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Direct Fire Sweat Lodge

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An alternate to the hot rock method.

The direct-fire Sweat Lodge ceremony is slightly different than the hot rocks method in that there is no designated fire keeper, the wood supply is housed inside the lodge, the lodge is much larger and is formed in a cone shape (teepee)

The modern method uses a open vent at the top to allow smoke to escape, but it still creates the same sensation as the rock method.

Like the hot rock method, pure water is poured over the fire to crate steam, it is dark ( always done at night ) prayers, chants and meditation are used, along with traditional songs.

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Spiritual Guide

Direct Fire Sweat Lodges


The hot air bath of upper California depecited by Alexander Forbes in the early 1880s.

Alaskan Eskimos, some Pacific Coast tribes and the Pueblo Indians in the Southwest built lodges heated directly by
fire.

They were usually large enough to accomodate dozens of men. A small pilot fire was kept burning most of the day.

After hours of talk, gossip and dancing the fire was fed to a noble size, the lodge became torrid and sweating began.

Although caustic smoke filled the air, these people made no effort to convert to the hot rock method, though they
surely knew of this alternative.

Without stoves or chimneys, a blazing central fire was the simplest way to convert a men's club into a sudatorium.

When the smoke became unbearable, the men would simply lie flat on the floor and breathe fresher air.

The Eskimos used the kashim as their social and religious center.

It was a rectangular wooden structure, large enough to house bachelors and male travelers and as a clubhouse for married men.

They were dug partially underground, insulated with dirt or sod with a single tunnel entrance and a small hole in the roof for smoke to escape.

This style plank house was found along the Pacific Coast as far south as northern California. Central Alaskan Eskimos, lacking timber, never built sweat lodges.

Aleutian Eskimos never built the sweat lodge until it was
introduced by Russian traders in the early 18th century.

This method is still used today, but, a flap has been added to redirect the caustic smoke away from the participants.

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It should be pointed-out that open-fire or direct fire sweat lodges are just as effective for the intended purpose of prayer, healing and understanding one's cosmic connection as hot rock sweats.

The advantages of hot rocks is the lack of smoke, while the advantage of direct fire is the ease of obtaining material to conduct the sweat.

Neither are the "only way", nor is one method better than another, they are simply different methods of sweat.( anyone who dictates the method or proceedures of a sweat ceremony is not following traditional native spirituality which is based on freedom of choice.)