The Hollow Bone Teaching


Frank Fools Crow was a revered Lakota Holy Medicine Man* who taught that you must become like a "hollow bone" to be a great healer. He believed that to become a conduit for the source of all creation fulfils the destiny of the human spirit: to sustain the order of existence. According to Fools Crow, "We are called to become hollow bones for our people, and anyone else we can help. We are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor.

What we bones really become is the pipeline that connects Wakan Tanka, the helpers and the community together." In his becoming a hollow bone, Fools Crow believed that he went through four stages:

  1. First, he called in Wakan Tanka (Great Mystery) to rid himself of anything that would impede him in any way, such as doubt, questions or reluctance.
  2. Then he recognized himself as a clean tube, ready to be filled with hope, possibilities, and anxious to be filled with power.
  3. He experienced the power as it comes surging into him.
  4. Finally, giving the power away to others, knowing that as he is emptied out, the Higher Powers will keep filling him with even greater power to be given away.

Becoming a Hollow Bone

Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply seven times. Let your abdomen rise and fall as you breathe. Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of four. Focus on the breath as it enters the nose and fills your lungs, and then gently exhale any tension you might feel, clearing the energy channels of your body. Release all of your worldly concerns, doubts, and fears, allowing them to drift off on the air of the wind, on the breath of life. Feel yourself relaxing with each breath.

When you are fully relaxed, ask the "Higher Powers" to remove any blockages that prevent you from functioning as a hollow bone. Repeat the affirmation, "I choose to be a clean, hollow bone." Visualize yourself as a hollow bone or tube that is all shiny on the inside and empty. The cleaner the bone, the more energy you can channel through it, and the faster it will flow.

Now begin drumming a steady tempo of about 3 beats per second and imagine the power of spirit flowing through you. You may feel it, see it, sense it, or simply imagine it. As you focus on it, it will occur, for all energy follows thought. If your mind wanders, bring the focus of your attention back to the beat of the drum. Drumming opens portals to the spirit world, draws spirit in, and opens you up to receive it. 


Shamanic drumming by Michael Drake


*Frank Fools Crow - Oglala / Sioux (Lakota)

Frank Fools Crow, ceremonial chieftain of the Teton Sioux was born in circa 1890 in South Dakota. He was a Lakota Holy Man. He worked hard for his people until his death in 1989.

Fools Crow believed that the only way to save humanity was for people of all races to work together. He was very respected among the traditional Lakota on his reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and was the person who went to AIM, the American Indian Movement in the early 70s to ask their help in fighting the corrupt tribal government. He was also one of the occupiers at Wounded Knee later in that same conflict. He was a spiritual healer who believed that his power was not his own, but only passed through him; a concept he explained as being a "hollow bone". Fools Crow was also instrumental in making the Sun Dance, an important ceremony to the Sioux, legal once more.

Thomas E. Mails wrote two books based on interviews with Fools Crow. The first, Fools Crow, tells Frank Fool Crows life story, while the second Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power delves more into the spiritual beliefs and ceremonies that Fools Crow was involved with.