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Cherokee Sweat Lodge

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by CelticWanderer, May 18, 2017.

  1. CelticWanderer

    CelticWanderer Celebrated Poster

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    I don't feel like recounting everything again so heres just a passage from my journal,

    May 10th

    Nothing note worthy of the day so ill just get right to the sweat lodge. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done and I didnt even make it through all the way. I had to stop at round two of four. IT started as myeslf and a large group of people sat around a roaring fire and listened to the shaman, Yonah, sing traditional Cherokee songs with his drum. Large stones sat in the fire heating up for the lodge. He prayed and sang and beat on his drum and set a peaceful and welcoming tone. The energy in the air grew intense as those around me meditated and yonah called down some power that I couldnt get a sense of or feel. Breathing in felt like lightning being shot through me. or maybe rather stormy cascading waves of magic water. The women entered first and then the men. oh yeah, the lodge is a small yurt type thing not so tall as to stand, only crouch just hardly enough to fit everyone in with a pit in the middle for the hot stones and water.. The skeleton was made of willow branches and we stacked many blankets ontop to block out all light and retain all the heat.. The womb of the Earth.. Any ways, as the people went to enter an intimidating young man smudged them with sage. Before entering they would go to hands and knees, place their head gently upon on the earth in a prayer I wish I knew. As I approached for my smudging, church bells rang out in the distance, which was rather unnerving. I bowed my head to the earth and said a misplaced and awkward thankyou and crawled inside. I sat next to a man and another sat next to me and I was squeezed in with my knees to my chest. Claustrophobia set in and I slowed my breathing to keep from panic. Yonah spoke a prayer in cherokee and Damian, my helpxhost, and the lodges fire keeper brought in a glowing red hot stone via pitch fork and dropped it into the pit. Its glow was entrancing and energy, asides from brutal heat, flowed from it. As it entered everyone said "Welcome Ancestors!" in powerful deep voices. It was blessed with prayer and offerings of dried lavender. More stones were brought in and each treated the same until a pile of them lie in the pit. The heat was already too much and the air was stiff and painful. Yonah then told the firekeeper to close the door. The only light came from the glowing stones, all around else was pitch black. Yonah began to sing. I still have their strange tongue and songs dancing in my head. Then he poured water onto the stones and a loud hiss erupted the lodge as horribly hot vapor filled thte lodge. He was still chanting and singing and I Can't really describe the intensity of it. The air becomes so unbearably hot and humid the body tries to reject breath from the mouth and breathing through the nose is painful enough to have your eyes watering. AFter a few minutes your lungs are full of this hellish air and breath outward on the body only adds to the heat. The air is hot enough to cause pain on the bare skin. The amount of sweat i produced legit scared me. I tried to focus, send out energy to the people I love, To call them to mebut my mind was blanked by the hellish steam, the dark enclouser and and magic songs. How yonah sang with the heat I'll never know. My heart was soon rapid and pounding, Yonah asks "what are you willing to give to have your prayers answered?" My ears my eyes my face pulsed with my heart. my throat tried to close with every dragon breath. He said another prayer to give to the earth and to pray for the owl to come in and hunt the things in your soul that no longer serve you. Nausea kicked in hard and heavy, I began to think death might become a real possibility... and then, my mother came to me. I saw her spirit in the way I see all those I love when I meditate. She is a beautiful ball of rainbow light with orbs dancing around a central sphere. I gathered no words, no emotions, only that she was there and ontop of everything else I now wanted to weep deeply. The first round ended maybe yonah read the first timers in the dark room and called for the east door and maindoor to be opened to allow fresh air. He reminds us how precious cool fresh air is. And how we wont always have such things, so to treat it as a camel sucking water before a journey through harsh desert. He told us to put our face to the Earth and she will take care of us. My mind was a muddled horrible mess by then. Round two began. I put my face to the dirt as soon as he poured more water. I desperately tried to gather any kind of cool air. It was only slightly so but being hunched over made every sensation worse. The grief I felt for my mother roiled in intensity. A female was now singing with the most beautiful voice ive ever heard. Fire and lightning shot through my body in waves of energy far too intense to describe. The pain of the heat as more water was added to the stones grew immeasurably. I chocked back tears and madness and suddenly round two was over. "All my relations!" I said loud enough to be heard as yonah finished another prayer. People moved out of my way as I widdershunned out. I stood and stumbled as my vision went black and then fell next to the dying fire. I pushed my emotions down and meditated on them. and tried to send what love and light I could muster back into the lodge. Round three a women crawled out and had a similar reaction of stand stumble fall. When they were done we stood in a line and everyone hugged everyone and said thank you as grand mother moon rose above us. I feel much more lost than I did before, everything I thought I knew of my mental health, my spiritual path, has been shattered to uncertainty. so im doing another Saturday.. a day or so before mothers day. I will sit through it all and I will learn all I can and I will move through this so I can continue my path. I am beyond exhausted and my mind and spirit are blasted so now i need rest------
    The next lodge offered clarity, more magic than I knew possible and I moved through emotions I though I had already delt with. I managed all four rounds but at the end I had no feeling in my feet hands or face and I almost blacked out. but I left with clarity on all fronts and sent out as much love and light as I could. Through the extreme suffering I found extreme spiritual strength.

    It was a really intense and amazing beautiful experience.
     
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  2. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    that's probably a pretty good story, but if you don't hit the enter/return key once in a while, i'm just going to skip it, and most people would probably do the same.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    CelticWanderer

    CelticWanderer Celebrated Poster

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    Yeah might need to edit it when I get I a library. Typing from phones is exhausting.
     
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