Before I left Michigan for the holidays, we had our first sweat! It was an all evening event starting with Bob building a fire and heating the rocks for 1-2 hours. They were then placed into the hole inside the lodge and water was poured on them to create steam. We filled a bucket with water and used an old ladle from the cottage. After doing some research, we found diagrams on the stone placement, one of which I've included below. The rocks are first placed in the pit, the first one being the center stone, the second placed at the East which represents the Eagle, Spring and the color Yellow. The rocks are placed clockwise, each representing a season, an animal and a skin color (yellow, black, white and red.) It was 20 degrees outside, but after we placed all of the rocks inside the lodge and started to pour water on them, the inside became hot like a sauna. Traditionally, the Native Americans did four rounds of the ceremony, the first for the female aspect of life, the second for the male aspect, the third for healing, and the fourth round is for ourselves. It was very calming and it cleared up my sinuses really well. Next time we'll have more straw inside for insulation, and more rocks, many of ours split in the fire.
Jessica R. Willis
Artist of many mediums inspired by nature and philanthropy