I've been studying Native American history and spiritual traditions for more than 25 years. I'm not sure where my fascination began.... maybe it was the family vacation as a kid to the Arizona or learning as a teenager that my great great grandmother was from the Iroquois nation. Later, I read many stories about white people who learned the ways of the Great Spirit from native elders and I always wondered how those folks got so lucky. I guess it was their karma. Well, my time finally came yesterday!
I was invited by my neighbor to attend a sweat lodge here in town. I wasn't sure what to expect. I was told to wear natural fiber loose clothing and bring a shawl. Once I arrived I was thrilled to learn that our lodge had been built and blessed by the Chumash, Hopi, Lakota and Cherokee nations. Our beautiful and wise lodge leader was a Lakota/Cherokee woman who is the matriarch of her clan. She learned the "ways" from her grandmother and great grandmother. In addition, there were 8 other women "guests" (it was a women's only lodge that day) and two fire keepers. The lodge was about 10' in diameter and maybe 5 feet high with a small opening ("gate") to climb in.... very similar to the lodge in the photo below.
Once we were all inside, the heated stones (from a large fire just outside the lodge) were rolled in and then gate was closed. We all sat in a circle in pitch black. After every "round", the gate was opened to add more heated rocks and to re-hydrate ourselves. We sweated and prayed for over three hours.
Before the experience, I assumed that I would be exhausted after a sweat, like a hard workout. I was absolutely drenched from head to toe at the end.... I had no idea that I could sweat so much... but, it was a "gentle"(not too hot) sweat and I was completely invigorated. I felt and still feel physically and spiritually renewed.
I asked and I received (even if it took twenty years to happen!) and I feel truly blessed to have been a part of such a healing experience yesterday.
"Man does not weave this web of life.
He is merely a strand of it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
~ Chief Seattle
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY....
AND THANK YOU
TO ALL OF YOU FATHERS OUT THERE
WHO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
THAT WE MUST LOVE AND TAKE CARE
OF OUR BEAUTIFUL PLANET!