HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 1, No. 4, Jun-Jul-Aug 1982

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 1 No. 4, Jun-Jul-Aug 1982

The Sacred Sweat

In order to achieve this total mingling with the spirits of the earth, many Native Americans traditionally cleansed and healed their minds and bodies through a purification ceremony known as the sacred sweat. "The sweat lodge is a very powerful tool in meditation," Tom told us. "It is a good place for community, and a great prayer place."

All during the appointed day of our sweat ceremony we carefully tended a bonfire, until the piles of rocks within it were rendered a pulsating red. It was growing dark by the time we carried the rocks, using shovels and buckets, into the center of the low, dome-shaped huts. Reverently, in groups of eight or nine, we filed in on hands and knees to surround the glowing pits.

The smell of hay and earth and burning herbs mingled with the sizzle of water on rock. Shadows danced around the rocks, bearing the secret of the sacred fire as the heat rose, pervading the darkness. There, in the bosom of the earth, our bodies and senses were fully awakened.

"It's almost time," a voice came from outside the hut. The oneness completed itself, and we entered the night.

"Out there is everything you'll, ever need." Tom's voice filled our heads. "From your most intricate medication to clothing, to fire -- all your needs are fulfilled, and most of your wants. Earth Mother is a grand provider."

In the distance the rumbling began, as thunder filled the night air. Coyote thunder. The wisdom of the medicine tracker. It approached us from the far fields, resounding in our minds and bodies, and bringing with it a lightning, which opened our hearts.

[Reprinted by permission from New Age magazine, September 1982. Copyright in 1982 by New Age Communications, Inc., Box,. 1200, Allston, @ MA 02134. All rights reserved.]

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