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Yesterday I was with the women I teach at John Volken Academy
in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction
in sacred Sweat Lodge ceremony.
The Sweat Lodge, pictured partly unfinished above, is connected to Phoenix Society located in Surrey, BC, and was built in partnership with their residents and aboriginal Elders, Old Hands, and Alannah Atley (Wise Woman).
It is on the Raven Healing Grounds at the rear of the Phoenix Centre property under tall evergreen trees.
I had difficulty getting there with some unexpected road closures, and felt emotional before and at the beginning of the teachings, but am so glad I was able to participate in this insightful, heartfelt ceremony.
We had made the long, flannel, required gowns in sewing class at JVA, and they were also provided on site. Jewelry and undergarments were asked to be removed.
Crawling into the dark tent through a small opening (the one on the right in the picture above) we sat in a circle on bare, cold, slightly damp ground with our feet pointed to the centre. The men were in the one (now finished, pictured on the left above) close by.
There was a shallow hole in the middle of our tent/lodge for the glowing red-hot rocks to be placed. Smoky scents rose up from local dried medicinal plants placed on the hot rocks, and steam, as water was scooped from a bucket onto them.
In the pitch dark there were four sessions of hot rocks, smoke from the dried herbs, and steam from the water. The tent flap was opened for air and light in between each session.
Beautiful profound wisdom was taught to us by Alannah, the Elder, her totem being Grizzly Bear, while her helper drummed, and was the one who brought the hot rocks from where they were being heated.
Alannah said it is quite unusual for there to be lessons in a Sweat Lodge but that she has been guided to do this, saying it is now our job to create peace on planet.
She says we know how to do this — it is Who We Are — with emphasis on forgiveness, kindness to self and others, caring and sharing.
We could hear the men drumming and singing in their tent, as the two women leading us did their singing, teaching, and drumming, and we sweated 💦 away our sorrow 💦💦💦
I felt truly blessed to be invited.
In parting we were told to honour ourselves like newborn babies for the next 4 days — interesting that Harry and Meghan just had their baby — to feel into the energy of purity.
Mastery of purity is Loving
who we perceive as opponents,
which leads to greater clarity of self,
understanding what is not resolved within.
Purity is ability
to forgive e v e r y t h i n g
past, present, and even into the future,
to be that compassionate non-judgemental observer,
and to be the joy, the gratitude for our individual experiences,
truly knowing that what we perceive as mistakes are valuable lessons.