Down on my knees crawling through the blanket flap cervix
the intimate waves of heat are in transition but I am ready
even though I’m ignorant and forgetful of this raw intricate birthing
Sweat rides my body in rivulets a waterfall’s surrender
I’m tense, but with senses trusting,
I watch the cindering stones as they concentrate
with love and arrogance
I circle the entrance to myself
and follow them in
The speed of the stones passage to dust
unravels my retread knowing
as their elegant sacrifice eclipses the barriers of skin
and feverish memories collide zig-zag
unable to escape my hollowed mind’s eye
I am everyone pouring through my clearing eyes of perceiving
long occluded by the fallout of the human conceit
where even nature forgets her balance
when time has a mind
Vapors are rising from holy herbs full of grace
Still, the undead congregate here like moths to our pain
every one, I’m learning, has a place in line
and I am naked and grateful on my knees and finally present
almost touching heaven
in the wasteland.
A little autobiographical note….While living intimately on 14 acres situated in the poorest county of NY State during the last decade of the past century, I had the opportunity to participate in monthly sweat lodge ceremonies. The first was on a cold February Sunday…18 degrees outside. I began this relationship with the sweat lodge ceremony after hearing about a local man of Seneca lineage facilitating the sweats, who was being trained by a MicMac Elder from Canada.
During the course of this relationship, through my personal experiences of the sweat lodge and fasting with the Elder, I explored my own personal healing from trauma and our relationship with Divine Nature. These sweats, and all I learned during this time, were only the beginning of this journey.
I’m grateful for the safety made possible and the care taken by the lodge keepers and most specially to Divinity for answering my questions and challenging me to ask more.
An amazing experience you recount here. I’m quite unfamiliar with this… and find it fascinating!
Yes, for me it was unique but also familiar….perhaps remembering being in my mother’s womb. We all come to the “temple” of our bodies in different ways. I was fortunate to have found this experience since I find living in the US relatively antiseptic, on a day to day basis, and geared more towards a mental perceiving. Perhaps this is why India is a seat of spirituality? A full body flowering each day? To me, your own poetry, MJ reflects this kind of bodily resonance. I fall into it hungry, then wonderfully satisfied.
This is what a lot of my friends tell me about living in the US. India is a difficult country to live in – it’s an everyday grind. At the same time, all of you is ALIVE… mind, body and soul… alive and responding to stimuli around.
Thank you for ‘feeling’ my poems. When I write them, I feel them deeply too, and my friends, you… sharing the emotion, makes it worthwhile.
Have a great week ahead.
thanks for sharing
your intimate experience
it was an honour
It occurred at a time in my life, Geo Sans, where I struggled to find continuity between all I’d been taught that still informed me, despite my best efforts, and deep emotions I couldn’t quite find reason for, while living on a piece of land that had never been inhabited because it was difficult to tame. Quite the analogy….As I worked the land I learned to work with it. The lodge experiences accelerated this bodily resonance…a more physical perceiving where my thoughts and emotions began to find their balance.
I learned that I am my body….the more I resonate in my body, the deeper the resonance with Spirit. This spiritual practice eventually solved my “ghost” problem and I came to understand that my own healing assisted this spirit home.
I have had the great good fortune to participate in many sweat lodges myself. . . and I have to say that this is a very moving and intriguing portrait of a sweat lodge experience. In other words, it “rings true” to me.
Reblogged this on The Sand County and commented:
This is the first poem I have read describing a sweat lodge experience. She does this marvelously. This is a must share.
Your last stanza I find to be very moving. Maybe because I have seen this among the other “sweaters” in my own lodge experiences. . . and maybe because it reminds me of the great prisons and wastelands I have visited both while awake and in dream.
So glad you enjoyed this post, Jeremy, and found it reminiscent of your own experience and thank you for re-posting it. I’m living in a small mountain city and have come to depend on you and everyone else living closer to the wild and sharing your eyes so beautifully… as I’m further from it than I like and am learning now how to navigate the “wilds” of humanity. We all share the prisons and wastelands and it has become my territory to explore.
I loved your poem.
I am living in a city myself -one that does not suit my wife and I. I miss living closer to the land, but we are working at making that happen.
Funny thing, I find your poems are doing for me what you give me credit for offering you. Which I am very glad to be able to offer.
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Beautifully described Jana.
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