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what do they mean when they say "four directions, four winds," when talking about a sweat lodge?

9 COMMENTS

  1. Most likely North, South, East and West.
    Blessings )O(
    I am not familiar with native traditions so this is only a guess on my part.

    • Yes I saw you have more knowledge on the four directions, I am currently a student in my first degree, looking for actual information, I’m learning what’s in m bloodline, cherokee and irish. if you would be so nice as to share your knowledge I would be most appreciative. please email me I look forward to speaking with you. 🙂

  2. Native Americans beleive 4 is a powerful number. There are
    4 directions [east,south,west and north]. 4 seasons [Spring,
    Summer, Fall and Winter].
    During contest at a powwow the contest song has 4 starts.
    In Sweat there is 4 rounds,,.4 colors of people [Black. White,
    Yellow, Brown].
    Sundance is 4 days, United States prez term is 4 years,
    4 quarters in footbal game, 4 tobacco ties and so on.
    To have one number missing such as in a Sweat then all is
    incomplete.

  3. The Medicine Wheel circle symbolizes all of life and the lives of individual beings as they express the power of the world through harmonious movements, and, as they are nourished by the spiral of constant circular motion of the wheel of Spirit.
    Medicine Wheel traditions vary from tribe to tribe. An example of a Medicine Wheel is one where the center of the wheel is bisected by two paths.
    The path from North to South is the road everyone travells in life; while, the path from East to West is the road individuals travel as they learn lessons, growing in Spirit.
    Native Americans believe in Four Directions (Four Powers, Four Quarters, Four Winds). They are four equally important ways of perceiving things in life and of pursuing knowledge.
    The Four Directions are the four cardinal points of the circle, each of which represent different power essences of nature, seasonal rhythms, and stages of life.
    These Four Directions are North (Wisdom, White, Buffalo, Maturity, Strength and Stamina); East (Peace, Gold, Eagle, Elder, Clarity and Illumination; South (Expansion, Green, Mouse, Infancy, Wholesomeness and Expectation); and West (Nourishment, Black, Bear, Youth, Introspection and Authenticity).
    Rattles are used by Elders during ceremonies to call the Four Powers to help those who seek healing, cleansing, and guidance. Rattles are also shaken to summon the Spirit of Life for those who are sick.
    During smudging, a ritual burning of sacred herbs such as Sage (for purity of spirit), Sweetgrass (for healing ceremonies), and Cedar (for dispelling negativity), the smoke is first offered to the Four Powers, then to Mother Earth and Father Sky, and then a smudging prayer is recited.
    Afterwards, the hand or a feather is used to direct a few curls of smoke, imbued with the fragrance and spiritual energy of the sacred herbs, to the people, places, or objects that need cleansing.
    The Sweatlodge ceremony (which usually includes prayers, songs, chants, and drumming) releases all impurities and sends them out on the Four Winds.
    During the Pipe Ceremony, the Elder puts four pinches of tobacco in the bowl of the sacred pipe and offers a pinch to each of the Four Directions.
    Afterwards the pipe holder asks the Spirits to come and join in the smoking of the sacred pipe and to pass the participants prayers and requests on to Great Spirit and then the sacred pipe is passed from person to person in the circle.
    The Sacred Hoop symbolizes the Circle of Life and the power of the circle matrix that is the creative foundation of the universe. The sky, the planet, the sun, the stars, the moon, the whirling wind, the nests of birds, the tepees, the seasons, and life cycles follow this circle round pattern.
    The Four Powers nourish the blossoming World Tree at the center of the Circle of Life. For the people to thrive and blossom, the Sacred Hoop must be whole and unbroken.

  4. I will share my first hand dream. Life was very hard for my people. I had tried everything I could think of to ask for the Grandfather and Grandmother to help me, but nothing changed. Finely I gathered my family and told them we were going together to top of the long slop hill and bless this good life we have shared.
    The next morning as the sun was about to rise we all were in place. My family and I were setting on top of slop Hill waiting. The air was mild and even warm as it breezed by my face. The sky was being lite up above our heads, and then sunrise occurred with a tiny bolt of light shooting across our circle and there was acry of delight.
    We said our prayes outloud and privately, because we as a family and our other brothers and sisters were suffering. Because we were in special circle, no one wept loudly but most of the woman and the children weeped openly.
    At each direction was a elder. And there task was to see, hear and smell what was in the direction in front of them.
    The first to cry out was the Elder who sat in the west. He said, behold the Eagle in the East!
    And we sat in awe for several minutes. Then the Eagle song was song. On the wind of the East the Eagle offers himself as a servant to the circle and ask the the family to pass him their prayers this morning and he will fly them up to Grandfather Grandmother singing the prayers in Eagle voice and thanking Great Spirit for All of our New Beginnings. And everyone weep we joy.
    The moment had just settled and I saw over the heads of my Elder and family sitting in the South a great horn raising and filled with all the vegtibales and things of the ground , Grass people an the and the corn people and tree people all of our daily food rose up and we felt joy. Also the trees that became our fire and our moss that offered great softness for the softness of our life and I was moved to tears flowing from eyes my eyes as I forgot the trouble as a smile was across my face and the bad feelings drained in to the earth.
    Then the Elder East cried up as a great Bear rose from the grass and brush and stood their looking with the power of integrity which all great bears seem to have. He roared a challege but we were all lost in thought and did not hear the bear. And I could see that he was satisfied of our intent on life and he lowered himself and walked slowly around us and disappeared in the trees and the family signed with prayer on there lips and majesty in there hearts.
    And so the Elder from the South rose up quickly and pointed to the North but said nothing as all eyes turned to see what was their behind me, but I already knew the answer, it was a black and white spotted owl and he was standing in the snow looking straight down in the direction of the earth beneith his feet and then he slowy raised he head looking directed at each of us in the eye, and we each bend over and kissed the earth and danced for sky. We sang for the moon and we prayed to the Sun and we looked into the heart of life and saw that it was not done; We saw a future and a way through are recent difficult journey, and felt good. And then we got up and cleaned to top of slop hill and started our journey home. And it was good.

  5. A sweat lodge is used in a traditional way to cleanse the body (of toxins), the mind (of negatives), and to heighten the spirit. It is to come into a balanced relationship with our Earth, our Self, and the community of Life that is around us. It is a healing ceremony.
    The sweat lodge is usually built by water. Guidance is asked for before building it, as to where to build it. The area that it to be built on is then smudged (cleansed) before it is built. There are 4 different types of willow that are used which is for the 4 levels of understanding and spirituality. Usually 13 poles are used for the 13 moons and an extra pole for the Bear. It is about 10 ft. in diameter with a pit in the middle (the hand of the Creator).
    There are 4 directions to place the door although it’s usually faces the East, where the beginning of life comes from each day (sunrise). Two poles are placed in the ground, then they move to the left (always to the left), then 2 poles are placed in the South, two poles at the West and two poles to the North. Also it where the four winds come from. In this way, the main poles will serve as to where the strength will come from to hold it together. All people, of all color, of all creed, of all nations, are welcome.

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