You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

When the brain converts ethereal energy into words and writing, we manifest into the material world what we are dreaming in our mind. ~Don Miguel Ruiz

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Location: Kamas, Utah, United States

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beauty & Honor

Last week I attended a Sweat Lodge Ceremony. It was held in the Cherokee style. It was an amazing experience for me. The ceremony itself was very sacred and I will always hold the memory in my heart. But, the ceremony was not the only amazing thing. It was the people I shared sacred space with during ceremony. I was the only female as I approached the group of men surrounding the outside fire. I was very hesitant and shy walking in but as I got closer a young man came up to me and welcomed me, asked my name and introduced himself. He immediately put me at ease. Several other men then approached to make introductions. The last was a man named Thomas. I immediately felt safe next to him. A few women joined us as we entered the teepee to form a circle and speak our intentions for the ceremony. I looked closely at the face of each person as they spoke. The people that came to the ceremony all came for different reasons, had different stories and different personas. The face that each person presented held deep emotion; sorrow, doubt, pain, addiction, loss, faith, joy, fear. Each one of us was hoping that we would find some assistance on our paths through the sweat ceremony.

As we entered the sweat lodge, the women were asked to enter first. I began to notice a thread winding through the whole process - a thread of appreciation for women. During the ceremony we honor the women and Mother Earth. The prayers that were said during that time by the men in the lodge included me. Each prayer brought me closer to gratitude through their expression and prayer. Prayers are then sent to the men and our ancestors but even then, the men prayed and honored the women in the ceremony. I was deeply moved by the honor that was bestowed upon me and felt so much love, as if I was being embraced by each person, embraced even through their own pain and their own stories. I was being held in the womb of the mother but also by the men and women, who came to be held, came to be healed. And, I was reminded that we honor ourselves when we can give honor to another.

At the close of the ceremony, we once again formed a circle in the teepee to light a pipe and express our gratitude. I once again looked closely at the face of each person. However, I noticed that the emotion that was present when we began was now replaced with that of love. I could see the light that shines in each of us and each face held so much beauty. We were no longer in our own stories. We were in the embrace of light and it was present upon our faces. The symbolism of the sweat is to return to the womb of the Mother; to the moment prior to our birth when we knew our magnificence. The sweat ceremony is to assist us in remembering and honoring the light that shines within us. And, that we are all connected, supported and held as we walk through our story.

~ In gratitude and honor


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