Doug Sundling

Doug Sundling has been involved with sweatlodges since 1986. He brought the sweatlodge to Wisteria in 1997. Since then, he has constructed and maintained a sweatlodge site - its frame, blankets, and other equipment at Wisteria. While he has facilitated sweatlodge ceremonies at various other festivals, he currently has been focused on facilitating sweatlodges for events held at Wisteria. Raised in America's Heartland, Sundling has earned a B. of Architecture and a M. of English. The summer after graduating from high school, he began what has become an enduring relationship with the American wilderness with extended backpacking trips from 4-6 days to 4-6 weeks into the Appalachia Mountains, the Rockies, the canyons of the Colorado Plateau, the hills of Indiana and Ohio, and the tundra of the Yukon and Alaska. Having planted thousands of trees and continuing to do so to help restore the indigenous deciduous forest and improve water quality of the upper Wabash River Basin in Indiana, Sundling evokes the ethics of wilderness.

Sweatlodge Orientation for Participants

A general overview of a sweatlodge shall be presented. We will discuss fundamentals of traditional sweatlodges, share personal experiences with sweatlodges, and advise how to prepare for the evening sweatlodge. Open to anyone, but those who wish to participate in a sweatlodge must attend this orientation.

The Sweatlodge and The Courtroom: A Bogus Sweatlodge & the James Ray Homicide Trial, Arizona 2011

On October 8, 2009, self-help entrepreneur James Ray facilitated a bogus sweatlodge ceremony for over 50 people; 3 people died. On March 1, 2011, Mr. Ray and his lawyers entered an Arizona court room to begin a defense against manslaughter charges. On June 22, 2011, the jury delivered their verdict after about seven hours of deliberation: they acquitted James Ray of manslaughter but found him guilty of negligent homicide. This workshop will recount how Mr. Ray fashioned a sweat ceremony that disregarded inherent safety features of traditional sweatlodges, and added risks beyond any traditional sweatlodge when he fabricated and executed an extreme endurance event, and how the prosecution, defense, judge, and media treated the "sweatlodge" during this trial. Group discussion will focus on the implications of this unprecedented legal case and what are the roles of making ritual space safe, of pursuing enlightenment, and of borrowing from other cultural traditions.

The Sweatlodge Ceremony

The cycle of birth and death fuels the flame of life. Nature is a process of seeking stability and equilibrium - of maintaining balance. A strategy for existence in such a world is movement through the cycles, built upon the four quarters of the directions, the elements, the seasons. Such a strategy is fundamental to traditional sweatlodges. Rather than emotional questioning that follows a reaction, one learns to take action with emotional clarity. The sweatlodge is a ceremony of cleansing, of renewal. It is a ceremony to ascertain balance. A sweatlodge ceremony is shaped by both the past and the present. Individual freedom in belief is woven with traditional ritual methods. Your spiritual sincerity is the most important thing you can bring to a sweatlodge. No Drugs or Alcohol; just the 4 Elements - Earth, Air, Fire, & Water. Number of participants and format for sweatlodge will be determined at the 11:30 AM Orientation Workshop on the day of the ceremony, Wednesday or Friday.

















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