Once a year the people of my lodge meet in Botswana for ceremonial work. We always meet in February, at the place where I was initiated, on a farm not too far from Gaborone.
It is difficult to explain what transpires at one of these gatherings.
They are intense. They require a lot of energy. There is a meeting of spirits and minds and hearts that occur. People come together in a way they would never do in other circumstances. We sweat. We itch. We dance and sing and drum for hours on end. Even at night the sun still seems to be present in every rock and surface and crevice.
Perhaps it is best described as a great release. We let go of ourselves. We burn up every excess. We empty ourselves on the dance floor and clear our hearts in prayer. We pray to the old ones, those who still call our names from the shadows and crawl around in our bones. We hook into a world that we still remember, that still calls us, but is no longer our domain. We sleep somewhere between two worlds for two weeks, and after the long trek home most of us fall down exhausted and grateful to be home.
We sleep, but in our sleep we are grateful for the experience we had. Our bones ache, but mostly with joy and gratitude. We are filled up once more. Our work continues. Everything is new.
Our souls fly with open arms.