Thoughts to read before attending an Inipi (Sweat Lodge)
The Sacred Stone People's Lodge (also known as the Sweat Lodge) is an Ancient Ceremony. The old ones feel, it is conducted to cleanse our body, mind, and soul. It is felt by the Elders that by sweat and prayer in the Inipi (Sweat Lodge), we can clean our bodies of toxins, our minds of negativities, heighten our spirits, to come into a right relationship with ourselves and everything that surrounds us. Because it is an ancient, sacred ceremony, come in a humble way, and listen carefully to the one who is pouring the water in the lodge, or the lodge leader.
To help keep our minds on prayer, Grandmother Grace used to say, “Be modest, keep ourselves clothed. (Bathing suits or muumuu) Please don’t come drinking or taking drugs. Sisters on their Moon or the menstruating time do not participate in this ceremony. Ancient law explains that it is during this special time that women are cleansed by the natural way, or nature. It is a woman's own time to be with herself for meditation, for centering, and for becoming close with the Earth.” Grandfather Wallace Black Elk said, “The laws of the Lakota Sacred Chunupa say, we must not mix the ceremonies. The Chunupa is one ceremony and the Moon Time of Women is another ceremony. These two ceremonies must not be mixed.”
The mound of dirt outside the lodge is the altar. It is sacred and powerful. Please do not touch any objects you see on it, and please be respectful anywhere around it. Please give your full attention and respect to the medicine person who is conducting the ceremony; she/he knows the ceremony and will lead you in it. Respect is what we strive for in our lives.
“Always listen,” Uncle Leonard Crow Dog says, “Listen to what is being asked of you, listen with the mind of the heart, and in the lodge, when all are praying then listen to what is being prayed for, pray for that first, then your prayers from your heart.” If you are invited to make a prayer, do so if you wish, but be mindful, remember that there will be 20 or more other people in the lodge with you, all of them wanting to pray too, so do not offer a sermon or soliloquy when you are asked to share. It can get VERY HOT during a round if 10 out of 20 people all offer a five-minute prayer. “All the praying that is needed comes from the heart, not the mouth!” Grace Spotted Eagle would say.
Fasting before a ceremony is very beneficial could heighten awareness. If you are too hot in the lodge, please wait until the song or the prayer is finished before speaking up and telling the water pourer you need help. The Old ones used to say, “It is supposed to be hot. Keep your face to the ground and breathe in the coolness of the Earth, let go of what may be holding you back, and pray hard.” Within the sweat lodge, when you are offered water to drink, remember this is the lifeblood of the Earth Mother, feel its healing energy flowing through you. The length of the ceremony can vary greatly depending upon the leader and the participants. Let Sweat lodge leader and Spirit guide you. After leaving the lodge it is best to rinse your body to wash away the toxins you have released and to close your pores. If you have to wait for your lodge to begin, please be patient, and use the time to consider what you want to release and what prayers you would make for yourself, your loved ones, your Earth Mother and your relations upon Her. This is a very powerful healing ceremony, I have seen many heal!
“Come on and Pray with us,” Blessings, Thunder