Lame Deer - Native American Indians - The sweat lodge
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Lame Deer Seeker of Visions – John Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes
I was lightheaded and dizzy from my first sweat bath in which I had purified myself before going up the hill. I had never been in a sweat lodge before. I had sat in the little beehive shaped hut made of bent willow branches and covered with blankets to keep the heat in.
Old Chest and three other medicine men had been in the lodge with me. I had my back against the wall, edging as far away as I could from the red hot stones glowing in the centre.
As Chest poured water over the rocks, hissing white steam enveloped me and filled my lungs. I thought the heat would kill me, burn the eyelids off my face! But right in the middle of all this swirling steam I heard Chest singing. So it couldn't be all that bad.
I did not cry out 'All my relatives!' which would have made him open the flap of the sweat lodge to let in some cool air – and I was proud of this.
I heard him praying for me 'Oh, holy rocks, we receive your white breath, the steam. It is the breath of life. Let the young boy inhale it. Make him strong.
The sweat bath had prepared me for my vision seeking. Even now, an hour later, my skin still tingled.
But it seemed to have made my brains empty.
Maybe that was good, plenty of room for new insights