Author Topic: All Things Sauna  (Read 7943 times)

jbeegoode

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All Things Sauna
« on: October 16, 2016, 12:17:53 AM »
I fail to find the tread about our beloved sweat, which we frequented and closed after 30 years. Last month we had the Last Sweat Party, and thatís that, the property is sold.

A couple of hundred people came through all afternoon and into the night. Several bands played and I jammed on conga with some. People showed up who had met there, married there, and sat naked poolside as we watched their children swim. Some grew up there. Some declared that it changed their lives. Those who have passed already, were remembered. Several services had been held there. It was very heartfelt. DF and I were last to leave with Baylee. The owner just decided to sleep on the bench in the sweat. It was tough to say goodbye to it. We did it all barefoot all over. I casually loaded up and walked out to the street and drove home, all hidden by the night and late evening.

So, last night we had a few key people over to fire up our new sweat in my backyard. It has been under construction for months now, taking a break during the rough heat of summer. The old sweat was available, no hurry. We took a carefully chosen saguaro rib and seep willow in the sacred manner of the Native Americans and created the fire in the vortex circle. We carried the coals into the sweat and started the fire in the box. The benches still arenít in. We had a picnic table and benches to sit on, with a dirt floor. A candelabra with five candles were used to see. They illuminated the earthy ferro cement walls in a womby cozy manner.

The heat came on gang busters at first, but it seemed to just lie there. There was smoke hovering in the 10x12 room. We tried adjusting the vents that go through the walls, the vent on the heater, adding more wood. Finally the door for the ash box was opened. We could hear the roar from that. By ear we adjusted the opening and the air became much hotter. We closed the vents to the outside and it worked better still.

When I saw a glow on the top of the box, I was coakst to pour water over the particular rocks that I have collected from all over Arizona. With that, our bodies, which had been coated with sweat, began to drip. It was wonderful.
 
I stated my intentions for the sweat in the most spiritual connotations that I could muster. I got out empty 5 and 10 gallon water jugs that are used as water proof drums. Jeremy began to sing the Native American songs that he has been taught with his rattle. A tom tom beat joined in. We sang the four, he prayed with tears and we listened. Didgeridoo was played as we lounged. We have a new sweat home.

 I had brought in my statue of Norwiegan sauna god. We discussed what could be done and how to go about that. We did a very long round and then another after drinking water.

It was a very different experience stepping outside into the full super moon night. We had watched it rise huge over the massive Catalina Mountains, which at that time had been bathed in a pastel pinkish red from the setting sun. The air was refreshing. There was no need for a flashlight.

I fed us all when we went back inside my house. Then, the others left. DF and I were very tired from readying the situation all day in the sun, followed by at relaxation of the sauna, but we still took a stroll out into the moon lit desert. We went up the hill, marveling at the familiar saguaroís size in the moonlight, and the illuminated distant mountains. Atop the hill, we gazed down and across at the city lights of Tucson. Thousands of golden bulbs glitter there. DF said that her butt was cold; I went behind her and held her close. We chuckled and then went into the peace of embrace.

We slept soundly.
Jbee

Barefoot all over, all over.

eyesup

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2016, 11:29:44 PM »
It sounds like you had a good turn out. Hopefully the new sweat will pick up where the old left off with new enthusiasm.

Duane

nuduke

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2016, 03:50:26 AM »
Whatever this sweat is, it seems to be a powerful attribute in your and DF's life Jbee.  I wish you and the sweat community every success in your new location with continuing the spiritual cameraderie that it seems to provide.  Reminds me a bit maybe of another naturist transition i.e. TSNS to FRN sites!

John


jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 07:32:17 PM »
Sunday, I posted an invitation to the sweat community to come out between noon and sundown. One guy showed up early and we did the last minute prep together with some lifting that needed two people. Another helper arrived about noon, but because she was very very lost. She had been driving around for over two hours. Seemed that she forgot her directions and got some wanderlust and explored. She did go to work on draping/decorating the shitter (outdoor composting toilet) with cloth for privacy. She did a great job, directing me with each staple, while she held the cloth in place. Mary showed up, as we were lighting up the firebox. We had a few hours of sweat and talk. My neighbor stopped by to see what was happening.

The others left and Mary, who is famous for liking it very hot, and I decided to see what she (the sweat) could do. I had just received the new thermometer/hydrometer in the mail the day before. We threw wood on the fire, played with the vents and watched the bubbling water on the rocks turn to steam. Up into the red line, through the green, full stream ahead, stokin' like Casey Jones. Yea, it got hot.

About the time that they left, two cars pulled up, all key sweat friends. One was the owner of the previous sweat. In a truck was a carpet piece that has been donated. I was pleased, because it saved me the trip into town and coordinating with a helper. We wrestled the bulky heavy thing out back to the ramada, where it will serve. I think that it will be perfect with a trim to fit the absolutely not square sitting area. Several rounds were enjoyed. We discussed organization of the sweat and what could be done. I was advised by the group of elders of the sweat community, to relax and let things evolve. I took that to heart. Elder isn't referring to age. It is just about experience.

