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Readers Respond: Sweat Lodge Experiences

Responses: 20


Share Post: Have you ever participated in a sweat lodge? Or have you ever been a lodge leader in a sweat event? What was your experience? Would you do it again if you had the opportunity?

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Response to "No Spirits?"

YES!! I had the same experience, but I don't see a lot of mentions about that. When I've asked, I was told that I wasn't suppose to speak about it. But, I saw the spirit lights, felt the touches, and the rattle was so loud and the spirit dancer joined and danced throughout our entire ceremony. It opened my eyes, it really did :) I guess not everyone has that same experience, and we are not to make others feel like their experience was lacking in some way.
—Guest Stephanie

I believe in my spirit guide

I went to a very hot sweat, led by a Midewin elder who was very calming and trustable and I really needed to get bad feelings out of my mind and soul. I thought I would have to get out, it was so hot, I was dripping so much fluid out of my skin, my nose. The smell of the cedar thrown on the hot rocks, the prayers and songs, I couldn't believe how much I needed this type of healing, to cry and pray for my mind and heart to be cleansed. As I prayed, I heard, then felt the flapping of wings over my head; I had to duck to keep away from it. I thought everyone could hear it. After, one person said he heard growling; I didn't. I went with my aunt to a different healer because she was obsessed with a man, and she needed to clear her mind. In a pitch dark basement, her, I and this man sat on a blanket. He said 'Oombe Miskwe Pinoshe Quay'. In English, he said I am talking to you. Your name is Red Thunderbird Woman, and he told me I was free from the guilt I carried in my heart. I just cried
—Guest Marie Fontaine


I have participated in a Sweat Lodge on at least 5 occasions. They were all very spiritual experiences, leaving me with a consciousness of that we are all related... children of Mother Earth. I recommend that each human experience this event at least once in their lifetime. Mitakuye Oyasin
—Guest Jheree


I am grateful for the grandmother stones, who are at the center of this ceremony. They have been around for millions of years and have seen, known, felt it all. They are in sacred union with the fire created by the standing ones (trees), who give themselves to this sacred ceremony. It is a blessed union between the elements and trees and stones. The heart of the ceremony is the calling and workings of the grandmothers and the spirits that come to do the doctoring. This happens through the songs and the open hearts of the people. As my elder says as a water pourer we are simply a janitor with keys opening the door to the spirits through our heartfelt intention, through creating the sacred geometry/configuration of the ceremonial space (fire altar lodge). We call and pray to the spirits and they do the work. when we pour water on the stones, the grandmothers speak to us and imbue us with their wisdom. The steam cleanses us and we take in their wisdom into our lungs as we breath the steam.
—Guest grateful water pourer

pony woman

I'm going to my first sweat and am anxious for the experience. There has be a lot of bad in my life and it is time. The gggdaughter of Chief Little Turtle.

Drifter/on a Spiritual Journey

I've read the articles, I've heard some stories, I respect the traditions and would like to have a sweat lodge experience for myself. I am native, and I am not afraid to be anymore. For the longest time I was so confused about my identity. Caught between conspiracies and lies. And believe it or not my confusion and doubt came from the Catholic Church. I believe in the higher power, I believe that there is one Creator and the Creator hears my prayers no matter where I pray to thee.


I am a Yakama. I have been to many sweats hosted by all of my relatives. This experience is a journey should not be disrespected and ran like some sideshow at the circus.
—Guest Les Olney

Inside Lodge

I have been in lodge each month for 12 yrs, lodge singing for 8 yrs, pouring lodges for 6 yrs. I pour lodges for my shamanic community (LightSong School of shamanic studies) and for friends of Hidden Lake retreat, & on my extended Lakota family land. As a water pourer it is our sacred responsibility to track the energy of each person in lodge throughout the ceremony. It is our sacred duty to invite & channel the power & wisdom of the spirits that we humbly invite in to the ceremony, to promote purification & healing of the people. No other agenda should ever exist for the pourer. Every ounce of attention and intention is invested in creating & maintaining a sacred, safe container that will support a healing experience for each person. the songs, the altar, the firetenders, the spirits of the land, the spirits of each person who comes in all contribute to the ceremony. I have witnessed long-lasting miracles in & as a result of lodge, I live a life of lodge, & am healthy because of it!
—Guest Lauri Shainsky

Respect the traditions - and yourself

I've been to one sweat, many years ago in Scotland. It was conducted very carefully, with full discussion of health problems, what to expect, the connect attitude, etc. It was built by the group, held the correct rocks, and conducted in respect for the sacred traditions of all the world's nations. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. If you attend a sweat, make sure the leaders know what they are doing and provide for all eventualities. Most of all, go Within and ask if it is right for you. xxx
—Guest Lorraine

