Sweat Lodge Ceremony
The Sweat Lodge is part of the Sacred Ceremonies of many Native American and indigenous cultures around the world. In Lakota, the name it is called an Inipi ceremony, which means “Breath of Life”. A Sweat Lodge ceremony consists of 4 main structures: the Sweat Lodge, the Altar (between the sweat lodge and Sacred Fire), the Sacred Fire and the mound, “Grandmother 4 Generations” surrounding the fire on three sides. The ceremony involves all of Grandmother Earth’s elements as the rocks (“Grandfathers”) are heated up by the wood with Sacred Fire. When the heated Grandfathers are brought into the Sweat Lodge, the Facilitator of the ceremony pours water onto the rocks during the ceremony, which produces the Breath of Life.
Each person enters and exits the Sweat Lodge on their hands and knees saying, “Mitakuye Oyasin”, which is a foundational teaching and prayer meaning “All my Relations”. While the Sweat Lodge ceremony has traditionally been used as a way to seek a healing and make communal relations with the spirit world, the overall purpose is the promotion and redemption of life. Accordingly, we are mindful to use a great deal of sincere respect during this ceremony. And like any ceremony performed on our grounds, there is no fee charged for participating in a Sweat Lodge.
There are typically four rounds in a Sweat Lodge in which each person sits around the center cradle, which is where the Grandfathers are placed. During each round, the Sweat Lodge is closed so that it is pitch dark inside. The allows each person the opportunity to lose direct contact with their physical senses, which imprison our illusion of reality. Each round typically involves the signing of a few songs related to the theme of that round:
Round One: Direction & Spirit calling
Round Two: Prayers
Round Three: Pipe
Round Four: Thank you & Closing
Given there is quite an investment of time, energy and resource invested to perform and sustain such ceremonies, each person is asked to come early and stay late so they can help prepare and clean up. Further, each person is asked to bring a food dish to contribute to our meal which follows the lodge, to bring the proper clothing to wear during the lodge and to follow certain protocol throughout. Guys typically wear a towel with shorts underneath and women wear a long traditional dress (covering most of their mid-section and shoulders with a towel wrapped around. Each person sages off before entering a Sweat Lodge and brings tobacco to offer as a sign of respect and good will. Sweat Lodges can get very hot inside so any person with an ailment that is susceptible to high temperatures is asked to participate from outside of the lodge.
Any person with an open, positive mind and a respectful intent are invited to attend. Please check our calendar for upcoming events or reach out to us if you have a specific reason you would like to request a Sweat Lodge for yourself or another. Please understand that native traditions are based on key tenets of storytelling, respect and patience. Thus, it is considered disrespectful to ask any questions other than those related to protocol. Thus, you’re encouraged to just pay attention in silence and learn over time. Most Sweat Lodges will either be conducted with the Lakota or Ojibwe traditions in mind, however we welcome all traditions. It is important to remember however that while you might have alternative teachings or experiences with past Sweat Lodges, it is important to respect the way it is being conducted by the Facilitator that day. Thus, either respectfully do things as being shown by such facilitator or respectfully leave the premises if for whatever reason, the way the Facilitator is doing things is too much for you to follow. Mitakuye Oyasin