Ron Crowley ęCopyright 2/1/98 It was my first time in the sweat lodge,
I remember the night so well.
I was looking for an experience,
so to others I could tell,
what happens when you're in there,
is it spiritual like they say,
or is it just the heat and humidity
that make your cares go away?

The lodge was built rather quickly,
with everyone in the group pitching in,
with long birch sapling in a circle,
selected sinewy and thin.
Every inch was covered over with blankets,
including the east facing door,
with a deep stone pit in the center
and cedar sprigs padding the floor.

We all gathered around the fire
with the stones heating up cherry red.
The peace pipe passed around the circle,
the stars in position overhead.
The drums broke the nightly silence
and the ancestors were invited inside.
The skeptic that was in me
just going along for the ride.

Inside we sat in a circle,
the hot stones were then brought in
and water splashed upon them,
and the cleansing did begin,
with words of gratitude to my God
for the life He's given me,
and, a "thank you" to my grandparents
for the man I am to be.

Cedar, sage and sweetgrass
make sparkles on the stones.
The darkness, steam and fragrance
create the mood that you're alone,
back in the womb of your mother
comfortable and anxiety free.
Then, in my mind I detected a voice
of someone speaking to me.

Was it the sound of silence,
a muted whisper so surreal,
or was it the voice of my ancestors,
whose presence I could feel?
I called out to my grandmothers
asking them for a sign,
to prove their spirits were visiting
from a world collateral with mine.

The orange glow of the stones
was all that I could see.
Suddenly, it came like an earthquake
the ground shaking under me,
so violently that the dew
from the leaves above us fell
and hissed upon the stones,
that were glowing in the well.

A light came out of the forest
and descended upon the roof,
the old fire tender named Ruby
sagely augured up as proof,
that my grandmothers did indeed
visit with me that night,
bringing to me the message
that everything is alright.

That was the night the skeptic
that lived in me passed away,
changing my life forever.
I remember to this day,
the feeling of tranquility
this occurrence brought to me,
to know my destination,
when this world sets me free.

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