Wednesday was a Public Holiday in South Africa. It was Women’s Day in South Africa. I will let Wikipedia explain it for you: “National Women’s Day is a South African public holiday celebrated annually on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanisation, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994. In 2006, a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans.”
I had a very fun day planned as we had a Sisters Circle followed by a Sweat Lodge at my friend Gerri’s place, Eagle Owl Lodge. Lily and Josh were also driving down from Mossel Bay to spend a long weekend with us.
We woke up to the dogs insisting on breakfast as we often do on a day off. Pixie jumped up on the side of the bed until I picked her up and put her on the bed, then she proceeded to sit on my head and pull my hair.
After Norm fed the dogs their breakfast he brought us a coffee to have in bed and Pixie came back up for a cuddle now that her belly was full.
She is the cutest thing isn’t she? It is impossible to resist that face!
Eventually we got up and I made us a simple but healthy banting breakfast of boiled eggs, crispy bacon, avocado and mature cheddar cheese. The fat in it would serve me for the entire day as I would not eat again until late that evening after lodge.
I showered and put a ton of oils into my hair as the heat from the Sweat Lodge would give me a nice hair treatment. Menopause has made my hair so dry and low carb life has made it thin so I need all the hair help I can get and I love multi-tasking. 🙂
Norm drove me over to the Lodge as I knew it would be dark when we finished so I would not be able to drive home as I cannot see at night. To be fair I can’t see worth a damn in the day time either!
It was the first lodge I have attended which was poured by Michelle, aka “Dancing Heart Spirit Woman”. Her husband Gordon was the fire keeper and he was assisted by Neo.
The process started with us all circling the fire-pit and the fire being lit by the fire keepers. We then all took a pinch of tobacco to offer to the Great Spirit and we all stepped forward to put this offering into the fire while voicing quietly to ourselves our wishes. You can ask for what you want to receive from the Great Spirit (such as guidance or enlightenment) as well as for the things you want to be taken away (such as pain or emotional baggage which is not serving your personal growth).
The attendees placed items or offerings onto the altar. You can place anything you want to receive your prayers, blessings and energy onto the altar, such as a photograph, a personal item you cherish or beads or crystals.
Once the fire was lit we went inside to have a talking circle. There were 25 women attending and we all sat in a circle and Michelle asked us all to talk about what we thought was ‘magnificent’ about ourselves, what we valued and what we loved about ourselves. For many women loving themselves is not something that comes easily. We often doubt ourselves and have a running conversation in our heads telling us just how badly we are performing at life or what idiots we are. Another lovely exercise to perform in a group of women who know each other well is to have everyone go around the room and tell each other what THEY like about the other attendees, it really builds self esteem and highlights to you how others perceive you.
When the talking stick came to me I said that I admired my bravery. I hate change, yet I have moved about 50 times, I have residency in 3 countries, have traveled extensively and have a job that requires me to go to many new clients, sometimes on my own. I work across multiple client offices and have multiple roles, from project manager, data analyst, business analyst, data migration consultant to data quality consultant. My life has been all about change. I admire the fact that even though I may be terrified, I get up and I show up and I carry on regardless of my fears.
I strongly identify with the phrase ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.
I was worried about attending the lodge at all, I am not good with strangers, I am not good with small spaces and I am not good with being very hot – basically all of the items which make up the description of the sweat lodge experience! The last lodge I attended was very full and I found it very uncomfortable physically not to be able to move about very much. But when Michelle sent out the lodge protocols it had a section talking about White Buffalo Woman.
White Buffalo Woman has come to me in visions, she has come through with messages about ‘knowing who I am and accepting my role as a healer’ whenever I go for a psychic reading. I feel a deep connection to her. She may even be my Spirit Guide as she is so prevalent in my life. Maybe she is an ancestor?
Whatever her role, I took this as a message that I must attend the lodge and that I must put my fears aside. This is part of my journey of spiritual growth and I must just show up and walk the walk.
After the sharing circle we all changed into our lodge clothes and we went outside to get ready to enter the lodge. I wore a bikini bottom and a short swimming cover up which meant I had freedom of movement but still some modesty. (And that I did not step on my boobs while climbing on my hands and knees through the lodge)
We were organised into 2 rows, the first to form an inner circle (the hottest part) and then a second to form an outer circle. I asked to be near the exit so I could catch air between rounds as I find it hard to endure the heat. It was physically very tight on space once all 25 of us were in but I coped by wiggling regularly, however it is hard to get into a meditative trance state if wiggling about or uncomfortable.
