Twice I have worked at the Trail's Sweat Lodge which
is one of the options for their group sessions. It is run by two native
brothers who specialize in this process.
First let me say - this is a tremendous ceremony -
very spiritual and very healing.
I volunteered to be a support guy outside the sweat
tent so that I did not have to accept their kind offer to come inside and
die with the rest of the group.
The brothers took great delight in making "The White
Boy" run around picking up twigs and bugs. However my real job - once the
ceremony started - was to roll in the grandfathers when the brothers needed
more heat inside.
The grandfathers are the extremely hot rocks that
are cooking on an open fire and used to build up the heat level inside.
There is a strong spiritual significance to the rocks and it was quite an
honour to be selected for this function. I felt very special - even though I
was the only one available.
Now - I was telling some friends about the ceremony
a couple of weeks ago. I described the set up of the tent and fire pits and
how the brothers conducted the ceremony. I also told them how difficult it
was to stay inside because the intense heat and incense used. A few folks
could not handle it and had to leave.
I then told them my job was to roll in the
grandfathers. One lady was horrified - she called me a beast and tried to
hit me with her umbrella. I had forgot to mention that the grandfathers were
the spiritual name for the hot rocks. She thought I was trying to thin out
the elderly population so there would be more government money for myself.
I was hurt - until I realized - she could have a very
good point there.
Growing old is okay ... meeting a pretty lady and
forgetting her name in 20 seconds is not !