Seasonal Ceremonies are held at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre four times a year at each change of season. This time provides us all with an opportunity to be on the land, to honour and give thanks for all of creation, to have some quiet reflective time around the fire and to renew and refresh our mind, body and spirit.
The ceremony begins with the lighting of the sacred fire. This is the fire that will heat the grandfather and grandmother rocks that will be used in the sweat lodge. Participants will be invited to offer tobacco and prayers to the fire. A firekeeper or “scabe” tends the fire throughout the time to make sure it doesn’t go out. He/she also places the grandfather stones into the fire in preparation for the ceremony.
The sweat is led by one or more elders, each of whom have their unique way of teaching. There are four “rounds” of prayers and songs honouring each of the four directions. At each round some of the grandfather rocks are brought in. The door flap is closed for each round so that the lodge is womb-like.
For the sweat, you will need a towel to keep around your neck. Women should wear a long skirt and t-shirt or a flannel nightgown – a dress that allows you to sweat. Men wear shorts and a t-shirt. You will need dry clothes to change into after the sweat. Bring a drum if you have one and tobacco to offer the elder. The tobacco can be in a package or tied into a piece of red cloth.
If you don’t wish to go into the sweat lodge, you are invited to sit by the fire during the ceremony to offer support and prayers along with the firekeeper.
After the sweat, there will be a potluck Feast in the hall. Everyone is asked to bring a contribution of food to the feast. A “spirit plate” will be made up of bits of all the food and offered to the fire by the firekeeper. This is a way of honouring and giving thanks to the ancestors. The feast is a time of good food and good community.
Remember to Bring:
- Shorts (men); cotton nightgown or skirt/top (women)
- Potluck offering for the Feast
- Optional donation for the Centre – for wood, gas for elder, cleaning, etc.