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Mary Elizabeth Thunder (1944-2017)

Mary Elizabeth Thunder was born on June 19, 1944 in Indiana during the month of D’day. Growing up during a difficult childhood, being placed in different foster homes, not knowing her Mother, and being around alcohol abuse, made her an incredibly compassionate Human Being. As a child she loved to go into churches to be with God and Pray. Even then, she felt she had a mission in her life to work for Peace and share love and compassion. After graduating High School, attending Indiana University, and specializing in human relations and drug and alcohol counseling, she began her journey to ‘turn her scars into stars.'

While working as Secretary to the Office of Public Health and Safety for the City of Indianapolis, Mary Thunder connected with her Native American heritage, inherited from her Mother.

Her children, Richard, Beth and Johnny, as well as her husband John, started to participate in traditional Ceremonies with Thunder and, it was in this period that they met their Lakota Elders and Teachers: Leonard Crow Dog, Wallace Black Elk, Grace Spotted Eagle, and Rolling Thunder.

In 1981, Thunder suffered a heart attack and had a near-death experience. The impact of that experience turned her life around. She moved to Dallas and worked as a drug and alcohol specialist for the Inter-Tribal Center. A year later, she decided to listen to the words of her Teachers and Elders who told her it was time to leave the Inter-Tribal Center to begin her Sun Dance.

In 1982, she began her life on the road.  Thunder started Sun Dancing, living in a van while traveling, and shared her experiences and Traditional teachings to help the people.

In 1989, her Dream and Vision for a place to start a Spiritual University manifested. It would become the foundation and grounding of her life's work. Thunder Ranch, in West Point, Texas, birthed into life and has been home base for the Blue Star Church and its many members, ever since. For more than thirty years, Thunder Ranch has hosted many Ceremonies, gatherings, and opportunities for people to work towards a better life on Earth in connection with the Spirit. Many indigenous Elders and teachers from different walks of life have visited and shared their wisdom and teachings. Among them: Leonard Crow Dog, Wallace Black Elk, Grace Spotted Eagle, Grandma Twylah Nitsch, Grandma Kitty, Grandma Sara, Buddy Red Bow, Maestro Tlakaelel, Dick Gregory, and many, many others.


Blue Star Church has grown into an international organization and continues its work with Thunder Ranch as its home base.


During her life, besides conducting Ceremonies such as Inipi (The Sacred Stone People's Lodge or sweat lodge), Vision Quest, and Women’s Dance, Thunder developed her own unique teaching programs which have helped countless people: ‘Path of Maximum Service,' to heal addiction; and 'Fantasy Into Reality,' a wonderful guideline to help manifest Visions and Dreams; just to name a few.

Thunder traveled all over the Earth and touched thousands of lives in a transformative way. Her book, Thunder's Grace, published in 1995, is about many of these adventures.


Thunder received numerous awards for her work, most significantly, the ‘Donne di Pace’ (Woman of Peace) award, in 2003 in Italy. In 2005, Thunder was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the group ‘1,000 Women of Peace.’​

On December 28, 2017, Mary Elizabeth Thunder took her Journey to the Spirit World. ​The moment arrived that so many had dreaded, because life without her in this world was unimaginable. ​There are so many more things we can say about this legendary Woman. She was truly one-of-a-kind. What we remember most of all is Thunder's compassionate, unconditional and ever-loving heart.

It is in this Spirit that we continue her life’s work.

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