The Power And Healing Of The Sweat Lodge by Ellie Blair

In the twelve years that I lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico, some of that time was spent working for The Native American Tiwa Tribe at Taos Pueblo where I was privileged to have had the opportunity to attend many Sweat Lodges.   

Background:

Sweat Lodge origins come from the Native American Tribes of The USA and Canada. The Sweat Lodge is a sacred place to explore, develop and enhance our relationship to “All That Is” and it acts as an accelerator to spiritual growth. The ceremony is a powerful way to pray, and it cleanses us, heals us and helps us to grow.

There are several kinds of Sweat Lodge possible: Family Lodge (for men, women & children), Women’s Lodge & Men’s Lodge. Guests are always welcome, and Sweat Lodge ceremonies are also available on request for private groups and for individuals upon special request.

 Ceremony:

Sweat lodge ceremonies are about more than just about sweating — they’re purification rituals used for a broad range of purposes, depending on the culture and the occasion. Most sweat lodge ceremonies practiced today are associated with Native American cultures, who use these ceremonies to give thanks, to heal, to seek wisdom, and to purify the mind, body, and soul.

Native American sweat ceremonies typically take place in domed, circular lodges, though some cultures use teepees, or even pits covered with branches or tree trunks. A fire is lit directly outside the lodge, tended by a highly trained firekeeper who heats the stones that are used to keep the lodge hot.

The firekeeper places the stones in a hole in the center of the lodge, often adding tobacco, cedar, or sweetgrass as an offering. The firekeeper also offers prayers while pouring water over the rocks to create thick steam.

Every ceremony is different, depending on the traditions of the ceremonial leader,  they can be held in silence, or accompanied by ritual drumming or chanting. It goes without saying that sweat lodges get hot—really hot. Most lodges stay at over 100 degrees (F) throughout the ceremony.

The ceremony offers four different herbs that are sacred to Native Americans to the four directions, North, South, East, and West. Sage is used to purify negative energy. Sweetgrass brings in powerful beings from the other side to heal the participants. Cedar is used for purification, and Tobacco has always been used by the Tribes to bless the earth.  The Sweat lodge is a special place that engenders introspection and communion with the Earth, as well as a renewal of social and cultural bonds. Chanting, drumming, and meditation empowers participants to endure the heat for much longer than they usually could, teaching participants to overcome physical discomfort and frustration.

Sweat lodges can also help fight infections by creating a temporary fever state in the body, which some say lessens chronic inflammation. The heat is also a great

remedy for arthritis, muscle pain, and skin disorders, which can be improved by the increased blood flow at the surface of the skin.

I had very different experiences with every Sweat Lodge I participated in, ranging from being immersed into deeper parts of my psyche that I had never felt or gone to before, to complete elation resulting in many different emotions coming to the surface. The intensity and physicality of the sweating is in itself a spiritual journey which will bring what each individual in the lodge needs to experience. There is something very powerful about sharing this intense environment with others and I am forever grateful to my Native American friends for helping me to “open up” to the Sweat Lodge experience. Do your research if you are contemplating a lodge, and if you can, talk to others who have already done it. They are happening in The UK and Europe if going to The USA is not possible.


Ellie Blair has been walking the path of spirituality for over 25 years both in her personal and working life. She is a Reiki Healer, Massage Therapist, Eastern Acupressure Facial Practitioner, Writer, and Published Author. She studied Social Psychology before entering the world of Alternative Medicine/Holistic Healing and Wellbeing. This opened the doors to what she regards as her “Life’s Journey”. She lived in Taos, New Mexico for 12 years where part of that incredible time was spent working at the World Heritage Native American Taos Pueblo with the Tiwa Tribal people. She has written a book titled Feel Your Heart and Follow Your Feet-A New Mexico Journey about her expansive life and experiences in New Mexico. She aspires to using her healing gifts and writing skills at every opportunity for the Spiritual growth and wellbeing of others. She continues on her path of growth and gratitude, working always from a place of respect and integrity. 

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