Ritual sweating is a physical and mental cleansing practice originating from most native traditions and the sweat lodge ceremony is practiced in some form by every culture in the world in order to facilitate healing, purification and relaxation.
It enables us to connect to our source, releasing that which no longer serves us and receiving that which we need in order to move forward in our spiritual growth.
The sweat lodge symbolises the womb of Mother Earth and the heated stones placed in the center of the lodge represent her body, which supports all life. The stones are symbols of endurance in the same manner in which the Earth endures. The fire that is used to heat the stones represents the perpetual light of the world, and is the source of all life and power. The water poured on the stones inside the lodge releases the heat in the stones, which rises as steam and permeates the air to create a hot, humid atmosphere conducive to the manifestation of the particular intent of the ceremony. The steam that is produced by the water and the stones is considered powerful and holy, the visible manifestation of the breath of Great Spirit.
As the steam and temperature rise so do our senses and messages and visions from the spirit world are received. One at a time, a talking stick is passed and all the participants inside the lodge get the opportunity to sing or speak from the heart, to pray and ask for guidance.
A sweat lodge ceremony consists of four rounds, each lasting between 30 to 45 minutes. We may therefore be inside the lodge for 2 – 3 hours.
There is a fire keeper who tends the sacred fire and carries the hot stones from the fire into the lodge.
The sweat lodge has given many gifts and shown itself as a way to not only cleanse, but to release anger, guilt and shame in a safe way and to bring people of all cultural backgrounds together as one. By doing these ceremonies, we gently weave a web of connections between those present and all of our relations (all of creation).