Sweat Lodge Ceremony
Our Sweat Lodge schedule will begin in February 2014
If you plan on attending a lodge ceremony,
please read all the information below,
including the Liability Waiver
The Sweat Lodge is a very powerful spiritual and healing ceremony. It is a ritual practice that has existed in communities for thousands of years, for healing and purification. The practice is strenuous and demanding of the spirit and the body and may not be suited for everyone. You will undergo and overcome, emotional and physical challenges as you cleanse your system of those energies that no longer serve you.
Sweat Lodge Ceremonies may be performed with a variety of intentions. There are Healing Sweat Lodges, Purifying Sweat Lodges, Visionary Sweat Lodges for receiving divine insights, and Communal Sweat Lodges for creating a feeling of oneness within the circle. Sweat Lodges are also an integral part of the Vision Quest, where they are visited several times during a two to four day ceremony designed to create an environment conducive to receiving visions. The Lodge Pourer is usually someone who is respected in the community for their teachings and wisdom, but not necessarily a Shaman or Holyman.
We at Temple Mound are not of the Indian Nation by birth, though the traditions that were practiced here on this sacred land, predate any known surviving Native culture. We recognize that our Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are not of any particular, practicing traditions, nor do we claim them to be. We honor and respect the wisdom and knowledge of all the indigenous cultures that have practiced these ceremonies through the centuries, on every continent, and in every culture. We have developed our own unique lodge ceremony in the same manner they were originally conceived thousands of years ago. We have incorporated Divine guidance and intuition in developing our own unique practice that is harmonious with the ancient energies of this land.
The sweat lodge is more than a physical experience. The Ritual invokes the energy of Mother Earth and the lodge itself represents Her womb as it embraces the energies of darkness, warmth and moisture. The production of the steam requires the cooperation of all four earthly elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and it is in these elements that the experience is conceived.
The Sweat lodge ceremony is broken down into rounds or sessions. The typical sweat will have four rounds, of approximately 15-20 minutes each, though in special sweats, they may vary from three to seven. Each round will embrace a particular spiritual energy or theme, such as the four elements, the four directions, or the four stages of spiritual development.
The Lodge Pourer may choose to perform teachings, healings, invoke the spirits or ancestors, lead a meditation, or ask for participation from each member present. Singing and drumming are also normally part of the ceremony. It is also not unheard of, to sit in complete silence, especially when the intent is to receive a vision. In between each round the flap is flung open and cool air is allowed to permeate the lodge. There will be a break of 5-10 minutes between the rounds, to allow for those who find the need to leave or to get up, to do so. When the participants leave the lodge and enter into the world of light, noise and coolness, it is meant to represent their rebirth.
The Lodge itself was constructed of natural materials. The oak and hickory saplings used for the framework were collected ceremonially from the property, and then were lashed together with natural sesal fibers. The blankets used to cover the lodge are made of natural fibers as is the canvas tarp. The floor of the lodge is made of a 2 inch layer of sacred sand collected from the ancient Temple site as is the altar outside the door. The stones used for the steam are of granite composition and have been twice fired and pre tempered. The lodge measures 11 feet in diameter and can hold as many as 24 participants, though we prefer to keep the numbers about half that to afford some extra room for spreading out.
BENEFITS OF THE SWEAT LODGE EXPERIENCE
❖ You will indirectly absorb the energy of the Sun as steam is released by pouring water on the stones heated by burning wood which contains the stored energy of the Sun.
❖ The heat of the sweat lodge (140-180°F) can raise the surface temperature of the skin as much as 25 °F, effectively killing bacteria and other surface pathogens.
❖ A good sweat bath can temporarily raise your core temperature as much as 6°F, which will eliminate many of the internal pathogens that cannot survive a body temperature higher than 98.6.
❖ High temperature causes the nervous system to release acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter with many benefits including, increased mental focus and memory retention, regulation and slowing of the heart rate, improved respiration, increased mental focus with intensified perception, and visual acuteness.
❖ Every 15 minutes in a steam bath produces about a liter of sweat, with the same heavy metal eliminations as 24 hours of normal kidney function.
❖ The heat of the Sweat lodge forces capillaries to dilate, increasing blood flow, and promoting the release of stored lactic acid, releasing muscle soreness and expediting the excretion of urea and other toxins.
