The Sweat Lodge is a purification ceremony, it is a place to cleanse and connect with nature, the elements and the spirit. The sweat lodge is a covered dome created out of bent willow saplings.
During the sweat lodge hot volcanic stones are placed in a central pit in the dome and dowsed with water and herbs, creating a therapeutic steam.The combination of heat and steam is incredibly cleansing and has many health benefits. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually this also acts as a catalyst, and, as it gets hotter in the sweat lodge, issues may be brought to light which we are able to see with more clarity bringing us a greater level of insight into who we really are.
This process is incredibly beneficial and helps us to review our lives on all levels; our relationship with ourselves, our friends and family and with the greater world. Through the lodge we are able to find our centre and balance, enabling us to approach our lives in an honest and courageous way.
Cost for Sweat Lodge – £60 (plus online booking fee of £1.95)
At Turtle Lodge we draw inspiration from many traditions, but have our roots in the Mayan tradition of ‘temescals’ (sweat lodges). We use knowledge from many sources, but the main source is the inner primordial knowledge and wisdom which exists within us all. The Sweat Lodge is very much a spontaneous event, but generally involves story telling, visualisation, meditation, singing and chanting. The duration of the lodge does vary, but it usually lasts between 3 and 4 hours which is broken up into ‘rounds’ of approximately 20 – 30 minutes. After the sweat lodge, everyone shares food around the fire (baked potatoes, Veg Curry or similar and hot drinks are included). It is important to have this period of relaxation after the lodge.
What you need to bring:
- 2 towels (one for sitting on in the lodge and one to dry yourself with afterwards)
- swimsuit or equivalent (to wear in the lodge)
- warm clothing for afterwards
- food/drink to share with everyone around the fire after the lodge (no alcohol please)
- flowers/white candles/incense for the altar (optional)
- drinking water to share in the lodge
We recommend that you have a restful evening prior to the lodge and that you keep the evening after the lodge completely free of engagements.
We also ask that all mobile phones be switched off.
The Sweat Lodge is now based in Leicestershire. If you decide to come to the Sweat Lodge please use the directions and details of the Sweat Lodge location that we will send you. Please don’t use the address for the Sweat Lodge on Google Maps because it’s the old one which we are waiting for Google to update.
More about sweat lodges
The sweat lodge has a strong connection to creation, the lodge itself representing the womb of mother earth and the rocks representing our ancestors. Within the sweat lodge we feel very protected and nurtured making it easy for us to get in touch with our inner self. We are able to look very deep within and are shown parts of ourselves that may have been forgotten or parts that may be out of balance. At the same time we feel a strong connection to our ancestors, to the whole of humanity, to nature and to the elements – a connection which is always there, but which is all too often forgotten.
This means that as well as a physical cleanse from the heat, steam and medicinal herbs, we also get a mental and spiritual cleanse. We are able to let go of old patterns of behaviour through achieving a state of mental clarity enabling us to see who we really are and understand our true path in life.
Turtle Lodge started running sweat lodges at Bestwood Country Park in May 2003. We had been regularly attending sweat lodges and workshops run by Roland Torikian in Surrey since January 2000. Roland trained for 5 years in Chiapas Mexico and used sweat lodges, or ‘temescals’ as the Maya call them, in his work as a ‘curandero’ (healer). We also attended ceremonies with Roland at San Cristobal in Chiapas Mexico and at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in December 2001. Following this Roland went back to live in Mexico in 2002 and with Roland’s blessing myself and a few others, began running a sweat lodge in Worthing and then in Hastings.
In 2003 having a young daughter and a baby on the way we decided the time had come to try and establish a more local sweat lodge. We approached Bestwood Country Park and they kindly agreed to let us hold sweat lodges in the park. As well as the sweat lodges we also held a number of weekend workshops. Over the years the Rangers at the park were incredibly supportive and welcoming.
Sadly after nearly 11 happy years at Bestwood Country Park, we had to take the decision to move because of vandalism at the park. Our friends at Indigo Brave Land, Wensor Bridge Farm kindly agreed to let us hold our Spring Equinox Sweat Lodge there in March 2014 and we were there for a magical 20 months on the banks of the river Devon. In November 2016 we did our last sweat lodge at Wensor Bridge Farm because unfortunately our friends at Indigo Brave had to move on.
Since June 2014 we had held some evening sweat lodges at Ransom Wood near Mansfield and in 2016 we held our first daytime sweat lodge there for the Winter Solstice. From that time upto August 2019 we held many Sweat Lodges, Retreats and also started running the wonderful Turtle Lodge Festival in the beautiful surrounds of Ransom Wood and the 5 Elements suite.
In September 2019 the Sweat Lodge moved to Enderby in Leicestershire where I grew up and my parents still live. It is now based on a beautiful piece of land on a friends small holding in Enderby.
Another important member of the team at the Sweat Lodge is Kara McArdle. As the Fire Keeper she is responsible for tending the fire and bringing the ancestors into the Sweat Lodge. You will see her brandishing a pitch fork trying not to singe her eyebrows as she plucks stones from the middle of the fire.
Kara is an experienced practitioner in her own right. She teaches Dynamic Yoga running group classes within Nottinghamshire and offers 1 to 1 sessions by appointment. Kara also runs yoga workshops at the Sweat Lodge Warrior Retreat each year in August. As well as Yoga workshops she also holds Red Tent Circle Workshops for women and for children in her tipi at her home in Notts. For more information please visit her website: