Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweat house part six: final chapter or just the begining

The light was dim inside the hogan, just a small fire in the middle of the floor. More people had come, some I knew, some I didn't. But there was an underlying commonality among all present. That was the well being of Frank. People had come from far and wide to help. Frank is loved by many people and the call was answered.
After awhile the blanket was drawn over the door and some more wood was placed on the fire. Long sticks of oak about three feet long and maybe four inches across are used to feed into the fire. By this time the fire had taken on its own character. Dancing and singing, I guess it wasn't going to wait on us. For some time Wilson discussed many things that at the time didn't seem to go with what was going on. It wasn't until some time later that it all made sense to me, and what was freely given to me I will freely give to you.
The things that he talked about was the concept of first words. Better yet, "FIRST WORD." What this means is that all things were created by a spoken word. And that as this creation was being spoken into existence, special words, HOLY words were used. Words that can cause energy to form into what we perceive as matter. Many things were spoken into existence including "The people." In the beginning we were taught these words so that we as humans could be "good stewards" helping things remain in a state of balance. Somewhere along the way mistakes were made, ( not on purpose, but in the course of human events.)
And that was part of the problem, somewhere along the road, mistakes were made that caused Frank to be out of balance. Small missteps that seem little at the time lead us into a completely different direction later. What was going to be done was this...
Songs that bring healing and balance back were going to be sung. Sounds like a small thing, but remember the universe as we know it, was spoken of as though it already existed before it came to be what we see now. Songs that are centuries old, sung true to form, without mistake, can and have created new realities.
after Wilson was through speaking, he got up and went clockwise around the room, pausing at each person, giving a blessing and feeding several slices of cactus to each of us. When he got to me, I was completely amazed. Wilson's face had taken on a glow like I had read about Moses when he returned from the mountain. His face looked younger, and his smile had such a reassurance that you knew that it was going to be a wild ride but somehow, someway all things would be alright.
As I chewed on the peyote, it tasted like I was eating a dirt clod. and immediately I remembered doing that very same thing as a small boy and began to laugh. Wilson just winked a shoved in several more. By that time I looked up and Frank was watching me and he was laughing also.
Further evidence that all was going to be OK. Several times over the course of the night, Wilson would "take a break" as he would put it... when things would be getting alittle intense. It's an amazing thing when your entire being is totally one with all things and everyone involved.
Beautiful songs and the constant beat of the drum would at times seem to give you the glimpses of the way that this whole universe really is. And it is far more incredible than we could ever imagine. I just want to make one thing clear about peyote and its use in sacred ceremonies. It is not used for intoxication or anything close. Most Dine' pride themselves because of their sobriety. You can't walk in beauty that way. What this cactus does is allow you to concentrate ALL of your mind and spirit to the worship of God. And that is the main purpose of the whole thing. Leaving your flesh behind into true spirit taught behavior, which is the healing of others through unselfish love.
I have participated in enough peyote meetings to know that it is not a "heathen" activity. I have never felt the Lords' presence as much as I have inside the circle.
I hope I don't sound like I'm preaching but I truly believe that if people could actually see and hear they would feel the same as I do.
Throughout the night several special songs were sung by Wilson directly over Frank. Each time you could see burdens being lifted, peace returning, and balance being restored. How can that be anything but HOLY!
When I think back on the things that I have seen with my own eyes, i am truly humbled.
I have seen the Enemy Way Sing, ( Squaw dance for us non natives). The last night consisting of a fire three stories high, hot enough to do way more than singe your eyebrows. Yet clay covered dancers getting so close it scares you for their safety. One throwing himself down on his belly and stretching out a willow and lighting it up. Same thing later in the night but with shreds of cedar bark, lit in the same manner, and then the dancers whipping each other with the flaming bark. Called fire dance.
I have seen when the dancers gather around a century plat and sing over it and then reveal that the plant had a bud spike on it. then crowd around with more chanting, step back and see that that bud spike had completely flowered out. The spoken word creating a new reality.
Through the many wondrous things that occurred during those years, I was given a new set of eyes to see with, a new heart to see with, and a new mind to see with... and a new spirit to live with.
I hope that you have enjoyed this walk through my past... I am what I am


  1. This experience sounds other worldly. What a magical way to get intouch with self and others. I sure look forward to our first sweat when I get back. Miss you already.

  2. Fantastic Mike. I have really loved this series and sincerely hope you do more articles like this. Yes, to some this may all seem very foreign but to other, it will be a place called home. We all have our different ways and beliefs and are all entitled to think differently on things. As long as what we believe in works for us. Thanks Mike for sharing. I do not need to ask if Frank was better after this as I know he was.

  3. Yes Frank did do much better afterwards, he is still alive and kicking, although Bessie, his wife has since passed. She was a wounderful woman who I will miss a great deal until we walk in the red sand hand and hand like mother and son...

  4. Mike: Wonderfully posted in such vivid detail. Thanks for letting us take a walk into the sweat lodge with you.

  5. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my blog :) You got it exactly how I relate to nature. It's nice to know something about Dine culture too!

    Thanks again :)