose leaves directly into water to infuse it with herbal essence. Unfortunately, modern day tea is nothing like the unadulterated version of old tea. Many of today’s tea brands are operating under the guise of providing health benefits and promoting clean living, but are actually laden with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and GMOs.
Conventional Teas – An Abundance of Pesticides
Did you know that most tea is not washed before it is put it into bags? That means if the tea was sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides, those pesticides go directly into your cup. And this is the reason why tea is on my organic shopping priority list. To prove this point, here are some shocking facts about one of the most well-known tea brands – Celestial Seasonings.
A recent third-party analysis by Glaucus Research and discussed here found that 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea tested had pesticide residues exceeding the U.S. limits. For example, Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal contained 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which is a known carcinogen under California’s Propsition 65.
The “Wellness” tea line was found to contain traces of propargite, also a known carcinogen and developmental toxin. The FDA has already issued two warning letters to Celestial Seasonings in regard to poor quality control according to this source. Imagine what happens when pesticide-laden tea is steeped in boiling water.
If grocery store brands don’t provide a clean option for you, perhaps a high-end loose leaf tea would circumvent some of the issues of grocery store brands. Right? Wrong! Take Teavana, which is found in malls across North America for example. Teavana taps into tea culture with the “Teavana Experience.” Convincing their employees to take customers on a sensory journey – they open a huge canister of loose leaf tea and wave the top of the canister so you can smell the tea – touting all of the wonderful health benefits of tea complete with samples and manipulative demonstrations that end in an expensive visit to the tea shop. Is all the extra money worth it? Are customers getting a superior tea product? No.
Teavana tea was tested by an independent lab and 100 percent of it was found to contain pesticides. One tea in particular, Monkey Picked Oolong, contained 23 pesticides. 77 percent of the teas would fail European Union pesticide import standards, and would be banned from import. 62 percent of the teas tested contained traces of endosulfan, a pesticide that has been banned by the U.S., China, the E.U., and 144 other countries because it has been linked to impaired fertility and could harm unborn babies.
UPDATE (May 27, 2014): Glaucus Research funded the research done by Eurofins Scientific (an independent lab) and admits on their disclaimer that they are biased because they would make money if Hain’s stock declines. However – I am not sure that Eurofins’ research should be completely discounted on this point alone. Since I wrote this post, Celestial has been sued in a class-action lawsuit based on the pesticides that Eurofins found in their teas and for mislabeling of them as “100% Natural”. The jury is still out on whether Eurofins’ research will be considered legit, as this case is still active in California. The Plaintiffs contend that Celestial’s teas contain “pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, carcinogens, and/or developmental toxins (collectively, “Contaminants”)” and Celestial “did not dispute – and has never disputed – that the tea Products contained Contaminants. Nor has (Celestial) challenged the results of the Eurofins Tests” and “has not claimed that Eurofins was biased or that the Eurofins Tests were not, in fact, accurate”. Even if it is determined that Eurofins’ research was not accurate – it’s important to note that Celestial’s tea that was tested is NOT organic and some of this tea is sourced from China. Greenpeace issued a report on the alarming amount of pesticides found on tea from China, followed up by a detailed report on Lipton brand tea from China – in which they recommend only purchasing certified organic tea to avoid these pesticides. Reference law documents: Complaint; Plaintiff’s Memo in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss. Case 8:13-cv-01757-AG-AN
Teas Can Contain Artificial Flavoring, Natural Flavors, and Hidden GMOs
Furthermore, a majority of Teavana teas contain added flavor – specifically “artificial flavoring.” If their tea is so high end, why would they be adding ingredients produced by fractional distillation and chemical manipulation of various chemicals like crude oil or coal tar? Coal tar in my tea? No, thanks.
