Sweat Lodge Ceremony
What is a sweat lodge?
The sweat lodge is a sacred ceremony most often associated with Native American traditions. However, there are many such practices throughout the world…in South America and Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, Japan and Australia.
In all these cultures, the central action is the same: heated rocks are placed in an enclosed space. Water is then poured on the rocks to produce intense waves of heat. Sometimes herbs are burned or crushed in the lodge or added to the water to produce a soothing fragrance. Some ceremonies include specific healing procedures and rituals.
The lodge is often built out of pliable saplings, which are bent into a dome-like shape. The frame is covered with skins, tarpaulins or blankets, and then sealed around the bottom. Some sweat lodges are more permanent structures built of stone/mud.
The Symbolism of the Ceremony
The sweat lodge itself is rather like a womb within the Earth: dark, fecund, warm. We live again within Mother Earth. It is circular, and the participants sit in a circle. The circle is a powerful symbol, for in a circle everyone is equal and it represents the great circles and cycles of life, the traverse of the sun and the moon and the great cycles of life, death, transformation and rebirth.
The doorway of the lodge faces the East, the origin of new beginnings, the place where the sun begins his journey at sunrise each day. Two important markers map our journey in the sweatlodge:
The myth that forms the basis of the ceremony is the map of the journey, which we all take to the centre of our worlds.
The four directions and their virtues mark both the inner and outer worlds we live in.
East: Sky father, purpose and direction, the sun as a burnished mirror, creative seed. Gwana the great wedge tail eagle
North: Courage, strength and endurance, the wall of our fears. Learning to be as the stone in river in the face of our fears.Moving into and through difficulty. The Goanna.
West: Earth mothers, grandmothers, the moon, healing, humility and compassion. Ungar the snake.
South: Wisdom, guidance and intuition. Our special connection with Nature (totem), experience and knowledge, which comes with age. Warrigal -Dingo, he who gaurds the door between this and all worlds
Why participate in the ceremony?
The sweat lodge encompasses both beginnings and endings. Each time we take part in a ceremony, we take a journey to the centre of our being, joined with the others in the sweat lodge and yet also alone. It is about birth, death and rebirth. We change as a result of participating.
During the ceremony, much will be asked of you. It may be very hot, dark, oxygen starved and claustrophobic. But each of us needs to call upon our inner strength (not bravado) and move into and through the discomfort with quiet dignity. Indeed, dignity is a central value in the sweat lodge.
Great richness flows from maintaining this focus. We chant to help us concentrate on the journey and not the uncomfortable physical environment and our fears. Chanting also helps us to breathe easily and to compose ourselves.
Physiologically, the lodge helps to tune the autonomic nervous system, creating a new internal balance, smoothing out the peaks and lows of emotional and energetic changes. Psychologically, it fosters feelings of wellbeing, peace and self-worth. It is a powerful tool for growth and also for specific kinds of life difficulties, emotional turbulence and trauma.
There is an intrinsic value arising from participation in the sweat lodge. It is not a competitive experience; no contest exists to see who can ‘tough it out’ the longest. One measures the distance travelled and spiritual gains by personal standards. No criticism applies to those who leave before the ritual is finished.
The sweat lodge is not advised for pregnant women, people taking tranquillisers or antipsychotic drugs, or people with any of the following conditions:
respiratory infections (colds or flu)
contagious skin disorders
alcohol or drug addiction.
Please discuss any concerns you may have with the ceremonial leader before you participate.
Preparation on the day of the ceremony
Drink 2 to 3 litres of water. Stop at least 1 hour prior to the ceremony.
Do not eat food for 6 hours prior
Do not drink coffee or alcohol.
If you smoke marijuana, do not smoke on the day.
PLEASE NOTE: If the weather prediction is for the temperature to exceed 30 degree Celsius (ie 31, 32 etc), the sweat lodge is normally cancelled. This is to ensure no one becomes overly dehydrated.
Bring with you
Towel, sarong/shorts, bandana; water or isotonic drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade; and a plate of food to share after the sweat.
After a sweat, drinking and eating are necessary to replenish the body’s electrolytes. Rest and a good night’s sleep are recommended.
Dark Moon Sweat Lodge for Women
Cost $20 per person.
In the Dark of the Moon we are offered the opportunity to find ourselves within the reflection of Spirit.
The Moon represents the physical manifestation of the Goddess.
The Moon Goddess created time with all the cycles of creation, growth, decline and destruction.
The Dark Moon symbolises death, the void, transformation and rebirth.
The Dark Moon sweat lodge is a celebration of great mystery. It represents the fruitful darkness from which all creation flows.
The Moon represents the subtle yet powerful force of cycles upon the planet and our bodies.
As she shifts the tides, she shifts our receptivity. The dark moon is a time to retreat, to meditate, to claim this power the power that creates all form.
We enter the lodge to hear the voices of grandmother moon. We emerge strong with the knowledge of our power and the truth of who we are.
These Sweats focus on the new moon of each month and the gifts that are available for us to draw upon and bring in to our daily lives.
Full Moon Sweat Lodge for Women and Men
Cost $20 per person.
The Full of the the Moon is energetically the most powerful time of the month. Every moon cycle arises in a unique field of stellar and electromagnetic alignment, that with intent and ritual, facilitate a deep understanding of self, a tapping into the well of ones’ existence with view to healing, transformation and flourishing in the world.
The sweat lodge remains one of the most accelerated healing tools that we work with and the person who enters the lodge is not the same person who leaves!
Contact Prue to be put on the notification list for upcoming sweats..
For further details please contact
Prue Blackmore by email or call her on 0419 819 089