Sweating rituals have a long and sacred tradition as a healing ceremony in many cultures. The forms we are most familiar with today are those that have been preserved by in Native American traditions. Mary was taught to pour water by Felipe Ortega, a Jicarilla Apache Medicine man. The lodge honors the 4 cardinal directions as well as Father Sky and Mother Earth.
The sweat lodge Felipe teaches is a Two-Spirit lodge in the Apache Tradition. There are four rounds, honoring the hac’tsim of the East, South, West & North. Each round is opened by a song to that particular direction and a prayer by the water pourer.
The lodge has only three rules that need to be followed:
- No shoes & no shiny objects are to be worn for the eagle feather blessing/empowerment;
- We have a second rule that insures that the water pourer will not be left alone, in the lodge, after a silent prayer.
- And finally, Feasting may begin once the water pourer has received water in the 4th round and a Spirit plate with food has been placed outside, as the Spirits who helped in lodge have to be fed;
Everything else is expressed as a preference and so, it is a gentle lodge with which to be introduced to the tradition of sweating.