The Sweat Lodge at Clophill

October 8, 2013


The sweat lodge is a place to cleanse the body, the mind, emotions and of course the spirit. The Clophill Centre is working towards making ceremony and ritual part of everyday life in a gentle, effective and simple way. It does not matter if you experience and understand that as a purely cognitive and physical process, as part of the trance or human inner guidance system or if you connect at a deep spiritual level. It is the cleansing and the time to do it with that you reward yourself with that matters. It is a time to become mindful, of yourself and others, so etiquette is simple, gentle, but important.

Sweat Lodges have been common in Briton and the British tradition it seems is similar to others around like the Scandinavian and Native American, but (of course) we have our own style, way of doing things and work with the ways and energies of this land.

Clophill honours the beauty of the old ways, but recognises that the new and developing ways, especially in psychology and healing, mean we choose to bring our unique approach to the work. In that work we seek to bring together the language of those with a purely cognitive approach and those with a spiritual way. We respect both and the democracy of the individual to work as best suits them.

Part of the purpose of the Clophill Centre is to find the ways in which those of us who live in the land (We call Albion) can connect with this land. We are seeking to do that and we do not claim that this is the best way, right way or that it follows any traditions or specific ways (for which we understand there are many). You are part of the unfolding and development of our ceremony and ways. Thank you for that.

During the process a Fire will be lit, Stones will be heated, the Earth will be sat on and Water wiill meet the hot stones and the Air to meet steam. So who is that runs that process for you?

Fire Keeper and Guardian of the Land: Richard Diss

Richard Diss is your host and guardian of the land. He is an initiated Fire Keeper within the Sacred Fire Community and has many years of experience working the land.The Sacred Fire Community works from Clophill so please be aware that offerings are in keeping with that tradition are honoured.

Pouring the waters: Keith Abrahams

The pouring of the waters is important, because it regulates the heat in conjunction with the elements of course, which is the metaphor for your emotional processing too. Keith is qualified to hold those emotions.

Meet Richard and Keith

Like in all healing ceremonies, it is important to know who you have entrusted yourself to. Feel free to ask Richard or Keith anything you wish to, who will, when you first meet for the first time, tell you about the work that they do. If at any time you ever (in any healing situation at all), have any questions or wish to slow down, withdraw or go home, you should do so confidently and with our honour and respect

Purpose; respect, release and replenish yourself and the land: You and Clophill

The sweating process is designed to relax and loosen the individual up and It is a time to respect yourself, your feelings and your development, and allow the emotional “stuff” that may come up to process through. You can contact and speak with Keith anytime that you need to.

The sweat is a time to just be and replenish. Keith will talk more about intention and attention and how we bring that to the work, but intention, if it is clean, will lead to a clean outcome, providing the attention is right. There is no need to test your endurance and our etiquette is gentle and set out below.

We bring attention through (what Jung might call) our Body (the five senses), our Mind (your thoughts and imagination), Intuition (you guessed it! Or did you already know it?) and our Emotions. These are represented by the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (all of which we meet in the lodge!) and the directions, North, East, South and West.

We will also meet the (Jungian psychology) Archetypal energies, some might call it our imagination and others may call Saints, Angels, Guides or imagination – it’s all good and of course we meet the Ancestors, those who have done the work before us  and of course ….. we meet ourselves and each other! We call this our “inner guidance system”. This adds three more directions to be mindful of, all that is Above, all that is Below and all that is Within. But more on that when you wish and speak to Keith and Richard.

During the process, respect for ourselves, each other and the land is essential. Similarly, Confidentiality for and with each other is expected, vital and will be honoured.

Monies: is the energy exchange

Your contribution pays for the food, wood & the use and upkeep of the land and its services. This is a ceremony and our time and energy is gifted as part of honouring the land.

For us a Ceremony is about:

  1. A subtle change in consciousness; for new sources of insight, wisdom & strength (from our inner guidance system.)
  2. It is Sacred in nature of time, space and a celebration of the here and now
  3. Being a Special time for us and the beneficent sources of healing that are open to all of us, if we bring our attention to it.
  4. An opportunity for deeper interconnectedness

It is suggested that you do not eat for about two hours before joining the lodge, but that you drink water. We will eat afterwards and if you wish, bring something small to share. Please bring some wood that you have gathered as an offering for the fire.

Etiquette: this is the Clophill Way

The Clophill Land has a strong connection with Fire and the fire is honoured too. We build the lodge, fire and place the stones on the fire together, with mindfulness. We build and honour and altar, which forma a connection to the lodge. You will be asked not to pass through the line connecting the lodge as it is considered part of our connection.

We go into the lodge Spiritually naked, but physically clothed. Wear shorts, towels (bring a spare towel to dry yourself with), dinner suits or the like that make you feel comfortable with yourself. As you enter the ceremony there will be a cleansing process, called smudging, which helps us to bring our attention to the work.

We enter clock wise, leave anti clockwise and mark our respect by offering up our work as we enter for “All our relations” which for us means everything we are connected to.

The full lodge normally lasts for 3 to 4 rounds. Between each round the door is opened and water is brought in. You should only stay as long as you wish and can leave by simply asking “Door Please” at any point and leave ideally anti clockwise unless the shortest route is essential. Ask for help if you wish.. All we ask is that you only return to the lodge when there is a change of round. The lodge is about being mindful to others too and we should honour others views and space too. That is the exit protocol.

In the rounds we may sing, chant, talk, tell stories and share jokes or personal things. Participate as seems fitting for you.  It will be exactly as you need.

Confidentiality & respect for each other.

Health & Safety

Each of us responsible for appropriate behaviour, ours and others, it comes with the risks associated with everyday being outside, working with others and with hot and wet things.  If it is dark & wet; please tred carefully and use torches.

The lodge is about connecting with nature and is outside bring suitable clothing to honour the season and the time of day, plus implements you may need (torches, spare clothes etc) . Take Jewellery off and wear losing fitting garments.

There is fire, water and hot stones (which have never, but may splinter, which is why they are checked). We will ask you to acknowledge this risk and we will talk to you about it if you have any further questions.

Your work is to honour yourself. It is not an endurance test so leave anytime you wish following the Exit protocol above.

Drink water, so as to avoid dehydration & exhaustion. Be aware of the signs and ask for help if needed. It needs only be a gentle process.

Please advise us of any medical conditions that we may need to take account of; asthma, heart, blood pressure or physical support you may need.

We looking forward to introducing you to the beauty of the the Clophill land, the ways of the lodge and to new parts of yourself.

With warmth and wetness,

Richard & Keith aka Eisba