Reflections on The Sweat Lodge Experience

By Wordmasters Daisy and Luke

A sweat lodge is a hut, typically dome-shaped and made with natural materials, used by indigenous peoples for ritual steam baths as a means of purification. The sweat is intended as a religious ceremony—it is for prayer and healing, and the ceremony is only to be led by elders who know the associated language, songs, traditions, and safety protocols.

“The inside of a tea kettle. That is the closest thing I can compare the feeling of being inside a sweat-lodge to. The strong scent of tobacco and gusts of steam overwhelmed me at first but after a while I began to feel more grounded on the earth and I became calm and receptive to all the things happening around me.” -Daisy

“I had the flu and my face as extremely swollen, so I didn’t go. Actually the doctor recommended steam to make the swelling go down, so maybe I should’ve. IDK, sounded hot.” -Veda

“The sweat lodge was probably the most open and comfortable space to speak that I’ve ever been in. Not literally, physically it was pretty cramped and dark, but it was definitely an unforgettable experience that I’m glad we had the privilege of being a part of.” -Brian

“It was empowering to move past the claustrophobia, the freezing toes and the dripping sweat to be proudly vulnerable and brave.” -Marin

“The experience was challenging because it was almost completely dark and I was gasping for breath by the third round due to the heat. The warm air was encapsulating like a humid day during the summer. Sweat as dripping down my body like a baby lamb. Once the light was let in upon the drape being opened it was as if I could see Heavens gates opening and the lord had facilitated the path to salvation.” -Ford

“The sweat lodge was an experience that will be hard to forget. Rob truly made the lodge awesome!” -Park

“I had never done a sweat lodge before and I didn’t really do my research really into the specifics so going into it I was pretty nervous. The experience was challenging but great and its a memory I will take with me for the rest of my life.” -Luke

“The sweat lodge ceremony as made to reciprocate a womb, and I felt that. Felt like a womb.” -Rachel

“The sweat lodge was an incredibly sacred and powerful experience. The heat released tension and ideas from our bodies and the darkness provided the peace to share deep thoughts. It was both a cleansing and invigorating tradition, one we were honored to be a part of.” -Adam

“The sweat lodge was at first dark and covered in morning dew. However after the door shut and our instructor Rob threw some water on the hot stones, things began to heat up to unexpected levels. This combined with the dark forced you to process life in a way different from the norm.” -Skyler

“Self-growth has been a theme this past year, and it’s not always fun. It’s a little daunting to have the ceremonial support of something as sacred as a sweat lodge, but also a little liberating. Now comes the hard part where I can recognize the things that are no longer serving me or stem from a place of fear and loneliness, and I have to live without them. Slowly figuring it out.” -Adam Sr.

“The dawn sweat lodge experience was a much-awaited opportunity for personal challenge, reflection and intimate connection as a group. Being led through the dark and the heat by Rob, a Maori-Native American, a contemplative space was created to reflect on the power of personal choice, betrayal, gratitude and prayer. Voiced through the vulnerability of each spirit sitting on the grass inside, these were further brought to life through traditional song, drum beats, the passing of a pipe and other customs of respect. For me, it brought light to quiet prayers of thanks and for courage moving forward while continuing on “the longest journey, from head to heart.” -Mandy, Overseas Educator