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Sweat Lodge Ceremony Inipi yapi in Lakota Chante waste nape night sweat


Sweat Lodge Ceremony Inipi yapi in Lakota Chante waste nape night sweat

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									Sweat Lodge Ceremony (Inipi-yapi in Lakota)


Stone People Lodge, Purification Lodge, Medicine Lodge, or inappropriately called a Sweat Lodge is a sacred purification
ceremony. Similar to a sauna in outward appearance, but far more significant in meaning. It is a cleansing, not only of the
body, but of the mind, heart, and spirit as well. This ceremony precedes almost all other Native American rituals.


This ceremony is approached in a humble and peaceful manner. Around the Sacred Fire is the place to center yourself
and connect with Creator prior to entering the Lodge.

In most Traditions participants enter the Lodge as they came into this world, without clothing. The Lodge represents the
womb of the Mother Earth (Inya Maka in Lakota). We enter the womb, die a symbolic death, and emerge reborn and
renewed. Participants wear a towel wrapped around themselves outside the Lodge and drop it once inside. Pride, ego,
and false modesty are left at the door. We enter as equals and we are only concerned, once inside, with our own prayers.
We are never concerned with what others look like nor with what others think about how we look.

As in all ceremonies there is a balance. An exchange of energy between facilitators (Water Pourer and Fire Tender) and
all participants must take place. Tobacco is the Traditional gift, but whatever Spirit moves you to give is good if it comes
from the heart. There is no charge for ceremony, just an exchange of energy for balance. There is no particular monetary
value necessary for gifting the facilitators. An exchange of energy can still take place through writing a poem, giving a big
hug, etc. If the gift comes from the heart it is given in “a good way.”

If you have any special objects that you want blessed with the energy of the ritual, by all means, bring them and place
them on the altar. People have brought Prayer Pipes, ritual objects/tools, pictures of family, friends, and Ancestors that
have crossed over. Crystals are often charged on the altar. Drums, rattles, anything that you want blessed and/or
consecrated, please feel free to bring.

All should bring two towels, lots of water, one stone about the size of a cantaloupe and one blanket to help cover the
Lodge. The Lodge itself is made up of a frame constructed of willow branches. The Lodge must be covered completely to
hold in the heat and block out any light. Bringing your own blanket puts your own personal energy into construction of the

A feast is held after all of our ceremonies so please bring a covered dish and/ or drinks to share.

For further information on this ceremony read:
Native American Spirituality by Eagle Man Ed MacGaa
Sacred Pipe by Joseph Epes Brown
Plus the internet has many sites with information on this subject including European Sweat Lodges which actually predate
the Native American use of the Lodge in ceremony.

Helpful Hints
Here are a few clues about what to expect from the Lodge ceremony:

First, all participants help to cover the Lodge with the blankets and tarps. Then the Fire Tender (either Douglas Red Hawk
or Badger) will start the fire to heat the stones. Every participant is there to help with this process as it is done in a
prayerful manner. Then the participants go back inside to get last minute advice from the Water Pourer (Grey Ghosthawk
usually, but we have had guest Water Pourers). The Fire Tender stays with the stones.

Once the stones are heated all participants return to the Lodge and enter following any instructions that Ghosthawk is led
by Spirit to share with them. Upon entering each participant kneels down and places forehead to Mother Earth and says,
“Aho Mitakuye Oyasin” or “It is good we are all related” in English or any other statement that you prefer used at the
opening of a ritual.

If there are no children under the age of 18 present then participants should understand that nudity is an option for anyone
taking part, but not a requirement. There will be NO NUDITY whatsoever if children are present. It is against the law in
Florida even if parents give consent. In which case everyone will be informed in advance and we recommend loose fitting
clothing of natural fibers. Men can go topless in cotton shorts and ladies are recommended to wear an oversized white
cotton T-shirt. There will be NO exceptions to this rule for anyone!
 The ritual is divided into four rounds, one for each Sacred Direction (4 Winds). Between rounds the door is opened to
allow steam to escape and to cool down the participants. Anyone can leave at anytime if the experience becomes to
intense. We just ask that you do not interrupt someone that is praying or singing. Also, between rounds people can “ask
for the door.” This means you want out. If you leave the Lodge we ask that you stay by the fire and not break the Circle
that is set up around the Sacred Space.

If you want to finish the entire ceremony, but you feel too hot there is a “trick” to escaping the heat. Lie on your stomach
and put your face to the ground and breath deeply and slowly. Sitting higher or leaning toward the walls of the Lodge is
the worst thing to due as hot air rises and flows over your back to the walls. Lie as close to the stones as you can. That is
the coolest area in the Lodge. Believe me when I tell you there is an immense sense of accomplishment to last all four
rounds, but there is NO SHAME in leaving. If you are at the fire you are still considered to be “in” the ritual. Fire Tenders
are necessary participants to the success of the Lodge!

Once the Lodge has ended we shower, dress, and feast! If you have drums and rattles or any other musical instruments
bring them for the party after the Lodge. We are all reborn and we need to celebrate that. Anyone that is too tired to drive
home or who lives far away are welcome to camp overnight at the Crows Nest, but you must bring all your own gear and
toiletries. We have room for several tents on site.

