The Native American Sweat Lodge (Inipi) by Salvatore Gencarelle

The Native American Sweat lodge is one of the most profound healing and transformative indigenous ceremonies that I know. At the age of 16 I attended my first traditionally run Sweat Lodge and personally experienced the power and beauty of this ceremony. I’ve repeatedly witnessed this transformative and restorative power of the sweat lodge for over 23 years.

twin-lodges

Sweat Lodges Around the World

There are many forms of the sweat therapy found across the world, from the European sauna to the Japanese Sento. Understanding of how sweating in a controlled manner in combination with ceremonial approaches can bring about healing and a deeper sense of connection is a universal concept. This is a good indication that sweating as a method of healing is a fundamental principle of health to human beings.

In America the indigenous structure used to induce sweat therapy is commonly called the Sweat Lodge. There are many variations of the sweat lodge among the different Native American peoples. One of the most common versions of the sweat lodge has comes to us from the Lakota Sioux. The Lakota Sioux version of the sweat lodge is called the Ini Kaga (E-nee Kah-gah) – To Make Live or commonly the Inipi (E-nee-pe), which simply means – We Live.

Legends of the Lakota Sweat Lodge

The Lakota Sweat Lodge is ancient. According to one legend, the Inipi originated with a cultural hero called Stone Boy. This young man was a sacred being who had great knowledge at birth. He was the first to construct and use the Inipi to bring his uncles back to life after they were bewitched by an evil sorceress.

Another, less known legend, tells the origin of the Sweat Lodge back in time when the first peoples began to have conflicts over territory. At this time the population of humans grew to a point where people began to compete over natural resources. People began to become more physical orientated and less spiritually connected. Conflicts erupted and people began to shoving matches that soon led to greater violence. These battles were just external expression of what was occurring within people on a deeper level. During one of these conflicts a person killed another, intentionally. This was the first time a human ever murdered another human. After this, people’s spiritual connections weakened even more and they began to experience hardship and difficulty in their lives that was previously unknown.

During this time a young man was internally guided to seek a way for people to come back to a deeper spiritual relationship. He was guided through a series of Vision Quest to the west coast of an ancient land. There, at the place where the earth, stone, water, and air mixed he Vision Quested in the mist of the Ocean. Through his quest he was given a gift of the first sweat lodge. He returned to the people with this new powerful gift of purification, healing and rejuvenation. The Sweat Lodge ceremony aided people to once again live in physical and spiritual harmony with themselves, each other, and the land.

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Sweat Lodge and the Helpers Mentoring Society

For the past 23 years I’ve been educated in Lakota traditions and ceremony, becoming what is known as a Helper. During my training I came to a deep understanding of the power of the Inipi ceremony and how it can benefit modern people. Over the course of my training as a Helper I was taught every aspect of the ceremony; from stacking the fire, to singing the sacred songs, leading the ceremony, and even teaching others how to become Helpers.

The time for many others to become Helpers is now at hand. We, the people that understand the current disconnected and dysfunctional state of humanity, are being called forward to help return balance to human existence. In this task we have been given powerful gifts to assist us – such as the Sweat Lodge. Now is the time to learn how to competently utilize these sacred ceremonies to ensure the continuation of human life upon the earth. If you have the heart and mind to learn then now is the time.

Salvatore Gencarelle
https://manamongthehelpers.com/

This November Salvatore will be travelling back to the UK.  He will be offering workshops and talks in East Sussex, Devon, Glastonbury and Scotland as well as Life Initiation & Rites of Passage – a four part training commencing February 2016.

Please click here for details. These introductory talks, ceremonial and teaching workshops are for anyone looking for an immersion experience in Life Initiation, Rites of Passage and Advanced connection techniques. The day workshops will include an Inipi. The experiences and content is especially applicable to people looking to understand how to enhance holistic relationships and bridge this into the modern world and systems.

www.circleofliferediscovery.com

Ceremony and the Modern World – by Salvatore Gencarelle

CircleRocksYou might be asking yourself “How is it possible that a “primitive” ceremony could possibly help the modern world.

The answer it this, the indigenous perspective is based on survival and how people relate to the Earth. Because they recognize that their life depends on a number of essential factors (connections) – they hold these to be sacred components of life.

The first sacred connection: How do you relate to the natural world?

The second sacred connection: How are you in relation to yourself?

The third sacred connection: How do you relate to your fellow human beings?

These are the three points of connection that indigenous life styles and philosophies continually reinforce. The natural mind recognizes that we have to consider these three factors every time a decision is to be made. Decisions that are healthy will positively reinforce these connections; decisions that are unhealthy will weaken the connections.

What I witness on a continual basis in the modern world are individuals and groups making decisions that are dis-connective. Dis-connective patterns quickly lead to dis-ease, which if not resolved will eventually lead to disease. Many people in this modern life are living in a perpetual state of dis-ease. We are all familiar with this state of being. It has become the norm in so many ways. The modern world makes it easy to disconnect. Dis-ease is now considered a standard part of life. Tension and stress is perceived as a normal state of being.

This internal tension is forcing us to become aware of our past – of how we got to this place of conflict with ourselves, each other, and the natural world. We often find ourselves searching for the wisdom of ancient indigenous peoples. Through this search we are brought back to the transformative healing connection power of indigenous ceremony.

Advanced Connection Practices

Passed down for generations of indigenous healers, these transformative and re-connective techniques have remained in hiding until recently. From the Native American traditions the universal ceremonies have been re-introduced to the modern world. The ceremonies of sweat lodge, vision quest, sacred drum, and sacred pipe have been taught to select individuals of the modern society to help bring these transformative ceremonies out to the modern people. These are the 4 universal gifts to all of humanity.

DrumSweat Lodge – Purification Rite through the power of the elements

Vision Quest – Connection Practice of deep immersion and isolation in nature

Sacred Drum – The heartbeat of the earth and the unity of community

Sacred Pipe – The tool of connection to creation, self, others, and spirit
These ceremonies, what I call the Advanced Connection Practices, are returning to the people of the world. As the patterns of trauma and disconnection are revealed we finally have the opportunity to transform and become healthy once more. We CAN have fulfilling lives of connection and love! We can heal the grief of the past and move towards a bright future of love, peace, and purpose.

By Salvatore Gencarelle

Salvatore has been through an intensive mentoring period with a Native American healer that required both dedication and sacrifice for 17 years as a ceremonial guide, creator, singer, and mentor, under the direct supervision. It was through this process he earned the responsibility to pass these teachings on. Salvatore is also an artist, photographer, freelance writer, a musician, and a former Paramedic. He is a healer working with both Native American traditions and those of the modern world.

Sal is the author of a book on his experiences entitled A Man Among the Helpers and has worked with 8 Shields for the past five years bringing his skills, experience and expertise as a teacher and mentor in advanced connection practices through the Leadership Initiation Project.

Sal will be visiting the UK this Autumn and will be offering workshops and talks in East Sussex, Devon, Glastonbury and Scotland. To find out more and to read details of our Transformative Learning training commencing in 2016, please click here.