Monday, December 26, 2011

Just to clarify, this post is part of one of my “catch-up” posts, about events that occurred earlier:

One of the 2 days before or after Christmas, Bob related to me something that had happened to him the previous evening. We sat in front of the wood stove having our morning coffee, and, as Bob related the story, I scribbled notes in pink highlighter, the first pen I could grab, onto a scrap of paper.

Bob said, “I took a trip last night:

This drum, a picture from the internet, is similar to what Bob sees them using

There was a lot of drum-playing going on; it was a ceremony of some sort. It was inside the sweat-lodge. The newly-married husbands, who are really just teens, were having some kind of ritual. Maybe it was something that takes place a certain amount of months after the marriage ceremonies.”

Bob then described how the young men repeatedly went into the sweat-lodge, where the ceremony was being facilitated by the elders. After the sweat-lodge, they would come out and immerse themselves in the freezing cold water of the creek. For each participant, this ritual took place at least 2 to 3 times, maybe more, according to what Bob was witnessing.

From "": Construction and Symbolism of the Sweat Lodge -- one of the sites I found that night of searching

They were in the sweat lodge warming (or cleansing?) for a good 20 min. to 1/2 hour. They would then dunk themselves in the creek. Throughout the ceremony, 10 to 12 of the older men were playing drums of all different sizes. The men were covered in animal skins, but rather than buckskin,  the skins still had the hair of the animal on them. I asked Bob what he thought the skins might be from, he said most were deer skin, but some were darker/hairier and could have been bear. They were outside of the sweat lodge, in a semi-circle around a central fire on the ground. Of the drums they were playing, they were all different shapes and sizes, and played in different ways.

Another internet picture of "Lenape" style drums, by Bob's report

They ranged from a hollowed out log, to logs with skins taut over the tops, and sometimes logs with skins on the sides, like a 2-sided horizontal drum, played on both sides. One type of drum was played with a stone, as opposed to more traditional drumsticks, similar to those pictured here. Bob was standing at a distance watching the ceremony with the women, including Nuttah, who was standing with Bob. They stood like an audience watching the ritual. Bob felt that he was there observing for a total of about an hour.

Then on Christmas Day, December 25, 2011, I woke up after Bob and he told me to go look at an email he had sent me earlier. Bob’s email related a long, continuous Christmas dream, where he awoke and returned to the dream several times.  In the dream, Bob spent hours with Dukey/Tëme and Pink (Pink was a dog we lost in 2008 who’d been with us since about 1995). Bob said he played in the woods by the creek with them, and sat by the water and was able to hold them. “Nuttah just left me with them, [she] stood to the side and watched. What an unbelievable experience”.


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