There are many types and lengths of Lodge ceremonies, but the simplest and most powerful is the Purification Lodge known as the Inipi Ceremony. It consists of four “doors”, or rounds, after which the door flap is opened. At the beginning of each round, heated rocks are brought in, and herbs (sweet grass, sage and cedar) are sprinkled on them along with water, which creates a great steam referred to as Grandfather's Breath. The Wichasha Wakan's (Holy Man's) prayers, the sacred songs and the intense purifying steam transport one from a small, dark hut to the vast cathedral of the inner world. This intimate space, crowded with other seekers, becomes the Earth Mother's womb where she nurtures all her children and a high altar where we offer our prayers and small sufferings to the Creator in grateful thanksgiving.
The discomforts of extreme heat and sweating somehow detach the mind from its narrow identification with the body and create a connection with an expanded vision of one's self, one's purpose and one's relation to the conscious world and to the Spirit world. The leader, or Holy Man, or Holy Woman, is the vital balancer of energies, positive and negative, the energy of the People in the Lodge and of the Spirits who also enter.
Prayers, sacred songs and teachings are shared during the cermony. Personal inner issues can emerge through one's physical position in the lodge, the position of each lodge pole in relationship to its construction is related to a Spirit Power and its realm of influence. The Wheel of the lodge, which symbolized Creation, evolution and the aspiration toward Spiritual consciousness in the material world, locates the position of the Spirit God.