Citation: Shea. "My First Sweat: An Experience with Sweat Lodge (exp36570)". Erowid.org. Mar 16, 2005. erowid.org/exp/36570
Although I refuse to classify myself as a person of any specific religious affiliation, those who know me would describe me as a spiritual person. Several of my closest friends have built sweat lodges and have insisted that it was an experience that they were sure I would appreciate. They described it as a spiritual as well as physical cleansing. Being a person who will try almost anything once, I decided to take a good friend up on his offer to include me in a night of sweat sessions. The lodge was fairly small. Eight of us fit in it, any more than that would have been uncomfortable.
I was the only female in the lodge that night. Upon deciding to experience the sweat lodge, the idea of being the only female didn't phase me. I am very comfortable around men. I viewed the sweat lodge as an experience that was to be shared between 8 people who left all labels and differences outside of the lodge, including sexual differences. I often times have a little too much faith in my peers. I expected them to accept me as just another individual who wanted to be cleansed, and not to look at me as 'the half naked chick'.
There were 3 sessions, each one more intense than the last. several of the boys only remained in the lodge for 2 of them, others only remained in the last session for several minutes. I spent my time in the lodge in meditation. I sat in an upright position with my legs crossed and my eyes closed, taking deep breaths. I focused on the rythhm of my breathing and the syrupy feeling of my sweat pouring down every inch of my body. It felt amazing. Through this focused meditation, I was able to ignore the immature and offensive comments and inapropriate vibes that I recieved from several of the boys in the lodge.
The men who remained inside the lodge with me for the entirity of the 3 sessions were those whom I had predicted would remain. They were also included in the group of men whom I felt did not look at me as a sexual object while in the lodge. They looked at me as a friend with whom they wished to share a positive experience with. After the last session, I got out of the lodge and hosed my body off with cold water. My heart was racing and my head was spinning but I felt fabulous. Clean and refreshed physically, mentally, and spiritually. I sprawled myself on the wet grass and stared at a black sky. I could feel the earth breathing and i was very aware of every function of my body, inside and out. I began to see patterns in the sky, very similar to the kind of hallucinations that I experience shortly after eating psilocybin mushrooms.
The thought that dominated my mind, despite the immaturity of some of my peers, was that growing up is about learning how to love. I realized that i was able to enjoy the heat that others couldn't sit through because I had learned to love the functions of my body, even those that others find umcomfortable, such as the altered heart beats, breathing, and sweat that come with extreme heat. Lying on the grass, post-sweat, I was deeply in love with myself, the earth i was lying on, the person next to me, and every aspect of this universe. My sweat soaked clothes were grass stained, my feet and hands were covered in soot, and my hair was full of sand... but I have never felt so clean.
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