Soon after the public announcement of the relation of Mentor and Candidate, the Mentor should require the Candidate to enter a sweatlodge to ini, or vitalize. Inipi, or vitalizing, is an act of more or less ceremony to stimulate the ni, or vitality, so that it may increase strength and purify the body. Vitalizing may be merely a means of refreshment, a remedial measure for disease, or to purify the body for some important undertaking. It ought always to be done as a preliminary to ceremonies pertaining to the Wakan Tanka, or the Great Gods. In its simplest form, it is done by releasing the spirit-like of water in a confined space so that it may enter the body. This spirit-like stimulates the vitality so that it overcomes harmful things that may be in the body and the spirit-like of the water washes them out of the body and they appear upon the skin like sweat and can be washed or wiped away. Thus, the vitality is strengthened and the body purified. If the vitalizing is a remedy for disease, medicines may be added to the water so that their potency, or spirit-like, may be released and enter the body, and there cause the desired effect.
The methods for vitalizing according to the customs of the Oglala are: A lodge is made by thrusting slender saplings into the ground in a circle,
the diameter of which is a little longer than the height of a tall man. The tops of these saplings are bent and bound together so as to form a dome-like support for a covering. This support is covered with robes so as to confine the vapor from boiling water, this vapor being the spirit-like of the water released. At any place on the border of the covering, except toward the north, an opening that may be tightly closed, should be made large enough so that a man can crawl through it. This is the ini ti or vitalizing lodge. The equipment necessary for vitalizing is:--
1. Heated stones.
3. A pipe.
4. Smoking material.
To these can he added such other equipment as may be required by the ceremony that is to be performed while vitalizing. One who is to vitalize should strip and crawl naked into the vitalizing lodge, taking with him the pipe and tobacco. Assistants, usually women, heat the stones in a fire near the lodge and, when the occupants are within, should bring the stones and pass them through the opening, then pass the water into the lodge and tightly close the opening. Those inside should place the hot stones at the center of the lodge and at intervals pour small quantities of water on them. This releases the spirit-like of the water and as it cannot escape upward, it must enter the bodies of those exposed to it. It is propitiated with smoke from the pipe and will stimulate the vitality. When it appears again upon the surface of the body, like sweat, it will have in it the harmful things that were in the body, and it should be wiped away, or better, it should be washed away, which is best done by plunging into water. One vitalizing in the simplest manner should sing an appropriate song while pouring the water on the hot stones. The time required for vitalizing in its simplest form may be as long as is required to smoke two pipefuls. A single person may vitalize alone, but as many as can get into the lodge may vitalize together. The process of vitalizing is elaborated to the purposes for which it is done and may he a complex ceremony supervised by a Shaman, and prolonged for a day and night or even longer.
When the Mentor has required the Candidate to vitalize, the Mentor, Candidate, and attendant should occupy the vitalizing lodge and the Mentor should take into the lodge his fetish and wisps of sage and sweetgrass and the assistants should pass coals of fire so that they may burn in the lodge. While vitalizing, the Shaman should first sprinkle bits of sage on the burning coals so as to make an incense and expel the evil powers from the lodge. Then he should sprinkle bits of sweetgrass on the coals, making an incense
that will propitiate the powers for good. While doing this, he should invoke his fetish, either in song or prayer, in order that its potency may aid him in what he is about to do. Having done these things, he should require the Candidate to seek a vision and instruct him as to the manner of his doing so, as follows:--
If an Oglala contemplates an important undertaking, he ought to seek a vision, and if he has the vision he should be governed according to the interpretation of it. To seek a vision one should strip and wear only a robe, a breechclout, and moccasins. Clothed thus, he should take a pipe, smoking materials, and a knife, and go to the top of a high place where others are not likely to intrude. There he should remove every living or growing thing from a space on the ground sufficiently large for him to sit or lie upon. Then he should go, to this space and remain on it until he has a vision, or until he is convinced that he will have none. When he enters the cleared space, he should invoke the Four Winds in order that they may not bring inclement weather upon him. Then he should await a vision, meditating continuously upon his quest. He may invoke the gods, verbally or mentally, either in song or prayer. He may stand, sit, or lie awake or asleep, but he must not go away from the space he has prepared. He may smoke as often as he wishes, but he must neither drink nor eat while making the quest.