Many popular tea brands get away with using the ingredient “natural flavors” to trick the consumer into thinking they are buying better, cleaner ingredients; however companies are just covering up the inferior taste and low quality of their tea. Fortunately, there are brands that are putting the kibash on the use of natural flavors and using all real ingredients. I was happy to learn that Ahmed Rahim, CEO of Numi Tea is just as disgusted by this ingredient as I am. He said to me “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.” This is why when I see the words “natural flavor” listed on a label – I put the product down and run far far away. I want to know what I am eating! Don’t you?
Additionally, the added risk of consuming possible GMOs is not something many people think about when consuming teas. Before this investigation and witnessing tea companies using modified corn starch and soy lecithin in tea (additives likely made from genetically engineered corn and soy), I didn’t think about it either! I can’t imagine having a serious soy allergy, considering all the places companies try to hide it.
Why The Tea Bag & Packaging Matters
A recent article in The Atlantic discusses the “silky sachet” and “luxurious mesh bags” that hold loose leaf teas (like in brands Tea Forte and Mighty Leaf). Turns out, these modern day bags meant to showcase the tea leaves, are made of plastic.
PLA (polylactic acid) is a (likely GMO) corn-based tea bag material that has attracted major tea companies due to its nice look and its claims of biodegradability. Terms like “silky sachets” and “corn-based biodegradable tea bags” mislead customers into believing a product is more natural and sustainable than it really is. While the processing for PLA removes all traces of genetic material, it is still made with genetically modified corn. Although the actual tea bag is not an ingredient like teas and herbs, it is an element that is put into boiling water.
According to The Atlantic, tea bags are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which are two of what’s considered the safest plastics on the scale of harmful leaching potential. However, Dr. Mercola disagrees, he states:
“While these plastics are generally considered among the safest in terms of leaching potential, the molecules in these plastic tea bags may still in fact break down and leach out when steeped in boiling water…” Well, isn’t that how tea is prepared?
Another temperature consumers need to worry about in tea is the “glass transition” temperature. Here’s the science behind the glass transition temperature or, Tg, and why it becomes dangerous according to The Atlantic:
“That is the temperature at which the molecule in certain materials such as polymers begin to break down. As a rule, the Tg of a material is always lower than the melting point. In the case of PET and food grade nylon (either nylon 6 or nylon 6-6), all have a Tg lower than the temperature of boiling water. For example, while the melting point of PET is 482 degrees Fahrenheit, the Tg is about 169 degrees. Both nylons have a lower glass transition temperature than PET. (Remember that water boils at 212 degrees.) This means the molecules that make up these plastic tea bags begin to break down in hot water.”
So, while the plastic itself won’t melt in your tea, the glass transition temperature could potentially leak out harmful phthalates if there are such things in your tea. Another thing to worry about is that some of the newer tea bags are made with a variety of plastics. Some plastics are nylon, some are made of viscose rayon, and others are made of thermoplastic, PVC or polypropylene.
Beware of paper tea bags too, which can be worse than plastic tea bags.
GET THIS: Also according to Dr. Mercola, many “paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins. Considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health2 (NIOSH), epichlorohydrin is also used as a pesticide. When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It has also been implicated in infertility (it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats) and suppressed immune function.”
So what do you do the next time you want a cup of tea? Antioxidant rich teas aren’t going to do much to counterbalance the chemicals, additives and artificial flavorings in today’s modern teas.
First, I recommend looking at this chart below to see how your favorite tea brand stacks up:
Tea Comparison Updated 2 2015
And then when brewing and picking out the safest tea remember these tips:
1. Choose an organic & non-GMO certified brand of tea. (My favorites are Numi, Traditional Medicinals, and Rishi Tea (loose leaf)).
2. Check the ingredient list on the back of the tea package to make sure there are no added flavors, GMO ingredients like soy lecithin and corn starch added to the tea leaves.
3. Make sure the brand you buy uses a safe form of packaging material or buy loose leaf tea and use a stainless steel or glass tea strainer. Have the company verify that bags do not contain epichlorophydrin, and avoid plastic tea bags all together. (Numi and Traditional Medicinals are some of the only brands I trust in this category because they have publicly stated they do not use this harmful ingredient or GMO packaging and are Non-GMO Project verified.)
