Red Tail Ranch, Deer Park, Washington USA.
Introduction: by Jenny Ray
“As Stone Medicine stepped off the reservation and came to the non-Native world and eventually to the modern massage industry everything had to shift. Creating workshops and a written format for this ancient oral tradition was a real challenge. Receiving permissions from tribal elders for various portions of Stone Medicine to be taught in this manner took a lot of negotiation and huge amounts of time and tears. Researching the science behind this modality and learning the terminology and language of professional massage therapy is an ongoing process for Stone Medicine LLC.
Janelle Lakman has supported the founder, Jenny Ray, along this path in the most remarkable ways. Not only offering emotional and ceremonial support for Jenny personally by editing every course manual, editing and/or creating advertising and promotional materials and helping host retreat events. One of her most important rolls is to help Jenny decide what to share next.
Not all Stone Medicine work can be translated to the modern world of indoor treatment facilities. Many courses are ‘born’ when Jenny offers the stroke sequence for the first time on a massage table. Janelle is always present to take notes and photos and help organize the ‘logic’ of how to share the information that comes from witnessing one of these sessions. With this outline in hand Jenny will write the first draft of a manual.
Then Janelle will go over the first draft to insure we are teaching information that is within a massage therapists ‘scope of practice’ as well as keeping in compliance with ethics and safety. Once this is corrected Jenny writes the final manual so Janelle can edit the spelling, grammar and medical terminology. This can take up to a year of effort, just to bring a one or two day class manual into print! Then the course is offered by either Jenny or Janelle to see how the structure of the course flows. Once the course syllabus is organized and both Janelle and Jenny are pleased with the presentation it is finally submitted to NCBTMB for CE approval.
Janelle is also the Guardian of Jenny’s Pipe. This is a position requiring her to protect the ceremonies and integrity of those who join the Pipe Circle when Jenny is facilitating ceremony. It requires Janelle to know all the proper protocol for service to the Pipe. Every tribe has its own ceremonial protocols so Janelle was trained by Jenny in the Sioux traditions and is also a Pipe Carrier. In the position of Guardian Janelle has learned to ‘read’ Jenny’s body language, understand indirect comments spoken in the tribal way to correct any potential protocol breaches as well as offer discipline to those who might not understand the position held by a Pipe Carrier. This is a most difficult task and even though it is a position of prestige, it is not a rewarding place to stand in the Circle.
For all these efforts and many more Janelle has been chosen as the lead instructor of Stone Medicine courses. She is certified to teach every class and is approved to train new instructors across the globe. She has trained the first Russian instructors and many lucky students who join her courses.
Janelle Lakman has been a licensed massage therapist since 1997 in Washington State with a thriving business in a small town of 3,000 folks north of Spokane. She met Jenny Ray in 1998 and began her walk on the ‘Red Road’ in earnest. Janelle is a student of Shamanic Healing following the way of Jenny’s ancestors. A couple years later, she took her first ‘Stone Medicine’ class and hasn’t put the stones down since. She is an instructor for Stone Medicine LLC as well as a Reiki Master. Janelle is a board member and Director of Education for the Stone Massage Association. Janelle was inducted into the World Massage Hall of Fame in 2014, the highest honor paid to a massage therapist. She received the Auntie Margaret Humanitarian Award in 2013 in recognition of her volunteer work.”
and now Janelle shares in her own words…
“I grew up in eastern Montana—out on the prairie where the wind constantly blew off the east face of the Rockies. If I wasn’t in school, you could find me on a horse. They seemed to be better friends than people. There always has been a connection between me and Mother Earth. Sitting on my horse high on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River was my church. With such a personal relationship with Creator and all of Creation, I was drawn to the stones, the fire, the four-leggeds and the winged ones. There was nothing better than riding out on the prairie, making camp and sleeping under the stars. I was truly blessed with so many teachers and companions.
I left Montana after 30 years to ‘seek my fortune’ in Washington. When I look back at my life, I see the many lessons and paths that were necessary to travel to develop who I am now.
Some of those paths scorched and left scars! However, I was very well protected, by those who walked with me especially those who are not seen with these human eyes.
I will continue sharing ‘Inyan Pejuta’ as long as the Stones call me. There is no retirement! It’s an honor to carry this Medicine and a responsibility to send it forth to future generations.”
My first love, if I couldn’t be on a horse the next best thing was a saddle!
It seems like stones have been around me forever.
I always had a “box of rocks” when I was a kid!!
Now I am related to the entire Stone Nation (Inyan Oyate)
A Poem by: Janelle Lakman
“The Medicine Wheel”
It’s the spaces in-between that’s important.
Where healing occurs
Where listening occurs
You can hear Creators’ Whisper