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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Ask PowWows.com Ritual Purification and Combat Veterans Ritual Purification and Combat Veterans

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Old 01-28-2014, 03:16 PM   #1
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Ritual Purification and Combat Veterans

Lark K
Lark K 12:02pm Jan 28
Good morning,

I am completing a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling through Cherry Hill Seminary. My final requirement is my Master's thesis which I am writing on the topic of suicide in combat veterans, Moral Injury, and the possibility that various forms of ritual purification to cleanse and heal the spirit might play a useful role in reducing suicide rates in veterans. I am familiar with the use of PowWows and sweat lodges as an aid in spiritual healing for First Nations peoples. I was wondering whether any of the members on this site or individuals that you might know would be willing to talk to me about their own experiences. I am not looking to use PowWows or sweat lodges in other cultures as I feel they would lose their meaning if taken out of context. But I would like to hear how a healing ritual might aid in spiritual cleansing after the experience of combat. I should also mention here that I served 18 months as a surgical nurse in a MASH hospital in Vietnam so I am aware of the deep hurt that can cause. I would appreciate any assistance you can give me in arranging 1-2 potential interviews.


I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your assistance. If you would be willing to help, please drop me a message and we can decide how best to go about talking.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:22 PM   #2
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An old post, but worth reading:

Medicine man uses ancient arts to help care for veterans
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:41 PM   #3
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Thank you, that's a very useful article indeed.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:51 PM   #4
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Check out the program at the American Lake VA Hospital in Tacoma, Washington:
www.vasweatlodge.com

If you send me an email address or phone number I would be happy to contact you in private regarding that program.

Blessings,
Sam
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:46 PM   #5
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Many tribes have traditional ceremonies for their warriors who go into and return from battle. But I'm not sure how many would be willing to share their experiences for a thesis.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:19 AM   #6
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Thanks so much to all of you who responded. The websites provided were helpful in providing some good information about the rituals themselves. I can certainly understand why many would feel uncomfortable talking about painful and sacred experiences to someone they don't know for an academic paper and I respect their reluctance to do so. The paper is progressing well and I am hoping that the examples of cleansing rituals among native peoples around the world will help us rediscover ways of dealing with the spiritual injuries of warfare and perhaps prove a way of helping reduce the frightening suicide rate among combat veterans.
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