OCTOBER 1999 NEWSLETTER
Greetings once again, and Peace and Light.
This is part 2 of the current newsletter. It really is great to be back.
The weather here in the North-East is getting stranger and stranger. Seeds are growing into mature plants in what is now the Fall. New growth is appearing on bushes and trees as the old leaves are dying out and dropping off. Beautifully coloured leaves are falling into gardens filled with flower blooms.
Is it Spring, or is it Fall?
Or is it both?
Has Time itself changed?
I will be describing a Sweat Lodge Ceremony, talking about what is involved, what to expect, what can happen?
I will also be talking about the on-going effects of the eclipses of July and August which are continuing to manifest at the times of the Full and New Moons.
Think of two flat stones skipping across a pond, one representing the Full Moon, the other, the New Moon.
Each bounce, each month, they hit, again and again.
That is what eclipses do, until the energy is depleted, or the results obtained.
That's what they are all about.
Why is it so hard?
In Part 1 (vol. 2, #3a), I wrote that the biggest problem we have is our inability to let go of the past.
Compounding that is the fact that we focus on what happened (in the past), rather than who we have become (in the present).
"It is not what we have done, but what we have become, that matters."
Letting go is difficult because what we have to let go of is part of us, indivisible and inseparable in our eyes.
It is part of our reality. What is real is what we know.
And what we hang onto.
If a tree hung onto its dead leaves, it would be choked with death, and it could not grow.
Instead it celebrates life, and the leaves that made it possible.
By letting go of the old and growing new ones.
What we have experienced is who we are.
This we believe, and have accepted.
Our reality is how we define ourselves and our world.
Even our pain is part of that definition.
The problem is we did not do the defining. It was done for us.
We will follow that thought in more detail in the next issue.
We focus on the events of our lives, and believe they are our Truth.
Who we are, and not what we have become.
We look at the leaves, instead of the tree.
The day of the Sweat Lodge.
The sky is achingly blue, cloudless; the Sun presses down subduing the Earth beneath. Hot, dry, breathlessly waiting. All around are fields of golden grass dozing in the heat. To the north, waits a field of sun-dried corn stalks, ochre coloured, standing in rows, their job finished.
Beyond, a riot of colour. The woods beyond the fields filled with trees trying on their new Fall coats.
The stones of the Medicine Wheel, kin to those at Stonehenge, sit waiting for eternity, silent, watching.
The covering of the Lodge; many hands lifting and spreading on layers of blankets, quilts, and tarps until even the awesome power of the Sun is tamed. The Lodge grows dark. No light can enter. The Earth hides her secrets from the burning eye of the Sun.
Later, tending the fire, sitting alone, facing south. Night is coming, the Sun is gone. It is cool and dark. Overhead the sky is deepening blue becoming pale lemon yellow-green in the west Silhouetted, the now-black trees stand silent and still. High altitude wisps of clouds are painted magenta and hot pink by the hidden Sun.
A half-Moon burns bright in the sky. Half light,half dark The dark half invisible against the blueness. A balance between light and dark. The Fall Equinox where day and night are equal.
How marvelously appropriate.
Suddenly, in the woods a half a mile to the south, a coyote starts to call. And another and another until at least six at yipping together. Youngsters trying to sound grown up join in. In the woods to the left, others answer For five or so minutes the night is filled with their lament, howls, and yips and howls.
And then . . . silence.
Those participating in the Sweat begin to arrive, faceless and indistinct in the deepening gloom. They stand huddled near the fire, an island of light and heat in the cooling darkness. Softly, safety and procedural instructions are given for the newcomers and to remind the veterans. A man smudges around the outside of the Lodge; a woman the inside. The acrid scent of sage fills the night.
We are ready to begin.
We crawl in one at a time, circling sunwise around the pit in the center, to reach our seats. Inside, darkness is complete. Twelve people, faceless individuals, breathe as one.
The covering over the door is lifted and the call to the fire tender for rocks is given.