4. The majority of restaurants use some of the most pesticide ridden tea and brands that have harmful packaging like Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, etc. Don’t fall victim to this. Bring your own tea when eating out or going to restaurants and ask for pot or cup of boiling water (remember to leave a good tip if you do this). I even do this at Starbucks because I like to vote with my dollars and not buy tea brands that are harmful. If you drink iced tea, brew your own at home and carry an insulated water bottle with you.
5. Remember these temps and times for brewing the perfect cup of tea
If you know someone who loves to drink tea, please share this post with them. I was just as shocked as you probably are about all of this craziness – knowing what’s in our tea and what we put in our body matters! Let’s change the world together.
By Food Babe
In Native cultures, men and woman are recognized by the length and glory of their hair. The cutting of hair by oppressors has long represented the submission and defeat of a People, through humiliation. The way a People comb (the Alignment of thought), braid (the Oneness of thought), tie (the Securing of thought) and color (the Conviction in thought), their Hair is of great significance. Each hair style represents a different frame of mind.
Hair is largely believed by them to be an extension of your thoughts. Hair styles are especially important for they portray and announce participation in various events. Your hair style indicates your state of merriment or mourning at a given time, whether you’re marriageable or married, your age, and tribal status. It is a representation of your feelings and your life situation.
Different styles signify the Tribe one belongs to and are worn to indicate times of peace or war. Hair is just not a fashion accessory for aesthetic advancement, it’s literally the pinnacle of their spiritual expression and is a source of their strength, intuition and power.
We usually think of hair as just being a matter of personal preference, but in reality its much more than that. Nature put every hair on your body for a reason. The hair of the legs regulates the glandular system and stabilizes a person’s electromagnetic field. The hair under the armpits protects the very sensitive area where the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems come together; this affects the brain and your energy level.
Eyebrows protect the eyes from sun and sweat. Facial hair on men covers the moon center on the chin and protects them from excessive moon energy. The hair on top of the head is very long, while the hair on the body is short. If it were only for warmth, the hair on the body would be long also. We only have long hair right over the brain. We are practically the only creatures designed this way. Some say hair is your antenna to receive a picture of the subtle world around you, to tell when people are lying, to feel things before they happen, etc..
The natural intelligence of the body is to maintain its hairs. If you allow the hair on the head to grow undisturbed; it will grow to a certain length required by your body and then it will stop. Perhaps you have noticed among Sikhs who do not cut their hair that hair length is different for each person. Each body has its own requirement. The hair also reflects the health of the individual.
It has been proven scientifically that people who have long hair tend to be less tired, more energetic and less likely to become depressed. People who have long hair also conserve energy and don’t feel the cold of winter the same as people with short hair. A person who has short hair wastes his body’s energy. A person who cuts his hair over his lifetime forces the body to grow 22 meters of replacement hair. A person who keeps his hair only produces 1.5 meters of hair over his lifetime.
Think of the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible! He lost his strength when she cut his hair! Another example of the power of hair: To humiliate the conquered people of China, Genghis Khan made them cut their hair and wear bangs over the forehead! (Bangs cover the 3rd eye, inhibiting intuition and subtle knowledge.)
Hair is a conductor of the body’s electromagnetic energy. Ever see how the antenna wire in an AM radio is coiled in a circle? That’s because of something called induction. Induction causes any conductor of electromagnetic energy to induce a current in adjacent conductors. This means that when you coil a conductor, the signal becomes much stronger. Hairs on top of the head act as antennae. They conduct energy into the body.
Besides absorbing information, hair also has the ability to emit energy patterns and frequencies into the environment. This has been seen in hair experiments that involve Kirlian photography. For more information on Kirlian photography, read this enlightening article.
Also, wearing the hair on top of the head protects the top of the head from sun and exposure, as well as channeling solar energy and improving vitamin D absorption. The body grows hair for a reason.
