Love Monger Ministries–Sacred Sweat? Buyer Beware!!!

Sweat Lodge Similar To The One We Used

Sweat Lodge Similar To The One We Used


A few years ago, I had the great honor of being asked to keep fire in a Native American sweat lodge.  The woman I kept the fire for had been very extensively trained by an Elder and taught not only the sacred knowledge and ceremony of the sweat lodge, but also the very essential physical safety precautions critical for performing and participating in a sacred sweat.

Some time after this first sweat lodge experience, I had the further honor of participating, with the same woman, as a helper in another sweat.  Since this sweat was for a large number of people (about 15 or so) and some of the participants were new to the sweat experience, the woman leading the sweat kept it much lighter.  That is what she was trained to do.

How much did people pay for either of these sweats?  Well, unless you count the food everyone brought for the feast afterward, not ONE SINGLE PENNY.

When asked to participate in a Lenape Recreation Ceremony, I was unable to do so.  The boy’s schedules and mine were unfortunately irreconcilably conflicting that week.   Tremendously honored for being asked to support my brother, I decided to research the differences between the Recreation and the Sundance so I’d better understand and be able to offer my brother support and love even though I would not be physically present at the ceremony.

Imagine the shock when I looked up Sundance on the internet and found several websites offering PAID SUNDANCES, AND FOR A LITTLE MORE MONEY ONE COULD EVEN BE PIERCED.

Many great Native American elders of the past made great efforts to preserve the teachings and ceremonies and hoped (perhaps even knew) that many of these ceremonies would be preserved by mixed blood and non-Native Americans, since there has been so much devastation on the reservations and much knowledge is being either lost or misunderstood.

Arizona Sweat Dome

Arizona Sweat Dome

Last week, a New Age guru held a 5 day workshop ending in a “sweat lodge ceremony”.  3 people have died already and many more are very sick.  There was reported to be 62 or so people in the sweat dome.  And best of all?  The charge for this workshop was reported to be in the neighborhood of $9,000 per participant.

My knowledge of Native traditions is limited and my experiences with ceremony are few compared to many.  Perhaps the only thing I DO know–There is no charge for a REAL sacred ceremony!!!!!

The person performing the ceremony needs a few bucks for gas and/or a hotel room?  Fine.  Someone needs some food while at a ceremony?  Fine.  Many of my close friends refer to themselves as F.B.I. (F**king Broke Indians).  It was customary in the old days to gift the elders, chiefs and medicine people with gifts to help them live while doing their jobs.  But thousands of dollars?  HOLY SH*T!

I’ll get off my soap box now.  I’m just appalled at the vileness of the whole Arizona sweat thing.

We here at Love Monger Ministries try to honor and respect all (well, most) beliefs and traditions.  My own ancestry is (some) Cherokee, so I especially honor the Old Ways of the Red Road.

But $9,000 for a “sweatlodge” or any amount for any sacred ceremony of any people of any part of the world?

Let the buyer beware!!!

LaVerna and Tom Vickers