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Sweat Lodge Ceremony at Eagle Butte

Australian Visits South Dakota

By Marian Aquarius

Upon reading about Phylameana's experience with the Sweat Lodge, I was inspired to share my story.

In 1995, my daughter and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the USA and spend some quality time visiting some Native American reservations in South Dakota, Arizona, Montana and New Mexico. This was the whole purpose of our trip, and I wrote to the reservations for permission to visit, prior to leaving Australia.

Our visit to South Dakota corresponded with the anniversary of my son's death four years previously. As many parents who have lost a child can appreciate, the loss is inconceivable, and mine was no different four years down the track. My affinity toward Native American spiritual healing and Shamans led me to request a ceremony for my son's spirit, by a genuine Medicine Man.

We headed toward Eagle Butte after leaving Rapid City. On the way we picked up a "hitch hiker" who had come from Pine Ridge Reservation He was a wonderful guide and took us to Bear Butte, where he showed us many spiritual sites, including some recently occupied "sweat lodges." He explained the meaning of the multi-coloured "prayer flags" waving in the gentle breeze, like some brilliant butterflies.

After reaching Eagle Butte, I spoke to an administrator of the Reservation and asked about a Medicine Man who could say a prayer for my son. To our delight, we were invited to a private ceremony at a sweat. This sweat was a four day sweat, to honour departed spirits. Coincidence? I think not. My daughter and I joined the last two days sweat, rising before dawn to participate in the ceremony. We were given prayer flags, sage and some herbs to take with us.

As the sun rose, we left the lodge and on emerging out of the sweat, some 200 or so ravens took to the sky from the fields. Our Shaman, Leo, said that they were the spirits of the departed heading to the Great Spirit.

I can only say that no church could have healed or uplifted my spirit as much as that beautiful ceremony did. My spirits were uplifted and from that moment, I started my healing journey after many years of darkness and inconceivable sorrow. On our return journey, we stopped at Eagle Butte and I placed part of my prayer flag amongst the others. When we returned to Australia, I put another part of the prayer flag on a small conifer at my son's grave. To this day, it flutters faded but proudly in the Australian breeze, where it began it's journey half a world away. I still have some of the original prayer flag with me, safely tucked away with the sage and herbs that were part of our incredibly spiritual "sweat lodge" ceremony. My daughter and I were truly blessed and humbled by the experience, and can only give thanks to Leo, Jim and his family at Eagle Butte for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Personal note from Marian: I am spiritually in my 100s, physically in my 50s and mental in my 30s. I am a teacher who is interested in every aspect of the human psyche, and have a love of animals and nature. I have a genuine love for the indigenous peoples of the world, especially Native Americans and Australian Aboriginies. My spiritual journey has taken many twists and turns and along the way I have been a facilitator of a meditation group, focusing on Totem Animals. This was also a healing group, with some wonderful results. I have been channelling for about 26 years, through "automatic writing", and have been had some astounding "connections" which have helped many overcome grief...including my own. Although I have left the spiritual "path" for a few years, I am keen on continuing my journey in the not too distant future. I follow no particular religion, but respect every creed, and take the best teachings from each.
You may contact Marian at marionross@yahoo.com
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