Feeling welcomed and seen is how I felt during my first sweat lodge ceremony. I had the pleasure of being surrounded by men. Once more. And to be totally honored for being a sister, a woman, a mother. Wow.
The sweat lodge ceremony itself was very humbling. The complete darkness, the heat, the presence of the spirit of those in the flesh and not, the singing, the sharing, the drumming, the sacred medicines used on the stones, the right to be, the honor of being heard, the honor of being in the presence of those men and boys on this spiritual path, were all incredibly powerful.
Before our entering the sweat lodge, the sweat leader, explained that the sweat lodge itself represents the womb of a mother. The complete darkness , the heat and the moist are as reuniting with the mother. I am always impressed by the importance of the feminine in the autochthones cultures. It wasn’t until we were inside that I could really grasp what it meant.
One of the invitation extended to us before the beginning of the ceremony was to pray for others, and especially for ourselves. This advice resonated very deeply with me. Once I was in complete darkness I knew I could be there for me in the present moment. I didn’t have to perform and to be aware of others looking at me, for they couldn’t see me. They could sense my essence just as much as I could perceive theirs, but they couldn’t see me, which made it easier to be. To be me. To be present to me while being present to them as well.
What happened in the sweat lodge was sacred, yet simple and power-full. The sharing was very touching for me. Those men were just open, raw, real. And the boys! I was moved by their presence, the messages they had and how they shared the songs, by calling upon one another to sing.
When we lined up outside at the end of the fourth round to thank each other, I knew something had shifted inside of me. We then shared food, everyone still present to himself and to the others.
What an experience!
If you would like to find out a bit more about the Sweat Lodge Ceremony, click here.
© 2014, Chantal Ouellette. All rights reserved.