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Author Topic: Building a Sweat Lodge  (Read 1605 times)


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Building a Sweat Lodge
« on: November 13, 2015, 04:32:57 PM »
Building a sweat lodge is not particularly difficult, but careful consideration should be given to various details.

Choosing a Location and Sitting the Lodge

A quiet and secluded area is the obvious setting for a sweat lodge. Privacy is essential, yet the area must also be accessible. Once you have found the site, you must then choose where you wish to place the lodge itself.

The lodge doorways at the base of Spirit Mountain in the Black Hills face west. Most Sioux and Ojibwa sweat lodges face east or west, here in the land of down under Australia, the energies and direction are completely opposite! and are counter clock-wise.. But because of equal spiritual beliefs, the East is generally preferred, as it is the direction the sun rises in the East and is how we face the Creator every day of our lives here on this Earth.
But you must consider the terrain, location, and setting of the entire lodge area when selecting your lodge opening. In the interest of fire safety, you may have to select your fireplace area first. This will determine the direction of the opening for you, since lodges almost always face the fire.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is of extreme importance in selecting the lodge site and choosing the location of the fire pit. At times, fire pits may have to be dug deeper then what may seem necessary and their location will have to take advantage of windbreaks or shelter from the wind. Even if it is a calm day, assume that the wind could become a factor. Seldom is a sweat lodge built for only one evenings activity; because the men's is done first then the women's, if it is truly done in old tradition you NEVER mix the energies together, but they can be done the same day or evening. Therefore, always consider that high winds can come up during the time the fire is heating the rocks for a later ceremony and resulting sparks and drier conditions could result in a fire.

Heating the Rocks

Early on, the one who is "Fire Keeper" is responsible for assigning helpers if needed, for the 3-4 hour preparation before, the people are actually there.

Be sure the fireplace is far enough from the lodge so that the ceremony participants can have some privacy. Many times there will be two successive sweat ceremonies, and people usually wait their turn sitting around. Their conversations could be distracting to the ceremony, so it is customary that when the ceremony starts and the first round is called, there is to be ABSOULTE NO TALKING NOT EVEN WHISPERING! this is a must and cannot be ignored, or people will be removed from the area, or the whole ceremony will be stoped and all people will lose out of the event.

Rocks should be of limestone or granite, without significant cracks. Use rocks a little larger than a softball, or the size of a cantaloupe. Never use sandstone or other porous, water-absorbing-type stones. Wet sandstone can explode when heated in the fireplace. Lava rocks are probably the best rocks to use because they seem to retain their heat and also convey unusual images when they are heated to a red glow and are observed within the dark confines of the lodge.
Several hatchets, a shovel, and a pitchfork are useful tools for the fire and stone heating.

Building the FrameCovering the Sweat Lodge

The best method is to cover the frame with thick clean blankets, or canvas. The blankets or canvas provide heat and sound insulation and also block out all the light. The more blankets draped over the frame, the better the insulation, and the fewer rocks you will need. If it is colder weather, drafts will not penetrate inward. Use a thick blanket, deer hides, buffalo hide or several blankets for the doorway. For an adequate supply of blankets, ask each participant to bring two. To prevent blankets from sliding off the lodge, use twine or tie the corner of each blanket to the corner of a counter balancing blanket draped on the opposite side of the lodge. Then you put at least 20-30 deer hides or buffalo hides to finish covering the lodge. Especially a good thick one for the door.

Transporting the Rocks

The ceremony can begin when some of the rocks are glowing red. They are transported to the Sweat Lodge door to the 'Water Pourer" by way of long handle pitch fork, and passed to the 'Water Pourer' who removes them off the pitch fork with deer antlers to put into the inner fire pit. Note: At no time is the "Fire Keeper to pass the door way with their feet or body, this breaks the sacred and blessed seal of the Lodge and is forbidden.
The water pourer and conductor of the ceremony uses (2)deer antlers for the convenient tools for adjusting rocks around a fire and the long pitch fork for transporting them to the lodge.

It can be a key function i

I will do the next lesson on what is done at a sweat lodge ceremony and how one is usually conducted. Remembering they are not all done in the same way because of the different customs and beliefs of different tribes and nations.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 11:20:48 PM by WhiteFeather »
"We are not Human Beings having a Spiritual Experience, we are Spiritual Beings having a Human experience"


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