The Emergence of the Crystal Warrior
November 25, 2018
The Emergence of the Crystal Warrior:
Welcome to Blog post 2: The purpose of these blog posts is to share with readers pivotal moments and life events that have contributed to the emergence of my Crystal Warrior (CW) persona. The 1990s brought many amazing experiences into my life such as: finding a mentor; learning to ride a horse (named Chino); participating in an authentic Native American sweat lodge; training with the legendary survivalist Tom Brown, Jr. Author of The Tracker); encountering Archangel Michael; and, creating crystal wands. This blog focuses on my sweat-lodge experience in West Virginia during the summer of 1991.
It was the summer of (1991), and the Laughing Rainbow Tribe (LRT) (mentioned in blogpost 1) decided to attend a sweat lodge that was being held in West Virginia. This decision by the group was very much in line with our MO, which was to pursue any and all spiritual events that would increase our spiritual growth; especially if they occurred in nature. It was an exceptionally hot summer and the drive from New Jersey to West Virginia was uncomfortable to say the least. But as was common, we made the best of unpleasant situations mostly through laughter, hence the Laughing Rainbow Tribe. Sandy, a member of the LRT, and her trusty Toyota had transported us to numerous gatherings over the years. Because of a severe drought in West Virginia, prior to leaving for the sweat lodge, we were advised by the sweat lodge organizer to bring all of our drinking water. Sandy, Diane, George and I loaded up Sandy’s trunk with gallons of water and headed down to West Virginia. After several hours of travel, we arrived exhausted, mostly from laughter.
The sweat lodge was to be held at the private home of a women who lived on several acres of land. We quickly learned that the main reason for the sweat-lodge was to honor a young man whose parents had invited a powerful Lakota medicine man named Gilbert Walking-Bull (GWB) and his partner Morning Star to perform a naming ceremony. None of us knew this family or the young man; however, within a few minutes of arriving, this young man walked up to me as if he knew me and handed me a bear’s claw. He said that he had been told by his spirit-guides to gift me with the bear claw. Although I was initially speechless as I tried to wrap my brain around what has just occurred, I somehow managed to thank him for the amazing gift. I immediately felt a sense of something bigger at play and that my being at this sweat lodge was no accident. This dramatic start to the weekend was a precursor of things to come.
We assumed that we would immediately begin preparations for the sweat lodge. We quickly learned, however, that due to the desecration of the land and the sweat lodge by Tom Brown Jr., no sweat lodges could occur. Lakota traditions are very specific about how sweat lodges are conducted. Lakota tradition does not permit men and women to share lodges. Even though she was knowledgeable of Lakota traditions, the woman who owned the land on which the lodge sat nevertheless permitted Tom Brown Jr. to perform mixed gendered sweat lodges. GWB shared all of this information with the group as we sat in a hot barn in the late afternoon.
As you can imagine, everyone was very disappointed to learn that there would be no lodges. As GWB explained, the land would need to be purified before he would be willing to lead a sweat lodge. It should be noted that GWB was always accompanied by the Thunder Nations; that is thunder-clouds and the potential of rain. Given the summer drought, this was an interesting juxtaposition. When GWB talked about the desecration of the land, he was indirectly chastising the land owner who sat nearby. I noticed that GWB was twisting a twig in his hand as he spoke. As the intensity of GWB’s anger and frustration rose, I began to feel the atmosphere changing. An electrical charge developed and the wind began to swirl. I also noticed that distant thunder clouds had moved closer, lightening could be heard, as the smell of rain filled the air. Everyone was riveted to what was occurring inside and outside of the barn. I remember thinking “GWB’s making it rain!” Immediately after that thought, there was a thunder clap and buckets of rained poured down. It took everyone a moment to realize what was occurring. We realized that all of our outdoor gear, including sleeping bags, open tents, and other items were exposed to the elements. Everyone jumped up and rushed out in a frenzy to try and get to their gear before it became soaked. Most, including me, were not quick enough, and by the time everyone had reached the camp ground everything was completely soaked. The rain continued throughout the evening and we all slept in wet tents and on uncovered air-mattresses.
The next morning, the Thunder Nation was clearing out and we were awakened by traditional Native American flute music. The music was surreal and I was suddenly transported to another lifetime in which I was a Native American living on the land before the appearance of the white man. We were awakened each morning to this beautiful music. With the land purified by the Thunder Nation, GWB announced that the sweat lodges would proceed as planned.
Gilbert Walking Bull (GWB) died in 2007. He was a traditional Lakota Sacred Man, and was a blood relative of Sitting Bull. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to work with this powerful healer. I was raised in a very religious home. We were Seventh Day Adventist Christians. As a child, I had always resisted being indoctrinated into this dogma. I was always questioning the authenticity of the religion and it purpose and origins, especially for people of color. Eventually, I stopped attending church as I searched for something more in alignment with my emerging spiritual beliefs. It was not until I participated in the sweat lodge that summer with GWB that I began to understand the intended purpose behind orthodox religion. Although I had previously participated in sweat lodges, they were amateurish in comparison to an authentic Native American sweat lodge. Traditional sweat lodges are powerful rituals utilized for healing of individuals and communities. I would equate them to going to church without the negative conations of guilt and condemnation I associate with traditional Christian religion.
