SWEAT LODGE DESCRIPTION
The Inipi is
a ceremonial lodge of prayer and celebration to cleanse our body, mind,
heart and spirit. By bringing
together the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) we create the
breath of our grandfathers and grandmothers.
The Sweat Lodge is a sacred place – a place of prayer.
Everything used in the Sweat Lodge comes from Mother Earth and
reminds us of our interconnectedness with her and all life. This ceremony
helps us come into proper relationship with ourselves and everything around
The lodge is built by a community of people working in harmony and balance to create a structure, which will serve as a sacred place of prayer and thanksgiving. The frame is made of willow saplings, which are straight and supple. The poles are bent and tied and when the frame is complete it looks like a nest, beehive or overturned basket. Traditionally, the framework is covered in buffalo hide or other skins, forming a small, totally sealed dark space. Today, heavy blankets and quilts, or canvas and plastic are used instead.
pit is dug at the center of the Lodge, ready to receive the hot stones (Tunkashina,or
Grandfather). The earth from
the pit is used to make an “altar” outside the door of the Lodge.
Antlers, which will be used to move the hot stones within the lodge,
are placed on this altar, as well as the sacred pipe.
Individuals may ask to have medicine objects blessed – but no one
may touch an object that belongs to someone else or cross over the Spirit
Path. The “Fire (or Stone)
Tender” will stay outside the Lodge, working with the stones in
the fire and passing them into the Lodge when summoned by “The
the stones used in the ceremony are rocks that will not fragment when
heated. Stones are our oldest
living relatives. They were
here long before people and the Native Americans refer to these as
“Tunkashina” or as “grandfathers”.
They can absorb illness, impurities and negativity in the same way
that they can absorb heat. They
carry ancient earth-records and release these memories through steam
when water (medicine) is poured upon them.
As each stone is brought to the pit the participants greet it by
saying: “Welcome Grandfather.” The
number of stones used will depend on “The Water Pourer” and the type of
ceremony that is performed.
everything is prepared for the Sweat, the participants will enter the Lodge
area after being smudged (blessed). Smudging
is a simple but powerful method of purification.
A Grandmother Sage, Cedar and/or Sweet Grass bundle is used
to “bathe” your body in purifying smoke.
participants will then walk around the Lodge in a sun-wise circle
(clockwise), stopping at each of the four directions for a moment of prayer.
participants will crawl through the entrance when summoned by the Water
Pourer. Before entering,
each person will ask permission to enter and may affirm their relationships
with the words "all my relations", or "omytakouias"
– we are all
Water Pourer may or may not decide on the seating.
There may now be prayers, songs, drumming and the sharing of the
sacred pipe, before the hot rocks are brought in one at a time and placed in
the central pit. Prayers
(speaking from the heart), and songs are offered, and sacred herbs;
cedar, sage, sweet grass, cornmeal, copal are placed upon the stones.
The flaps are closed and the first round begins with the pouring or
splashing of the water upon the hot, glowing stones.
are usually four rounds, with a minimum of four songs sung during each
round. The Water
Pourer will call for the Fire Tender to open the flaps signaling an end
to each round. More stones will
be brought in, the flaps closed again as the next round begins.
the first round prayer and song is offered for ourselves. “Who am I?”
“What Am I here for?” The second round is for prayers for others. It is
the round of the adolescent. The
third round is the Healing round, the round of the adult.
The fourth round is the catch up round where any prayers you missed
are offered as well as prayers of gratitude.
It is called the wisdom round; the round for completion.
out of the small, dark, extremely hot, claustrophobic space of the Lodge is
like being born from the womb of your Mother, from the Mother Earth
herself – revitalized in spirit, mind and body; purified from the inside
out; reconnected to ourselves, our world, each other and all of Creation.
Sweat can last from 3 – 4 hours, but it feels like only minutes have
the Sweat, wear loose fitting comfortable clothing and bring several towels.
You may want to wear sandals or “flip-flops” down to the Lodge,
but shoes are removed before entering.
It is recommended that you not wear jewelry or contact lens due to
the heat. Women may not
participate if they are on their moon time (menstrual cycle). Moon time is a
special ceremony that is for the women and should be honored as such.
you have a special prayer request, bring rolling tobacco (packages like
Bugle Boy, TOP, Prince Albert etc. – not any of the “fragranced” ones)
and a long (1/2 yard) piece of cotton material/cloth.
You will offer your tobacco, wrapped in the material, and prayer
prior to the Sweat. The
requests and tobacco will be offered at the beginning of the Sweat.
The material/cloth will be tied around trees after the Sweat so that
the wind will continue to send your prayers to Creator.
Please call us now to reserve your space
706-896-9966 or 800-990-8869
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