I am shocked and deeply saddened by the deaths and injuries that resulted from James Ray’s recent Spiritual Warrior event in Sedona. I can certainly identify with the sadness, pain and disbelief that people across the country are feeling in regards to the seemingly avoidable loss of life that has taken place.
As a spiritual leader in my community, I recognize that this tragedy has created an awareness within all of us. My hope is that we listen to the messages we are receiving. At this time there are still far too many questions and not nearly enough answers.
The sweat lodge tradition among Native Americans is still practiced today as a ritual of cleansing and healing. The spiritual intensity of the sweat ceremony became a ritual that passed across generations. In the tradition most common in Arizona, the healer or shaman invites a small number of people into the lodge, usually around 12. Prayers are made before, during and after, invoking the Great Spirit, as well as the spirits of ancestors, to assist in healing, releasing and cleansing.
Photos of the “sweat lodge” that you may have seen make the Angel Valley structure look thoroughly make-shift. However, that’s exactly what a sweat lodge is supposed to look like, although Angel Valley’s was uncommonly big. Sweat lodges are, by nature, make-shift, temporary structures, constructed of the most basic elements.
Two weeks ago, with the help of a local shaman, a traditional sweat lodge was built at my own Healing center, Sunlight Alliance in Arizona. With this recent event, it has certainly created awareness of what “can” happen. However, I have personally experienced the gift and blessings of a sweat. Each person needs to come to their own truth and understanding behind this tragic event. For me, living in fear of what could happen is not living. I will choose to live in awareness, mindfulness and faith!
Also featured this month on the Sedona Tragedy:
Facts & Timeline
A Special Comment: Why Three Lives were Lost in Sedona, by Tim Miejan
One Small Native Voice, by Rodney Banashley
The Quick and The Dead – The James Arthur Ray Investigation, by Hanakia Zedek
The Program & Online Opinions