The Sweat Lodge is an ancient purification ceremony used by most Aboriginal tribes of Turtle Island (North America). It is older than recorded time, and is traditionally used to purify and cleanse the body, mind, spirit, soul, and emotions. It utilizes all of the powers of the Universe including earth -- and the things that come from the earth, water, fire and air.
There are many reasons for attending a Sweat Lodge Ceremony, for it can be truly transformational. One thing we have learned is that you cann... ot take this ceremony lightly or casually. It is a tremendously powerful and profound process, and should be approached with respect -- not just because of its history and tradition, but because of the power and energy that is summoned through the ceremony. It would be difficult for anyone to attend a traditionally conducted Sweat Lodge Ceremony and walk away without having a profoundly personal experience.
The Sweat Lodge Ceremony is one of the most sacred ceremonies used in the Native American culture. It is often held as the precursor for those attending other traditional sacred or social ceremonies, for it is said to empower our natural being with the four elements of fire, water, air and earth.
During the Sweat Lodge Ceremony, you have the opportunity to express gratitude for all you have been given, to offer up whatever you no longer need, whatever may stand in the way of you experiencing your life directly, fully and joyously, and to ask for what you truly need.
Our Sweat Lodge Ceremony follow Oji-Cree traditions. Our conductors are traditional Elders, who have been given the blessings and power to conduct these ceremonies for all people.
Our Sweat Lodge is open to all who want to participate and experience the beauty and wonder of this most powerful and cleansing ceremony. It is a place to repair your spirit, of refuge and healing, and to obtain personal answers and guidance.
What You Need to Know When Attending a Sweat Lodge Ceremony...
We encourage people to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Since we have new people attending the ceremony, we like to take a few minutes to explain the purpose and tradition of the ceremony. Gizik Kwe likes to give people some idea of what the traditions are, how the ceremony originated and how they are conducted. And even though people may have attended other sweats, ours may take on a different format from what may have been experienced in another lodge. Gizik Kwe conducts Sweat Lodge Ceremonies for men and women, as well as the Women's Full Moon Ceremonies. She is part Cherokee from the Virginia/Carolina area, and a member of the Oji-Cree Black Bear Clan.
Since most of our Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are held in the early afternoon, we ask that participants NOT eat a heavy meal prior to attending. We recommend you eat breakfast, but to avoid any heavy foods afterwards, especially within 3 - 4 hours prior to attending a sweat.
We ask each person attending the ceremony to bring a pouch of pipe or cigarette tobacco as a gift or offering to the sweat conductor and the firekeeper ... which can be given to me or placed on the crescent mound around the sacred fire.
Each person should bring along a towel, wash cloth and bottle of water to take into the sweat lodge with them. The towel will be used to dry off with; you may want to wet the wash cloth before going into the sweat lodge so you can wipe your face with it to help keep cool (if you feel you are getting too hot); and, the water to keep yourself hydrated during the sweat. Our sweats can be fairly hot to some people, but are not meant to 'cook' you. If at any time during the sweat you feel you need to leave the lodge, we will certainly accommodate you ... which is explained to everyone prior to entering the lodge.
Each person should bring a change of clothes. After the sweat, most people like to dry off and change into something dry and comfortable. Since we don't wear shoes or socks inside the lodge, you might want to bring a pair of sandals or shoes that you can slip on and off easily. That way you can slip out of your shoes as you enter the lodge, leaving them near the door.
You need to remove all jewelry ... rings, watches, earrings, etc. ... before going into the sweat. The heat can get to the point that the jewelry may become hot and burn you. We ask that you don't bring in ceremonial objects that are outside the Native American traditions ... as a way of showing respect and honoring the nature of the traditions.
Women are to wear long skirts or dresses into the lodge. Sweat pants, knee length skirts, etc. are not acceptable. If wearing a long skirt, a modest t-shirt or top of some kind is acceptable as well. It is in honor of the Spirits that we dress traditionally ... which is modest. If you do not have a long skirt or dress, we usually have a few extra that people can borrow. Also, women on their moon, or in their moontime, are not permitted in the sweat. You might hear people say it is because they are considered dirty or it is a put down of some sort ... but the truth behind the practice is because women are very, very powerful during that time, and it can disrupt the spiritual energy of the sweat. Men are not as strong as women in the sweat to begin with ... so, when a woman is on her moon, she becomes even more powerful which effects everything within the sweat lodge.
Men can wear shorts, sweat pants, t-shirt ... pretty much whatever they want, as long as it is modest in design.
Each person is asked to bring a dish to pass. After the sweat lodge ceremony we celebrate with a feast. Thinking about what you might like to eat afterwards, bring a small dish of it to pass and share. I encourage you to bring a small dish to pass.
And finally, we ask for a donation. Money is always a good thing as it helps to defray the costs of running the lodge, however in these economic times we are appreciative of any donation ... whether it is blankets, comforters, cloth, foods, gift cards, etc. There are things we could use here to support what we are trying to build ... like twin or bunk beds, bedding for them, outdoor plants -- vegetable, fruit or flower, etc. Whenever we have an abundance of something, we in turn, donate it to a worthy cause.
Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are regularly scheduled. If you are interested in attending a regularly scheduled sweat, or if you would like to schedule a private Ceremony for just you and your family, or friends, or co-workers; or, if you or someone you know is very ill and want to experience and receive the healing power of all the Universe to aid in healing, please contact us.
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