❖ After 20 minutes in the steam of a sweat lodge brainwaves begin to slow from Beta (14-30 Hz), to Alpha (7-14 Hz), and even further to Theta (4-7 Hz) or possibly lower to Delta (.5-4 Hz) producing trance-like altered states and restorative conditions for brain cells and neurotransmitters.
❖ The steam of the sweat bath can alleviate the symptoms of colds and sinus infections by reducing the amounts of particulates inhaled from the air and clearing nasal passages.
❖The conditions of arthritis, rheumatism, and Lyme's disease may be helped by the heat of the steam loosening stiff joints and tight muscles.
❖ The steam produced by pouring the water over the heated granite rocks will produce negative ions which once released into your bloodstream, produce reactions that increase serotonin levels and the flow of oxygen to the brain, relieving the feelings of depression and stress while boosting your energy level.
❖ The sweating process is essential for releasing many toxins from the body that are unable to be metabolized through other bodily functions.
WHAT TO EXPECT
❖ Expect to get hot, very hot. Temperatures inside a sweat lodge may reach 140-180 degrees.
❖ If you cannot take the outdoor Florida heat(90-100 degrees) or a Hot yoga practice(105-110 degrees) then this is not for you.
❖ No one is ever prevented from leaving the lodge. We do ask that you have some experience with high heat conditions before committing to participate. When someone leaves, and the flap is opened, the entire round must begin again and the lodge reheated. Those inside must endure the extra time it takes for this to occur.
❖ Sweating, lots of sweating. Be sure to wear clothing that breathes to allow this. Antiperspirant and deodorant is not recommended and if scented is not allowed. The extreme heat kills off most odor causing bacteria.
❖ The sweat lodge is completely black and closed in. You will be sitting in total darkness for up to 20 minutes at a time. If you are anxious about this, this may not be for you.
PREPARING FOR THE SWEAT
❖ Begin drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The body may lose up to a gallon of water in sweat during the experience.
❖ You may wish to add some salt to your diet to promote water retention.
❖ Avoid dehydrating beverages and foods (those that contain alcohol and/or caffeine, e.g., coffee, tea, chocolate, beer, wine) for 24 hours before and after your sweat.
❖ Avoid meals for 1–2 hours before or heavy meals for 5-6 hours; for hypoglycemic people, light eating is usually okay up to a ½ hour before.
❖ Removing meat from your diet the day of the sweat will enhance the experience.
❖ Remove any perfumes, colognes, deodorants or makeup before attending.
❖ If your contact lenses are problematic, you may wish to remove them before hand.
❖ Under no circumstance should you be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a sweat lodge ceremony
WHAT TO WEAR
❖ Traditionally sweats are performed in the natural state. Bodies are presented for healing in their purest forms, without the material attachments, our egos have given them. However most of our sweats are co-ed and modest attire is required.
❖ Men should wear shorts or a swimsuit and a t-shirt, and women may dress the same or wear a long lightweight skirt.
❖ Single sex or special sweats may be performed in the traditional manner if requested. A towel should be kept on until entering the lodge and the flap is closed.
❖ No footwear is allowed inside the lodge or ceremonial circle.
❖ Jewelry should be removed at home. Metallic jewelry will heat up and become uncomfortably hot if not removed. If you wish to charge jewelry on the altar during the ceremony you may do so.
WHAT TO BRING
❖ Please bring a water cup or bottle. We will have purified water to fill them with.
❖ A towel to wipe off with after the sweat.
❖ No matter how hot it is outside you may still experience a chill after the sweat. You should bring a coverup, sweats or a jacket to pull on afterwards.
❖ You may wish to put a towel down on your car seat before driving home.
❖ Light food or fruit to share afterwards
❖ It is traditional to bring a donation or gift (see section on donations)
❖ All participants must be 18 years of age or older, except for minors over the age of 15 with the presence and signed permission of a legal guardian.
❖ Leave your phones in the car. It would be impolite to check for or return messages, emails or texts during or in-between rounds.
❖ Please smoke your cigarettes before entering the gates of Temple Mound. Other than the ceremonial use of a medicine pipe there is no smoking anywhere on the grounds.
