In the teepee I feel a sense of sacred space. My imagination soars along the converging poles leaning toward the sky and something deep in my body feels at home sitting round the fire pit. The images on the wall spark my love for mystery and other lives.
After sharing a little about why we have gathered, I offer smudge. Smudging is a little like washing in the shower but instead of water, smoke from smoldering dried plant leaves swirls around me and rises up, carrying my prayers and releasing my monkey mind chatter in a visible way, revealing the air we typically forget surrounds us.
Smell, my most primal sense, alerts my rationality to acknowledge sacred time and space where “communion” may occur – this atavistic nudge is one of the reasons churches, shrines and temples have used incense for thousands of years – it encourages our experience of the numinous.
Our group is about to imitate a body posture based on our ancient human ancestors’artwork while I drum and rattle at a steady fast pace.
Here’s an example of a posture.
Our nervous systems are still hardwired to that fast paced, regular beat and many people burst into unbidden tears when their ears first register the surround-sound of drumming/rattling. .. a cocoon of sound, a womb of embeddedness, a homecoming we’ve unknowingly yearned for and forgotten until we experience it.
We are a hungry species and don’t even know what food we’re seeking!
Philosopher Bruce Wilshire, in his book titled Wild Hunger – The Primal Roots of Modern Addiction, quotes anthropologist, Felicitas Goodman, who discovered the practice of these postures we’re about to experience.
Long ago, Felicitas said, “In the long run. . .humans cannot tolerate ecstasy deprivation.”
As a culture we’re just beginning to recognize the truth of that statement.
Can you identify that ecstatic hunger in yourself? I sure can. I’ll have more to say next time.
Deborah, beautiful. I love the idea of smudging.
So glad, Kate.