Sacred Mother by Damian George

History of the Sweatlodge 

The Sweat Lodge is one of the most important rituals in First Nations / Indigenous spirituality. It's original purpose was to cleanse or purify individuals and was given to the men by the women for this purpose. The traditional view was that women had their monthly “moontime” or menstrual cycle and that the men needed cleansing as well. The ceremony, like all traditional ceremonies, was banned by the Canadian and American governments as part of cultural genocide. The "Sweat Lodge" or “Inipi” ceremony usually occurs before and after every other major ritual like the 'Sundance' and Vision Quest It is also a "stand alone" ritual meaning that it occurs whenever it is needed. 
It is a form of healing. These days and for many decades, the sweatlodge ceremony is used by men and women as a vehicle to transform the mind, body, heart and spirit. There are different views around the ceremony itself. There are many different kind of sweatlodge ceremonies; however, the lodge today welcomes men and women to come together for the common purpose of prayer, healing, enlightenment and ultimately transformation. These ways are collectively known as “walking the red road.” 

The Sweatlodge ceremony itself 

The ceremony starts long before we enter the sacred sweatlodge. The fire is built and lit by the firekeeper usually 90 minutes before the ceremony begins. In our case we typically light the fire at 12:30 pm to be ready to enter the lodge at 2:00 pm. For our lodge, the door faces East as this is the direction where everything starts, the spiritual direction, new beginnings. The preparation of the grounds, building of the fire, placement of the rocks we heat known as the grandfathers and grandmothers, offerings of tobacco etc. start a couple of hours before the fire is even lit. 

When everything is ready, the firekeeper will let the ceremonial elder / leader know. The elder will assemble the participants and lead opening prayers, teaching and explanations and  are done outside the lodge. After this is done, the elder enters and sits in the western door and his/her ᐅᐢᑳᐯᐃᐧᐢ oskâpêwis (pronouced SCAP-EE-OSE) or helper sits to his/her left. 

The Woman enter next and move clockwise around the pit in the center of the lodge and sit in the North facing the South. The men then enter and sit in the South facing the North. We sit on flat cedar bows that are cut fresh every week. When the elder is ready, he/she asks for the first round of grandfathers / grandmothers to be brought it. The fire keeper will pick up one red hot rock at a time from the fire with the pitch fork and gently pass it into the receiving pit within the center of the lodge. In our case we work with 28 stones, 4 rounds of 7 stones typically.  

The first five stones must be brought in on the pitchfork one at a time. As each enters medicines are put on them like cedar, sage, sweetgrass, etc. each having a very different healing property. First the center stone is placed then the east, south, west and north followed by the last two for the first round. The lodge begins to heat up and fill with beautiful smells. 

The first grandfather that enters is placed in the center to represent the Creator of your understanding.The first stone is placed as the center stone. The second is placed in the East and touches the center stone. The Eastern direction is the Eagle. The color is yellow and the season is Spring. The East is the spiritual direction and the Eagle is strong carrying our prayers to "Great Spirit." The third rock is placed in the South following the same protocol. The season is summer. The color is Red. The spirit keeper is the Coyote or Wolf. The jumping mouse also sits in the south. This direction is the one of love, emotion, community and introspection. The fourth stone is placed in the West. The season is Fall. The color is Black. The Medicine Bear sits here and represents both the phyiscal strength and healing. The bear brings the healing to the people and is very powerful. My Grandfather's spirit name is "Grizzly Bear." The fifth stone is placed in the North. The color is White. The season is winter. The Great White Buffalo sits here as does the Salmon. This is the direction of Wisdom and of sacrifice. This is where the elders sit. The buffalo and the salmon sacrificed themselves so the people could live and will always be greatly respected for that. After the first 5 rocks have entered the next 2 are brought to make a total of 7. By the time all four rounds have passed there will be 28 stones in total 

In the first round we honor and pray for the female aspect of life. In the second round we honor and pray for the male aspect. The third round is the healing round and the fourth round is the one for ourselves and to show gratitude. At the end of each round the door is opened and the next set of 7 are brought in. There are songs, stories, teachings and prayers in each round as well as opening and closing songs. When everything is over the people exit the lodge, socialize and reflect on what has taken place.  

What you need to bring / wear? 

Firstly come early, this is not the kind of thing to arrive at just as we are entering the lodge. You need to bring separate sweat cloths to change into and out of. Men typically wear shorts and bring a towel wrapped around their waist and one to wear over their shoulders. Women typically wear a skirt and t-shirt, a dress or shorts and tshirt with the towel wrapped around their waist and one over their shoulders. You will need drinking water so please arrive with a full water bottle which can be refilled at the lodge.  

The defined ceremonial grounds are drug and alcohol free. No pets walk on the grounds. No weapons, attitudes or anything even remotely unsafe of hurtful is acceptable. This is a safe space and in accordance with the medicine wheel teachings, all people are welcome regardless of race, gender, sexual identity etc. We are all children of the Great Spirit and on a common journey to heal ourselves and each other. 

How do I register and get there? 

You need to go to www.glofox.com and register. Enter THUNDERBIRD HEALING in the app and then click on it when it comes up. Register using your first and last name, email addy and birthdate. Once you have the APP and are in Thunderbird Healing you can click on the calendar app and find the ceremonies. Sunday lodge ceremonies start July 2, 2023 and run every week until Winter solstice. They will then shut down until the spring equinox at which point we will start up once again.  

The lodge is located just outside of the town of Chantry at: 

1432 County Road 8 

Delta, ON K0E 1G0 

You can reach the ceremonial leader Scott (Dancing White Thunderbird Man) on his cell phone at (613) 240-3509 or via email stowaij@gmail.com 

All My Relations, Dancing White Thunderbird Man

Previous events

Sweatlodge Ceremony - FULL MOON [Evening]

(EST, UTC-05) (EST, UTC-05)

Chantry Sweatlodge , 1432 County Road 8, Delta, Ontario

Full Moon traditional Sweatlodge ceremony in the Cree and Lakota traditions. There is NO CHARGE FOR CEREMONY. A suggested love offering of $28 is for firewood, port-a-potty etc. Bring a couple towels, a water bottle, shorts/skirt and a t-shirt for the sweatlodge ceremony. Come with an open mind, heart, body and spirit! Meegwetch!

Sweatlodge Ceremony - FULL MOON [Evening]

(EDT, UTC-04) (EDT, UTC-04)

Chantry Sweatlodge , 1432 County Road 8, Delta, Ontario

Full Moon traditional Sweatlodge ceremony in the Cree and Lakota traditions. There is NO CHARGE FOR CEREMONY. A suggested love offering of $28 is for firewood, port-a-potty etc. Bring a couple towels, a water bottle, shorts/skirt and a t-shirt for the sweatlodge ceremony. Come with an open mind, heart, body and spirit! Meegwetch!

Lodge Building Day

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Chantry Sweatlodge , 1432 County Road 8, Delta, Ontario

Come join us on Saturday July 2 when we build the Sacred Sweatlodge and hold our first ceremony afterwards at approximately 2:00 pm. This is a unique learning opportunity! Bring old sheets, blankets, a water bottle for drinking, etc. We will build the lodge and then light the fire at 12:30 with the first ceremony running from 2-4 proximately

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