The Seen & Unseen Powers of a Sweat House

Sun is the predominate healing force of the seen. Being related more to the physical. The Sun is often perceived as a masculine energy.

Moon is the predominate healing force of the unseen. Being related more to the spiritual. The Moon is often viewed as a feminine energy.

To heal the seen issues one need work in the day while unseen issues are best addressed during the night. The hours between 12 and 3 are the best times both day and night.

The seen ailments are often those of the physical. Though physical ailments may have an unseen element as their root cause. Allow me to note that the seen or physical refers to the body or the material. Whereas the unseen refers to that which is of thought, memory, word and spirit.

An example of an unseen causing an ailment within the seen would be the following. Someone goes to a medical professional complaining of sleeplessness which has led to bouts of illness. The medical professional determines this complaint began very shortly after a disturbing event was witnessed. So a determination is made that more rest is needed. Prescribing a pharmaceutical that will help with sleep and taking some time off work to rest. After a month the person returns to report only minimal relief. At that time they may be referred to a mental health professional who may help ease the situation but not fully bring it to resolution.

Whereas in shamanic work, we recognize the unseen element. We determine that this person has a valid concern which came about at the very moment they witnessed the traumatic event. At that moment they were so disturbed that a piece of their spirit essence was left trapped in the event. A retrieval of this energetic spirit essence need be performed to return this person back to health. We would perform the primary healing sessions at night to recover the spirit essence. Afterwards we would do follow up sessions during the day to restore physical health.

A shamanic understanding is based upon what is now labeled as animism. In this regard, everything is connected which further implies that one affects another. To elaborate further. We are born of water, in water and through water. The water upon and within the earth is moved by the pull of the Moon. A full moon has a stronger pull upon the waters. Causing tide level changes. Would it not be surprising to find that the waters within our very bodies also feel this pull. A rising sensation which can lead people to do irrational acts. The very things which may lead someone to being labeled a “lunatic.”

Water is also recognized by our ancestral ways as the gateway to the underworld. That is to say, bodies of water are viewed as portal ways. Being symbolic of the Mother’s womb water. To ‘enter’ these waters with spiritual intent is to pass through the veil between worlds. We should also note the importance of the shamanic drum at this time as well. As it is related to the heartbeat within the womb. That of our own, of our mother and of the placenta. When falling into a shamanic trance state the drum is a sonic driver that draws us back into a deeper connection with all. There is a further connection to be elaborated on here as well regarding ones Follower Spirit (Fylgja, Fetch, Daemon, Guardian, etc…) but we will discuss this in another blog post. The feeling within the shamanic trance state is one of weightlessness much like being within the womb of the mother. Maybe this will help you further understand the importance of the symbolism of water within myths as well as its spiritual uses.

Many indigenous cultures have practices of cleansing that involve water. In Europe there were separate facilities known as sweat houses. A combination of high heat and humidity followed with cold water immersion. In the Slavic lands this is still a very common practice on holiday at the dacha banya. These are remnants of a shamanic practice which still serve a healing purpose albeit without the deeper spiritual connection. Today we can reincorporate the spiritual practices to make the sweat house a very powerful healing environment.

Depending upon the ailment, as determined by a spirit medicine worker, a time is chosen. Should it be a certain Moon cycle, full or new, or rather peak daylight? We then add sonic drivers such as drums and rattles. Maybe certain cleansing and healing herbs are used by the shaman within the sweat house. Songs are sung, offerings are made and ancestral spirits are invoked for help and healing. We combine these elements within the wet environment of the sweat house, with drumming and during peak hours for a very powerful healing session symbolic of the mothers womb. We return to the womb to be ‘reborn’ whole once again.

A night time sweat house during a full moon draws up the water, emotions, thoughts and the spirit. The very drawing energy of the full moon can help release blockages that are deep seated. A somatic release can be experienced by sweat house participants. These releases from the very depths of ones being come out in a seemingly uncontrolled manner. A somatic release should be welcomed rather stifled. Never feel embarrassed to cry, sob or curl up into a ball during a somatic release. Allow it to leave you unhindered. This is big medicine work which an experienced shaman should be present to help guide. The power of the full moon should be allowed to draw up and out all that which lies hidden below!

A daytime sweat house during peak daylight can boost physical energies such as strength, endurance and recovery. Yet again, we bring our sonic drivers, herbals, songs and shamanic practices into the sweat house workings but during the peak daylight hours. Our aim is to manifest a degree of physical healing by contrasting the womb space of the sweat house with that of the outside. We become reborn in the light as we rush outside to immerse ourselves in the waters. The waters that glimmer with the Suns rays. Our eyes squinting, barely opening, as that of a newborn. It is a feeling that need be experienced to be appreciated. Though I should note for clarity that one need not be ill to attend a sweat house. It is a beneficial regular practice for overall well being.

We go into the sweat house to reach through to the Otherworld. Into the unseen world wherein our helping spirits, ancestors and forebears reside. We bring a bridge, the shaman, along with all of his or her tools. We use the energies available to us which will be the best medicine for the ailment. Sun, Moon, herbals and so forth. The material of this world holds throughout it the immaterial. The seen and the unseen are one in animism. In the shamans world all are connected. The shaman is the bridge that further connects this world with that of the other for help and healing.

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