Embrace a body and spirit detox as summer ends here in Paros and the seasons change, fostering reflection and new beginnings. We are bringing the opportunity to experience the Native American traditional Sweat Lodge Ceremonies throughout the month of September at Tao’s Center.
The sweat lodge (also called purification ceremony) is a low profile hut, typically dome-shaped and traditionally made with natural materials. In the past it was covered with animal skins, although today a variety of coverings might be used, such as blankets, rugs, tarps, etc. Originally, it was used by just some Indigenous peoples of the Americas for ceremonial steam baths, healing, and prayer, but in modern times the ceremony has spread and is used by nearly all native American peoples.
Medicine men and women, shamans, (The hosts or facilitators of the ceremony) are key to providing this space. Visiting Paros Island this year we have Marina Serra and Sandra Valle from Iberia and Cristina (a healer from Mexico) as our guides. “We want participants to experience a deep connection with themselves and with the elements;” they are facilitating five ceremonies through September each 90-100 minutes in duration.
The ceremony is a spiritual and transformational cleansing process wherein a group gathers at sunset before entering the heated lodge – a sauna-like tent using heated rocks – and remain inside for 90-100 minutes while chanting and saying prayers. The preparations before the ceremony make it unique. The physical construction of the lodge is a round domed structure with a pit in the middle for the rocks. The frame is usually wooden or bamboo and covered with canvas to keep the heat in. Traditionally the entrance to the Lodge faces East and it is positioned specifically in alignment with constellations, creating a bridge between the cosmos, the Lodge and the earth. The rocks are gathered mindfully from the land where the ceremony is taking place; for our ceremonies the rocks have been hand selected from old river beds in the mountain valleys of Paros, and we asked permission to use them, as well as the aromatic plants.
We step in together after prayers, traditionally smudged by burning sage, and prepare ourselves for the hour and a half of high temperatures and sweat. Upon entering the Lodge we bow our heads in appreciation of the space and in humility to the Great Spirit and Mother Earth. The process involves four rounds where heated rocks are brought in, the door is closed, incense is burned, and herb-infused water is poured and prayers and chants are sung. The process is repeated to cleanse the skin deeply through sweat and to purge the body of toxins and whatever is not needed, including feelings and patterns we want to get rid of. It is a healing meditative ceremony where the physical sweating combined with prayers and chanting provides individuals a spiritual and physical release. There are opportunities for each participant to speak, share, seek forgiveness or ask questions about the process, tradition, etc.
Marina, Cristina and Sandra are hosting ceremonies at Tao’s on September 11, 16 (Full Moon), 23 (Fall Equinox) and 28. A truly special opportunity to experience a sacred space where race, colour and religion are set aside, and we come together to pray, meditate, learn and heal.
Don’t miss the rest of our Special Events of Taos in Paros Greece