native american red road tipi

The Native American Red Road is a central concept in Lakota spirituality, representing the path of balance and harmony with all living things.  “Aho mitakuye oyasin”

Aho mitakuye oyasin

Translates to “We are all related” or “We are all one”. We are all distinct manifestations of the same energy. In Daishizen, the practice of the Red Road and its ceremonies are a fundamental part of our philosophy and vision. The interrelationship of all forms of life, including rocks, plants, rivers, mountains, and respect for our ancestors are the foundations of a path of self-discovery, personal growth, and access to ancestral wisdom. It is a way to connect with the natural world and the spirits that inhabit it.

We live in a world where hyper-connectivity, artificial intelligence, and technological development are the protagonists. We see how gradually what makes us human has been degraded.

Our values, respect and connection with nature, intuition, and traditions are being displaced by screens, applications, and virtual relationships.

 It is essential to return to the essential, to our humanity, to love, to cultivate true relationships, and thus find my purpose in this life. We must reconnect with the spirits, ancestral wisdom, and the nature that surrounds us.

“Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss

Black Elk

native american chief

Walking the Ancient Wisdom

In Daishizen, we have been blessed to encounter numerous grandfathers (medicine men) along our path who have guided our steps for years. Having their wisdom, support, and medicine has been a cornerstone in our prayer, growth, and project development.

 What began as a small flame with Aikido has grown into a mighty fire today. The vision of sharing these arts and wisdom has strengthened over time and reaffirms our daily commitment to choosing this path of healing, initially within ourselves, and then manifesting and sharing it with the world.

 Walking the Native American Red Road would not have been possible without the help, prayers, and guidance of many grandfathers with whom we have shared. Among all of them, we would like to highlight:

grandfather raul gutierrez from mexico

Raúl Gutierrez

Grandfather Raúl Gutiérrez

Grandfather Raúl is of mixed heritage, with Cora, Wirra, and Mexican blood. He was born in Nayarit, Mexico. A musician at heart, he has dedicated his life to exploring different means of connecting people, from yoga to sacred sexuality and sacred traditions.

Over 30 years ago, he was initiated into the Red Road by Raimundo Tigre Pérez, a Purépecha Indian who expanded the medicine of the Red Road, Inipi, Vision Quest, and Kiva across continents.

Grandfather Raúl has devoted his life to spreading this medicine in different countries such as Mexico, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, and Spain. Recognized by many spiritual leaders, he has been invited to various events around the world to share his knowledge.

He is a man of great wisdom and beautiful, profound prayer. His joy for life is reflected in every word, gesture, and love for all beings and things in this world.

Grandfather Raúl has been a very important spiritual guide on our path. His generosity has transcended borders, languages, and generations. Today, he is part of our family, and we are proud to share his knowledge with all of you.

Julie and Coto met Grandfather Raúl in Chile in 2016, and since then, a very strong bond has formed between them. In May 2018, the couple decided to settle in France and share the medicine transmitted by Grandfather. They carry out this mission through Inipi ceremonies every month and a Vision Quest once a year. In August 2018, Grandfather traveled to France to guide the first Vision Quest on this land. We have held this quest in prayer ever since.

As a Sun Dancer, spiritual leader, and great human being, Grandfather Raúl crossed paths with Chief Jeremy Gordon, the leader of the Quetzalcóatl Sundance family. He was invited, along with other medicine men, to hold the prayer in the Sun Dance ceremonies held in Italy and Mexico.

Chief Jeremy Gordon

📸: @iamjethrotanner

Chief Jeremy Gordon

He is a Sun Dance chief and a Yuwipi medicine man with 32 years of experience in the Native American Red Road tradition. He is the founder of the Native American Church of Quetzalcóatl.

He was adopted and taught by some of the most renowned medicine men in the Lakota territory, including the recently deceased Leonard Crow Dog (chief of chiefs of the Lakota Sun Dance), Joseph Bad Moccasin “Joe Bad” (chief of the Lakota Dakota Sun Dance and Heyoka), and Jim Wolf, a medicine man from the Yukon territory who began teaching Jeremy around 1989.

Instructed by these great medicine men, Jeremy has been conducting his own Sun Dance (Sundance Quetzalcóatl) for 12 years in Mexico and recently in Italy. His prayer has led him to lead and hold various Vision Quests in Mexico, Chile, the United States, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Chief Jeremy spends his time traveling and sharing the Lakota tradition and its medicine. He settles in Mexico and learns from different medicine men of this land, creating a strong bond with several Marakames of the Wirra people, entrusted with the mission of expanding their medicine and sharing it by organizing ceremonies around the world.

Chief Jeremy has been a great support in our growth, expanding our knowledge of the Lakota tradition, the Sun Dance, and other ceremonies.

lakota symbols

The Legend of the White Buffalo Woman

According to the story, 19 generations ago, there was a time of famine. The chief of the Lakota tribe sent two scouts in search of food. While they were searching, in the distance, they saw a cloud from which a beautiful Native woman emerged. One of the hunters was filled with lust and approached her, ignoring the advice of his companion, who told him that this woman seemed to be a sacred woman. To the astonishment of the latter, the woman and her companion were enveloped in a mysterious mist. As it dissipated, he saw the sacred woman standing next to a pile of bones that belonged to the first man.