There are 4 rounds, one to each direction as each direction has a different symbolism. 28 stones are placed on the fire, 7 for each of the rounds. The process of the lodge is divided into 4 rounds, where the power and spirit of the 4 sacred directions are called in along with the hot stones.
We started the 1st round and once the stones were in we went around the circle and called in our ancestors and spirit guides and stated our intention for the lodge. I called in my Cherokee ancestors and White Buffalo Woman. My intention was for healing of my physical pain and my mother’s physical pain and for less resistance to the emergence of my empath abilities and my healing powers for others. I asked to be more open and willing. I asked for patience and acceptance in my daily interactions. I asked for continued strength and love in my marriage and for protection over my children and their partners. I prayed for rain over Africa as we are experiencing a long running drought.
In between the rounds the doors were opened to allow in some of the cold fresh air from outside. In the other 3 rounds we sang songs and drummed and we prayed. In one of the rounds we all hummed loudly together, then we all made the Om sound and finally we all released our spirit animals and our inner child and we made all of the noises we wanted or needed to make, such as howling at the moon, ululating, shouting, singing, humming, whistling or just unleashing your inner voice. I loved that feeling of freedom and release. It brought me to a place of such pure joy in my heart. I often howl in my car when on my own to release both stress and joy. I identify strongly with wolves.
After the 4th round we all exited the lodge in a clockwise fashion and went out to cool off and change into normal clothes and then we came back to undress the lodge and pack away the blankets. We then all had a meal together of bread and soup made from ingredients grown in Michelle and Gordon’s garden. It was healthy and delicious and we were all starving as it had been a long & exhausting 7 hour process.
The energy that I absorbed from 25 women sitting closely together and singing, praying chanting and drumming gave me a boost and I felt like I made some strong connections with several of the women. It was such a powerful lodge of energy from the women combined with the full moon.
After we all finished eating Norm came to collect me and we went off home. I got to spend a bit of time with Lily, Caitlin and Josh which rounded my day off brilliantly.
This entire month is Women’s Month in SA and yet there are still such levels of misogyny. There has been publicity over deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana for an alleged assault against a woman in a pub at the weekend. We often hear of women beaten by their partners, their sons, or random strangers. Many of these men act without impunity. SA, like most of Africa, is a very patriarchal society. Women here often struggle financially to survive. It is often a hard life for women in SA. It is estimated 1 in 5 women suffer some form of abuse in SA.
This sort of culture is so prevalent that our National Radio station, 5FM has no qualms with their DJs spouting out misogyny. The morning after celebrating Women’s Day I hear slimy pervy DJ Roger Goode blaming Angelina Jolie for Brad Pitt’s drinking problems and Kim Kardashian for Kanye’s dimished success. Then in the next sentence he starts calling Sarah Jessica Parker ‘horseface’ and whinnying continuously when she is mentioned. This man seems to have a lot of hatred for women. The only reason I was listening to him was that all of the other channels were reporting the news in Afrikaans and I do not speak Afrikaans. Yet the SABC moved my fave DJ Fresh off air to some obscure channel I cannot find? I do not understand their decisions to allow Roger Goode air time and to remove DJ Fresh.
Anyway, SA has a long way to go in many areas.
The weather turned from the heat & sunniness of the last week and it has now been raining for over 24 hours. I wonder if we women in the lodge contributed to that as I heard several others also praying for rain?
I had work on Thursday and after work I built a big fire and then Lily and I made Mexican food for all of us. It was really yummy and then we all watched silly videos on YouTube and then watched a bit of the IAAF Athletics Championships and had the excitement of seeing South African Wade Van Niekerk almost win the Men’s 200 meter race. It was so close!
I am so proud of South Africa for how well they are doing overall in the medals.
Yesterday the La Creuset mini ramekins I ordered for myself and my girls arrived.
The boxes were wrapped so sweetly, I had asked for gift wrapping and asked for the card to say ‘Mommy Loves You’ and they printed it on the ribbon! Cute heh?
Tonight we are going to have a quiet night in as I have another hectic weekend in store. On Saturday morning I am going with Caitlin to a shop to view some flooring she wants to purchase for her new flat. I am then going to Cheyne’s for lunch with some girlfriends in the afternoon and then Norman and I are off to dinner and the theatre on Saturday night.
On Sunday I am attending a drum circle where we will awaken our new drums. I cannot wait to hear her voice, I have resisted trying her out as she needed to dry properly and undergo the ritual to awaken her spirit. She is looking gorgeous.
I hope you all enjoy your weekend and I hope I have the stamina required for mine 🙂