❖ Once you begin down the trail towards the sweat lodge site, please observe respectful silence. Any conversation at the sweat lodge circle should be purely positive (no conspiracy theories, gossip, food fears, or dying planet conversations)
❖ You will be asked to sign a release before entering the ceremonial area.
❖ Please wait to have your aura ceremonially cleansed with a smudging before entering the circle.
❖ After the smudging please walk the outer circle in a sunrise direction (clockwise) until you feel ready to enter the inner circle.
❖ Footwear should be removed before entering the inner circle (the area inside the benches).
❖ The imaginary line between the fire and the lodge entrance(tobacco line) should not be crossed until the ceremony is concluded and the ceremonial lodge stave is returned to the altar.
❖ What happens at the sweat lodge, stays at the sweat lodge. Please do not repeat anything that others have expressed during the ceremony.
❖ Only the Pourer is permitted to place anything on the heated stones inside the lodge.
❖ Please respect our ceremony in the manner we have been guided to perform it, by not adding to it unless asked. We understand that other lodge ceremonies may have been performed in a different manner.
❖ Respect the beliefs of others.
❖ Please be on time. If you arrive late and the sweat has started, please sit quietly until the change in rounds to enter.
❖ Open yourself to the healing guidance of the ancestors of this ancient site. They are always present and are here to help you on your journey.
DURING THE SWEAT
❖ Sit quietly and respectfully of others in the space.
❖ Please only speak when directed to do so or to report an emergency concern.
❖ Please check your Ego. If you are adding more input than the rest of the group, your Ego has probably taken control of your experience.
❖ Only the Pourer is permitted to place anything on the stones.
❖ The lodge structure is not intended as a back rest.
❖ The lodge coverings should not be handled by participants during the ceremony, except in an emergency and after notifying the Pourer.
❖ Participation in whatever is asked, will intensify the experience.
❖ Speak only from your direct experiences, anything else is gossip.
❖ If this is your first sweat or you feel you will not be able to meet the challenge of the heat, then you should sit as near the flap as possible, so as to disturb as few as possible if you need to exit.
TIPS TO COPE WITH OVERHEATING
❖ If you are extra-sensitive to heat, enter the sweat last so you're near the door. This spot gets the most air between rounds, and you disrupt the fewest people if you need to go out.
❖ Sit directly on the ground, not on a towel. Breathe. Breathe some more. Ask the spirits for help.
❖ Drink water before and in between rounds, and again after your sweat.
❖ If room permits, lie down and stay as low as possible.
❖ Put a damp bandanna on your head, and/or pour water on your wrists, ankles, head, face, and the back of your neck.
❖ Ask the spirits for help. Ask your pourer for help.
❖ If all else fails, ask to leave the lodge. You can usually sit just outside and still remain in the energy of the group.
AFTER THE SWEAT
❖ Leave yourself some time to rehydrate and to have some food before driving yourself home.
❖ Take some time to contemplate what you experienced and how you feel. Though there are a few epiphany moments, most participants go through a more subtle experience.
❖ You may wish to bring a journal to record your thoughts and revelations.
❖ Take the time to ask the Pourer any questions you may have or clarifications you need, to help with obtaining closure on the experience. They are trained in dealing with almost anything that may arise.
❖ YOU ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING. Do not allow yourself to continue in a situation you feel is detrimental to your body.
❖ We recommend that everyone should receive a Doctor's clearance before participating in any sweat lodge and particularly, if you suffer from any physical or mental condition, medical or otherwise.
❖ Check with your Doctor if you are on any prescription medications. Many are affected by the extreme heat.
❖ If you feel at any time the heat has become to intense, simply announce, " Brother Steve, this is brother/sister _________, I am afraid the heat has presented me with a challenge I am unable to overcome." You will then be asked if you need to leave and the flap will be opened.
❖ If there is a fire, you will be asked to lift the sides of the lodge and exit quickly.
❖ At no time should you feel as if you are being kept from exiting the lodge, if you deem it necessary, no one will ever be kept from exercising their right to protect their own health.
❖ Report anything you deem as unsafe to the Temple Mound Staff as soon as an opportunity arises to do so.
SWEAT LODGE STAFF TRAINING
❖ Each Member of your Sweat Lodge Team has been trained individually and as a group in traditional, indigenous lodge ceremony and safety.
❖ The Lodge pourer continues to share information and update protocols with the staff as is needed.