Frightened, the man began to draw his bow, but the woman spoke to him in Lakota, telling him that he would not be in danger. She saw that there were no ill intentions in his heart.

As he approached, the woman told him that she was a sacred figure (wakȟáŋ) and instructed the scout to return to his village, gather the council, and tell them of her arrival. The man did as the woman asked, and the people welcomed her with a feast.

When the woman arrived, she brought with her the chanupa (the sacred pipe), the most sacred object of all, and taught them the seven sacred ceremonies to protect Mother Earth.


Before leaving, she told them that she would return to establish harmony and spirituality, and she asked them to pray in the way she had taught them so that they would no longer suffer.

Then she rolled on the ground four times, changing color and transforming into a white buffalo calf before disappearing.

the white bufalo woman

The pipe is here to unite us, to remove the fences people put up against one another. Putting up fences is the white man’s way. He invented the barbed wire, the barbed wire of the heart. The pipe is a fence remover. Sitting in a circle, smoking it the right way, all barriers disappear. Walls Crumble”

Leonard Crow Dog

The Seven Sacred Ceremonies of the Lakota People

The Seven Sacred Rites are a set of essential spiritual practices for Lakota culture. They help connect individuals with the divine and the spiritual world. Each of these rites requires dedication, discipline, and a deep commitment to their traditions and our spiritual growth. Through these sacred practices, we can connect with our ancestors, our community, and the natural world, allowing us to find our true purpose in this life.

tipis night camp

Inípi (Sweat Lodge):

It is a purification rite that takes place in a lodge (a semi-dome structure) made of branches, where hot stones are placed in the center and water is poured on them to create steam. Inipi can be used to initiate a ceremony, conclude it, or as a standalone ceremony.


Haŋbléčheyapi (Vision Quest):

Often used as a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood or as a way to seek or receive a specific message from the spirits. It involves going into seclusion and fasting for several days alone in nature while praying for a vision.


Wiwáŋyaŋg Wačhípi (Sun dance):

Considered the most important ceremony for the Plains Indians. The Sun Dance involves dancing for several days while fasting, facing a central pole (previously cut tree) located in the dance circle. The ceremony can be performed as an offering or in gratitude for the health of a relative or a war victory. It is a profound physical and spiritual test and a reverence to the sun.


Huŋkalowaŋpi (Ceremony of Kinship):

It is a ceremony of bonding and joining kinship. To belong to thiyóšpaye (extended family), one can do so through birth, marriage, or by huŋkalowaŋpi.


Išnáthi Awíčhalowaŋpi (Female Puberty Ceremony):

It is a ceremony of purification and preparation, marking the transition from puberty to womanhood and the ability to bear children.


Wanáǧi Yuhápi (Soul-keeping):

According to the teachings of the White Buffalo Woman, when a person dies, their soul must be purified to be able to reunite with Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka (the Great Spirit). It is said that the soul will travel along the spiritual path (Milky Way) to meet Mayá Owíčhapaha, the old woman who will judge their soul.


Tȟápa Waŋkáyeyapi (Ball Game):

It is a ceremony where the people gather to play and pray. Commonly used as a ceremony to relieve stress and to acknowledge that Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka (the Great Spirit) is present everywhere.

Daishizen Retreat Center is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with yourself and nature. The Red Road and its ceremonies allow us to turn our gaze inward, reconnect with the elements, ancestral wisdom, and our spirituality. Each ceremony offers the opportunity to touch my true essence, and we are convinced of the power of this medicine.


Within our space, you will have the opportunity to experience the different ceremonies of the Red Road. Wisdom and traditions passed down by the elders with whom we have walked this path. Elders who have entrusted us with their knowledge to pass it on to future generations.

The ceremonies we are committed to

In the native American Red Road tradition, the number 4 is very important. There are 4 directions, 4 winds, 4 seasons, 4 worlds (vegetal, animal, mineral, human), and 4 elements. The traditional way of experiencing these ceremonies is by making a commitment (a prayer) to Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka (the Great Spirit) for 4 years. Below, we describe in more detail the ceremonies you will find at Daishizen.

Inipi (Sweat Lodge, Temazcal):

The Sweat Lodge (inipi) is one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota people and is a purification ceremony that aims to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit. The ceremony involves entering a small dome-shaped structure (inipi) made of willow branches and covered with blankets or tarps. Hot stones are placed in the center of the lodge, and water is poured over them to create steam. Participants sit in the lodge and pray, sing, and meditate while the heat and steam purify their bodies and minds.

The Sweat Lodge is a powerful and transformative experience that is fundamental in Lakota spirituality. The ceremony is led by a trained and experienced leader who guides the participants through the process and ensures their safety. The lodge represents the womb of Mother Earth, and the heat and steam represent the power of the Creator. As participants sweat, sing, and pray, energies and emotions are released, connecting with our true purpose in this world and our spirituality.

