photo by Ian, (all rights reserved)
I just found out that today is the anniversary of the establishment of the first National Monument in our National Parks system. Unfortunately, when they named it back in 1906, it was given the superstitious white man's moniker "Devil's Tower"...Ian and I spent a day there a couple of years ago and that is really not at all the way this beautiful sacred space should be described:). In the Lakota language it is called Mato Tipila, or bear lodge and there are many different native tribal legends about this magical place~ none of which have anything to do with devils!!
As is my habit from my homeschool mom days, I had read a bit about the site before we visited and when we arrived my head was filled with stories of the Lakota vision quests, the sacred sun dances, and White Buffalo Calf Woman and the Sacred Pipe she bestowed on her people at the foot of the tower. Although we didn't have a lot of time that day, Ian humored my weird spiritual notions and took a long slow walk around the entire base of the tower with me. He was good about understanding that I wanted to walk in silence and just treasure the experience. It was very peaceful and not at all spooky or "devilish"...the wind whispered in the pine trees and at each direction things seemed to change. I'm thinking my pagan friends might find some significance in the fact that on the north side of the tower we came upon a stand of oak trees- the ONLY oaks we saw on the entire path...
I know along the way there as been a lot of controversy over the establishment of the national monument status of the tower, (I REALLY do wish they would change the name) but I hope that the cooperation between the national park service and those who consider the site sacred ground can continue to improve so that the park can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Opening of the new Tribal Connections Interpretive Site at Mato Tipila
National Parks Traveler Article about Climbing Restrictions
Wikipedia article with more legends:)