I think the Natives had it right when they treated hair as a necessary component to their spiritual life. I have personally been growing my hair for years now, and I don’t think I will wear it short ever again. I just feel more natural and more attuned with myself when it’s long. If we truly were made in the image of something divine, why not embrace our natural state?
Yogi Bhajan was the wealthy Indian emigrant and guru who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the United States. On the topic of cutting one’s hair, he said:
“Our hair fashions might be just a trend, but if we investigate, we may find that we have been depriving ourselves of one of the most valuable sources of energy for human vitality… When the hair on your head is allowed to attain its full, mature length, then phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D are all produced, and enter the lymphatic fluid, and eventually the spinal fluid through the two ducts on the top of the brain. This ionic change creates more efficient memory and leads to greater physical energy, improved stamina, and patience… Your hair is not there by mistake. It has a definite purpose, which saints will discover and other men will laugh at.”
About The Author
More and more people are wearing sunglasses, even if the sun is not shining bright and I see also that little children (toddlers) have sunglasses on. I remember an article by Dr. Ornstein in the Let’s live Magazine in October 1980 were it is explained that Sunlight is very important, day light is very vital. The Creator provided for our emotional and physical health by giving us the Pineal Gland and commanding “Let there be Light ”
The Pineal Gland is an active, secreting gland throughout life. Natural, unfiltered sunlight is necessary for the proper functioning of this gland. Light as conscious electromagnetic energy from the sun enters the body through the optic nerves of the eyes which, in turn, directly stimulates the pineal gland, a photo reactive organ. The pineal gland converts light energy into an electrochemical impulse which feeds directly into the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus is that part of the brain which mediates all of the vital processes of the body via its immediate and direct connections to the pituitary gland and the autonomic nervous system. The hypothalamus is filled with light sensitive cells which convert the electromagnetic signal of light into a neurochemical impulse which is then carried directly into the pituitary Gland. The pituitary , in turn, elaborates and secretes hormones within the body, thereby maintaining homeostasis. Learning all this makes us think when to wear sunglasses and also not to put them at little children’s eyes.
The eyes are able to adjust to sunlight much more then we give them credit for. When we work in facilities with artificial light during the day then we can agree that people are not getting enough natural light. One statement that Dr. Ornstein made in his article mentioned before.
Another source also questions the correlation between sunglasses and the pineal gland.
In the book Nature‘s Detox Plan – A Program for Physical and Emotional Detoxification By Roy Mankovitz, it is stated that “The downside to wearing sunglasses is that it interferes with a portion of the endocrine system involving the pineal gland, which is light responsive. We do not fully understand the operation of the pineal gland, but from what we do know, you do not want to mess with it.” (page 145)
The following was published in a recent article on Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Limit the amount of time you wear sunglasses because sunglasses limit the light traveling from the eyes to the pineal gland.
More sunlight exposure during the day is one approach for increasing melatonin production. Be sure to take off your glasses including sun glasses when getting sun light because the Pineal gland is stimulated by the light through the eyes.
Besides giving you raccoon eyes, have you ever wondered about the correlation between wearing sunglasses and the amount of light that reaches your pineal gland?
- Pineal Gland & The Third Eye [Video] (shiftfrequency.com)
August 26, 2012
Some Dora branded school supplies are reportedly loaded with toxic chemicals.
Toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects have been discovered in children’s vinyl back-to-school supplies, a new report claims.
Seventy five per cent of children’s school supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney, Spiderman, and Dora branded school supplies, vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, three-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots, according to the report, Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children’s Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies.
“We found elevated levels of toxic phthalates widespread in children’s school supplies. These chemicals, manufactured by Exxon Mobil, have no place in children’s school supplies.” Mike Schade from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and the author of the report, said in a statement Sunday. “While phthalates are banned in children’s toys, similar safeguards don’t exist to keep them out of lunchboxes, backpacks and other children’s school supplies.”
The report says that one product, the Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox, contained an estimated 27,900 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate DEHP.
“If this were a children’s toy, it would be over 27 times the federal safety limit,” Schade says.