The Sweat Lodge is a deeply personal and sacred experience. It requires respect and a willingness to surrender to the power of the ceremony. The Sweat Lodge can be a life-changing experience, providing healing, clarity, and a deeper connection with oneself and the world around us.

sweat lodge ceremony

It is a collective ceremony shared with others. However, being in a small, enclosed, and dark space invites introspection. When we can no longer see the outside world, the eyes of the heart open, revealing a often little-known space: our inner world, our true being. It is not a tourist attraction or a casual activity but a sacred ceremony that should be approached with humility, respect, and openness.

The Vision Quest: Seeking Guidance and Introspection

The Vision Quest is another of the sacred rites of the Native American Red Road tradition and is a deeply personal and spiritual experience. It involves retreating into nature alone, without food or water, for several days to seek guidance and introspection from the spirits. During this time, participants may have visions or receive messages that help them understand their purpose in life or provide guidance for important decisions.

vision quest prayers

The Lakota Native American Red Road believes that the Vision Quest is a powerful way to connect with the natural world and the spirits that surround us. It is a time for reflecting on life and seeking answers to important questions. In the past, seekers would climb the mountain to ask Wakan Tanka for a vision, setting off to the mountain with only a buffalo robe and a drum or rattle.

The Vision Quest is a very powerful and healing tool for those seeking spiritual growth and guidance in their lives, seeking change, and reconnecting with what is essential.

The Vision Quest is a sacred tradition, and participants must prepare themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually before undergoing this experience. They must be willing to confront their fears and their own shadow to gain strength and wisdom.

The aim of the Vision Quest is to gain a deeper understanding of oneself and one’s place in the world, to receive the blessings and guidance of the spirits. For those who have undergone the experience, the Vision Quest has been a transformative journey in their lives.

The Sun Dance: A Physical and Spiritual Trial:

The Sun Dance is one of the most demanding and significant rituals in the Native American Red Road tradition. It is a physical and spiritual trial that involves fasting, dancing, and piercing the skin while being exposed to the sun for several days. This ceremony is usually performed in the summer by a group of dancers in a sacred circle around a central pole, which represents the axis of the world and the connection between the Earth and the Sun. The dancers continuously dance for hours while singing, praying, and offering personal sacrifices.

The Sun Dance is a sacred ceremony that seeks renewal and spiritual connection. It is believed that through the dance and sacrifice, the dancers become channels of divine energy and receive visions and messages from the spirits. The experience is physically and emotionally strenuous. The dancers must be mentally and spiritually prepared before participating. The ceremony is surrounded by protocols, rituals, and forms that must be followed with respect and reverence. Many Lakota people in the past sacrificed their lives to preserve this tradition.

sun dance illustration

The Sun Dance is a sacred and transcendent experience and is considered one of the most important and sacred rites of the Lakota people.

“Every little thing is sent for something, and in that thing there should be happiness and the power to make happy. Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus we should do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World”

Black Elk

Other ceremonies of the Native American Red Road in Daishizen.

With the same spirit, energy, and love for the things we do, we invite you to participate in these other ceremonies present in our retreat center. Along with the three ceremonies mentioned above, we regularly offer other ceremonies that complement our quest.

medicine plants ceremonies

Ceremonies with other traditions and medicines

Daishizen Retreat Center maintains relationships with different peoples and cultures. Each of these traditions has its own form, protocol, and specific prayer.

While our prayer, as a center, does not rely on the use of medicinal plants, we are open to experiencing and sharing these ceremonies. We aim to provide participants with unique experiences, with qualified medicine men who carry these altars.

Ceremonial Drum Making Workshop

The drum is a sacred object for the Lakota indigenous people, accompanying them in their various rituals.

Beating the drum is a way to reconnect with the beats of one’s own heart and the heart of the Universe.

Through this reconnection, the path to healing is found. For this reason, the drum is the shaman’s favorite instrument.

The workshop takes place over two days:

First day: Frame construction (measurement, cutting, gluing, and sanding of the wood).

Second day: Skin placement (soaking, cutting, and weaving) and drumstick construction.

Each participant builds their own drum from start to finish, putting all their prayers and intentions into it. All necessary materials and tools for drum making are provided.

Participants are also invited to take part in a blessing ritual for their drum within the framework of an Inipi ceremony.

ceremonial hand drum
medicine singing circles

Medicine Singing Circles

For those who wish to learn traditional Lakota songs and other medicine songs that accompany Inipi ceremonies. It is an opportunity to reconnect with our inner voice, which is often silenced, and to experience singing as an expression of the soul.

Singing circles are gatherings that allow for learning different songs, raising the vibration, opening the heart, and praying to the Great Spirit as one tribe.

Photo of Nico from United States

Nico, 34 years old, United States.

“During the Vision Quest at Daishizen Retreat Center, I discovered the true meaning of connection. The supportive community and profound teachings from the elders and the people showed me the importance of honoring our roots and living in harmony with nature. This retreat awakened my spirit and renewed my purpose in life.”

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illustration of a native american tipi

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