The sweat is a place of community. People come to it like going to church. It is a temple for some. Respectfully, the conversation can be overridden by a request for silence. It is about prayer and meditation first.
The silence may be overridden by expression of prayer. In this place anything goes. Hindu chants, didgeridoo and drums, old time hymn., Traditional Native American songs with a shaker gourd or water drum maybe accompanying this. A flute may just be played and someone may join in with a pretty female voice. Prayers, confession, sorrows, grief, hopes and oneness may show up, sometimes with tears. Always with the support of the community, words sometimes, sometime just a hug. People generally join in when music is the focus. At times, it may sound as if the natives are restless in exuberance. It may be quite beautiful and talented.
The body cleanses and so does the soul and heart. Brushes scrape the dead skin and open pores. Compala, cedar and many other cleansing scents may be applied to the rocks. A towel may be violently spun around to circulate the air. A small alter decorates a corner.
We are bare, naked to be ourselves. Homeless hippies sit next to the better off, men and women, we share our bath and our humanity.
When the sweat closed in town, I decided to take a stab at filling the gap in my lovely desert setting in Tortolita. I had a few materials laying around, I had people longing for a place to continue the community, I had helpers and a few hundred bucks. Continue reading