Santa Fe, New Mexico
At the end of September to the beginning of October a temporary community of people gathered delightedly upon some private land adjoining the Eldorado Wilderness just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, to create a circle within which to learn deeply with Doug Simons.
The day before the gathering was due to begin Doug instructed some of us on how to build a traditional Lakota Sweat Lodge, the significance of the 16 posts and meaning of each step of the process. Our sweat-lodge looked grand to my eyes, a significant and rotund structure, risen from the ground ~ Turtle nestled in an intimate area readied for a group ritual.
At the end of our first day together Doug began preparations for the sweat-lodge fire and heating of the volcanic rocks, carefully piled upon huge chunks of Cottonwood. 30 of us walked in a clockwise direction around our great fire bowing at the entrance to the lodge and crawling to our places. Women first, our children with us, then men. With kindness and immeasurable grace Doug allowed our children to sit a while, leave and re-enter our lodge as desired, supporting their first experiences of this sacred happening together in a safe community of people. The sweat lodge was hot- intense, the spirits of that place, of the plants, Doug’s guides and the multitude of our ancestors were all present with us in the womb, our prayers, induced by the intensity of the heat became stronger and more heart felt. The rest of our time together that weekend was very rich and lasting thanks to the intimacy experienced within the lodge.
As I write these few words I am mulling over the plant relationships that were re-invigorated, established for the first time or simply happily acknowledged for me during the days we spent with Doug. It is of course different for each of us, however- it occurs to me that my deeper impressions of this time have been less around plant specifics and more about the importance of creating a clear and concise understanding of the foundation we need to develop to facilitate emotional, psychological and physical acceptance of the medicine our plant relatives offer us as we call upon them to aid in our healing and whole-ing. Good nutrition, non-rancid fats and oils, Kidney and Adrenal health, lifestyle practices and working with plant and organ energetics.
All of these teachings weave a strong base upon which to embroider the threads of our own lives as well as the lives of our friends, families and clients. A true understanding of the workings of nature that creates a good enough soil to allow further knowledge to thrive in.
Doug works on so many levels simultaneously, thus keeping students of various experience held deliciously in the mystery and humility of learning, unpeeling the layers at which they are in their own journey and I gave deep thanks and gratitude for all the questions, observations and translations of Doug’s teachings that we offered up to one another during our days together.
We look forward to delving further together in our bioregion, as our community unfolds, expands and embraces these valuable teachings and life ways Doug offers us.
Mitakuye Oyasin, All My Relations.