The vision may come to him, either when he is awake, or when he is asleep. It may appear in the form of anything that breathes or as some inanimate thing. If it communicates with him, it may speak intelligibly to him, or it may use words that he does not understand, or speak in the language of birds or beasts. By something that it says or does it will make known to him that it is the vision be seeks. He should wait for such a vision until he receives it, or until he is so exhausted that he can wait no longer without danger of losing his life: If he should receive a vision, he should return to his tipi singing a song of victory. If one seeks a vision and it is not granted to him, he should meekly come from the quest as privately as possibly. If a vision appears to one in the form of a dog, a shore lark, a swallow, a night hawk, a frog, a lizard, or a dragon fly, it has been granted by Wakinyan, the Winged God, for these creatures are His akicita, or representatives, and when either of them speaks to one in a vision the one spoken to must become heyoka and ever afterwards speak and act anti-natural, or as a buffoon. A Candidate to dance the Sun Dance who receives a vision from Wakinyan must, during the ceremony in the dance lodge, act as a clown, and in every manner attempt to make the people laugh. He must appear to enjoy the tortures inflicted during the dance and should make sport of his fellow dancers.
One who seeks a vision and receives it, ought to consult a Shaman relative
to an interpretation of it, even if the communication received in the vision is apparently intelligible and easily understood. If he is a Candidate to dance the Sun Dance, he must consult his Mentor, and be guided by him. It may be that the vision prohibits the Candidate from dancing the Sun Dance, and if so, he should proceed no further in the matter.
After the Candidate's quest of a vision, his Mentor should consecrate him, his tipi, implements, utensils, and apparel, in the following manner:--The Mentor should make an altar in the tipi of the Candidate, between the fireplace, which is at the center of the tipi, and the place of honor. An Oglala Shaman makes an altar by removing everything that breathes or grows from the space where the altar is to be. This should be done because the altar is a sacred thing which should have nothing in or upon it except that which may be an offering acceptable to the Gods. Any other thing that may touch this space while it is an altar should either be destroyed or purified in an incense of sage and then in one of sweetgrass. This space must be square, for the altar must have four sides of equal length, because each side pertains to one of the Four Winds and each of these must receive equal consideration in every respect.
The sides of the altar should be toward the west, the north, the east, and the south, so that one side will be toward the tipi of each of the Four Winds. The sides should measure not less than four hand breadths, nor more than the height of a man, They may vary anywhere between these extremes. The smallest altars should be made in tipis and the largest in the Sun Dance Lodge. At each angle of this square, a pointed space should project halfway between two of the directions. These are the horns of the altar that guard it against all malevolent beings. The square space and horns should be dug to the depth of a finger length and the loosened soil removed and freed from everything. Then it should be pulverized, replaced, level. The one who replaces and levels the soil should utter an and made appropriate invocation, or sing an appropriate song, or both, for in this manner the altar is consecrated to the purposes for which it is made. The Mentor should place on the altar in the tipi of the Candidate, a buffalo skull with the horns attached, so that the nostril cavities will face towards the place of honor. He should then decorate this skull with stripes of red paint, one across the forehead and one lengthwise on each side of the skull; at the same time, he should paint a red stripe across the forehead of the Candidate. The stripes across the forehead indicate that the Buffalo God has adopted the Candidate as a hunka, or relative by ceremony. The red stripes on the sides of the skull indicate that the Buffalo God will give especial protection to the Candidate. The horns of the skull should be adorned with any ornaments that the Candidate may apply. Then the Mentor should
fill and light a pipe and he and the Candidate should smoke it in communion, alternately blowing the smoke into the nostril cavities of the skull, thus smoking in communion with the Buffalo God. This should be done in order that the potency of the pipe may harmonize all those communing.