The first rocks are slid by long handled shovel into the pit. They resemble lava from one of Hawaii's volcanoes, glowing red hot in the dark. These are the grandfathers, giving their heat, existing since the very beginning of Time. The door-covering is replaced; water is thrown on the glowing rocks.
Waves of steam and heat well up, filling the top of the lodge. We try to remember to breathe, remember to relax and not to struggle.
In the stygian darkness, the heat spreads lower and lower until it fills the lodge, straining against the bonds of the covering layers. Pushing like a beast trying to escape.
Quiet. The mind seems to expand to fill the lodge.
We open with the North gate (as we are honoring the West, which will be last). We talk of letting go and completion.
More water and heat.
The soft voices in the dark; the hissing of the steam. Each in turn speaks their piece.
The door is opened. More rocks. Water pours from us all, gifts to the Earth.
We honour the East and talk of new beginnings. More rocks and more sweat. We honour the South and growth, . . . and the coyotes, little sisters of the Night.
Visions appear. Bear walks amongst us. Wolves leap in packs. Buffalo visits. Cool glows like moonlight fill the lodge. Emotional barriers break; limits are faced; issues released.
The last rocks and we honour the West, the time of harvest, of getting all that we deserve and have coming, from all that we have begun.
And all that we have become.
It is time. We crawl forth from the Mother's womb and are reborn into the world, wet and shivering. The Night is now all black and glistening. Mist has rolled in from the lowlands while we have been inside.
Moonlight ignites the fog with cold, silver fire.
The cool night air feels incredible after the hot darkness.
I realize I am very wet.
Is this what it is like to be born?
The process of letting go has always been as difficult to describe and teach as it has been to do. Here is an extract from one of my next series of Beyond Meditation recordings currently in production.
"Visualize yourself sitting in a quiet open space. It is a grassy place surrounded by trees and flowering bushes.
Feel the ground beneath you,see the sky above, feel the warmth of the Sun and hear the soft rustling of the breeze dancing through the leaves and grass.
Allow yourself to sit and see the seasons, and the years, come and go.
See the first buds appear in the Spring. The trees and bushes come into full growth in the Summer.
Watch the grasses turn golden in the Fall, the blossoms fade and die, the leaves change colour and drop to the ground.
See the Earth lie dormant in the Winter.
Observe that each year the leaves and the blossoms come and go. See that the trees and bushes live in the moment, the present, accepting what is and letting go of what was.
Some years the growth is lush and glorious. In other years stunted and misshapen. Trees and bushes do not hold to regrets or feel guilt. They simply are always all that they can be.
See a perfect rose form. Its beauty lasts but a short time and is gone. The rosebush does not try to hold onto it, or regret its passing, but celebrates its being while it is here.
Now see a tree filled with leaves. See them wither, die and fall to the ground.
The tree does not regret their passing. It displays its accompishments in good times and in bad. The tree does not try to hold onto what it has created or what it is going through. It lets go when the time is right.
And becomes a stronger tree.
The tree does not fear the axe. It grows again from the hacked stump.
It does not fear the fire. New shoots sprout from the blackened Earth.
Grass does not give into the lawn mower, accept defeat and give up. It grows again and again, no matter how many times it is cut, celebrating its being and vitality.
The leaves that die and are released, nourish the tree and help it to bring forth new leaves in the next season.
So to do our experiences nourish our growth and help us to be stronger and meet the next challenge.
Do not hold onto what has lived its time and is dead.
Let it go and let it nourish your growth.
See what you have become, and what marvelous leaves you will grow in the Spring.
In our Healing Circle, let us ask for clarity and direction for ourselves and all of those feeling confused and anxious. Let there be a healing of mind and spirit and a release from Fear.
Let us pray for the Earth, our Mother, and give her the energy to rebuild and repair the damage done to Her.
Let us ask for healing for all those in need within our circle and beyond.
Blessing and abundance to all of you, and may you find your Path illuminated in the Spring and throughout the year.
May you always walk in Beauty.
Mi Takuye Oyasin - for all my relations
Alan Grey Wolf
345 Whitmore Avenue
Toronto M6E 2N5
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Last updated November 2nd, 1999
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