“My Meeting with the Red Road“
by Kristina Aamand
I have always been attracted to warm spaces – steam baths, hot yoga, yes I have even gone as far as to peel off the bathroom in a small appartement to build a Finnish sauna. One day I googled “sweat lodge”. Honestly, I don’t know why? Coincidentally – if coincidences exist, Pablo Russells website showed up, and there were a sweat in 14 days with Stefan Kobler. I signed up without knowing anything about indians, ancestors or the Womb of the Earth. In order to better describe my meeting with The Red Road I must tell you a little bit about myself. I have a Danish mother and a Palestinian father. I grew up between two cultures, two religions and have my whole life been very critical to believe-systems and views upon life, which is created and written by men and for men. And my critical sense was aroused when it was suggested that I should wear a long dress, and not to menstruate and that the men should go into the sweat first. That I have to admit. Until I sat in the heat, and the dress protected my skin, the woman who sat next to me put her hand soothing on my hand, and when the heat rose the power of the ritual got clear, abundantly clear in the hot dark lodge, I was humbled.
You cannot make any mistakes if you do not know the protocols…
There are som rituals surrounding the sweat lodge as for first timers can occur … exotic. You are afraid of making mistakes, nervous about what to expect in the lodge, and all senses aroused. I was greeted by an incredible hospitality, care and openness. And it was said: “It is alright. You cannot make mistakes if you don’t know the protocols”. As the phrase sank in, I could enjoy being a novice. And I lived every second in the meeting with people who all want the best for each other, the red-hot stones, the songs, the drums and the stories.
It sneaked under my “critical layers of skin” and landed right in the bullet of my heart. And I had to go back again. The second time I was in the sweat lodge I was challenged. I was in a difficult phase in my life, and the first minutes of the lodge was filled with fear. I wanted to go out. But instead of letting the feeling of panic run away with me, I took a deep breath and thought of Stefans words: This is the safest place you can be – the Womb of Mother Earth. It taught me, that I can get through discomfort, stronger and more proud.
The Harsh Buffalo
The third time I met Pablo Russell. An unpretentious man who made an indelible impression on me. I attended the sweat lodge. This time I felt relatively competent, and although the heat was on, it was a celebration. I took part in the healing circle, and it became more clear to me why the Red Road has got a place in my heart and why I want to know more, learn more and live more with the teachings of the Red Road. An example: There are both the Creator and Mother Earth. The feminine and masculine – and none is more valuable than the other! These are two sides of the same coin, and a match made in heaven – if you ask me. The meeting with Pablo Russell gave me something to think about. And something to work with. His way of being in the world, with humor and seriousness, is an inspiration and a gift – if you are ready to open up and use it. For in my case, the answer I have found in the dark while I listened and learned from both Stefan and Pablo’s words, was not what I wanted to find. Far from! For it meant that I had to make changes in my life. Severe changes. But the Red Road has taught me that a buffalo does not face the bum to the storm. It confronts the harsh winds front on, and battle through. It’s a beautiful image and a strong narrative that makes sense in a humans life, with sun, wind and changing minds.
From my heart thank you and “Hey” from here.