Therefore, it is the Mother Earth that heals in this ceremony. I as facilitator merely co-create the sacred space for what is needed to occur.
Many associate a sweat lodge with a sauna. The only resonance between a sweat lodge and a sauna would be the heat and steam! A lodge is a ceremony: a specific sacred process of purification and cleansing. Ceremonies in general have the ability to shift energy. When we finish a ceremony, we are in a different "state" than when we started.
The same is true of the sweat lodge. We begin full of our "stuff" and are given the opportunity to let go and receive something different. What that is, is very personal and cannot be intuited ahead of time. We sit on the ground, on the Earth herself. It is said to be in the lodge is to be in the womb of the Mother Earth: a warm, moist and dark cradle of love. Here, we make offerings. We offer what comes up for us in the lodge, whether it be thoughts, emotions or physical expressions. We offer it as a prayer ... as our prayer for release and healing. Then, once we have surrendered, we have more space to receive. To receive the love and compassion that the Earth offers. To receive a gift blessed by Spirit. Each experience and gift is unique.
And, we do this in community: communing with nature and the elements, and our fellow man and woman. We are all in this together.
So, how do you know you are to receive a sweat lodge?
You will be called to it.
It is not for everyone, and many have expressed concern about the heat and tight spaces. I always say, honour how you feel.
It is my great honour to be able to offer this healing space for others. I do it with incredible respect and love, and take it very very seriously.
It is a responsibility I cherish, and my hope is that many can receive the benefit of healing from Nature and the Mother Earth, through this most sacred and ancient process. Aho.
©Jodie Cara Lindley
** Images above taken at the sweat lodge build and initiation at Rosseau Sanctuary in Rosseau Ontario ... courtesy of Melanie at the IAC, Gerry my Engineer Extraordinaire and myself Jodie Cara Lindley. Much gratitude to my teacher Heloisa da Silva Porto for her mentorship, love and guidance. <3