The Sweat Lodge or Temascal was developed as a ceremonial way of prayer to connect with higher frequencies, to purify the body and mind, and to uplift the spirit. It is an ancient and pure medicine, a temple to honor the elements of earth, fire, water and air. The Temascal has gradually become a regular PachaMama tradition, taking place more or less once a week by the river.
PachaMama has adopted the ceremony as it was passed on, the community members respecting and honoring the ways and instructions.
The Sweatlodge is a small, round, closed structure. Red hot rocks are placed in a center pit and medicinal herbs are added. Water is poured on the rocks which produce a steam that purifies and heals. The symbolism of the steam and the structure of the sweat lodge represent the womb, life’s starting place. It has developed in the form of a ceremony, working respectfully with the essential elements (water, fire, air and earth) to create a powerful purification on all levels. It provides the possibility of expansion that allows us to directly connect with the Great Spirit. Silence, prayer and tribal music support the journey.
To the Native Americans the Sweatlodge symbolized the womb of Grandmother Earth and the heated stones represented her body, which supports all life. The fire used to heat the rocks represented the light of the world, and the source of all life and power.
The leader opens the Sweatlodge ceremony with words of intention, drum beats and songs, pouring water over the rocks. Each participant can offer personal prayers for self, others, in gratitude or for releasing all sorts of pains.
A Sweatlodge typically lasts four “doors” or rounds, to the four directions, represented with colors, spirit guides and different elements.
Between rounds, more hot stones are brought in and the heat is built gradually until it reaches a certain peak.
At the end of the Sweatlodge, participants leave the lodge in a respectful manner.
Grandfather, Mysterious One,
We search for you along this
Great Red Road you have set us on.
Sky Father, Tunkashila,
We thank you for this world.
We thank you for our own existence.
We ask only for your blessing and for your instruction.
Grandfather, Sacred One,
Put our feet on the holy path that leads to you,
and give us the strength and the will
to lead ourselves and our children
past the darkness we have entered.
Teach us to heal ourselves,
to heal each other and to heal the world.
Let us begin this very day,
this very hour,
the Great Healing to come.
Let us walk the Red Road in Peace.