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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Should Sweat Lodges be banned?

Sweat Lodge Survivors Speak Out

My question today reader is--Should sweat lodges be be banned?

By now you have probably seen, heard, or read about the tragic event that took place in Arizona when three persons died in a sweat lodge. Unfortunately, many people who do not know or understand the significance and history of the sweat lodge are now probably fearful of them. Do you think they should be banned?  I can only speak from my own experience.

Several years ago, I vacationed at the Punta Serena Villa and Spa in Tenacatita, Mexico. Punta Serena is perched atop a cliff side on the Mexican Pacific. Everything about the spa is holistic including the Temazcal Mexican sweat lodge. I was eager to participate because my spirit was weak and drained from being a care provider for my severely disabled son. This vacation was more a time for me to rest and heal my spirit then have fun in the sun.

The Spa was well-known for its Temazcal Mexican sweat lodge that offered a purification ceremony. I had read about sweat lodges and had been told by others of their unusual experiences from seeing spirits to visiting other dimensions. Apprehensive not because what I might experience but because I was a borderline claustrophobic. I could see the sweat lodge from the balcony of my room. It was small in the shape of an igloo.

Putting aside my fear, I joined a small diverse group of men and women as we were escorted down the mountain to the beach. There we covered ourselves with mud and then plunged into the warm bay water. Wrapped in only a towel, we hurried back up the cliff to the sweat lodge were we entered as we came into the world-- naked and head first.

The lodge smelled of sage and the Shaman silently greeted each of us as we settled around the hot stones in the center of lodge. Once inside, my fear of small places dissipated and this is the weird part of my story. I don't remember the details of the ceremony.  I do remember waking up on the grass wrapped in a white sheet along with the other participants. The Shaman was chanting and she eventually rocked each one of us as if we were new born babies. And that's exactly how I felt. My spirit was ready to go out into the world again.

Sweat lodges have many benefits and it's unfortunate that this sacred tradition has been misused. So, you know where I stand. How about you? Share your sweat lodge experiences at www.jjmichaelblog.blogspot.com. 

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