Pagan Sweats – News? No, an Interview!

Jim Esralian, and Karen have been leading Sweat Lodge ceremonies at Sacred Harvest Festival (SHF) for many years. He is so unassuming many don’t know his connection to this ceremony. I interviewed him at SHF.  He first off declared proudly he was Armenian, “A conquered people as well”.

Traditional Sweat Lodge

You have a pretty deep connection to Native American traditions?

Back home I live in central Michigan, near the Saginaw Chippewa reservation. In addition I have become friends with folks from Turtle Mountain reservation, and other places, that have brought traditions from that area, to Michigan. They are actually mixed traditions themselves. They are combinations of Metis, Cree, Ojibwe, Ashinabe, and Lakota. A lot of the medicine that was passed down was already fairly multi-national. Turtle Mountain is in North Dakota, in an area where several tribes border each other and their cultures inter-mingled. People came from that area bring with them what is called the ‘Thirsty Dance’, very similar to a “Sun Dance”. They also brought some of the Lodge traditions, as well as some of the songs. Continue reading