My eccentric neighbor, Jeff, is building a Native American Sweat Lodge with his grandson in their back yard. For those of you who don’t know, a sweat lodge is a structure used in Native American cleansing ceremonies. It involved sitting in a hut-like structure with steam-producing heated rocks. Much like a sauna (only hotter from what I’ve heard), it produces extreme heat and causes the participants to sweat profusely. Needless to say, this is not a very safe activity if you do not know what you are doing and/or do not respect your own limitations.
I was talking about the sweat lodge with my manager at work, who just happens to be Lakota. He has participated in many ceremonies, and was not amused at Jeff’s project. His analogy was, “It’s like a non-Catholic constructing a cardboard confessional with a fake priest in their back yard.” While I totally understand his view on the matter, I am still interested in helping and possibly participating. I’ve always been curious of Native American spirituality, and given this is not an ideal way to explore my curiosities… it is the best opportunity I see at the moment.
I’ll snap some photos to share with you all when the sweat lodge takes a little more shape.