One last major recommendation:

DO NOT drink any alcohol 24 hours prior to this ritual. There is a spiritual reason for this and a practical one. Spiritually
speaking, the Lodge is to purify your body, mind and spirit. Alcohol must be out of your system for this process. Practically
speaking, alcohol is a diuretic and you will loose enough fluid to not have to make yourself sick by having booze in your
bloodstream. You may drink at the feast if you BYOB, but you will NOT drive home as you will be in an emptied state and
the alcohol will hit you hard. So if you MUST drink, you MUST spend the night! Let’s stay safe people. We want to
celebrate life, not risk it.

and here is the info on Vision Quest

Vision Quest Ceremony (Hanblecheya-yapi in Lakota)

Definition: A wilderness fast to allow the participant to be still and connect with Creator. It is a chance to go within and
ask Creator for the ways in which to help yourself and others.

Responsibilities of the Questor:

1. A Tobacco offering is made to the facilitator for him/her to use to pray with before agreeing to put you out on your

2. Once agreed upon, you need to make your prayer ties
 100 first year
 200 second quest
 300 third quest
 400 fourth quest
 25% of each color; red, yellow, black, white
 Prayer ties are made of a square of cloth around the size of the palm of your hand, stuffed with tobacco, and tied off
(resembling a Hershey’s Kiss). All prayer ties are connected with one long piece of string so that in the end this one long
rope will be formed into a circle in which you will sit while on your quest. Prior to your first quest you will be shown how to
make your ties. Once you are safely within that circle of prayer ties, you DO NOT leave it under any circumstances or
your quest is over.

3. Provide 1-2 supporter(s) to pray for you at the Sacred Fire while you quest. They will be the ones to eat and drink for
you. They are very important for you to pray for you and to assist the facilitator since the fire is burning 24 hours straight
and supporters take shifts to make sure the questors are never left alone or the fire untended.

4. Provide food for the facilitator, your supporter(s) and anything you will have needed that your supporter will consume
for you on your behalf. Also, provide a a covered dish for the feast that takes place at the end of every quest.

5. Each questor needs a tarp for a lean-to shelter, a sleeping bag, and a change of clothes. Neither candles or a flash light
are allowed. Sage, a bowl and a lighter are allowed for cleansing. A Prayer Pipe is allowed and a journal if you want to
bring one.
6. You are allowed 16 ounces of water for a four day quest and less for a shorter one. If you take medications extra water
can be allowed to help you with taking them. If your medical condition requires that you have food when you take your
meds a special dispensation can also be made, but either way the facilitator must be made aware of the situation well in
advance. He/she must approve the amount and content of your very limited food/water allowance.

7. Bring an energy exchange for the facilitator and his/her Fire Tender. The Traditional gift is tobacco wrapped in a red
cloth. However, this gift must come from the heart. Give whatever you are lead to by Spirit. There is no monetary charge.
It may be anything that you are led to give.

Responsibilities of Supporter:

1. To assist the facilitator, help tend fire, and prepare meals for Spirit Camp

2. To be there for your friend who is questing, to pray at the Sacred Fire, and to eat and drink for the questor.

3. To help prepare the feast at the conclusion of the quest. Since every questor is bringing a covered dish this amounts to
warming them up and setting out the plates, cups, etc.

4. To provide love and concern for everyone involved in the quest. This creates a good environment for those questing.
Please no drama. It taints the energy of the quest. The questors suffer enough having to fast 2-4 days without strife
entering their sacred space.


The facilitator must focus all of his or her energy on providing a safe environment for those questing. Therefore, it is the
responsibility of the supporter to aid the facilitator in any way that may be necessary.

Examples of what you will be asked to do:
*Take a one to two hour shift at the fire overnight so the facilitator can sleep.
*Fetch wood for the fire
*Cook a meal or two for the people in Spirit Camp
*Check on questors
*Help prepare feast or clean up after it
*Set up Sweat Lodge
*Tear down Sweat Lodge
*Run to the store if there is a need. You will not be responsible for payment for any item that is forgotten, but if something
is needed the Fire Tender and Water Pourer can not leave the questors. Your friend that you are there to support is
completely responsible for any costs of the quest. (Example: once at a Vision Quest everyone in Spirit Camp had an
overwhelming hankerin’ for some fried chicken. One of the questors was craving it and everyone at the fire felt it. So, one
supporter ran up to KFC and got a bucket of chicken and everyone pitched in to pay for it. That was the best chicken I
have ever eaten. It’s weird what you will crave. I was spirit supporter for Ghosthawk himself on one of his quests and I
drank tons of Dr Pepper for him. He owes me big time! I hate that stuff.)

Feel free if you are seeking a quest or if you are supporting a friend to ask any questions that are not covered in this

If you are not questing and you are not at the quest to help a specific questor then you will not have as many
responsibilities...you will be involved in two sweats if you wish and you will have time to watch the fire, but you will mostly
have an opportunity to learn more about Native American traditions and these two significant ceremonies

Can't wait to meet you...I will be your Fire Tender for the weekend and Ghosthawk will be your facilitator (Water Pourer)

Sensei Sachiko, Tory Estes Stevens

Just for today, do not worry
Just for today, do not anger
Be kind to others today
Earn your living honestly
Show gratitude to every living thing

The 5 Reiki Principles

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