The tipii was not just seen as a home but had significant spiritual meanings. When erecting a tipi 3 poles were used to anchor the structure, these representing the past, present, and future. Seven more poles are then placed in a circle around the first three anchor poles, moving clockwise. Each of these seven poles has a specific meaning, such as the Seven Brothers or the Seven Stars in the Big Dipper constellation. After ten poles are erected, the lodge covering is then put around this tipi structure, with additional two poles on the outside to regulate the flow of energy and to circulate the air inside the lodge. This makes a total of twelve poles used for the lodge, thereby representing 12 months in a year. The vortex, the point at which the poles are tied, connects us to the spirit world. The ancestors live in that spirit world in the upper reaches of the tipi; our ancestors are always with us. It represents the sacred circle or the never-ending cycle of life. The tipi embodies the understanding of the connection between the physical and the metaphysical realm. To live in it meant everything was in balance.
"I remember reading a story that was written by a number of my relative over 60 years ago. I was about my Great Grand Mother Tatanka Julia (basically meaning Grandma was no small women). She was a Medicine Women back in the day and was very good at communicating with the owl and coyote, among others. In the story, it mentions how she lived in a house, much like today's house but made out of wood. She was modern for her day, but still kept the traditions of an Oglala Lakota Medicine Woman. Anyway, her mother used to live with her but refused to live in the house. She too was a Medicine Women, which was to be expected, due to the fact that you can not be a Medicine Woman unless you were either born into the family or it was bestowed on you through tradition. She used to setup her tipi outside the house and live in it. She felt the connection was greater this way. This is what lead me to explain the tipi's significance in the spiritual sense and the design followed"...... Melvin War Eagle.