My experience as a Mixed Blood

I am a mixed blood American (Native, German, Scot)and I have attended two Lakota sweats in the passed few years. Both were poured by a Native (different man each time) who had earned that right/priviledge. In both cases, there were four "doors." Each door grew hotter and more spiritual for sure. There were 5 people in the first sweat (Built on my land following the Lakota tradition) and the second was in MN. and was in a permanent structure that held about 12 of us. My first experience was in the one at my home with just 5 of us. We had all prepared as instructed, wore the proper outfits and knew what was expected of us. The experience was unbelievable. I was amazed at what happened to me as an individual and was really amazed that as the sweat pourer sang his songs I just "knew" then and was able to sing along in ther Lakota language. Both events were remarkable and very fullfilling. These are not meant to be fun saunas, They are spiritual events.
—Guest SpiritMooseWoman

No spirits?

Okay, so I'm just looking through here, but I'm not seeing something important being mentioned... and also, it seems to be the big indicator if the sweat is being conducted by a true shaman. Namely, the visiting and physical manifesting of the spirits. I've gone to 2 sweats, they were both conducted for healing. It was conducted by the same shaman, and spirits, spirits lights, and physical touches, and even the playing of the rattles by the spirits were part of each sweat. Isn't this someone else's experience? Just curious. It is a powerful ceremony, not just a bunch of people sitting around and sweating. This is NOT something to be done by amatures.
—Guest Woman


I am always astounded at the number of testimonials and all the people that are lining up to show the world how much they know about these ceremonies. Also the red and white wars are amazing. I am non-native and have sweated and so forth. I do not go around announcing every little detail of my experiences or trying to guide people through sweats that I have not attended. Ceremonies are not identical and it is maybe not such a good idea to exploit these experiences. I did it without internet guides. It has worked out well overall for me. The grandfathers never said I was the wrong colour to be there either. Any negative experiences have been with human beings... and please do not assume what colour. I wonder where all this will lead. You pray, you ask, you connect, you join in, you earn your way, you share, you are made vulnerable, you share your vulnerability. You pray with all your heart. What more is there to say. The rest you have to do.
—Guest Jamie Hume

The sweatlodge ceremony

I am native and have went to a few sweatlodges with my 96 year old grandfather he makes the "chunupa" or piece pipe. There are procedures that must be followed like the rocks they use have don't explode because of the type of rock. The case that was in the news had all sort of things that you should know ahead of time. These ceremonies are sacred. Sorry, guys it is forbidden to charge money for things such as the sweat, healing,etc. It is just known by the native community. In my opinion from the people I've known and met these are the ways of "spiritual power" that should be respected and unlike chritianity and the bible. It isn't advised to disrespect sacred ways to suit your materialistic desires because you have to answer for this in doing so. It is on a spiritual level. Enter in with pure of heart in a good way the creator will meet you with the same amount. The result is why the sweat is so sacred and respected by myself. It is awesome, simply awesome. In a good way.
—Guest jt

Sweat Lodges Can be a Great Blessing

As with any form of spiritual and physical detox, you don't just jump into something unless you're prepared and the protocol is followed to the letter. I've never been in a sweat lodge because I am not of any of the Tribal people's lineage --except in spirit as I love these people. If you are going to a sweatlodge, yes you will be going through serious detox -- even from heavy metals as intense sweating does leach out things like mercury-- and from the Tribal customs mentioned, it sounds like a very uplifting spiritually freeing cleansing. Just because a few have died partaking in a sweat lodge doesn't turn me off to them. You have to really prepare ahead of time and follow the protocol exactly. When I saw the news of that woman dying from the sweat ceremony, I was glad to see a Native American elder interviewed who affirmed that it MUST be done correctly. He said you can't use things like plastic in these lodges because of the toxins. Wisdom is needed.
—Guest L. Augustine

Sweat Lodge Seriousness

I have been to several sweat lodges, since 1995. Some are drawn to the ways of the Natives. Who are we to keep them away because they don't have proof they are Native? There was so much fear & anger when people were forced to the rez; & in any attempt to enter the society, bloodlines were lost and mixed. To hold the wisdom of the Native ways secret would not make the Elders of long ago proud. We are to set examples; teach our youth about the Red Road. The work to do prior to the sweat is vast & needs to be taken seriously. Any type of illness or medication can alter the subject's experience in a sweat as well as not being hydrated or having fasted.
—Guest HorseSister

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