"There is no Passion to be found PLAYING SMALL, in settling for a LIFE that is less than the one you are capable of Living.....
Red Solar Dragon, Nelson Mandala

Saturday, March 10, 2012


It is particularly a wonderful experience to be able to participate in a Sweat Lodge.  It is even nicer if you are fortunate to be in the presents of an experience Native American, whose heritage was in line with leading Sweat Lodges.  So many of us are not willing to step outside of our comfort zone to participate in something we are not familiar with.  We limit our experiences in ways that exempt us from have those Divine experiences and understanding.  I for one am not that person.  I look doing things that will take me to another level of understanding.  And I love being a witness to new experiences.  I am certain the Sweat Lodges have been around since the beginning of time and it was appropriate for us to visit the Lodge and purify ourselves if not often then at least at certain times of the year, particularly the solstices and the equinoxes.  Those are the time of the year when you should cleanse your physical body, your mind, and your spirit.  Visiting a Sweat Lodge will assist you in that endeavor.

The tern Sweat Lodge has been used for a long time and doesn't truly express the purpose of this ceremony.  The purpose is to purify the body, mind, and spirit so path a new sense of Self may be present on the path.  Sweating is one of the things that you do in the lodge but is not the reason thatt you enter the ceremony of the lodge.

For centuries, the Native American people have understood the purpose of purification.  The spirit can pick up some "rust" along the way when the experiences of physical life run amok.  Since the beginning of the Fourth World, which was the World of Separation beginning approximately sixty thousand years ago, the polarization of all nations, creeds, and races has ravaged the Children of Earth.  We have been taught to hate anyone that looks, acts, or believes differently.  At the very least we have been taught to be suspicious of others and to demean other customs and attitudes due to the threat they represent to our belief systems of Native Americans are different.  If we believe something, those beliefs may be changed, but to know is to have a gift that is a part of our total Self and is as much an extension of who and what we are as is our leg.  Our beliefs, however, can be filled  with misconceptions or others' opinions, which may create impurities.  They may be filled with confusion and/or a sense that because someone else said it was so, it is.  As the family of Humankind, we have long forgotten that those are impurities that need cleansing.  If we forget to pray for love and peace to enter the hearts of all races, nations, and creeds, we destroy the pure intent of those prayers and praise.

Before any Native American ritual or ceremony can be performed, all participants must purify the body, mind, and spirit.  To enter ceremonial space carrying impurities is to lessen the potential of the ceremony's outcome.  The purification may be done with Sage or Cedar smoke, a Sweat Lodge ceremony, "feathering." or a variety of other ways.  Sabbatage of ceremonial space occurs when participants in that ceremony neglect to purify themselves prior to taking part in the ritual.  These cannot be an at-one-ment among the participants if someone is carrying resentment, hatred, jealousy, envy, or other negative emotions.  In understanding this idea, our Native Ancestors made a ceremony to allow each person to let go of the "rust" that would keep them from shining and contributing their talents.

The Sweat Lodge is made from Willows and is circular. The number of Willows used depends on the purpose of the lodge.  The Willow is the Tree of Love in the Seneca Tradition.  It bends with grace and does not break easily.  The lodge's door may be placed at the East, so illumination and spirit from the Blue Road may enter and join the ceremony, or the door may be placed in the West so healing and female receptive energy may enter.  The door to the Purification Lodge is built low so we have to enter on our nees, a reminder for us to be humble and to understand taht we are no greater or leasser than other life-forms.

The Stone People heated in the fire pit are volcanic so their bodies do not shatter or break when water is poured over them and steam is released.  These Stone People are the carriers of Earth-Records and release ancient lessons through the steam.   We need to reconnect with these ancient lessons in order to aid in the continuation of life on this planet.  As our perspiration returns to the Mother Earth in the form of water, the Earth is again nourished.  When the door to the lodge is opened in between endurances, or rounds, the steam travels to Father Sky to take our prayers home to Great Mystery.

Some purification ceremonies begin or end with a Pipe ceremony and others do not, depending upon the purpose of the Sweat.  The Purification Lodge is covered with tarps (originally with animal hides) that block out all sources of light.  This evokes a feeling of returning to the womb of our Earth Mother and provides a safe space to let go of all the things that have created "rust" in our lives.  The songs and prayers are a way of filling the spirit as purification occurs.  There are four rounds of songs and prayers that honor the Four Directions.  Theses rounds allow the participants different viewpoints of the purpose for purifying themselves.  Each round or endurance, addresses different segments of Creation and allows the participants to reconnect with All Our Relations through prayer.

In humbling ourselves and crawling through the opening to the Purification Lodge, we are asked to check our egos at the door.  Since sacrifice originally meant "to make sacred," approaching every act of life in a sacred a manner is the Indian way.  The circular form of the Purification Lodge reminds us not to assign blame to others if they falter or fall but rather to gently teach in loving-kindness so that the circle of the Sacred Hoop may remain whole.  Willow is our reminder of the cleansing love necessary for that growth to occur.

I trust that the information I presented here for you will give you some basic knowledge about Sweat Lodges.  It would be wonderful if it sparked your curiosity enough that you would want to participate in one. If you do not know where to find a group of people who facilitates Sweats then just focus on it and ask the Universe, the information will come to you. Remember the cleansing can be gentle and healing if you approach it in a sacred manner.  You can purify your physical body, your spirit, your mind or your attitude.  It is a way to create new life-force energy and to move you to a new level of vibration and we all should be striving for newer levels of vibration.  In Lak'esh, (I am another yourself) Peace and Love.

(Excerpts of the presentation was from Sacred Path by Jamie Sams)

                                  OMG I want to go to this one NOW!!! So over due


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