Everyone came to their feet and I snapped into angalia. They told me to follow them. They walked out the door toward some woods. Kwesi led the way. We entered the woods and it was like going into another world. This was a beautiful forest; it was full of life. The trees in the forest were old and big. I had never seen any of these people before that was working around the lodge. When he got to me he started sageing and it almost choked me. It did not smell bad, but it was strong. My eyes started watering up from it. I put my coin on the altar, and spent in a small circle saluting all directions before I was allowed to enter, like I was instructed. I crawled in and worked my way around the side of the lodge. In the center was a hole. They put me in the spot directly facing the door, and I was instructed that this way my spot for the ritual. Everyone got in, and it was tight but not uncomfortable. It was not that dark so I could still see everyone’s face. Finally Kwesi stepped in. After he entered he called for seven rocks. The man working took his pitch fork and dropped a giant, glowing, hot stone in the hole in the center of the lodge. Simba sprinkled something on it that sizzled and burned up. It let off a pleasant smell. The fire worker sent in another one and for each rock, Simba did the same thing. When all of the rocks were in the tent, Kwesi asked for the bucket. He using one hand and Simba seating on the other side of the door using one had brought the bucket in and torched it to the stones. If this is all that this is it should be easy. I started to relax.
“We are starting with seven stones young men. Seven for the four directions in which our people were dispersed, and for all life on the planet. One for the heavens and all the universe. One for the earth upon which we live, and one for you and the journey you will take.”
If this is all, this will be a piece of cake. I was really relaxed when all of a sudden they closed the lodge flap and sealed it from the outside. First, I noticed how dark it was, I could see nothing. I lifted my hand in front of my face and could not see it. Then I felt the heat from the stones which were the only thing visible. Next, I heard some water being stirred and then a sizzle as the water hit the rocks. The temperature must have increased by fifty degrees. I began to panick.
“Jay we are here to prepare you for your quest.” I heard, but could not tell who was speaking. “We will pray in this lodge which represents the womb of mother earth for your success. Seeking a vision is dangerous so we want to make sure you have your spiritual protection before we leave you.”
Leave me? This may not be as easy as I thought. The temperature seemed to keep getting higher, and it was becoming hard to breathe.
“We will start with some nation building songs, and then we will pray.” Next thing I knew we were singing songs that I learned through initiation. After the songs which help to take my mind off of the heat and the darkness, Kwesi began to pray. He seemed to call on every ancestor and everything in the universe. I felt the power in his voice. At the end of his prayer, silence fell in the tent and he said axe’. Everyone in the tent repeated axe’. I heard the water again, sizzle. This time the heat did not hit immediately. It seemed to rise to the top of the tent and roll down upon me. I began to panick again. Brother Shekem placed his hand on me and said, “Relax you will get used to it. Slow your breathing down. It was overwhelming for me my first time too.” I did exactly as he said, but it seemd as if my world was getting smaller. I could not find enough air, but I had faith in everyone in here and most of all I had faith in my Creator. I eventually brought my breathing under control, as well as battled my urge to run out of the tent.
Next Sister Kay began to pray. Her voice was soothing and beautiful. Her prayer was long and rhythmic. It was as if she was singing. At the end of her prayer she mentioned me and prayed for my success. This brought tears to my eyes. She cleared her throat, and ended with an axe’, and we all responded axe’. Once again they poured water on the rocks, and Brother Shekeem was next. His prayer was not long, but he also prayed for my success and my protection. Not just durig the vision quest, but in life. He ended and said axe’ and we all responded. Kwesi then poured more water on the rocks.
It was my turn and I was not ready. I was hotter than I had ever been in my life. I was dealing with my fear of dark, but I tried to pray.