DF wasn't there. She had previous arrangements with a pair of younger girlfriends to backpack in the Catalina Mountains.

One friend, who will be moving on out of town in a couple of weeks, stayed on for dinner. He had been the volunteer that stayed out here for a few days as we had cleared the area of old straw, bundling a huge stack of bales to be carried off. He saw his efforts bare fruit and people, including himself, enjoy the sauna.

A nice nude Sunday with friends.
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.

nuduke

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 11:15:50 PM »
JBee,
Can you post a picture of the Sweat?
John

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2016, 01:50:00 AM »
Inside unfinished. Temporary benches, lack of final coat of ferrocement and dirt floor. BUT, the ambiance is good and it does function well.
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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 01:54:29 AM »
Door from under unfinished ramada. Cello neck for door handle.
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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 02:03:43 AM »
This was consecrating the sweat (Tortolita Temple) under full moon, blowing didge, playing conga. It is a work in progress. Now we can have a sauna after a hard days process. I'm attaching the cover for the ramada and cutting a piece of carpet to size under the ramada, this week. Making calls and getting the word out, maybe more.
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.

eyesup

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 06:15:50 PM »
Wow! Nice!

I am assuming this is a separate structure. Is the fire managed outside? Is that adobe walls or just a stucco finish? It's big!
Will the ramada be used as a cooling off sitting area?

Pardon all the questions, I've never been in a sweat (the structural kind). ;D

I watched a show on the History Channel a couple years ago where they built a small Roman style bath with all three rooms. The part about how the water was heated then vented into the hot rooms was amazing.

Duane

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 07:55:34 PM »
Eyesup wrote: "I am assuming this is a separate structure. Is the fire managed outside? Is that adobe walls or just a stucco finish? It's big!
Will the ramada be used as a cooling off sitting area? "

It is out back behind my shed and some shrubbery. There are nice views there. It is about 15 feet from the vortex circle.
There is an old woodburning stove that I refurbished. It puts out 102,000BTU for a 1600 ft. house. This structure is 10x12, 120 sq.ft. with only a 6 and a half foot ceiling. Itís very efficient and you can hear it roar to life. The old one was fed from the outside. It was an old water heater on its side, with a door and pipes welded to it. This one, I put special rocks along the top and front under the grill cover, which lifts up. When we pore water over it, it sizzles as it steams.

I had an existing footer for a strawbale structure. We put posts up and stretched some old 4x6 beams across. Then, mesh and chicken wire was tied to rebar and that, about 2 inches thick. We put stained ferrocement (4 parts sand and one Portland) on that, inside and then out. There will be one more layer over the rough coat inside. This is my first experience with ferro cement. It is cheap, but very labor intensive. It starts with a slope and then changes, very earthy, like it arose from the earth or was carved from it.

It is bigger for groups, lounging, yoga, massage etc. The old one would hold as many as 20 cheek to cheek and standing up, which was some silly fun. It was about a foot and a half shorter on each side. Mostly, it will be maybe 5 to 10 naked people, chanting, singing, praying, meditating, playing drum on old plastic water bottles, didgeridoo, conversing, but treated as sacred space. These things can be so much more than just sitting around in a sauna at the health club. Then there are those tons of health benefits.

The ramada is a 12x14 ft. space under a roof for shade, rain shelter and conversation. There is a garden hose to spray off with, that will soon be an outdoor shower, out the door and just around the corner. There may be a sea salt plunge in the future.
Jbee
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 07:57:21 PM by jbeegoode »
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nuduke

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2016, 12:08:22 PM »
Thanks for the pics, jbee!
A picture speaks a thousand words...my impression of the old sweat was more of an ad hoc shack construction. This is more solidly constructed than my minds eye has imagined from your mentions of the old one. 

And I've learned a new word! Ramada.

John

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2016, 09:25:07 PM »
I gave YOU a new word!

Wonders never cease.
Jbee
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nuduke

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2016, 05:33:14 PM »
Well, there are a few words left that I have yet to learn!
We have a brand of hotels in the uk (and I think also in your fine country) with the brand name Ramada.  I shall look at their sign with greater understanding in future!
John

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2016, 06:56:58 AM »
This has references to religious or spiritual practices. They are unorthodox and eclectic, but heartfelt. Donít read if you feel that that might offend you.

We opened the sweat up to everyone again this Sunday starting at noon. While we waited for people to show up, we continued construction and preparation. I trimmed the donated carpet to fit the odd shaped floor under the ramada. It looks very good and will keep the prickers, dust down. The problem of the sand tracking on bare feet will be mitigated.

