The Lodge Keepers’ Society Dear Men, I have recently returned from a week spent in Bedford, Indiana at the annual Lodge Keepers’ International gathering, where I was our MKP UK & Ireland representative. I found my experiences so moving and inspirational.
My journey started inLondon where I was kindly hosted for the eve before my departure by L. and his family. For me it is such a great opportunity spending time with people like this; being welcomed by families is such a great connection to people and place.
I had a day before and after the gathering because of the dates of my flights. So I spent those two days with another wonderful host family in Indianapolis, Eric W, his wife C, and their two sons. Both have strong family connections to the Cree nation.
From the moment I arrived with them I had a deep feeling in my heart as we talked, and it moves me to tears as I feel it again now. I felt “My God, this is where I am meant to be right now”, confirming for me the call of spirit to attend when I first saw the email asking for a representative to come forward. I was so welcomed by Eric’s family and we had a wonderful cultural and human exchange; it so enhanced my trip.
I took part in a ceremony with Eric and his family led by LM, one of the French-speaking lodge-keepers, who was also staying with us. In this we used the pipe and sang and prayed. Passing the pipe to C (Eric’s elder son of maybe 7 years) was so memorable. He touched it to each of his shoulders, held it as B (Eric’s younger son) touched it, and then passed it on.
I attended four sweats throughout the gathering. These inlcuded a Lakota Lodge with PS, one of the previous French-speaking head men, a sweat done almost entirely in French, and the most powerful and releasing for me.
Another was an Ojibaway lodge, a very healing lodge poured by CM, the LKS Founder. This was a very healing lodge with very beautiful songs, one of which has stayed with me and I often find myself singing it. At the end of this ceremony each of us was refreshed with a cool brew made with various healing herbs. Jars of this were given out for people in need of healing. Packed deep in my bag, wrapped in my sleeping bag, I took one of these for a person who I knew needed healing..
I took part in two pipe ceremonies which is a first for me within the LKS, and a great experience of learning and connection. It reinforced for me the beauty of dedicated ritual, in this case a group of men sharing a pipe with the utmost of respect for each other and the ceremony.
For me working around sweat lodges or participating in one, or taking part in ceremonies such as the Pipe, are times when I really drop into my heart and feel a love connection to Spirit. The men I met at the gathering were inspirational, so many dedicated guys working in spirit.
Most International centres run regular sweats outside of the NWTA, and it seems to be a great way of strengthening, learning and connecting. I would love to be a part of this with the UK LKS and I’m very willing to put my energies into that.
I felt such honour representing the UK at the gathering, and had some requests to staff at other centres throughout the worldwide community which I intend to follow. The learning shared by men in these international meetings was clear.
My own knowledge about the LKS has grown so much, that I am inspired to step onto the path to become a Purification and Renewal Ceremony Leader (aka Water Pourer). I have received the blessing of the LKS for this and have the honour of now being mentored by Steve Cooper.
With an ever deeply loving heart, opening to Sprit,