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GGTF: The Sweat Lodge Experience.

Lately I have been feeling like I am in need of a spiritual and physical cleansing.

I have been a member of MeetUp for quite sometime because it's a great way to discover things to do in your community with other like minded individuals; so when I came across the Fall Equinox Sweat Lodge Ceremony, I felt it could be a great place to start.

If you have never been to a sweat lodge, basically it's a man-made hut that is oblong or dome shaped made completely out of natural materials. The ceremonies performed within the structure are usually done as a purification or detoxification via sweating in a temperature as hot if not hotter than a sauna.

From the construction of the lodge to the prayers offered, the lodge's purpose is to connect deeply to oneself through the spiritual symbolism that represents the womb of the earth. Its intent is to purify those within it by sweat and prayers of gratitude.

Some put a lot of stock into the sweat lodge experience going as far as making it a part of their religious practice. I however, do not.

At first I was a little hesitant in finding my gratitude. Not because of any other reason, but that I have been struggling with the idea of chasing happiness. Something that I call the happiness addiction.

The best part about an experience such as this is that its intention revolves around the notion of growth. According to Raven, our spiritual guide for the ceremony, the new year doesn't begin until December 21st. The ceremony was a means to reflect on our previous year, what we've accomplished, and what we are ready to let go of.

For myself, I was seeking that balance of circumstantial and past traumatic depression and my proverbial road to happiness.

"Happiness is not linear," and it's often times a cover up for truths that are buried deep inside that need to be surfaced before true growth can occur.

During the ceremony, I had expressed this feeling and had asked myself through prayer what my biggest obstacle was. The vision that appeared to me was a direct reflection of myself.

I'd seen my hair swooping over my face as it does when I want to shield myself and hide. I saw my almond shaped eyes beaming along with my lips and Mona Lisa smile.

I had also asked about this battle that I was having with darkness and light and my answer was something incredible.

I had thought of the time when I last saw all of my children together in one place. We were at the beach swimming in the sea. My oldest son had asked me to take a mental picture of my surroundings.

"Do you see that sky?"
"Yes" I replied.
"Good"he said.
"Now, do you see the colors how they are blending in together?"
"The orange is mixing with the blue, and the yellow is swirling them around each other?"
"Do you see that?"
"Yes, I see it."
"Good" he said.
"Now look at the water. Do you see how crystal clear it is?"
"Do you see how the movement of the waves are lifting us up with each roll of the tide?"
"Yes" I said.
'Now mom, this one is really important," he said.
"I want you to look at me."
"Really look at me."
"Do you see my face?"
"Yes" I said.
"Examine my face."
"This is your son."
"Now think about this moment, as if it were a photograph."
"Never let this moment leave your heart."

That was my vision of light, happiness.

The vision furthered and a black Orca whale arose from that crystal clear ocean. I had climbed upon its back and it dived deep into the sea until the clear blue turned dark and black. It was freighting. The only glimpse of light was attached to a sea creature with large teeth and deformed eyes that were larger than the whale itself, coming at us open mouthed and with intent to swallow us both.

I shouted to the Orca, "I'm afraid!" In turn, it spoke to me. Easing my fears. Telling me he was my guide and that I was safe.

The Orca then brought me back to the surface. My son was there with his welcoming presence along with the beautiful warmth of the sea, the gorgeous colors of the setting sun, and my other two children playing in the distance.

This occurrence happened several times. Lightness to dark. Dark to lightness.

Which leaves me with this... the deeper I sink into the depths of the emotion of depression, the further it will lead me to death and despair. The choice is mine. It's okay to explore the darkness, it is fascinating. However, it's not okay to dive deep into the abyss.

The symbolization of family, love, harmony, longevity, travel, community and protection that the Orca (as well as the wonderful experience I had in that moment with my son) are also there. Never wavering.

I see the experience not as an answer, but a glimpse.

I can only speak for myself and my own experiences, but I would imagine what the vision was telling me was that yes, the darkness and depression are always there. Yes, the one thing holding me back is myself, and yes, one does not exist without the other.

I will definitely try the sweat lodge experience again and recommend it to anyone. The new year is upon us and I have more of an idea of where to go next. I also have an idea of what to write about in future posts regarding depression and happiness and my theory on happiness addiction.

Thanks for reading!

Until next week, have a good day.

Sacred Sauna Sweat Lodge Experience

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