Sweat lodges

The Sweat Lodge is an ancient form of purification and a way of healing and integration for Body, Mind and Spirit consciousness.

Sweat Lodge ceremonies have been experienced for centuries globally , with the Celtic Tribes referring to them as Sweat Houses. The Celts, particularly the womenfolk, used this safe and supportive space to express grief, mourn or keen freely the loss of a loved one and for emotional , spiritual and physical cleansing.

In the Lodge we are invited into our Ancestors’ Spiritual Realms. Here we may honour and celebrate our Ancestors and our connection with them.

Sweat ceremonies are also a way of connecting with the ancestral spirits of the land. A way for us to explore and engage with the influence that our ancestors have on us and the land in our present day .

The structure of the lodge resembles a womb; the interior lodge poles are the ribs of the mother; that guard her womb; the centre-fire is her eternal heart. The sacred smoke carries our ancient prayers and heart-songs to the creator’s wisdom and can heal earlier unresolved ancestral issues.

Traditional sweat lodges often have three or four rounds or doors, each associated with a specific aspect, such as welcoming, cleansing/healing, creation, and gratitude. Each round is dedicated to one of the sacred directions with the spirits and elements being honoured in prayer. Typically each door or round lasts 20 to 30 minutes and often longer, depending on what presents in the Lodge.

Before entering the sweat lodge we are smudged with sage to aid with the ritual purification. It is usual to offer up prayers, share your thoughts with others, and ask for the release of pain or suffering, as well as set intentions or goals.

Participants enter the lodge moving around to the left in a clockwise direction with the sun.

It is indeed a sacred ritual.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I haven’t been in a sweat lodge before. What can I expect?

Have no expectations, other than resting in yourself. Every Inipi/sweat lodge is different. Your job is have an open heart and mind, feel welcome and rest in your gentle loving breath, allow yourself to support you in the experience. You are perfectly safe. Your mind and body will take time to adjust to the heat. The mind/ego shadow side may not understand what is happening. Let your heart know that you are safe. Listen to the grandfathers/stone people and drum.

It is Through ancient song, prayers and honouring the “old ways” you will experience a deepening of your connection to Mother Earth as we sit together, in ‘The heart of the creator’.

What happens first?

Coming together, smudging ceremony, stating intentions for the day for entering the lodge.

Who deals with the water for lodge?

We all do, anyone who wants to take up the job in hand. We all work together on the day.

I don’t know how to put blankets on.

Dinna fash, you will be shown, we all work together as a family.

What happens before we enter lodge?

We come together for smudging ceremony.

Can I put something on the altar outside the lodge?

Yes, please do, I encourage you to bring something that touches your heart. All items, photos, prayer beads, pipes are blessed on the altar while we are inside the lodge.

Do we make prayer ties?

Yes, if you feel to you can.. Your sweat leader will have them if you are happy to make them.

We (all) come together as a group to make prayer ties.

Is it a tradition to bring something for the Fire-tender/stone bringer?

Yes, it is the traditional way of Lakota to bring something for both the leader and stone bringer. The lodge leader never requests anything. However, she always is very touched if you honour and bring a small gift for the fire- tender/stone-bringer, who respectfully brings both strength and gentleness in the weaving connection in the spirit path with the sweat leader for us all.

What do I bring for going into a sweat lodge and after?

Two large towels. One you can sit on if you like in the lodge and one for drying yourself once outside. Bring some extra clothing for after the lodge to keep yourself warm.

What do I wear in the sweat lodge?

Men; loose fitting shorts, t shirt , most men go shirtless and/or a towel. Women; Long loose sweat dress, (preferably cotton, viscose) sarong, bathing costume, shorts, t shirt.

Can I be naked inside the sweat lodge?

Yes, as the lodge symbolises rebirth and this is our natural state. Once in the lodge you are welcome to disrobe if you feel to and embrace your natural self.

Can I leave if I want to?

People respond differently to heat. Be gentle with yourself. I advise participants to listen to your body and let your sweat leader know you’d like to leave. She may invite you to take another breath, giving you a little time to explore the breath within and embrace the experience which may shift quickly. However, you can step outside the sweat lodge to cool off and drink water if you need to and come in the next round.

Can I drink water while in the lodge?

Water is not brought into the lodge, let your sweat leader know you need a drink, they are most likely to bring water in to be shared with the group.

How hot does it get?

It can get extremely hot in the sweat lodge, but you will be safe. As the grandfathers/Stone people enter the lodge the heat intensifies and there is a period of adjustment as you deal with intensity of heat both physically and mentally, then your body adjusts to the experience. Embrace the heat as it builds gently.

Will I go into an altered state or other dimensions?

This can happen and is quite normal for some, one can shift in and out of different states of consciousness in the ceremony. Your job is to stay steady and gently breathe with it. You may also feel like a baby while in there.

What happens if I feel scared?

This can be quite normal. Let your sweat leader know and she will help you work through this. You can sing louder and express yourself freely.

What if I need help with something, although I may not know with what?

Speak your sweat leaders name, she will help in a way that she can.

She has 26 years experience of pouring sweat lodges.

Can I touch someone in the lodge if I want to?

No, it’s best you do not. It’s not a specific rule you cannot touch another. However, your job is to stay with your own energy and process. Let the lodge leader tend to another.

However, if you do not want to be touched please let your sweat leader know, she will honour this.

How do we leave the lodge?

The door is closed and we crawl out of the lodge on our hands and knees; this symbolises your earth-birthing day.

What happens after the sweat lodge?

Your leader will ask you to stay quiet for around 10/15 minutes while you dry yourself and dress. We then come together and share our experiences. You are not under any pressure what so ever to share if you do not want to. Perhaps just a few words are needed.

It is through ancient song, prayers and honouring the “old ways” you will experience a deepening of your connection to Mother Earth as we sit together, in ‘The heart of the creator’.