The Pilamaye Code

With the firm conviction that we should keep our own house in order, we offer the following: a code of honor - the Pilamaye Code. Pilamaye is a Lakota word that means "I thank you from a heart full of love and gratitude." As in, "thank you for risking your health and faith with me. I agree not to abuse it."

The Pilamaye Code

We enter into a new relationship with indigenous ceremonial and healing practices. We acknowledge our tremendous debt of gratitude to the ancestors, and pledge to honor them by striving to observe the following guidelines:

  1. We agree that the first principle is to love God as we understand God, love one another, and love ourselves. Matters of doctrine and practice are generally secondary to our compassionate service to the people.
  2. We will do no harm and we will be nice to each other. We will practice good manners.
  3. We will have integrity with money. The money we receive from ceremony will go towards supporting the ceremony. We will make a public accounting of what money we receive and where it goes. We will consider having independent support so that we do not require ceremonial income to live.
  4. We will have sexual integrity.
  5. We will honor the elders with donations of time, money, and attention, to help those who preserve what we use.
  6. We agree to have real and substantial training before holding ourselves out as teachers. We agree to submit our lineage to public inspection.
  7. We agree to know how to make the things we use, and to help others learn these important skills.
  8. We agree to learn and use the ceremonial language.
  9. We agree to truth in advertising. We won’t promise what we cannot deliver. We won’t damage faith by falsely creating hope.
  10. We agree to refrain from abusing alcohol and drugs, and to seek help, if we do.
  11. We agree to be students of the path we walk.
  12. We agree to strive for humility: to be in right relation with our friends, our family, the community, and the Spirit. Whatever we do know is microscopic in relation to what the Spirit knows. Let us remember our place.
  13. We agree to submit our practice to periodic peer review, not on matters of doctrine, but to confirm our guidance, and grade our spiritual papers.
  14. We agree to perform personal house-cleaning by monitoring our resentments, fears, sexual conduct, honesty, and our selfish and self-seeking behavior and thoughts.
  15. We agree to respect the viewpoints of our relations, while recognizing that respect does not mean agreement.
  16. We agree to remember that we are all related, that what we do affects one another.

A few caveats. I don’t like rules and avoid them whenever possible, especially in a spiritual context. We have been using religious rules to hurt one another for eons and adding another code to justify more pain is scary. Rules in this particular arena, a place of non-linear thought and subjective interpretation of an amorphous process, seem fraught with potential for harm. I also don’t like the idea that the need to police our own behavior should even be an issue. To be frank, I fear I will run afoul of some of the guidelines and have them thrown back in my face.However, if we understand that the Pilamaye Code represents guidelines, not rules, and that there is no enforcement body except our conscience, then these markers can be helpful. Perhaps creating a common ground from which to work will help us develop our practice and create more health and happiness for the people we serve.

Please give me your feedback about the proposal and the guidelines. You can contact me at

We may post your responses on this website, unless you request otherwise, although we retain the right to edit for clarity and space considerations.