Peyote Sing


“What should I wear to the peyote party, Katie?”

“Rory, it’s not a party, it’s a religious service. Wear some nice clothes. Preferably all participants wear traditional dress and have taken a bath before attending. There are no other preliminary preparations, like fasting or sweating. I’m wearing my long dress.”

“The one you wore to Paula’s wedding?”

“Umm hmm,” she nodded.

“What about my hat, should I bring it?”

“Not inside the tepee. But a tie would be nice. Wear your Mickey Mouse tie.”

“I thought this was all solemn and shit. Why would I wear a Mickey Mouse tie?”

“Relax, its formal, but nothing is prescribed about what to wear. The tie will make the others smile for you. It would be like an indication you are relaxed about this stuff, sort of in the middle of too formal and not formal enough.”

“When does it start? How long does it last?”

“It starts at dusk, when the drumming begins, and the ceremony lasts until dawn. The meeting lasts for ten hours with only a single 10-minute break, and it unfolds in a rhythm of rituals: smoking tobacco rolled in corn husks; singing hymns in Diné to the pounding of a deerskin drum; eating peyote and drinking peyote tea passed around in bowls, three times in all.”

“Are there comfortable chairs, or couches to sit on?”

“This is not a place where you are supposed to be comfortable. Bring a stout pillow or pad, because your butt will get sore from sitting cross-legged on the ground all night.”

This is a layout of a typical peyote tepee. The semicircular alter looks like the big banana with Father Peyote in the Center. This layout seats thirty members. On crowded nights an extra inside circle is configured for the extra people. Omer Stewart. Peyote Religion.

“An entire night, sitting cross-legged in a tepee? That’s pretty arduous, don’t you think? Can I walk around?”

”Only at certain times. Fidgeting and inattention are signs of disrespect.”

“What if I have to pee?”

“You must be brave and patient, Baby.” She smiled at him. “I know you can do it. Others have gone before, you know…”

“Stop teasing me.”

“I’m not teasing, I’m trying to allay your worries.” She walked up to him, hugged him, and gave him a patient unhurried kiss. Her eyes were soft, her face relaxed. “I know you can do this, Rory. I’ll be with you all night, I’ll sit next to you.”

“All right,” he acquiesced

She smiled. “Ready to go?”

Mary snapped my picture before I went inside to sit down.

He nodded. “Let’s take the vet truck.”

“Sure.”

When they approached the truck she waited for him to open her door.

“Thank you sweetie,” she said when he realized it was time to be a polite fellow. He reached in front, opened the door, and helped her into the cab.”

“Have you ever had peyote before Rory?” He was settled in the driver’s seat, putting his seat belt on.

“No, but I was busted in high school for selling mescaline. I think the two are related.”