Native American spirituality is very big in my part of the world (Eastern Oregon). For years I have heard many of my friends talking about going to Native ritual ceremonies but never got invited until just recently. Two of my friends needed a ride to a sweat lodge and called and asked permission for me to join the sweat. When I got there I decided I would not join. It was extremely cold with snow on the ground and I am pretty sensitive to cold. As people started showing up, mostly friends of mine, i decided I better just do it. I stripped down to bathing suit and towel, shoes with no socks, and walked out to the teepee (I forget what they called it). First you walk around the teepee, then you raise your hands in the air facing each direction, then get down and crawl inside. Outside the tent there is a large fire and underneath the burning logs are rocks. The fire tender uses a pitchfork to move the hot rocks into a pit in the middle of the teepee. A girl then sprinkled cedar chips on the rocks. While the rocks were being loaded in, my friend who was my helper for the experience explained some breathing techniques and told me nothing would harm me inside the lodge. The door was closed and it became pitch black.
A Native American guide began leading a prayer, talking about our ancestors and how we wanted blessings for our families as well as all people on Earth. People started banging drums and singing a song in Native American language while the leader poured cups full of water on to rocks. The lodge got very hot and steamy! This is when I started to see spirits. I need to explain at this point that I am a closed eye psychic and seeing spirits is not unusual for me. Not everyone sees spirits in the sweat lodge but I think most people get some kind of insight into their life while inside. First I saw my higher power. I asked him to help me get money and he agreed and said he would give me gold coins as well. Gold coins from my higher power don't always mean money but often blessings in this world or the next. I found out after that it is not good to discuss money in the lodge, more on this later. Next I saw my grandfather. He was happy to see me and be involved in a Native American ceremony. He liked Native American spirituality in life and even told me when he was kid in the 30's(?) he considered getting a mohawk in honor of Native Americans. I then saw my Native American spirit guide. He told me to get out of the lodge.
The sweat is broken down to four parts. On the drive to sweat my friend told I should try and make it through the first round. My Native American guide told me to get out after the first round. I didn't want to face the snow and thought I was tough enough to make it another round so I stayed in. The second round was a lot hotter then the first. I saw a lot of spirits floating around this time. My Native American guide was pissed though and I heard him yelling at me and felt his rage the whole time. I tried to hum a long with the song but it was hard as I was having trouble breathing. This session ended with a prayer for all the people affected by mass shootings. I crawled out the teepee and got changed inside the house.
Our Native American leader asked me to help tend fire and do small chores like bring drinking water and water to pour on the rocks. After the sweat was over everybody changed and our leader went to his car. My Native spirit guide told me to follow him and give him some gas money. The leader thanked me for the money and said this was an old tradition, to give something to elders who traveled far to help. Next there was a potluck feast and we all ate well. The food tasted very good because the sweat was draining. Our leader explained me to me that the feast was part of the ritual. We offered a plate to the spirits and the food we ate represented food to all our family and ancestors. After the feast our leader said "Don't be discouraged by talk about white boys shouldn't do Native spirituality." I asked him "What if I am hearing that from my spirit guide?". He said "Your spirit guide needs to wake the fuck up and see the new way!". He told me that he saw my spirits inside the sweat and that I run with a tough crowd. My Indian spirit was good, just old fashion but my higher power was a bad dude and I should consider finding someone else.
Ultimately it was a very profound, intense experience. It is going to take me more prayer and meditation before I decide to go back. I think I want to have a goal next time. Maybe to try and help my Native spirit guide to see the new way. Perhaps try and find more spirit guides. I thinking praying for your family is what you are supposed to do so that would be good. I've been invited to the summer festival also so I will meditate about that as well.