Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sedona Sweat Lodge Mystery

Two people died and 21 were hospitalized following a sweat lodge ceremony at Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, AZ. ritual Thursday evening. For those of you who've called and emailed me for details and to share your sorrow, I'd like to encourage you to stay up-to-date on the news to avoid spreading rumors and adding to the darkness. More on this story at ABC News.
Native American leaders speak out here. And you can follow the latest news and discussion on Twitter.

To clear up some of the rumors: two--not three people have died. And tests for tests for carbon monoxide and other contaminants were negative--ruling out early theories that the improper use of plastic and tarps or herbs and items thrown in the fire may have released fumes and harmed participants.

People have died in sweat lodges before, always elderly and people with heart problems. Just as with a sauna or hot tub, people with high blood pressure or heart problems should avoid overheating and only stay in for a few minutes. Native American rituals are practiced with Medicine People as leaders and it is rare that anyone would stay in a sweat for as long as two hours, as was reportedly the case in this situation. Beginners are monitored closely and only stay in the lodge for a few minutes at a time.

My heart goes out to the participants, to the families of those who suffered, and to Michael, Amayra and James. May you truly be led by Spirit in your future actions.

Should people profit from selling cultural spiritual practices? Angel Valley Retreat Center is a nonprofit organization. But staff receive salaries and guests include self-help gurus who make millions promising wealth if you follow "The Secret" and other spiritual practices.


Jan 4 Insight said...

Thank you for your thoughtful post on this tragedy. I've personally experienced about 6-10 sweat lodge ceremonies, in groups ranging from 3-4 people to as large as 25. I've been blessed to have skilled leaders, and all of these experiences have been positive and healing, with no injuries or adverse effects to the participants.

Jim Beard said...

I am posting this invitation on behalf of Adam Yellowbird, who is in Guatemala participating in Ceremonies and Counsel. Earlier this evening Adam phoned me with these instructions.

Because of the tragic events at Angel Valley resulting in the death of 2 human beings at a sweat lodge ceremony and the fact that we are all neighbors in this community and many of us pour lodges, hold retreats, host gatherings and are all involved in doing spiritual work, Adam would like not to have us pointing fingers but to sit down together in counsel where we can all focus and pray for the highest good to come from this tragedy.

Would you for the moment set our differences aside and join with us next Saturday October 17, 2009 at 1:30 P. M. at our Page Springs property, 2400 Page Springs Road for a gathering of interested parties, that is men and women that pour lodges, property owners that hold Retreats and do Sweat Lodges and have civil and spiritual conversations and counsel to lessen the impact that has been inflicted upon us. Perhaps we can avoid this happening to anyone else.

Tragedy could visit any of us and we need to come together as a group of like minded spiritual people.
We need to come to a consensus on broad protocols of conducting Sweat Lodges, including any energy exchange that may be taking place. Come and be a part of the solution. Let us move forward and learn from this tragic problem we need to listen to the grandfathers. Come and have a voice and express your ideas. We all espouse the benefits of sweat-lodges and there are individuals out there that are traditionally trained to do that, there are others that are doing so that are not trained and are novices.
The public doesn't know the differences. Perhaps all of us together can help the situation.

We have all heard the derogatory comments in the press and the blogs about Sedona and 'New Age' wannabes etc.

Let us take control of ourselves and take and give good counsel.

Adam returns on the 15th he may be reached at 928-646-3000 after that.

In the meantime call me Jim Beard at 928-554-0500 for your interested participation. My email is jimbeard2@msn. com.

Please bring something refreshing to share.