Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweat lodges

Most, if not all, Native American nations hold sweat lodges. To the eastern Cherokee it doesn't seem to be a typical thing to  practice. Here a description by a singer of the Hualapai way of doing a sweat:

“ The East represents the fire; there rises the sun we greet in the morning. It represents your emotions. It is the first thing to get hurt. It is the same with the world: volcanoes and fire, caused by wrong emotions like anger, envy and greed, destroyed our first world. Those will still hurt you. That is what has to be worked through in the East. It is considered a male energy.

“ Next to the door in the South you put the hot rocks. This represents the earth and stands for our body. This is a feminine power. She destroyed the second world, by earthquakes.

“ In the West, next to the rocks is the place of the water in which you can put the plants and herbs or oils for healing. That is our spirituality and as you will remember floods have destroyed the third world. You use different plants for different illnesses. Eucalyptus for the lungs, ephedra, like the Mormon tea, is for the stomach and for colds. Juniper cleanses your liver and such.

“ The North side is the emptiness in the lodge; it stands for the sky, the air and our mind. When you know about the polluted air all around then you know how this, the fourth world will be destroyed. We already have this huge hole in ozone layer. The element of the North is the wind."

Black Eagle, half Navajo, is leading a sweat in the Flemish countryside today.

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