Kathy Curtis, the executive director of Clean and Healthy New York, said the report highlights the fact that “parents can’t assume that a product is safe for their kids simply because it’s on a store shelf.”
ads not by this site
On Sunday, CHEJ published a Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies, a guide to safer school supplies in over 40 product categories, to help parents find safer children’s back-to-school supplies. The guide can be found on the organization’s site: http://chej.org/Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
(OMNS May 14, 2012) People have been misinformed about the tragedy at Fukushima and its consequences. There is a continuing cover up, the reactors have not been stabilized, and radiation continues to be released. The Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy (JCIT) has recently released a video for people wishing to learn more about how to protect themselves from contamination by taking large doses of vitamin C.
All four parts of the video are also available here http://firstlaw.wordpress.com/. Readers may link to, embed in their webpages, and make copies of the video for free distribution.
Japanese Government Minimizes Danger; Ignores Vitamin C
In the fall of 2011, JCIT presented a study that Fukushima workers had abnormality gene expression, which may be avoided using dietary antioxidants, especially vitamin C. The data was presented in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. The JCIT sent letters to the government urging the government to tell the people how they may protect themselves from radiation. To date, the recommendation has been ignored by Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company).
Linus Pauling gained the Nobel Peace Prize in part based on his calculations of the number of deaths from nuclear weapons fallout. He was supported by physicist and father of the Soviet bomb Andrei Sakharov, who also later received the Nobel Prize for peace. These and other scientists estimated that there would be an extra 10,000 deaths worldwide for each megaton nuclear test in the atmosphere. A nuclear reactor can contain much more radioactive material than a nuclear weapon. Fukushima had six reactors, plus stored additional radioactive material and nuclear waste.
How Radiation Damages Cells
Ionizing radiation acts to damage living tissue by forming free radicals. Essentially, electrons are ripped from molecules. Removing an electron from an atom or molecule turns it into an ion, hence the term ionizing radiation. X-rays, gamma rays, alpha- and beta-radiation are all ionizing.
Most of the damage occurs from ionizing radiation generating free radicals in water, as water molecules are by far the most abundant in the body. While avoiding unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation is clearly preferable, people affected by Fukushima do not have the luxury of avoiding contamination.
Antioxidants: Free-Radical Scavengers
Free-radical scavengers, as the name suggests, mop up the damaging radicals produced by radiation. The more common term for free radical scavenger is antioxidant. Antioxidants replace the electrons stripped from molecules by ionizing radiation. Antioxidants have long been used in the treatment of radiation poisoning.[3-7] Most of the harm from ionizing radiation occurs from free radical damage which may be quenched by the free electrons antioxidants provide. Fortunately, safe antioxidants are widely available as nutritional supplements. Vitamin C is the prime example.
Why Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is of particular importance and should be included at high intakes for anyone trying to minimize radiation poisoning. High dose vitamin C provides continual antioxidant flow through the body. It is absorbed from the gut and helps to replenish the other antioxidants. When it is used up, it is excreted in the urine. Importantly, it can chelate, or grab onto, radioactive heavy metal atoms and help eliminate them from the body. Large dynamic flow doses of vitamin C (about 3,000 mg, taken 4 times a day for a total of 12,000 mg) would exemplify antioxidant treatment. Higher doses have been used by Dr. Atsuo Yanagisawa and colleagues. [8,9]
Shortly after the disaster, Dr. Damien Downing described how supplements can help protect against radioactive fallout. OMNS issued an update on the response to Fukushima in Japan. Recently, Dr. Gert Schuitemaker has provided a review of vitamin C as a radio-protectant for Fukushima contamination.
