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The Sweat Lodge
Sweat Lodge Ceremony is a healing and powerful ceremony. They are one of the oldest continuous ceremonies in North America and are practiced in one form or another by 90% of Native American Nations. There are many different types of sweat lodge ceremonies practiced within any given tribe.
Sweat lodge ceremonies are both practical and spiritual. They are one of the only ceremonies that can be transcendental and down-to-earth at the same time.
It is my belief according to what I was taught by my elders that sweat lodge ceremonies should be only performed by someone who has been trained properly in the old traditional ways and then been given permission by the elders or medicine people who know the ceremonies.
Much has been said about the so-called “sweat lodge” in Sedona, Arizona in which people died. The leader of that sweat lodge was a “self-help” guru who appears to have never been trained in how to run a sweat lodge. It appears he ran them only for his own ego and for personal profit. This is misuse of such a sacred ceremony and is not indicative of the hundreds of sweat lodge ceremonies held each year in this country.
I, personally, have been in sweat lodge ceremonies for 41 years and “pouring” sweat lodges for 31 years. In those 41 years not once has anyone had to be taken for medical attention or died.
The sweat lodge is a powerful ceremony and should be always be treated as sacred, otherwise they are no more than saunas. What transpired in Sedona was not a sweat lodge; it was a sauna that was being called a sweat lodge.
Thousands of people have sought out sweat lodge ceremonies and have been healed and transformed by the ceremony. They are a place to come to pray and humble ourselves. They are a place to purify and renew ourselves. They are not to be done for profit or to prove how “tough” we are.
This ages old tradition should always be kept as a sacred part of being American, an original American who is part of our Mother, the Earth.
By: Steve Little Coyote
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