The current Sweat Lodge structure is version 5 of a tradition we have had since 2006 when the first 15 passenger Lodge was built in the garden.
The framework is predominately wattle saplings with lengths of bamboo here and there.
We prefer to line the interior with hessian and there are a total of 800 bundles of African thatching grass covering the sturdy framework – enough to keep the heat in but allow the structure to breathe.
We keep the top of the Lodge open to the elements to keep the air circulating and some rain to fall inside, but on ceremony day, the dome is covered with blankets. Again, enough to keep the heat in, but still allowing a flow of air out.
We shot a time lapse of the latest build. Four days crushed into 1 minute in October 2015:
History of the Jazzfarm Sweatlodge
The Jazzfarm Sweat Lodge has changed little over the years. The original structure was built in 2006 by Gogo Dom du Bruyn and Eidin Griffin with bamboo and blankets and held 15 people (17 was very cosy).
We had some memorable, intimate evenings facilitated by characters from far and wide, from all walks of life.
Their beautiful structure was dismantled in the spring of 2009 to make way for a wider, more permanent structure that took up to 24 people.
Ni Nixiwaka constructed an amazingly symmetrical bamboo and wattle structure for Dom and Jules to thatch.
Every month or so we strive to pour a lodge and over the years so many different people, friends, sangomas and travellers from all over the world have facilitated the space.
We don’t follow any particular doctrine in the Sweat Lodge. However, The Jazzfarm Sweat Lodge is a sacred place… the people in the circle make it that way. As such, it is a serious affair and the space is respected. All beliefs from all over are welcomed within our Lodge. We never did count the nationalities we’ve had through the door….it’s been a rainbow South African story though….a rainbow of diverse, colourful people from far and wide.
By the time we pack 25-30 passengers inside, the heat to some becomes a secondary issue. The issue of sitting on a grass mat with little space is a whole discipline in itself. We usually cap the lodge at 25 passengers. Full enough to be a bit cramped, but packed with energy and spirit. The darkness of a Lodge is a great place to make a noise.
Maybe it’s just for the detox, maybe you’re in it for the mind clarification, maybe you’re getting over something or someone. There have been stag nights and a funeral ceremony . Whatever your reasons, we invite you along for the experience. Take yourself to your perceived limits and beyond. Get lost in the power of the ceremony, sing as loud as you want in the anonymity of the pitch black or just remain silent and meditate the heat away.
To all the newcomers out there and future friends of The Jazzfarm…
here are a few pointers on what to bring and what to expect:
You’ll need to be comfortable in the lodge. Bring a sarong, bathing suit or loose fitting clothes. We don’t encourage nudity in our lodge.
Eat mindfully and sparingly on the day. Keep your intake of all the bad things like sugar, caffeine and processed foods to a minimum.
A towel for after a plunge in the pool, and a set of dry clothes to change into.
We normally enter a lodge at about sunset and spend about 2 hours (cut into four 30 minute rounds) in ceremony. It varies from season to season.
You’ll be starving when we are finished. There is always a hot meal to fortify you for your journey home.
There is a suggested donation for each lodge. These donations vary from lodge to lodge depending on who is facilitating and the complexity of the ceremony. Donations cover costs for wood, food & facilitators travel. It is a donation. We’d love to see you at all of our Lodges and please do not let money keep you away. Leave what you can afford and thank you!