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Our home away from home.
We eat, we sit, we read, we play games, we talk.
We're reminded of who were here first.
Mostly we kick back in the warmth of fireplace and wood stove.
We get ready for a sweat in the Lakota tradition.
Volcanic rocks, our "oldest relatives" who have seen and survived it all, and who will hear our prayers and take on themselves the things we want to leave in the lodge, get heated red hot.
The Sweat Lodge. We will throw a pinch of tobacco in the fire, then circle around the lodge in the direction of the sun and enter a small opening. When the red hot rocks are placed in the center pit and the opening is closed it is pitch dark except for the glow of the rocks, and fragrant with the sharp smell of cedar needles sprinkled on each rock. It is a place where the spirits are close and our drums and songs and thoughts and prayers will be heard.
The implements of the sweat: antlers for placing the red hot rocks in the center pit--"Welcome, Grandfather;" a dipper for splashing water on the rocks, great clouds of hot steam rising up to the willow ribs of our Mother's womb and descending over us in waves, and for passing around the circle after the third of four sessions for a cold drink and a splash of water over our heads and faces; and cedar branches for sweeping the air between each session; reminding us of the world outside into which we will be reborn as new creatures.