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Sweat Lodges

An ancient cleansing ritual which has been a  part of the tradition of various cultures all over the world.  More familiarly known to most people as being associated with native American Culture but in fact was also known by the Celts.  Sweat houses are a known feature in many areas of Ireland.

Sweat Lodges are undertaken to facilitate cleansing both physically and spiritually. Large basalt stones are heated in a fire until red hot and brought into a central pit which is usually situated inside a circular space, created by bending branches of hazel or willow and tied into a tent like structure rather like a tipi, over which blankets are placed.

Each person enters and sits crosslegged around the pit which holds the stones, and in ceremonial fasion the Sweat begins.  It is divided into ’rounds’ of 3, each round dedicated to , in the celtic tradition, Sun, Moon and Stars.  Each round lasts as long as the stones are hot. Water is put on the stones throughout the round to encourage steam to rise, thus facilitating the rising up of prayers and intentions.

The person leading the sweat lodge takes care of each person ensuring their comfort and also directing the ceremony.  The four Directions of Nature are addressed and this provides an oportunity for deep connection with nature the earth and the heavens above and with the individual’s inner self.  Drumming, chanting, singing are usually encouraged and prayers or intentions for healing. Any physical sickness such as  colds coughs and flus are also addressed by such cleansing .

James has been facilitating the ritual of the sweat lodge for over 12 years in the Wicklow area, and with Kate regularly holds this ceremony for cleansing and purification at the Golden Spears healing and retreat Centre.

 

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