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Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.

~ Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read, 1940

 

Sweat Lodge History & Links

Sweat History & Links

Sweating as a spiritual practice, is found in several traditions; most well known is from the Lakota First Nations people of America.

The Lakota Sweat Lodge is a continuous tradition from pre western settlement of the Americas. The lodge was constructed from bent saplings and animal hides. Stones were heated in a fire and carried into the lodge at the several points during the lodge.

Lakota sweat lodge

Another continuous tradition is that from the Nordic lands of Northern Europe, although this practice is now better known as the health practice of Sauna. On special occasions spiritual aspects are incorporated into the Sauna. Saunas were constructed of solid timber and rocks.

finnish sweat house

There is also evidence, from archaeology and linguistics that a spiritual sweat tradition was practiced in ancient Ireland.

The sweats in Ireland, like all constructions prior to worldwide transport and production of materials, was made of local Irish materials: stone, sod and hides. Those structures that still remain have evidence of fire on the inside - soot on the ceiling and scorching on the floor. This suggests that the sweat house was heated before people went inside. The size of these structures suggest mean that no more than 4 - 10people could be in the sweat at a time; a select group perhaps? The Irish sweats, like so many of the ancient structures, frequently have a sound chamber quality suggesting that sound eg chants could have been employed during the sweat process. However we have no idea if these sweats were used simply for health reasons or were they also employed for spiritual purposes? We can only surmise...

irish sweat house

 

For more info check these links:

The usual info from Wikipedia

A good over view by a current sweat leader in the US

A current UK celtic shamanic group and their lodge

Informative site about the history of the Finnish Sauna

Info and pics of Irish sweat houses:

one from a travelling enthusiast

one from a more learned and skeptical writer

 

This short video gives a snap shot of sweats from many different culture across time; from megalithic to modern:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
     
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