Thank you for your interest in the Sweat Circles at FSG.
If you're interested in staffing, please also check out the staff info.
Tuesday and Wednesday (and maybe Monday) are devoted to setting up the sweat site; sweats begin Thursday morning and run through Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning is take-it-down-and-put-it-away time.
We hope to be running a pre-Sweat workshop every morning, and we encourage all pourers and staff to attend at least one session.
Our Name: “Sweat Circle.” When speaking generically, we tend to use the phrase “sweat circle,” not “sweat lodge,” since most of our sweats are not of American Indian traditions. We chose the word “sweat” because sweating is central to these ceremonies. We chose the word “circle” because we sit in the sweat in a circle and the circle is a sacred image in most FSA traditions.
Pourers will tend to refer to their individual sweats by the names used in their own traditions; e.g., Sun Bear pourers probably will say “sweat lodge,” Anglo-Saxons may say “Stone Bath,” Lakota pourers may say “Stone People’s Lodge” or Inipi, and so on.
Sweat Site Protocols. Even if your tradition allows casual talk, food, and/or smoking in the sweat area, we ask that you refrain from doing so for the following reasons:
Most of the paths our pourers follow entail quiet and introspection in the area;
We ask volunteers and staff to connect with the spirits of the place and to focus on whatever work they’re doing, and quiet facilitates that connection.
Even if your sweat is between rounds, another sweat is often in process in the second dome, and you’d be interrupting those prayers.
Clothing is Optional. The entire festival is clothing-optional. If your path requires or recommends clothing, please list your requirements on the Sweats submission form and indicate whether clothing is required or merely preferred, and any specifics, such as whether certain areas of the body must be covered.
Moontime Issues. As with clothing, you’re entitled to post any restrictions your path has; our structure does not presume energetic concerns.
Special Sweat Help. We will ask all those who want to sweat to work one 90-minute shift at the sweat site, preferably some time before their sweat. We always need more help than we get, and participants’ help is essential.
Speaking of Help: If you know anyone who’s willing work one or more 4-hour sweat workshifts, please have them contact the Sweats Coordinators. No experience is necessary; we can train just about anyone for most of the work. Many pourers already help out in addition to pouring, and if you can join in too, it’d be a big help.
Putting Stones on to Heat. When you arrive at the sweat area, please see the on-duty coordinator immediately. The coordinator will show you the places set aside for pouring supplies, waiting areas, etc., and can tell you who the head firekeeper is. The head firekeeper will fill you in on placing stones in the fire (we often have stones cooking for two to three different sweats at a time).
Timing, Timing, Timing. A major complaint has been that sweats don’t start and end on time. People often have time-sensitive needs like workshift, workshop, or ritual commitments. Also, one sweat running over delays subsequent sweats. So, please try to start and end your sweat(s) on time. A clock is kept in the sweat area, and you may ask the fire-keeper or door-keeper for time checks.
Pouring Your Sweat. Please make sure the coordinator knows you’re on site for your sweat in case folks have already begun to gather for your sweat. Quietly instruct the head firekeeper about your particular protocols for pulling and sweeping stones, etc. It’s up to you to approach the firekeepers, not for them to ask you. If you don’t specify, they will likely follow their own customs or training.
Special Instructions for Participants. Attendess to sign up for your sweat will be asked to bring a towel and a drinking cup. The sweat proposal form has a field you can use to indicate any special instructions or items you want people to bring to your sweat.
More Good Stuff to Know
Sweat Schedule. We build the schedule of sweats before the gathering, just like the P-Team builds the workshop schedule. This schedule will be available at the sweat site and at sweats sign-up (at HQ), and sweats will be listed in the “other locations” column on the grid.
Liability Forms. We have adapted a liability waiver form (thanks to Ivo Domínguez, Jr and Lynda Moore) for use at FSA sweats. This waiver reminds folks to tell pourers of health issues.
Emergencies. A first aid kit, radio, and fire extinguisher are at the sweat site. The radio can be used to summon help, including the medical personnel based at the Healer’s Hut. Illnesses or accidents must be reported to the Event