The sweat lodge and with it the conscious heating of the body for healing purposes has been handed down as one of the oldest ceremonies of mankind and can still be found in many cultures today. Some of the oldest finds of human culture in Europe point to this ceremony; Heated stones doused with water in a cave near the Harz Mountains as well as ruins of stone sweat houses in Ireland.
Finnish / Swedish saunas, Turkish hamman and Russian banya are mostly only used for physical cleansing and the spiritual aspect has been replaced; with the Inipi from North America, the Temazkal from Central America and others, the traditional power of the ceremony for the physical and spiritual body has been preserved. In this form, the sweat lodge – thanks to the warm gifts of the elders and medicine people – has arrived back in Europe and the first huts in European power have lit their fire (see note on the Drachenschwptzhütteat the end of the page; the sweat lodge dedicated to Frau Holle by Gerald Clemens Kraus near Erfurt and many others).
In the belly of mother earth
We go into the belly of our mother earth when we slip into the sweat lodge. We become children in the womb again and experience the ancient act of creation.
So when we enter we greet all our relatives by saying:
“For all my relatives”, „Aho mitakuye oyasin“ or „Por todos mis relationes“.
And then it is time to forget everything we have learned and what positions and titles we hold.
In the sweat lodge we are all the same, no matter what skin color, what tribe, what religion, we are children of heaven and earth. Nobody is more and nobody is less.
We feel the warmth and moisture just as we did when we swam as an embryo in the amniotic fluid in our mother’s uterus.
We are recreated and reborn.
Through this return into the body of our mother earth and through prayers and singing, we purify and renew our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. We clean ourselves from all the burdens, illnesses and missteps and find our inner balance again.
The sweat lodge is the space in which we can let go and give ourselves completely to the Creator, Mother Earth and the elements. We learn to sing, breathe, pray, laugh with warm humor and let our tears flow with the water.
We experience new levels and get answers from the spirit world.
And find inner clarity.
The four elements
There is no place where we can perceive all four elements better at the same time than in a sweat lodge.
We sit on the ground, the glowing stones in our midst warm us, the water wets our body and the wind gives us fresh breath. Our body is made up of these four elements and so it is they that heal and harmonize our body and also our mind. Those who regularly go to the sweat lodge promote physical health, a balanced mind and a clear mind.
In the ceremony we become spectators and at the same time participants in the permanent re-creation of the universe, the planets and all life, including ourselves. Through the sweat lodge, the father and mother of the universe are honored and their act of creation becomes visible.
The sweat lodge, made of willow or hazelnut rods and covered with woolen blankets or cotton tarpaulin, symbolizes the belly of mother earth from which creation is born.
The fire symbolizes Father Sun.
The glowing stones that are carried from the fire into the hut are the seeds of light that find their way from Father Sun into Mother Earth’s womb to fertilize them.
The shining stones in the center of the sweat lodge are the magma in the earth’s interior. At the beginning of earth time, the atmosphere was created by the temperature difference between the hot center in the heart of the earth and the cold crust of the planet. This created the protective atmosphere of the earth, and the first rain fell on the earth.
When water is poured onto the stones in the sweat lodge, we take part in the spectacle of the creation of earth and universe.
The elements speak to us
The glowing stones speak to us. When we are quiet, we hear them singing and whistling, they show us symbols and faces, power animals and spirits that give us answers to our questions in life and our prayers. It is wise in the sweat lodge to always turn to the center, to the ancient stone wise men who, after millions of years underground, reveal their wisdom here in the fire and share it with us.
Brother Wind, the holy breath moves the energies, breathes new life into us and carries the prayers up to our Father-Mother-God and distributes the blessing of the ceremony in the four cardinal directions.
The power of the Creator, the Earthmother and the four elements are always to be created in a joint process, to break down what has been used up, in order to create something new with the energy that has been released. So we invite all these forces to us in the sweat lodge and everything that is related to us to celebrate this celebration of change and new creation together.
The sweat lodge ceremony puts us humans back into the primal principle of life and reminds us of who we are and where we came from and who we can be.