The Peace Pipe has long been known by the White Man as a token of peace and treaties, used to seal an agreement. Probably, though no person knows for sure, the first time the "peace pipe" term was used was when a peace treaty was being signed. The pipe would have been used to seal the bargain, which meant an end to bitter fighting, and the white man would likely have referred to it as a pipe of peace. There are Calumets for sacred and ceremonial purposes, and public arrangements. The Sacred Pipe is not generally used for public gatherings. The intended use of a pipe could often be told by how the stem was carved or decorated with feathers. Both bowl and pipe designs may be simple or elaborate, and may be carved from stone, horn, antler, bone or wood.
"The seeker goes forth solitary, if a man, carrying his pipe and with an offering of tobacco, and there in the wilderness, alone, he chants his song and utters his prayer while he waits, fasting, such revelation as the Powers may grant."
The Peace Pipe Ceremony
The Peace Pipe ceremony starts with filling the pipe with tobacco or red willow bark. It then commences with an acknowledgment of the four directions: East, South, West, and North. That is then followed by an acknowledgment of the Mother Earth, Father Sky, and Wakan Tanka. The Pipe Holder of the ceremony faces each direction as they are acknowledged, the pipe is then pointed downward during the recognition of Mother Earth and at the moon or the sun during the appreciation of Father Sky. The stem of the peace pipe is then pointed skyward in the direction of Wakan Tanka at the center of the universe. The tobacco is then covered with sage. When the pipe is ready to be smoked the sage is removed and the pipe is passed around the circle. The smoke is symbolic of breath and life and often is not actually inhaled. The last person in the circle then finishes out the tobacco. The ashes are cleaned out of the bowl and then sprinkled to the ground as an offering to Mother Earth. That marks the end of the Peace Pipe ceremony. It is then usually followed up with a shared meal.