❖ Semi-annual Team sweats are performed as continuing education, to further improve your experience.
Unlike back in the early beginnings of the Sweat Lodge tradition, we do not have the Village providing us with our food, shelter and materials for the lodge. The Lodge Ceremony is provided to the community at great expense. A typical lodge ceremony can have as much as $200 - $300 in material and supply expenses.
In order for this event to be self sustaining, and for us to be able to continue to offer it to the community, we recommend a minimum love donation of $20. Money is collected in a community love offering basket.
No one will ever be turned away for their inability to pay. If you are unable to contribute, you may wish to consider trading a couple hours of your time for helping with the ceremony or presenting gifts of kinnickinnic tobacco, sage, sweet grass braids or firewood to help offset the expenses. For those with the ability to contribute more please consider that some of those in attendance may not have been able to afford the $20.
NOTE: THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING DOCUMENT WHEREBY YOU ARE AGREEING TO WAIVE CERTAIN LEGAL RIGHTS. YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ IT CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING IT. EACH PARTICIPANT MUST SUBMIT A FULLY SIGNED WAIVER FORM TO THE LODGE POURER BEFORE PARTICIPATING IN ANY SWEAT LODGE EVENT.
IF YOU ARE LESS THAN EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE, BOTH OF YOUR PARENTS (SINGLE PARENT IN THE CASE OF SOLE CUSTODY) OR ANY LEGAL GUARDIANS MUST SIGN THIS FORM ON YOUR BEHALF.
Release executed on this day, by the undersigned Releasor, to Temple Mound Spiritual Wellness Center, Inc., Steven DerDerian, or Brenda DerDerian.
I, the undersigned Releasor, being of lawful age, in consideration of being permitted to participate in the Sweat Lodge Ceremony, scheduled on the 7777, and run and/or operated by the Releasee, WAIVE, RELEASE and DISCHARGE the Releasee, its owners, officers, directors, employees, members, agents, assigns, legal representatives of the above noted activity and each of them their owners, officers and employees, from all liability for or by reason of any damage, loss or injury to person and property, even injury resulting in the death of the Releasor, which has been or may be sustained in consequence of the Releasor’s participation in the activity described above, and notwithstanding that such damage, loss or injury may have been caused solely or partly by the negligence of the Releasee.
I hereby acknowledge and agree by the signing of this document, that I have carefully read the Sweat Lodge Information Sheet provided, this Waiver and Release agreement, that I fully understand same, and that I am freely and voluntarily executing it. By signing this release I will be forever prevented from suing or otherwise claiming against the Releasee for any property loss or personal injury that I may sustain while participating in or preparing for the above noted activity. I have been given the opportunity and have been encouraged to seek independent legal advice prior to signing this Waiver and Release agreement. I understand that I would not be permitted to participate in the above noted actively unless I have read the Sweat lodge Information Sheet and signed this Waiver and Release agreement.
I understand that this Waiver and Release agreement is binding on me, my spouse, my heirs, my executors, administrators, personal representatives and assigns. I acknowledge that I do not have any physical limitations, medical ailments, physical or mental disabilities that would limit or prevent me from participating in the above mentioned activity, and, if required, will obtain a medical examination and clearance. If I have any such physical or mental disabilities that I am aware of, that I will inform theReleasee in writing before participating in such activities. This release contains the entire agreement between the parties to this release and the terms of this release are contractual and not a mere recital.
This Waiver and Release Agreement will be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of the State of Florida, and it is acknowledged by the Releasor to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of this jurisdiction.
I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS AGREEMENT AS WELL AS THE SWEAT LODGE INFORMATION SHEET, AND I AM AWARE THAT BY SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT I AM WAIVING CERTAIN LEGAL RIGHTS WHICH I OR MY HEIRS, NEXT OF KIN, EXECUTORS, ADMINISTRATORS AND ASSIGNS MAY HAVE AGAINST THE RELEASEE(S).
The Releasor has executed this Waiver and Release at Temple Mound Spiritual Wellness Center, Inc., Pinellas County, Florida on the __________________ (date).
SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED
In the presence of,
CALL IN CASE OF EMERGENCY:_________________________________
Any physical limitations, medical ailments, physical or mental disabilities? Please list here after speaking to the Releasee.