My Wishtoyo experience

The village of Wishtoyo, is located between the dry and burning mountains of southern California and the cold pacific ocean. The briny ocean waves crash up and the mountainous heat bleeds down, and amalgamatein Wishtoyo, one of the most sacred places I have ever set foot on.

When we arrived I was welcomed by the amiable and smiling Chumash people. the keepers of Wishtoyo. We greeted and then entered this circular structure, partially submerged in the earth. The place was incredibly traditional, and when I entered, it felt like I was back in the past, and all that existed outside of this erection was miles and miles of wilderness, that expanded to the boundaries of all of turtle island. I camped at Wishtoyo for 3 days and 2 nights and during this time Mati, a wise chumash elder, and his people treated us to their enthralling stories and congenial ceremonies; all of which profoundly affected me. However, the sweat we had is of particular significance. The sweat consisted of all us men, and the reasoning for this, was for us to be completely comfortable and open. We all stayed up until midnight, and then prepared the grandfather rocks to be heated. In this process we had to be meticulous, because there was only a certain way in which we could set up the rocks. After they were lit, we sat and talked with one another, for a few hours. Here everything was realized, and in the lodge everything was manifested. At that fire I thought about my mother, my culture, and my relationships. Ar the lodge I sang for my mother, the person whom I owe my existence and everything to, and my culture, the crucial part of me which I finally began to truly reconnect with, all singing surrounded by my brothers and the spirits of my grandfathers. I am so grateful for my Wishtoyo experience, it will not be forgotten.

-Zaryn Prussia

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