Thursday, October 29, 2009
Retreat Sweat Lodge Disaster
I was on retreat myself when the tragic sweat lodge deaths occurred in Arizona. Shocking and saddening, the details that describe the event are unlike any that I have experienced in the sweats I've attended over the past 8 years. Beginning with my initiation on the Fort Peck Reservation with the traditional Sioux and Assiniboine natives, to the deserts of Utah with only three of us non-natives in the lodge, to the sacred womb of Donna Emma's lodge behind the Pyramid of the Moon in Teo, I have experienced sweat lodges in a wide variety of settings. Besides one exceptionally hot sweat with the Lakota in Bozeman, all pushed my limits but were tollerable and highly transformative. All were safe. Even with the hottest sweat, those who needed a rest, including myself, were respectfully allowed space.
My heart goes out to all involved in the tragic sweat lodge deaths. For an insightful article about the recent catastrophe, see Carl Hammerschlag's article on Reality Sandwich: Sweat Lodge Tragedy.