The people who run the other ferro cement sweat to the far southwest, about a Ĺ hour from central Tucson, but an hour from my place, came by. Another group arrived as well. Around sundown a new friend and her young daughter showed up.

We sat around conversing and the nature of the place began to sell itself to them. We continued to do rounds and then sit in the ambiance of the peace of this beautiful desert, switching from chair to chair to take in a variety of different views. We caught up with a returning snowbird and each other. We have felt some displacement since losing our old sweat home of 40 years. The day began to wane, when part of the gathering took off for a feasting gathering in town at a local temple/restaurant run by the Hari Krishna folks.

Those people from the southwest are into a more Hindu spirituality and we have some commonality in our spiritual practices. The sweat is a place to respect all and share. This day was coincidentally the main day for Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights. We decided to do a puja ceremony incorporating the sweat, Genesh, Lakshmi  and Saraswati. It is a good new beginning, for the sweat and our personal lives, during the coming year. Unlike most of the more traditional Hindu, we see no disrespect with being in our natural state of attire. It is an enhancement. We began puja establishing relationship with the deities and giving respect. Then, I put on music for a kind of Japa yoga, a 21 minute dance starting with a slow rate, mostly stretching, and progressively into a more frenzied pace, all free form. In the twilight, we danced barefoot all over in naked abandon in the vortex circle and in the vicinity of the sweat, getting the energies of our bodies and spirit to flow. It felt perfect. The weather has been wonderful; there had been a fantastic sunset. While clouds lingered, the first bright star came alive in the deep blue sky, which descended to the silhouette of the mountains and saguaro, outlined by the glow like the color of orange in a soda as light shines through.
DF then lit five large candles on candelabra inside the sweat and I stoked the fire. We sat in this candelight, singing and chanting, harmonizing in Sanskrit and Hopi and playing a couple of plastic five and ten gallon water bottles for drums. The moister poured down our nude bodies. It felt wonderful as copal scented the room. Sometimes we would stand and dance to the rhythms, the ebb and flow. When it seemed to have been enough time, it naturally felt like time to close. The Milky Way had come out, we discovered as we stepped out into the now wonderful night air, with its calm. We adjourned, until later.

This time dressed, DF and I drove the hour to a remote spot in Avra Valley to participate in another Diwali Celebration. It is a kind of a rave. Many people were camped out there. We met all of the others. There was dancing to bands covering Grateful Dead and reggae music. There is a pond out there which reflects all of the lights strewn throughout the mesquite bosque. There was a pair of large firepits. A young man shot flames high into the air from a torch fueled by gases and reflected flames seemed to dance across the water on ripples.

At one point, we enjoyed taking a canoe out on the pond. We discussed canuding, but there was no safe place for clothing on the beach.

Indian food was served. The chia tea was particularly good. We ventured down a tunnel through the trees to a large alter. There sat several popular deities decorated in homage. If only we people could get along and accept each other as well as all of these different deities who shared the same alter.

After this long day, late at night, we made the long drive through the Tucson Mountains to Tortolita, confident that blessings will be ours. 

This was the third time to fire up the sweat. The first time was a consecration. We started the first fire using some of the traditions of the southwest. The fire was reverently started by rubbing a seep willow stick into a saguaro rib, until hot ash could start the fire in a fire pit. Transferred into flames, we took it inside the sweat to light the firebox. As we continued, we experimented with various vents to hone the efficiency of the saunaís mechanics.

 That evening, we had played didgeridoo, and drums. The rounded corners of the hard ferro cement walls create a slight reverberation, like inside a shower. The vibrations and pitch of sound are enchanting, particularly that of the didgeridoo. The music is impromptu and free form. We never know what will come from us, but it is always as though a gift of inspiration. After, I stated intentions for the new sweat from these beginnings, a rattle and traditional Native American songs were sung by the man trained for such sacred prayer. Prayers were expressed by one of us with troubles. It was a good start for an eclectic spiritual temple. There is more to a sauna than health benefits, just as there are more than health benefits from the practice of naturism.

What spiritual connection that comes next to the sweat is perfect and with little prediction. It can be given to the individual. It can be done in silence and meditation, with convection with others, or in shared calling out to the divine. It may be an expression of thanks later in this month. It is sacred and community, health and wellbeing.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 05:56:17 PM by jbeegoode »
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nuduke

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2016, 09:50:49 PM »
Quote from: jbee
In the twilight, we danced barefoot all over in naked abandon in the vortex circle and in the vicinity of the sweat, getting the energies of our bodies and spirit to flow. It felt perfect. The weather has been wonderful; there had been a fantastic sunset. While clouds lingered, the first bright star came alive in the deep blue sky, which descended to the silhouette of the mountains and saguaro, outlined by the glow like the color of orange in a soda as light shines through.

Just lovely...lovely.  Went out barefoot this evening - cold and damp.

Very poetic prose, jbee.  Unusual for you.  Like it a lot!

John