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Sacred Giving & Sacred Receiving


The Giveaway Ceremony

sacred giving and receiving giveaway ceremony
Grandmothers Carolyn and Verlie exchange a gift with Grandmother Carol looking on from the back ***the photos used on this page are from when the Giveaway Ceremony was not in the individual small circles.

At our annual Gathering, we practice detachment through a Giveaway Ceremony where we each part with some possession which we value, telling its story and passing it on to another Grandmother to cherish. This beautiful tradition reminds us of the impermanence of material things and the importance of sharing our histories with love and generosity.

The act of Sacred Giving asks us to part with an item we cherish and allow its joy to grace someone else's life. It is a time to honor Sacred Giving and be receptive to Sacred Receiving through an anonymous gift exchange between your small circle members on the last day of meeting together.


In The Native American Traditions:

One of the very common practices of virtually every American Indian Nation is some form of what is called "A Giveaway Ceremony."

Giving, in a sacred way, has always been a central component of the Ceremony. It may have been a means of giving thanks, of bringing the people together, of gaining honor or distributing material goods so that all might survive, or teaching. It was thought to maintain the balance that was needed to hold a nation together and to keep an individual in the right relationship with their own Self and with the community - a community that was not just composed of humans, but also of animals, plants, even the stones - for all things were thought to be alive.

In the Grandmother Gathering Tradition:

We begin by placing on the altar in our small circle the various items that have been brought for the Giveaway Ceremony. Each Grandmother of the circle takes their turn in choosing a gift (as requested, not knowing its contents). The proper way to choose what you accept as a gift is to quietly let Spirit guide you. It is not the gift, but the gestures of giving and receiving that count.

It is also said that we need to think of all the gifts we receive as having come from Spirit. Thus, it is to Spirit, the Great Mystery, that thanks should be given - not to any human being.

We say "Please" to each other and 'Thank you" to Spirit.

This may help ensure that those who give do so with humility, with an awareness of the sacred nature of all gifts. The giver is not calling attention to herself, but to the spiritual power behind it all; therefore, both giving and receiving remain sacred.


Placing the gifts on the altar in our small circle at the agreed upon Giveaway time.

The eldest grandmother selects a gift first and states why she was drawn to the gift.

The giver then explains her reason for selecting why she chose that particular gift to bring, and she then selects a gift for herself.

The giver then continues the process.

In the event the giver or receiver has already participated, the next eldest grandmother will proceed with the process until all the gifts have been received.

- from the 2023 Gulf Coast Grandmother Gathering


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