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The Place


the simpler tasks of Ed’s work.
It was a wonderful weekend, and Beverly and I both found ourselves yearning to learn still more from Ed. It
was the nature part of it that was so enticing to us. I had always enjoyed being outdoors, but this was an aspect
of that world I had not been familiar with before meeting Ed. He and I continued to talk about other things
within the realm of Native American spirituality and nature-based spirituality. I was so grateful he was willing
to teach much of what he knew. The eagerness with which he passed it along was always impressive to me
because it pointed out the spirit of a man who was more interested in what he could do to make a difference in
the world, rather than what he could get out of it.
At the end of that seminar, I approached him with a question. “Ed, Beverly and I have known you for some
time now, and we are so happy about what we have come to learn from you and the many other things you have
shared with us.”
“I am glad you are pleased,” he replied. “It has always been my pleasure.”
“Beverly and I would like to get married, Ed, and we would like you to do the ceremony for us here
today.”
“I am not a shaman or a holy man,” he answered. “But we see things in a similar light, you and Beverly and
me. I would be honored to marry you.”
“That’s wonderful,” said Beverly. “Can we get married before we leave for home?”
“I think that would be perfect,” he replied. “I know of a place in the forest that has been waiting for this
moment to arrive!”
There were four of us who were going to attend the ceremony. Beverly, Ed, the woman who danced with
Beverly, and I were all in attendance. We were excited as we hiked up into the hills and deep into the forest. We
didn’t walk far before we came upon the largest teepee I have ever seen. There was a small clearing in front that
looked like the perfect place for the ceremony to take place.
The fourth person in our group was a very special woman. She had recently spent two weeks with the Dalai
Lama in private study and was kind enough to share some of her words and experience from that time during
the ceremony. Our marriage was witnessed by two trees whose trunks had intertwined since their beginning.
They were now more than eighty feet tall and appeared more like one tree than two. It was very clear to all of us
they were brought together by The Great Spirit to remain so during their walk on this planet. It was a wonderful
example of commitment.
The marriage ceremony was as simple as the day itself, beautiful in every way and wonderfully fulfilling. Ed
spoke for a short time about things pertaining to nature and our place in it. He spoke of how all things are
related and how any action one takes has an effect on all things.
“Mitakuye Oyasin,” he said loudly, as he beckoned the spirit beings to our world. “Everything is related!”
He spoke of truth and how that must be paramount if our marriage was to last the test of time. When he
finished speaking, he turned to us and handed me a pipe.
“Take this into the teepee. When you are finished exchanging your promises of love and commitment of life
to one another, each of you smoke it and seal the words of truth you have shared with one another.”
Ed mentioned that the pipe had been packed for a vision quest ceremony in the Black Hills some weeks
before, but after the ceremony those in attendance elected not to smoke the pipe. He told us he had been
carrying it with him for something special, but he had no idea what that wasuntil now!
He moved the flap of the teepee to one side and beckoned us to enter, then closed the flap behind us. I
removed a match from my pocket. I then placed some sage in a small shell his friend had given me outside. I lit
a match and watched the sage begin to burn. After a few moments, I blew out the flame, and Beverly and I took
turns smudging one another. Next we took up the pipe and addressed the four directions in prayer before we
exchanged our vows.
Our commitment to one another was as beautiful and perfect as any words we have ever spoken. It revealed
our commitment to our walk with The Great Spirit, with nature, and with each other. Once we finished
exchanging our vows, we turned to one another and smiled. We sat there for several minutes, taking in the
magic of the moment. The Great Spirit, the two trees, Ed, and his friend all had witnessed our vows to one
another, and when we emerged twenty minutes later, we were joined as one for all time.
Ed offered a beautiful necklace that he had made of carved bloodstone to Beverly as a gift to remember the
magic of the day. It was truly magnificent. Beverly still cherishes it to this day. He turned and presented me
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