Seeing how others live, getting a glimpse of their reality, fuels my curiosity for the ways in which people inhabit the earth. I love peeking into unfamiliar worlds.
We had been invited to stay at Wyldwood Sojourn while I was doing research for an article on yurts in Ontario. Might be easier to write about it if you come stay. Though I only needed a few basic facts for the article, which I could have gotten over the phone, we didn’t have anything planned that week, so we packed some soup and blankets, and drove the two hours to Lonsdale, just outside of Napanee.
The purple and red house at the crest of the property enraptured me from first glance as we pulled in the lane way, evidence everywhere of a life colourfully lived. Maureen came out to greet us in knee-high rubber boots. It’s a bit muddy, she apologized. Sentiments of late March in Canada. We followed her down a rugged path on a steep slope, leading to two yurts, one of which we would sleep in that night. What’s the other for? I asked. It’s a moon lodge, she told me.
Inside our yurt, I was greeted by the smell of sage and wood stove, the round room draped with many purple, mauve and deep red fabrics. The effect was calming, as she showed us the stove, the spare blankets, the jug of well water we were welcomed to. The structure was traditional, built in Mongolia, and the beams boasted beautiful colours and hand-painted patterns. If you have any questions for your article, she said, ducking out the door, just let me know. She was heading to the farm next door to help her neighbour with a tree that needed to come down, but would be back at the house soon.
We poked around, admiring the curious tapestries, the large drum, scattered candles and cushions, before taking our exploring outdoors. It was muddy and icey, but we picked our way carefully towards the roar of the waterfall we were told flowed somewhere behind the yurt. Though it was partially frozen in thick icey waves, water still cascaded beneath the crust, roaring towards the creek which we followed into the trees, skipping from mossy rock to log, the clear cold water rushing by beneath us.
We wandered the woods and the adjacent field, the spring sun warm on our backs, before heading back to the yurt to settle in. I’ll be back soon, I said, heading towards the house. I wanted to have a chance to talk to Maureen before it grew dark.
She invited me into her living room, which was bright and open, the walls covered floor to high-ceiling in murals, which she had painted herself. Handing me a cup of tea, she took a seat and I did the same, in a wooden rocking chair with a fur draped over it’s arm. I asked her to tell me more about the moon lodge. Oh, I could talk about that for hours, she said, smiling into her tea. That’s okay, I encouraged, I’m listening.
It’s an ancient tradition, she began, which I am trying to reconnect women with. The truth of why we have a womb, and the natural technologies for gathering energy to it.
The moon lodge, also known as a red tent, is a meditation space for women to gather in and explore womb wisdom. She talked about how the womb gathers sacred energies, and can be used to reach enlightenment, or superconsciousness. I didn’t understand. She smiled. When we menstruate, it’s like we are expelling all the energies, all that we have stored up that month. I suppose this can be good, if we’ve had a particularly low month, or experienced some trauma for which we are in need of cleansing. But what if we’ve had a particularly good month? Full of creativity, positive energy, light? Should we not wish to keep that for ourselves? Redirect it towards the heart so as not to waste it? She told me how each of us carries a sacred void within us, and because we are like sponges, gathering energies from all around us, we must be diligent to surround ourselves with beauty and wisdom, always.
As I made my way back down the icey muddy path to the yurt about an hour later, where my partner was waiting for me, my head swam with new information, with questions I could not yet even put into words. How could I be more diligent about surrounding myself with beauty and light, and not waste my creativity, my energy? What was I missing?
Well, what did you ladies talk about? He asked me from his nest amongst the cushions in front of the fire. So much, I said.