The Divine Feminine in Sweat Lodge
Unless otherwise noted, all content Copyright, Neva J. Howell
Related article: Personal Sacred Experience
Spiritual Acceleration Question on Ceremonial Sweat Lodge:
I got this email from a lady who had requested the free spiritual ebook I offer on my website……
Oh thank you Neva. You just gave me a whole perspective about women being barred from sweat lodge during menstruation. That they shouldn’t be or don’t have to be.
I never felt right about it and wondered what bad could she do during a ceremony. Then I thought that it must be because she does have built up negativity in her and during menstruation it can be amplified as it tries to get out of her and there might not be too many men who could deal with it.
Do you think this is the situation? In that case her healing could be mush deeper because at the time of her menstruation she is more open and everyone is done a disservice by keeping her out of the sweat at this time. And thanks very much for writing this ebook I only read a little so far but will read more. I’d love to know what you think.
ps. The book referred to above is one I used to offer free, until it’s time of usefulness passed.
The first thing I need to say, emphatically, is that I am not a teacher of Native traditions. I have had experiences with the Lakota, Pueblo and other indigenous tribes and I’ve also had my own Sacred experiences with the Good Red Road. I believe my own experiences to be just as valid as anyone elses but they are mine, and not necessarily in synch with what a particular tribal member might say about a ceremony.
I respect the Native paths and understand the concern of the Elders that the ancient ways be preserved. I believe this was vital in the past and I believe the time for holding ourselves apart by doctrine, ceremonial rigidity or religious structure are gone. We are One and no one group has all the pieces to this gift we are giving ourselves …. Divine Beings of Light walking the earth together, each seeing Truth and Beauty in the path of the other and walking along those different paths long enough to integrate the Sacred Truth within each one.
I believe the true reason menustrating women are kept from sweats may be that the sheer force of the Divine Feminine Energy in what is (again, in my experience of many, many sweat lodges) typically a masculine-led ceremony is sensed as counter-productive to the ceremony. Most Sweat Lodges I’ve participated in have been led by men. Again, I am not saying this as a teacher of Native ways but from my own experience.
There is validity to maintaining balance of male and female energies in ceremony, of course, depending on the purpose of the ceremony and the spiritual vision of the one leading it.
There is also truth to the massive influence of the Divine Feminine in any ceremony.
In my experience, in Lodge, when the White Buffalo Calf Woman energy is present, it’s all-pervasive. When She arrives, She has her way.
There are elements of both male and female energy in every Sweat Lodge, of course, the fire representing the male divine and the water the female divine. The best Sweat Lodge leaders I’ve had interaction with seem to instinctively know how to blend these elements very skillfully but, from what I’ve heard men say, it is harder to keep a balance between the two if there is a woman in the Lodge on Moontime.
Moontime Energies Considered Negative by Some:
Unfortunately, rather than simply seeing the Moontime Energies as counterproductive to Sweat Lodge Ceremony, I’ve heard other men say that they did feel it brought a negative energy in, one that could interfere with their ability to complete the Lodge.
Some men definitely seem to consider the menstrual cycle a time of being unclean and that is spiritually unfortunate and inaccurate. While on physical levels, Moontime is a cleansing time for the body, on spiritual levels it is an intensely potent time of receptivity and also connection. A woman has the ear of Great Mystery most intensely when she is in the Moontime energy and honoring the Moon Lodge way.
I don’t know enough about the ways of the indigenious peoples to speak of the relationship between the Grandfather Sky Energy and the Mother Earth Energy but I noticed that they usually focus on one or the other in ceremony, not both together. For large periods of time, in the evolution of our planet, a lot of major religions have done this. At that time, the combined energy may have been too much for the safe and effective evolution of the global family.
Now, there are many, many signs that it is the time. Churches who used to ban women from holding positions of direct ministerial power are now allowing it. Many on the Good Red Road are supporting the calling forth of the Divine Feminine and Grandmother Energies and recognize how vital it is that these energies are fully supported by the Masculine now. Women in third world countries are starting to uncover their faces and take positions of power. Others are given voice now through the internet (which I consider the closest we could come in third-dimensional form to providing global access to the Akashic Records – the internet is becoming a live, energetic being) in places where the holding down of the Divine Feminine is still occurring.
These are amazing times we live in and I’m so grateful to be here now.