Sweat Ceremony

  • PREPARATION
  • ENTERING THE LODGE
  • THE FIRST ROUND – AIR (BREATH/LIFE)
  • THE SECOND ROUND – FIRE (BLOOD)
  • THE THIRD ROUND – WATER (HEART/LOVE)
  • THE FOURTH ROUND – EARTH (TEARS/PURIFICATION)
  • EXITING AND COOLING DOWN
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1.  PREPARATION

The sweat can take place anytime during the day, or in the early evening. Sweats are most often done at daybreak or just after sunset. It is best not to consume any alcohol or tobacco for 3 days prior to the sweat and to fast for a minimum of 12 hours before the sweat, during which time it is vital to drink water.

Wear a swimming costume or sarong, remove all jewellery and makeup, and while sitting around the outside fire and waiting to enter the sweat, do a prayer or meditation asking for purification and giving thanks for what is about to be. Attending a sweat is a great honour to all participants.

Bring with you to the sweat ceremony a small offering, preferably a rose or clear quartz or the like, which will be offered to the earth in the final round. Hand this to the “fire keeper” before the ceremony begins.

2.  ENTERING THE LODGE

On approaching the lodge, the “fire keeper” will perform a blessing over your body, calling on the spirit guides to be present. ( Appendix A) It is also the fire keeper’s responsibility to maintain a drumming rhythm throughout the sweat. Enter the sweat lodge from the left hand side, and move into the lodge in a clockwise direction. Be seated in a comfortable position. Try to remain in the lodge throughout the four rounds, for once you have left the sweat you should not return. If you feel physical discomfort (headache, dizziness, etc.), you should leave the sweat immediately, cool down gradually, and rehydrate.

Each round lasts 15 minutes, and water is passed around between the rounds. When everybody is seated, the fire keeper will bring in the hot rocks, the “stone people” , one by one. 12 rocks are used in each round. The first grandfather rock that enters is placed in the centre to represent the Creator. The second is placed in the East and touches the centre stone. The third is placed in the South, and the fourth rock is placed in the North. The next seven rocks are brought in, along with the water bucket and sacred herbs.

The entrance is closed, and we are ready to begin the first round.

3.  THE FIRST ROUND - AIR

In the first round we connect with the element Air. Air is to the east, and represents the breaking light of day calling out to all who seek wisdom. Airs expansiveness allows the birth of ideas to be germinated seeds of the future. We can hear Airs voice upon the wind, and reach up to grasp what our minds hunger for from within a cosmic consciousness. Air, itself, is clear and allows us to see all the possibilities that exist beyond our perceived limitations. Air evokes the least emotion of all the elements and thus is not clouded by the energy of passions, emotions , or weaknesses of the physical elements. Take a deep breath of Air and let it cleanse your mind. Exhale slowly and feel the misconceptions of a lifetime leave you. Then, after the opening chant, move into a deep rhythmic breathing meditation.

Chant:
Heya Ho, Heya Ho.
Great Spirit we welcome Air,
Purifying our minds, creating expansiveness and clarity.
So be it.
We thank you.

4.  THE SECOND ROUND-FIRE

In the second round we connect with the element, Fire. Fire is to the North, and represents eternal light, life-giving and shining from within, linking us to the universe and Spirit. Fire is the essence of our being reflected in the light of our body’s energy fields. It’s energy is quick and filled with action as it rekindles the Devine within each of us. It purifies and recreates all that it touches. Fire has the power to destroy and annihilate all pre-existing conditions, clearing the path ahead. In this round the fire keeper brings us a candle for focused meditation, which we begin after the chant.

Chant:
Heya Ho, Heya Ho.
Great Spirit we welcome Air,
Purifying our minds, creating expansiveness and clarity.
So be it.
We thank you.

5.  THE THIRD ROUND - WATER

In the third round we connect with the element water. Water is to the West, and represents receptivity, inner reflection, emotion and intuition. Through its exploration we understand pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, and we learn to face our truths and cope with the realities of life.

Like the river that flows and winds its way through life, we can choose to go with that flow or struggle to hold it back. Emotions ebb and flow like the tide. The challenge here is to keep our emotions in check and to be tolerant of the struggle, manifest by tears and emotional storms. When we bring things back into the harmony the waters are calmed. We are purified and baptized.

Breathe deeply of this element, breathing out negative energies and emotional confusion. The fire keeper brings each of us a bucket of water. After the chant, use the water freely to cleanse you body, meditating on the cleansing and healing qualities of water.

Chant:
Heya Ho, Heya Ho.
Great Sprit we welcome Water,
Diluting our tears,
Cleansing our bodies and minds
So be it.
We thank you.

 6. THE FOURHT ROUND – EARTH

In the fourth and last round, we connect with the element Earth.

Earth is South, and represents the womb of the Great Mother, showing us the darkness from which life is manifest. Earth protects our physical bodies and our realities, nurturing and sustaining. Through its gravity we enter and ground ourselves, experiencing the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

It is the element of reality and truth, and eternal wisdom. Mother Earth’s wisdom is that of maturity, old age, and of the grandmothers and grandfathers that have gone before use. We learn to apply our life’s wisdom and act with the integrity of our hearts in the process. The treasures of the earth then begin to present themselves.

Before we being this final round, the fire keeper, after bringing in the remaining 12 rocks, enters the lodge with the Earth offerings brought by us, and randomly hands them around. We move into a deep love mediation chanting “SHIMA YA”* throughout.
*Love

Chant:
Heya Ho, Heya Ho.
Great Spirit, we welcome Earth,
Bringer of life, nourisher,
Teacher of love.
So be it.
Thank you.

6. EXITING AND COOLING DOWN

Allow yourself the time to relax in silence and gradually cool down after the sweat.

Make sure to rehydrate well. Eat the light vegetarian meal provided.

Be aware of what is happening to body, mind and spirit.

Give thanks to the fire keeper.

Go gently, in love and light.