Persons living in the areas affected by radioactive contamination can take antioxidant supplements, especially high doses of vitamin C, to counteract the negative consequences of long-term low dose radiation exposure, as well as to protect the health of coming generations.[12,13] People who have a possible internal or external radiation exposure should take antioxidant supplements to maintain an optimal antioxidant reserve. Because of the enormous size and oceanic spread of Fukushima contamination, this literally applies to everyone.
|“The International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine is pleased to have participated in the making of this important DVD on the protective effects of intravenous vitamin C on radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011. We are in full support of the valuable work of Dr. Yanagisawa and his colleagues, and we very much appreciate the commitment of Mr. Daisuke Shibata, who has made it possible for the free distribution of the video around the world. May this orthomolecular message raise awareness and foster improvement in the treatment of radiation exposure.” Steven Carter Director, International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine|
1. The Nobel Foundation (1962) The Nobel Peace Prize 1962, Linus Pauling Biography, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1962/pauling-bio.html.
2. Sakharov A. (1975) The Nobel Peace Prize 1975, Andrei Sakharov, Autobiography, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1975/sakharov-autobio.html.
3. Brown SL, Kolozsvary A, Liu J, et al: Antioxidant diet supplementation starting 24 hours after exposure reduces radiation lethality. Radiat Res, 2010; 173: 462-468.
4. Zueva NA, Metelitsa LA, Kovalenko AN, et al: Immunomodulating effect of berlithione in clean-up workers of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident [Article in Russian]. Lik Sprava, 2002; (1): 24-26.
5. Yamamoto T, Kinoshita M et al. Pretreatment with ascorbic acid prevents lethal gastrointestinal syndrome in mice receiving a massive amount of radiation. J Radiat Res (Tokyo) 2010; 51(2):145-56
6. Gaby A. Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: the “Myers’ Cocktail”. Alt Med Rev 2002; 7(5):389:403
7. Narra VR, Howell RW, Sastry KS, Rao DV. Vitamin C as a radioprotector against iodine-131 in vivo. J Nucl Med 1993; 34(4):637-40
8. Yanagisawa A. Orthomolecular approaches against radiation exposure. Presentation Orthomolecular Medicine Today Conference. Toronto 2011 http://www.doctoryourself.com/Radiation_VitC.pptx.pdf )
9. Green MH, Lowe JE et al. Effect of diet and vitamin C on DNA strand breakage in freshly-isolated human white blood cells. Mutat Res 1994; 316(2):91-102
10. Downing D. (2011) Radioactive Fallout: Can Nutritional Supplements Help?, A Personal Viewpoint, OMNS, May 10, http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n04.shtml.
11. OMNS (2012) Vitamin C Prevents Radiation Damage, Nutritional Medicine in Japan, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 1. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n06.shtml
12. Schuitemaker GE. Vitamin C as protection against radiation exposure. J Orthomolecular Med 2011, 26: 3; 141-145. [Also in Dutch: Schuitemaker G.E. Radioactiviteit in Japan: Orthomoleculair antwoord. Ortho 2011:3, June. http://www.ortho.nl ]
13. Yanagisawa A, Uwabu M, Burkson BE, Weeks BS, Hunninghake R, Hickey S, Levy T, (2011) Environmental radioactivity and health. Official JCIT Statement, March 29. http://media.iv-therapy.jp/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Statement.pdf
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As Keeper of our Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, I am concerned for the 2 deaths and illnesses of the many people that participated in a sweat lodge in Sedona, Arizona that brought our sacred rite under fire in the news. I would like to clarify that this lodge and many others, are not our ceremonial way of life, because of the way they are being conducted. My prayers go out for their families and loved ones for their loss.
Our ceremonies are about life and healing, from the time this ancient ceremonial rite was given to our people, never has death been a part of our inikag’a (life within) when conducted properly. Today the rite is interpreted as a sweat lodge, it is much more then that. So the term does not fit our real meaning of purification.
Inikag’a is the oldest ceremony brought to us by Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit).
