Once a month the Sliammon elder John Louie welcomes us to participate in a traditional sweat ceremony. It’s a healing and teaching ceremony where they share their traditions and explain the customs around the sweat. The experience is explained as something natural, beautiful and exhilarating.
The tradition asks to bring tobacco for the ceremony as an offering to the fire to thank the creator and mother earth. The rocks used in the sweat are specifically from the Squamish area because they are lava rocks. Before the ceremony, the men are then smudged with sacred sage or cedar to help eliminate bad energy or thoughts.
The ceremony has four parts. Heat and steam are intensified with each part, which is shortened each time. The first part of the ceremony represents men and reflects the physical side and the second represents women and reflects emotions. The third is for the world around us and represents the mental side, while the fourth is for ourselves and our spirit.
After the ceremony, each man reflects back on his personal experience and spends time in deep thought. It is a very personal and spiritually charged journey. We are grateful to the Sliammon people for welcoming us into their traditions with open arms and heart. We are eternally grateful for this blessing.