Went to my first sweat lodge yesterday at One Heart Lodge. I should mention that I was there for serious reasons. I was there to surrender my dying past and receive the birth of my new life. Anyways, the universe has no use for seriousness.
I was greeted by fiery red ants under my feet and 2 of the cutest wild little girls I had ever seen. I was there to seek tradition and wisdom, and the universe presented it to me in the form of Dane Fire Wolf’s 2 daughters: 5 year old Natalie and 8 year old Kitana, and red ants, the tiniest and most vicious of creatures.
I was quickly roped into play duties for which I was late for opening circle. The people gathered there were eclectic and loving. I need to mention how amazing these people were, and yet my lessons didn’t come from them as I expected they should. I wasn’t afraid of the lodge or the not knowing what would happen. I wasn’t concerned about anything (except having to pee), until I entered.
I crawled into a small opening into a dark cramped space. I crawled on my knees on scratchy ground to get to a free spot. It was hellishly hot already, and we were packed like sardines. Moments earlier I had been playing with fairies and had descended into this! Claustrophobia came on like a wave. I breathed through it and settled in to surrender.
Then came the burning rocks, and the steam, and the songs, and the prayers. I was there and not there. In quick secession by fears, attachments, and demons of my past. Followed by gratitude. I prayed for me and everyone and everything.
I never sweated so much. I could feel the bodies of my brothers and sisters around me. We could do without each others’ heat but the connection was vital. We were never alone. In an act of rebellion I dug my hands under the edge of the tarp. I couldn’t feel an opening to the outside. They had really done a good job of sealing us in. I resigned myself to being comforted by the coolness of the rough earth, like my Earth Mother gently reaching Her hand out to me cooling my pulse. I felt great compassion for all the people who had died enclosed in darkness, heat, and constraint.
Then a great joyful, peaceful, angelic presence descended on me and from within me at the same time. I surrendered all to Her. I asked that She tell me when it was time to leave before I passed out in here.
There were 5 rounds of this and we were only now entering round 3. I surrendered waiting to know when to leave. Suddenly Natalie burst into the opening of the lodge for which she was scolded. It was a great light emerging into the darkness.
The same angelic presence said,“Why are you here suffering? Go out and play!” It is difficult to explain, but in that moment I understood it perfectly. God is everywhere, in our joy, our pain, our relaxation and our struggles. Why was I now holding on to suffering that had no purpose for me? So I could say I had heroically muscled through? My new teachers Natalie and Kitana would never have fallen for that trap. My heart was clear and at peace. I was done!
I left at the right moment. I sat up with great difficulty. I focused to control my body’s shakiness. I crawled to the opening and stumbled out into the world. Free and with my heart clear for God to take Its proper seat.
I should mention that many times that day I stood on mounds of fire ants. People were repeatedly bitten. (One ant even bit a poor woman on the lip during the lodge.) They never touched me. And I remembered that a while ago I had been given the name Red Ant.
Today I am okay taking my place amongst the fire ants and the wild children.