Monday, 8 January 2007

Why I Became A Vegetarian and Why I Quit

SWEAT LODGE


Why I Became A Vegetarian


In February 2006 I attended a sweat lodge in Gloucestershire in the UK. I had no idea what to expect I just felt it was important to go. After reading online about Native American sweat lodges I wanted to see what it was all about.


A sweat lodge involves a ritual depending on the purpose of the lodge. The lodge I attended was based on the teachings of the red path. 

A dwelling is often made of willows covered with blankets or skins draped over it. We began our lodge in the early evening and a fire was burning outside. After a short introduction into the order of the evening we were told to undress into sarongs or shorts. Totally new to sweat lodges I must say I wasn't impressed that I had to see men strip down to nothing before getting changed into shorts, I would have preferred privacy. Perhaps I'm just a bit prudish, but the lady never mentioned prior to going that this would happen.


Anyway the women walked into the lodge first in a clockwise direction and we all sat around a deep pit in the middle of the lodge. A man brought in some very hot stones representing grandfather and grandmother spirit and eventually the door was closed. It was pitch black and represented the womb of the earth mother. 

A lady was leading the sweat that night and we did chanting and singing to the four directions while also expressing fears, hearts desires, prayers and much more with each round. The heat was amazingly scary in that it made my heart race so fast I thought I was going to have a heart attack the only thing that stopped me was having my forehead on the earth and clawing my hands outside the undergarment of the lodge. 


By the time the second direction had been completed people began wailing and howling something was unearthed from within us all. My whole body began to shake and these sounds came out of my mouth I could not stop them. I shook and it was truly amazing. I was aware of what was happening within my body, but it was like I was truly the watcher of my experience. The lady told me that often the body will push us to the limits and when we push through that change can happen. On the last direction we went on a shamanic journey. I went into a cave and was led by a wolf down some stairs. There was a carpet on the ground and a Native American man was drawing something in chalk on the cave wall, my message was “trust yourself” which was very important for me and still is. I lay on the carpet and the wolf lay by me and we merged as one.

One by one we left the lodge as we entered, the lady who ran the lodge welcomed us out of the lodge into our new life. I was very dizzy and couldn’t stand up to hug anyone so I fell down onto my knees and kissed the ground. I wasn’t aware it was February and icy cold outside as I was still warm from the lodge. 


Meat Felt Intolerable


We sat around the fire for a little while soaking wet and eventually went inside for something to eat. I could eat very little. I could only eat soup and nothing else that had been prepared. As we left in the car my partner and I saw an owl swoop overhead, this was amazingly symbolic for me personally as the previous night I had dreamt of being at a lodge and being surrounded by wooden owls. That next week I came down with a heavy dose of of the flu, cleansing and purifying everything in my body. I also found meat intolerable.

The previous year I had been having some sensations when eating meat, I would feel depressed after eating it and sometimes felt like I could cry. I realise now I was sensing the pain and adrenalin of the animal before its death, as most deaths in the western society are not the honourable deaths of the aboriginal hunter but more barbaric and torturous. From that time on I have not touched any meat or any fish, my body does not enjoy the heaviness and energies contain in the meat any-more.

Its interesting, apart from losing excess weight since the lodge, my mind has more clarity, my hormones are more balanced and I have been able to do things I had put off before as not being able to do, or through my own resistance. No meat has meant new life for me. I recommend it if you want more clarity in your life.


UPDATE 

Why I Quit Being A Vegetarian


Since the above was posted I gave up a vegetarian lifestyle. It appears it was a temporary requirement for me on my spiritual journey. 

What I discovered over my time as a vegetarian was that being vegetarian is not for everyone, some may thrive, but many may choose it for ethical reasons yet not realise that their bodies are unable to absorb the nutrition required through the food. I am big believer if you need supplements for essential nutrition there is something seriously wrong with your diet.

And also sometimes people cannot even receive from supplements what they need. I was one of those people. 

I was vegetarian for too long and my body became sick as it was not able to absorb the nutrients through the diet or supplements. Once I chose to eat meat, fish and have a more balanced diet, within a short period time I regained my health again. I became very depressed on a vegetarian diet and pasty looking, my skin went downhill and while I may have lost weight it was not a healthy loss.

So I make my peace with what I eat through gratitude. I am grateful for all that goes into my food, from the animal, the people involved and the elements. I make well researched choices now based on intuition by listening to what my body needs. 


Is your diet healthy for you?

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