As we circle the Arbor, we see a small path that leads into the Forest when we reach the northeast. Before stepping on to the path, we smudge and make cornmeal offerings and prayers stating our intention to enter the Forest to renew and recall the inherent wisdom of the moment. As we walk along the path, maintain quiet contemplation listening to the pulse of the mountain and the sounds of creation all around us.
During some phases of the moon the Forest is extremely dark, be prepared with your own flashlight so you can follow the path safely. Before entering the Forest, we pass the Lotus Labyrinth and the Sacred Mound to our right. The Sacred Mound is the resting place of the ashes of the wise grandmothers and grandfathers of the community. The mound is aligned with the Eastern Gate of the Ceremonial Arbor allowing access to their wisdom during ceremony. The Sacred Mound is not open to the public.
After we enter the Forest the path meanders around and we make our way toward the Stream. Just before reaching the Stream we pass the Sweat Lodge area on our left. We acknowledge the deep mystery of purification and the renewal that takes place during the sweat lodge ceremony. The Sweat Lodge area is only entered during ceremony by invitation and is tended by Elders, Ministers, and Firekeepers trained in the Ywahoo lineage.
A few steps beyond the Sweat Lodge the path reaches the Stream. The mountain stream brings us the blessing of the waters of forgiveness and sweet remembrance. In this tradition we go to the waters edge and we throw water from the stream over our shoulder seven times, forgiving ourselves and others, radiating the rose light of compassion from our hearts to all those with whom we have experienced discord. To complete the visualization, we see the beam of rose light returning to our own heart and filling us, affirming a day of clear relations.
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