When this rite is completed the Mentor should instruct the Candidate that this altar should be maintained in his tipi until he enters the Sacred Lodge in the ceremonial camp; that anything placed upon the altar must be considered an offering to the Gods; that he should so place a portion of each thing he eats or drinks in the tipi; that others may also do so; that no one should touch the altar, or anything upon it, except those whose hands are painted red; and that no one should step over the altar or pass between it and the place of honor if this can be avoided. This is because the altar is a sacred place occupied by the potency of the God, the Buffalo, and should be reverenced as the God is reverenced. Also, that if anything of any kind should otherwise come upon this altar it should be removed and be destroyed or purified in the incense of sage and then of sweetgrass.
When the altar and instructions are completed, the Mentor should prepare a meditation couch for the Candidate by making a bed of sage at the rear, outside the tipi and projecting from it, and should instruct him to occupy this bed most of the time when not with his Mentor, meditating on his preparation for the Sun Dance. This bed should be made of sage because this herb is pleasing to the Benevolent Gods and repulsive to all malevolent beings; therefore, it will keep all harmful things and thoughts from one occupying a bed made of it. When the sage bed is prepared the Mentor should place the Candidate's cedar tree, or rack. This should be of cedar because the cedar is favored by Wakinyan, the Winged God, and he will not visit one protected by it, nor cause such a one to act foolishly. The bark should be taken from it and its larger end should be as large as a man's leg. It should be long enough so that when fixed upright in the ground it will be as high as a man's shoulders. It should have portions of branches left on it so that they will be convenient prongs for hanging articles. The Mentor should paint it red and fix it upright in the ground at the foot of the bed of sage and instruct the Candidate to place all his implements of war and the chase on it and keep them there until after he has danced the Sun Dance. He also instructs him that if he dances the Sun Dance to its completion he will be entitled to place such a rack beside his tipi during the remainder of his life; that anything placed upon such a rack is taboo to all of mankind, except the owner of the rack; that while he is a candidate, things placed upon this rack by others thereby become offerings to the Sun and so are his property; that friends wishing to give presents to him as a Candidate should place such presents on this rack. When the rack has been placed, if the Mentor is a Shaman, he should consecrate the person of the Candidate.
[paragraph continues] If he is not a Shaman, he should employ a Shaman to do this in the following manner:--
In his tipi the Candidate should strip and sit beside the altar facing the Shaman who should sit at the place of honor. The attendant should fill and light a pipe and offer it to the Shaman, and he, the Mentor, Candidate, and Attendant smoke in communion. Then, while the attendant sounds either the drum or rattles, the Shaman should paint the Candidate's hands red, meanwhile singing an appropriate song or making an appropriate invocation. He should then instruct the Candidate that the sacred color, red, upon the hands sanctifies them so that they may handle sacred things; that while he is a Candidate his hands should he painted red; and if he dances the Sun Dance to completion he will be entitled to paint his hands red at any time during the remainder of his life. Then he should braid wisps of sweetgrass into the semblance of a scalplock, bind it with red, give it to the Candidate, and instruct him that if he dances the Sun Dance to its completion he will be entitled to attach such a braid of sweetgrass to his person or implements at any time during his life; that such a braid will insure the favor of the Feminine God to one who rightfully possesses it. Then the Shaman should paint in red on the chest of the Candidate a design which he has devised and instruct him that if he completes his undertaking, this design will become his insignum indicating that he has danced, the second, third, or fourth form of the Sun Dance to completion; and that he will be entitled to place it on his person or property and use it as his signature. When the person of the Candidate has been thus consecrated, his clothing, implements, and utensils should be incensed with sage while the Shaman utters or sings an appropriate invocation which will consecrate them. The things thus consecrated must be used by none other than the Candidate until after the Sun Dance is danced.
When these consecrations are completed, the Mentor should teach the Candidate the invariable rules that should govern a Candidate to dance the second, third, or fourth form of the Sun Dance. These are:--
1. He must subordinate himself to his Mentor.
2. He must mediate continually upon his undertaking.
3. He must speak little with others than his Mentor.
4. He must use only his consecrated implements and utensils.
1. He must not become angry.
2. He must not hear ribald speech.
3. He must not go into the water.
4. He must not have sexual intercourse.
If a Candidate disregards any of these rules, he must do such penance as his Mentor may prescribe before he can proceed with his undertaking.