This is a nice story about a sweat I grabbed off of alt.gathering.rainbow.
This may be a vain atempt to post everything I know about sweatlodges:
The last experience I had with one was the summer I woked as bath house manager and masseur for Mono Hot Springs in the Sierras. While visiting Harbin HS earlier that year I planned to have Greenlight come up and build one for the resort. (who claimed to have been a fire tender for a sacred sweat for Lakotas in Dakotas. He knew all the ceramonies and rituals for building a glorius sweat.) After meditating we choose a beautiful spot on the river with abundant driftwood snags and and grapefruit sized round granite and pumice river rocks to use a the heating stones. There was an abundance of willow saplings nearby perfect for arching over into a dome nearly geometric in shape and beauty. We did not use twine to secure the frame, but the bark from the willow painstakinly cut into long strips and lashed the frame together noting that as the bark dried the lashings became very tight. We then covered the lodge with eight army blankets,
We then built a huge huge stack of fire wood with the rocks stacked on layers in the inside to be lit at the crack of dawn. The next day half the participants still groggy from sleep kept thier shorts on. Observing the silence imposed by Greenligt, we enterd the sweat in a certain direction . There were seven of us and certainly room in there for twice as many while one of us then carried the glowing red hot rocks in and laid then in the hole dug in the middle of the sweat.
Due to lack of my time, I'm going to skip the tellig of the prayers we said and the chants but the highlight to me was being in pitch blackness except for the faint glow of the rocks and then Greey would sprinkle his sacred herds on the rocks breathing the pungent sweet odor an watchig the spaks rise into a wonderous light show.
Now it is hotter than a sauna and he starts pouring the herbal tea over each rock as the glow fades one by one. The steam rose so thick and hot so as to be a painful sensation to some while others had to crawl to the edge and lift the blanket for some air but that no one was allowed to dissrupt the ceremony by leaving. Let me tell you, as we ritually filed out Greenlight applied a final coating of sage smoke with an eagles wing and we were never so happy and thankful to see the light of day or feel the chilly waters of that mountain stream! What a high, what a memory!
Then a week after Greenlight left one of the owners of the resort pulls the lodge out of the ground and with some help carries it back to his cabin because he collects indian artifacts, you know the black powder rendezvou type. Needless to say my outrage forced me to quit never to return to Mono Hot Springs again.
I dedicate this story to Medicine Story in fond rememberance.
Munckin MicD (Raven) <MicDLac@aol.com>