We entered the darkness over the weekend at a sweat lodge event. If you've never participated in a sweat lodge let us share what it's like.
Going into a sweat lodge may not be for everyone. Jeremiah suggests to start with meditation or hot showers before attempting a lodge. The lodge is a sacred place.
Before entering the lodge we had to prepare our body, mind, and spirit for the experience. While sitting outside the lodge on a lovely fall morning, we joined together in harmony.
Imagine a circle of people focusing their intention with deep breaths of fresh air. Each focusing on power of the moment. The sound of several drums and rattles fill the space, calming the mind, and opening the heart. We become one through the rhythm.
Now that we have prepared our soul we enter the lodge with reverence. Our leader enters last and calls us to attention to begin the ceremony. "Fire-keeper, please bring the stones," the leader gently asks.
As each stone is placed, it is given a name and we ponder the qualities it holds. "Peace." "Love." "Freedom." to name a few of the stones. Each one brought warmth to body, heart, and mind.
Soon darkness enveloped around us as the fire-keeper closed the flap to the lodge. You might be imagining this as a dim and scary event, but Amber felt the exact opposite. The darkness was comforting. It took her deeper within herself. Singing, chanting, and sharing their hearts in the dark brought tears of joy to my heart.
The orange glow of the rocks mesmerized Amber. Messages of insight were flowing in, giving her guidance to what will serve her better.
Jeremiah had to focus on his breath. Following the breath, in and out of his body helped him focus on the here and now. When the door of the lodge is closed there is zero light and an intense feeling of darkness. The heat and steam from the hot rocks and water make it hard to breath. It would be easy to freak out if not prepared. The chanting and singing intensify the whole experience. At one point he was thinking, "am I going to make it through this?"
Jeremiah was dedicated and wanted the full experience so he prepared himself for another round of steam and darkness. They breath, chant, pray and call to spirit guides, animals, and ancestors for guidance. The sweat and steam surround his whole being. It becomes increasingly difficult to stay sitting up, he had to listen to his body and lay back and let the earth take some of the heat away from him.
As he lies in the pea gravel it reminds him of acupuncture with every little stone poking into his back. It’s okay though because he started to feel a connection of oneness with the earth. He allowed his body to release any held back emotions releasing them into the the soil. Once again, the door opens and fresh air came billowing into the lodge.
Here comes round 3. "Wow, this has been an amazing experience. What will round 3 bring?" Jeremiah wondered.
Round 3 started with releasing what was no longer needed in our body. Past traumas, experiences, and old wounds from family or friends. As he sat in the darkness listening to the singing and drumming he opened his eyes and it appeared as if he could see. He could not see clearly, but he saw through his minds eye, a green aura around himself and a couple of people next to him. It was surreal. Jeremiah kept trying to see something or make out the shape without reaching and touching it, although he wanted to appease his curiosity. He eventually closed his eyes again and went back into deep thought or meditation.
We finished the lodge with prayers and our hearts being poured out. Suddenly a bright light came beaming in from the door. It was so piercing, Jeremiah was surprised it did not burn a hole through the back wall.
We gave thanks to each person in the circle and made our way to the door. Before crawling out we honored our time in the lodge and re-entered the world with a new perspective, full of peace and humbleness.
While we were only in the darkness for a short period of time, it still felt like a rebirth experience as they emerged out of the dark and back into the light.
Will we do a sweat lodge again? You bet, it was an amazing, breathtaking, life experience. If you could only partake in a sweat lodge once in a life time, it would be worth every dark minute.