Sweat Lodge

At the Land that Baldeagle care-takes in Kansas, USA, the Sweat Lodge is used on different
occasions as the Great Spirit calls forth:IMG_0004

  • NEW MOON
  • FULL MOON
  • Winter and Summer SOLSTICE
  • Spring and Fall EQUINOX
  • Preparation for VISION QUEST
  • PERSONAL HEALINGS
  • and Other occasions

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Following is an excerpt from The Sacred Pipe by Joseph Brown, of the essence of a Sweat Lodge:

Inipi: THE RITE OF PURIFICATION

“The rite of the onikare (sweat lodge) utilizes all the Powers of the universe: earth, and the things, which grow from the earth, water, fire, and air. The water represents the Thunder-beings who come fearfully but bring goodness, for the steam which comes from the rocks, within which is the fire, is frightening, but it purifies us so that we may live as Wakan-Tanka wills, and He may even send to us a vision if we become very pure.

When we use the water in the sweat lodge we should think of Wakan-Tanka who is always flowing, giving His power and life to everything; we should even be as water, which is lower than all things, yet stronger even than the rocks.

The rocks, which we use represent Grandmother Earth, from whom all fruits come, and they also represent the indestructible and everlasting nature of Wakan-Tanka. The fire, which is used to heat the rocks represents the great power of Wakan-Tanka which gives life to all things; it is as a ray from the sun, for the sun is also Wakan-Tanka in a certain aspect. The round fireplace at the center of the sweat lodge is the center of the universe, in which dwells Wakan-Tanka, with His power, which is the fire. All these things are wakan to us and must be understood deeply if we really wish to purify ourselves, for the power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding.”

[Ref: Brown, Joseph Epes (2012-05-05). The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) (Kindle Locations 493-494). University of Oklahoma Press. Kindle Edition.]

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There were many bands and tribes across the USA that used the sweat lodge, each of which is unique. Above is an example of the Lakota purification lodge. The purification lodge and sweat lodge mean the same thing and the ceremony that takes place around the lodge is different according to tribal traditions.