“Moon Time” by Becky Timmons
One of the more remarkable elements of our Winnipeg time was the invitation to join Marcel in a Sweat. Unfortunately a few of us ladies were unable to participate because we were on our ‘moon time’. At first we were all quite disappointed but we made the decision to join the rest of the group on the 3 hour drive out to Hollow Waters Reserve.
Once we arrived we were introduced to Marcel’s wife who would hang out with us ‘moon ladies’. After the preparations for the sweat were complete we watched the group complete the smudging and enter the lodge. It was then that our real learning time began. We began to chat with Marcel’s wife and she explained why women on their moon time are not allowed to participate in the sweat. It seems that during this phase in the woman’s cycle she is more powerful and therefore her prayers are heard directly by Creator.
This was a shift from our mindset, often women are deemed ‘unclean’ during this time and they were restricted because of impurity. This mindset was totally the opposite, we were restricted so that our prayers would not interfere with the offerings of others. After hearing this we felt quite a bit better about the situation!
It also proved to be a wonderful time of processing and community for those of us outside of the sweat. We had a quiet, calm space to verbally express what our hearts and heads had been wrestling with over the past few days. For me especially (an introvert) this was a very valuable time.
Our final discovery was that the women of Hollow Waters are wonderful quilters! Each year around graduation the women make a quilt with a turtle (significant for their tribe) on it to give to each student. This year they had a significant number of students graduating which meant a lot of turtle quilts! Each lady works on a part of the quilt until it is complete, and that night it was pinning the layers of fabric and batting together for the final sewing. We were blessed by the wonderful work they did and it showed how their community loves each other. It wasn’t only the parent of the child who celebrated the life events, but the whole community celebrated together with that child.
Even though we ‘moon ladies’ didn’t get the sweat lodge experience, we had a unique and meaningful experience of our own.