Later that morning after breakfast, GWB instructed the participants in the traditional steps to build a new lodge as he had decreed that the old lodge, which had been used by Tom Brown Jr., was unsuitable. We began building a new lodge by collecting young saplings that could be bent to create the traditional dome shape. The young saplings are crisscrossed so that at the apex of the lodge forms a Star of David . The finished structure has two openings at opposite sides of the lodge. Plastic bags and blankets are placed over the shell to block out the light and to hold in heat that emanates from the heated stones which are brought into the space and placed in a pit in the center of the lodge.
During the ceremony, water is poured over the heated stones as the healer and participants sing and pray calling in spirit. As the structure is being built, others start building a fire in which large stones are placed and heated for several hours. Fire-keepers serve several roles, including tending the fire, bringing heated stones into the lodge, and acting as guards throughout the ceremony. Once these tasks are completed, everyone begins to create pray bundles until sunset. Prayer bundles consist of pinches of tobacco wrapped in small square pieces of material strung together with string. As the bundles are being made, one infuses the individual bundles with prayers for healing (e.g., improved health for self or others and financial assistance or any other concerns). The prayer bundles are brought into the lodge by the participants and placed in the lodge’s rafters. Upon completion of the ceremony, the prayer bundles would be thrown into the pit with the simmering stones where their essences are released into the atmosphere.
The ceremony begins at sunset and continues until the Healer has completed the ceremony. Participants enter the dark space by crawling on all fours and sitting on the ground or a blanket. People are either naked or wear a swimsuit. As I was to learn, the position one takes in the lodge can have a profound impact on one’s experience. The ceremony begins with the healer singing prayers and songs to call in the spirits. The group is encouraged to join in the singing. There are several rounds of singing and prayers throughout the ceremony. A round consists of one or two stones being brought into the lodge, placed in the pit and water being poured over the stones by the healer. Spirit or the spirits that work with GWB come into the lodge through the (Star of David) and connect with the healer and participants and exit through one of the openings.
Initially, my experience in the sweatlodge was pleasant and uneventful. I was enjoying the feeling of spirit, sharing space with the other men, and especially the powerful presence of GWB. As the rounds progressed, I became aware of an intensity within the lodge or within me. I noticed that the heat emanating from the stones had increased. As I stated earlier, a participant’s position in the lodge can impact one’s experience. As one of the last to enter the lodge, I was seated close to the opening and across from GWB. GWB provided some education to the group on what to expect during the ceremony. He shared that prayers and singing sacred songs encourages spirit into the lodge. Spirit flows in through the top of the lodge and out through the opening at the front or back of the lodge. He also stated that being close to the opening could result in one experiencing spirit more intensely. Intensity of spirt could be felt as increased heat, visions and/or revelations. People have various experiences inside a sweatlodge and, seldom are they similar. This is a consequence of the different needs, experiences, and expectations that participants bring into a sweat lodge. For example, earlier in the ceremony a participant sitting to my right also began to experience an intensifying heat. As GWB continued to pour water over the stones, this participant’s cries increased. It was obvious that he was suffering and he began to voice his desire to leave the sweat lodge. GWB tried to persuade him to stay. GWB stressed that by enduring one’s experience inside the sweat lodge healing occurs and prayers are answered. With that, GWB poured more water on the stones which filled the space even more heat and spirit. This added intensity was too much for the young man and he decided he needed to leave. With his decision to leave, I realized that I was next to the opening and more likely to experience spirit as intensely as he had. I anticipated that the next round would be more intense, at least for me as GWB asked for more stones to be brought in. As GWB continued to pray and poured water over the hot stones, the heat became unbearable for me. As the steam jumped off the stones and into the space, I felt as if liquid fire was being poured onto my back; and I screamed out in pain. Seeking any relief, I lay down on the wet ground in hopes that my lower position in the lodge would cool me; it did not. I had strong urges to leave and said so. GWB encouraged me to stay assuring me that I would be healed of whatever had brought me to the sweat lodge that weekend. With his encouragement, I forced myself to stay and endure the searing fire I felt on my body and inside my mind as all of my fears and doubts surfaced. By this time, I was mentally exhausted and thought that I was going to die from the heat. At this point, I stopped fighting and gave myself over to whatever fate spirit had for me. I held on for dear life to the bear claw that I had been gifted to me. Once I surrendered, the heat began to subside. I had somehow survived this initiation of fire. I credit the bear claw with providing me with the strength I needed to endure this experience.
As I emerged from the lodge, I knew that I was no longer carrying the physical, emotional or psychic burden and fear that I had initially brought into the sweat lodge. I felt completely different, renewed, healed, and purified by this powerful healing ceremony. Other men who were in the lodge also expressed their gratitude and sense of renewal from the experience. I believe that this clearing of negative energy from my mind, body and spirit allowed for the emergence of the Crystal Warrior (CW). A few months after the sweatlodge, I acknowledged to myself that the events leading up to, during, and after the sweatlodge were no accident. I was becoming more aware of my internal guidance system (IGS) and spiritual guidance. My dreams became more vivid as the Crystal Warrior emerged. I began to make crystal wands a short time after.
Crystal wands represent and symbolize healing and they allow us to access our untapped power as human beings. I have continued to make crystal wands which have become more powerful each year. I now call them Crystal Healing Wands (CHWs). I have been guided to get the CHWs into the world on a larger scale. This website and blog represent that effort. The Crystal Warrior continues to grow and express his healing gifts to the world as evidenced by your reading these words.
(Keith E. Smith, aka: The Crystal Warrior)