A Divine Void
By Dana Goforth
With the beat from the ceremonial drums still pulsing in my body, I bow and enter the darkened lodge. I’d left my glasses on the small altar already covered with various adornments the other women had removed. I make my way around blurry forms in the tent, hoping not to trip over anyone or, heaven forbid, take a dive into the pit in the center. As I settle down on the hard-packed ground, I watch as several more women enter and make their way inside. Their shapes are little more than colorful smudges. Soon, glowing rocks are placed in the pit and the lodge flap is closed.
Darkness tumbles in, cloaking me in a startling void. I smell bits of purifying sage tickle my nose, only to be replaced by the stronger cedar wood scent coming from the heated stones. The medicine woman leader sprinkles water on the hot rocks, piercing the stillness with a satisfying sizzle. Someone lights a piece of buffalo grass, its sweet scent mingling with the others. As my pores open, so does a heightened sense of awareness. One by one the women speak. A prayer. A wish. A healing request. I feel the beautiful feminine energies grow within me, filling the darkness and mingling with others.
Feeling my inner self share this divine energy, I realize how very much our lives are affected daily by dark, harsh energies. Senseless acts of violence and blatant disrespect of Mother Earth in the name of profit deeply disturb me. The anger I feel toward others’ fear-based decisions drains away. I can’t change them but I can change how I react. From a place of deep peace, I vow to walk more gently through the days ahead.
The flap opens and the cool, early evening pours in, touching my hot skin like velvet. My eyes take a moment to adjust before I make my way to the smudge of light and exit the tent. My body is light and I feel spiritually clean.
A traditional Women’s Sweat Lodge ceremony occurs every second Sunday of the month at Stewart Mineral Springs in the Mount Shasta foothills. Participation is free, but donations are suggested.
Dana Goforth lives on the Central California coast with five long-haired cats and an awesome vacuum cleaner. In addition to writing, Dana is also an internationally exhibiting ceramic artist and oil painter. Her latest book, Hollow Reed Reiki I, was published this year and she continues to teach and practice Reiki.