19 generations ago, the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people), were given seven sacred rites of healing by a Spirit Woman Pte San Win (White Buffalo Calf Woman). She brought these rites along with our sacred C’anupa (pipe) to our People, when our ancestors were suffering from a difficult time. It was also brought for the future to help us for much more difficult times to come. They were brought to help us stay connected to who we are as a traditional cultural People. The values of conduct are very strict in any of these ceremonies, because we work with spirit. The way the Creator, Wakan Tanka told us; that if we stay humble and sincere, we will keep that connection with the inyan oyate (the stone people), who we call the Grandfathers, to be able to heal our selves and loved ones. We have a gift of prayer and healing and have to stay humble with our Unc’i Maka (Grandmother Earth) and with one another. The inikag¹a is used in all of the seven sacred rites to prepare and finish the ceremonies, along with the sacred eagle feather. The feather represents the sacred knowledge of our ancestors.
Our First Nations People have to earn the right to pour the mini wic’oni (water of life) upon the inyan oyate (the stone people) in creating Inikag’a
– by going on the vision quest for four years and four years Sundance. Then you are put through a ceremony to be painted – to recognize that you have now earned that right to take care of someone¹s life through purification.
They should also be able to understand our sacred language, to be able to understand the messages from the Grandfathers, because they are ancient, they are our spirit ancestors. They walk and teach the values of our culture; in being humble, wise, caring and compassionate.
What has happened in the news with the make shift sauna called the sweat lodge is not our ceremonial way of life!
When you do ceremony – you can not have money on your mind. We deal with the pure sincere energy to create healing that comes from everyone in that circle of ceremony. The heart and mind must be connected. When you involve money, it changes the energy of healing. The person wants to get what they paid for; the Spirit Grandfathers will not be there, our way of life is now being exploited! You do more damage then good. No mention of monetary energy should exist in healing, not even with a can of love donations. When that energy exists, they will not even come. Only Œafter¹ the ceremony, between the person that is being healed and the Intercessor who has helped connect with the Great Spirit, the energy of money can be given out of appreciation. That exchange of energy is from the heart; it is private and does not involve the Grandfathers! Whatever gift of appreciation the person who received the help, can now give the Intercessor what ever they feel their healing is worth.
In our Prophesy of the White Buffalo Calf Woman, she told us that she would return and stand upon the earth when we are having a hard time. In 1994 this began to happen with the birth of the white buffalo, not only their nation, but many animal nations began to show their sacred color, which is white.
She predicted that at this time there would be many changes upon Grandmother Earth. There would be things that we never experienced or heard of before; climate changes, earth changes, diseases, disrespect for life and one another would be shocking and there would be also many false prophets!
My Grandmother that passed the bundle to me said I would be the last Keeper if the Oyate (people) do not straighten up. The assaults upon Grandmother Earth are horrendous, the assaults toward one another was not in our culture, the assaults against our People (Oyate) have been termed as genocide, and now we are experiencing spiritual genocide!
Because of the problems that began to arise with our rebirth of being able to do our ceremonies in the open since the Freedom of Religion Act of 1978, our Elders began talking to me about the abuses they seen in our ceremonial way of life, which was once very strict. After many years of witnessing their warnings, we held a meeting to address this very issue of lack of protocol in our ceremonies. After reaching an agreement of addressing the misconduct of our ceremonies and reminding of the proper protocols, a statement was made in March 2003. Every effort was made to insure our way of life of who we are as traditional cultural People was made, because these ways are for our future and all life upon the Grandmother Earth (Mitakuye Oyasin All my relations), so that they may have good health. Because these atrocities are being mocked and practiced all over the world, there was even a film we made called Spirits for Sale.
The non-native people have a right to seek help from our First Nation Intercessors for good health and well-being, it is up to that Intercessor.
That is a privilege for all People that we gift for being able to have good health and understand that their protocol is to have respect and appreciate what we have to share. The First Nations Intercessor has to earn that right to our ceremonial way of life in the ways I have explained.
At this time, I would like to ask all Nations upon Grandmother Earth to please respect our sacred ceremonial way of life and stop the exploitation of our Tunka Oyate (Spiritual Grandfathers).
In a Sacred Hoop of Life, where there is no ending and no beginning!
Namah’u yo (hear my words),
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle.