I would like to know more about the ceremony performed for those who have passed over due to suicide.

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QUESTION:
I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I would like to know more about the ceremony performed for those who have passed over due to suicide. I am a hospice nurse and feel the presence of a 13 year old girl who committed suicide.
–Submitted by Darla.

Answer:

I am so sorry for your friend, but I am neither Lakota nor a medicine person. I do know that true medicine people do not give out that sort of information to strangers so you probably won’t learn the information you seek by just asking someone on the Internet. If someone does tell you of a ceremony, I would be wary. Ceremonies concerning the dead (or anything else, for that matter) are complex and require strict adherance to a particular set of rituals, and if a step is left out or done in the wrong order, or if bits of other ceremonies are added to the mix, it can possibly cause harm instead of good.

My suggestion would be to go to a reservation in your area and ask around for names of Elders, then ask them about who is a respected medicine person in the area of your problem, and when you find out who that is, ask them to perform the ceremony for you. Real medicine people don’t refer to themselves as medicine men or shamans,(shaman isn’t even a native american term) but other people will refer to them that way. If several people mention the same name, that person is likely to be a real medicine person. Check out their spiritual background and training carefully, before asking someone to perform a ceremony for you. Attending one spiritual ceremony and then trying to repeat it does not make a medicine man. Real medicine people study for years to learn all the nuances and traditions for the medicine ceremonies they practice. Not all medicine people practice all ceremonies. Just as white doctors do, most medicine people specialize in a narrow area of expertise.

You probably won’t find a real medicine man offering their services on the Internet. A real medicine person will not ask for compensation or set a price to perform a ceremony or suggest a donation, but it is customary to pay their expenses to travel to the person in need of the ceremony, and offer a gift afterwards. These days money is an acceptable gift, let your heart set the amount. Be leery of self-proclaimed medicine men and those who ask for a fee up front.

Good luck in your search, I will say a prayer for your friend.

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