The sweat lodge ceremony is a deeply powerful ceremony for purification and prayer, for those who seek healing, contemplation, and community. For LightSong course participants, it is the perfect opportunity to explore and expand on their connections with their helping spirits.
The pouring of our lodges adheres to ways of the peoples who gave us this way of prayer and purification. And so, there are some guidelines to follow, described below, and further illuminated at the ceremony. We follow the ways so that the medicine of the ceremony can come through for the people. Be ready to learn and observe and trust that you will be held and helped by this ceremony.
Currently, lodges are poured virtually by Lauri Shainsky, LightSong Associate Teacher. The ceremonies occur on seasonally significant days (or as near as possible)—the equinoxes and the solstices. The LightSong lodge is open to LightSong students and community members. To participate in any of the lodges, all that is required is that you RSVP at least 4 days before the lodge is to occur.
You can RSVP by emailing [email protected] RSVPing helps to weave the participant’s energy into the ceremony. It also helps the water pourer contact participants if the lodge has to be postponed due to weather or fire conditions. Once you RSVP, you will then receive directions on how to get to the lodge if you have not been there before. You will also be asked how you would like to help with the ceremony.
Women who are on their moon time are kindly asked to be in your ceremony from the comfort of your home, or from outside the lodge.
LightSong Virtual Lodge Ceremonies are:
Helping with Ceremony
There are specific aspects to preparing and participating in the ceremony that are needed to make the ceremony possible. These include hosting, lodge dressers, kitchen assistance, and fire tending.
The host supports the ceremony by greeting people when they arrive, and orienting them as where to put their food, where to dress, as well as connecting new people with those who know about the ceremony. The host should arrive at least 1.5 hours before the ceremony begins.
Lodge dressers help clothe the lodge—putting blankets on her, preparing her for the ceremony. They should arrive no later than 1.5 hours before the ceremony begins.
Kitchen assistants are needed to help set up the celebratory feast that follows the lodge, and then to help clean up after the feast. Many hands make light work! You will need to arrive 1 hour before the ceremony begins and plan on staying for an hour after the feast (at the most).
Fire tenders work with the stone people and the fire. It is a beautiful part of the ceremony. They also help people dress the lodge. Fire tenders needed to arrive at least 3 hours before the lodge is to begin. When you RSVP, you will be asked how you would like to help.
People are needed for cleaning up after lodge and the feast. It is important to make sure there are people who are able to help with this before you leave.
Having participants and receivers of the ceremony help create the ceremony is essential. We ask that all other people participating in the ceremony arrive at least an hour ahead of time. Arriving early allows you to slow down, connect with the land and the people, make prayer ties if you have not made them already, and help with preparing the site and lodge for the ceremony.
The ceremony begins well before the time “doors” (the time that we go into the lodge) is scheduled to occur. In fact, many say that the ceremony begins 4 days before the lodge, and lasts for 4 days after the lodge. We have noticed that when people arrive early, the ceremony is richer. Preparing for ceremony is shared, and the energy and power of the lodge are more buoyant and potent.
What to bring (also see check list below for easy planning):
Modesty is a key principle we uphold in our ceremony. Thus, women are asked to bring skirts or long light cotton pants and tee-shirts with short or long sleeves to wear in lodge. Men are asked to wear shorts. All jewelry (metal especially) should be left at home; rings may be covered in red cloth. A towel to dry off after the lodge. Flip-flops or easily removed shoes are great to have for the lodge site area. Slippers for inside the studio, where we feast, is also useful as we have a no shoes policy.
Exchange with the spirits, and for the ceremony, is also an important concept. If you want to bring offerings for the spirits, we can put them on the altar. Likewise, a small item that you would like to be blessed by the spirits can also be placed on the altar during the ceremony (please remember to retrieve it after the lodge). We make prayer ties to strengthen our intentions, which are worked with by the spirits in the lodge.
Gifting the ceremonial leaders is also traditional—the fire tenders, singer if there is one, water pourer. Tobacco, coffee, tea, chocolate, cash, soap, candles, feathers are all appreciated as thanksgiving for the service to the people. Gifting is never required, only as an act from the heart. Another ongoing need of the ceremony itself is for fire wood. So a gift of wood, or money for the firewood fund, is also appreciated. Feasting is a traditional endpoint of the physical part of the lodge. We ask that you bring a dish to share with people after the lodge –this forms the basis of our exchange with our bodies and worldly things of the earth.