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Navajo Sweat Lodge

navajocodetalkersadmin on April 23, 2014 - 10:00 am in Navajo Rituals

As part of knowing about the Navajo people, people can encounter about the Navajo sweat lodge which is quite unique from other Native Americans. In fact, many people have been very interested to know about its purpose and how they look like.

The sweat lodge of the Navajo people is also called as ‘sweat house’ (or ceremonial sauna, sweat or purification). This has been the ritual or ceremonial event in other cultures, especially among North American First Nations, Baltic, Eastern European, Native American and Scandinavian cultures. There have been numerous structural styles utilized in various cultures. They include the oblong or domed hut which is similar to the wickiup, the permanent structure which is composed of stone or wood. It can be the simple hole that was dug into the ground and was covered with tree trunks or planks. The stones are usually heated while the water is poured over these in order to come up with steam. During the ceremonial usage, such ritual actions have been associated by traditional songs and prayers.


Traditions and rituals are both integrated with sweating but these vary culturally and regionally. Ceremonies are often involving traditional songs and prayers. In other cultures, offerings and drumming to a spirit world could be an essential portion of their ceremony, or the sweat lodge ceremonies could be a part of a longer rite like the Sun Dance. Other typical practices as well as key elements that are involved in Navajo sweat lodge are the following:

Training – Many cultures holding ceremonial sweats need to allow somebody get into intensive training for several years for him to lead the lodge. An essential requirement is that a leader must be capable of communicating fluently and praying in a certain culture’s indigenous language. Aside from that, they must completely understand the process of conducting the ceremony with safety. This kind of leadership role will be granted by community elders and not self-designed.

Orientation – door might face the sacred fire. Cardinal directions could have symbolism in a culture that holds the ceremony of sweating. A lodge could get oriented in its own environment for some specific purposes. Orientation and placement of a lodge in its surroundings are both regarded to facilitate a connection of the ceremony with the world of spirit and practical usage considerations.

Construction – the Navajo sweat lodge is typically established with full care and with environmental respect including the materials used. Most traditions are constructing this lodge in total silence. Others perform the drum playing as they build, but some traditions are having builder faster during construction.

Support – most traditions require 1 or more individuals to remain outside their sweat lodge for protection of the ceremony, aid of lodge etiquette and assistance of participants. At times, they tend the place and fire some hot stones when the structure makes use of stone, even though it is usually accomplished by the designated firekeeper.

There are other elements included in the ceremony of Navajo sweat lodge. Some of them include darkness and clothing which also play crucial role in the ceremony.

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