Welcome to shamanic pathways. Tonight I would like to tell you about
The Sweat Lodge
Sitting in the dark, the air is hot with steam and the fragrance
of herbs, we pray, we suffer a little in the heat, we give thanks
for our life and remember our mother who carried us in her womb. We
sit in the womb of great grandmother earth as children who don’t
know very much, and when the door is opened we leave her womb and
come out with a prayer for all our relations. To be born as human
A very good description of something that seems insignificant in this
day and age. The sweat lodge seems primitive, yet until you actually
construct one and then use it you will not truly understand the significance
of the sweat lodge and why it is still as important now as it ever
The sweat lodge is an ancient earth way, and it is used to clean both
the physical and the spiritual body, as well as being used for such
things as dream questing .It has been described as a prayer sauna,
this does not explain its whole purpose either, but is enough for
now. The most common sweat lodge and also the easiest to construct
is that of the Native American sweat lodge.
To make one you first construct a dome skeleton of wood, any local
wood is fine as long as it can bend without breaking. Then dig a small
pit in the middle of the dome framework and pile the earth just outside
where the door will be, this is your earth altar. Next completely
cover your frame in skins, if you don’t have skins then tarpaulin
will do just as well, leaving a flap open beside the earth altar for
you to enter and exit. From the earth altar runs a straight line to
a fire, which will be used to heat the stones you will place in the
pit to heat your lodge, these stones are referred to as stone people.
This line from the altar to the fire must never be stepped on, over
or across, you can place sacred tokens on the line such as tobacco,
corn or sage. Once the stones are hot you may enter the sweat lodge
sitting first in the east and then everyone sitting to the right of
the last person sat. Once everyone is in the flap will be closed and
the ceremony begins.
Now many of these lodge ceremonies described as native American sweat
lodge ceremonies are not and many are not even ceremonies and you
will find you are being charged for these so called ceremonies .All
native American ceremonies and in fact all true shamanic ritual ceremonies
are free, though it is usual to give a token of some sort to the leader
of the ceremony .
The ceremony consists of four parts with a break in between each section
so you can rise and stretch your legs and the stone people can be
replaced with new hot ones. Once the ceremony is complete , those
in the lodge leave in reverse order so last one in is first one out.
Once every one is out the leader should give a short prayer of thanks
to the Great Spirit. A pipe that has been on the earth altar is then
passed around all those that participated in the ritual, smoking the
pipe is of course optional, but you must all sit down and share a
meal as a sign of kinship and as a symbolic gesture of a shared experience.
Why can't you cross the line or go over the line to the altar
it is a sacred line between the fire and the altar and by crossing
the line you break it
what’s in the pipe?
Tobacco of course
what are the 4 parts?
The four parts are likened to the four cardinal directions of the
What happens if you accidentally break the line?
Then the whole thing starts again.
Can you intake water during the breaks?
Yes, and water maybe passed around inside the lodge, it is up to the
one who leads the ceremony
do you need to fast before the ceremony?
Depends on what you seek, but it is common to fast for 24 hrs before
you take part
The idea is to clean the body of impurities, so the intake of water
is really a necessity
So in a way you are using the natural drugs the body gives off to
That is the general idea, yes
I have read in one book that the lodge is only for men, is that true?
No, not now although I do belief some shamanic pathways prefer it
to be men only.
So when you take to sitting down on hot stones is this when you get
your messages when meditating?
You don’t sit on the stones, they are placed in the pit you
dug at the start.
For those of you who missed the start the circle will be available
for you to read in the class and circle archives in a few days
Thank you for sharing your time with me, and thank you for listening.
(I have left these last questions in as they do seem important to
certain participants in the class/circle)
Do you have a grey wolf with you! Or the man grey wolf!?
My wolf is a grey and my guide is a man in a grey wolf cloak and besides
him you will see my wolf
Thanks, as I came in I did see those.
Are you just covering Native American shaman or shaman in general?
I will endeavor to cover all shamanic pathways, from Native American
to the flower shaman of Peru.
Great thank you.