One of our exclusive offerings is for participants to experience an authentic purification ceremony called Metutsiani in the Cree language, commonly known as the Sweat Lodge Ceremony. This cleansing sacred ceremony is facilitated by Don Beacham who is a long time practitioner of Cree spiritual teachings. In the past thirty years, Don has conducted Sweat Lodge Ceremonies in Canada as well as in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the UK.
The Sweat Lodge ceremony is a full-day event that facilitates participants to reconnect with themselves, their higher-self, and the ancestors. The Sweat Lodge is a place of spiritual refuge with potential physical and mental healing.
As awareness and knowledge of indigenous traditions and culture increases, so does our honour and respect for these ways. We are happy and honoured to share these teachings with our brothers and sisters from all cultural backgrounds.
This respectful introduction to indigenous spirituality requires humility and openness. Bring a positive mind and approach this process in a humble and respectful manner.
You will be surprised at the multifaceted benefits of the drumming circles, the sweat lodge ceremony, and the holistic indigenous worldview conveyed through this introduction.
“Aboriginal Teachings are about a way of Life”
All our gatherings begin and end with a medicine wheel drumming circle ceremony facilitated by our resident practitioner of Cree spirituality, Don Beacham (Wapun Muskwa).
What is a drum circle?
Drumming has been used as a form of recreational and supportive music-making worldwide. Music therapists use various forms of group drumming to reach therapeutic goals of nurturing social connections, and getting in tune with oneself and each other by sharing rhythm.
Despite some overlaps, a typical drum circle is very different in its form and content from a drumming ceremony of the First Nations culture. The drumming ceremony among the First Nations uses Indigenous cultural drums and rattles, primarily focusing on the spiritual rather than the musical aspects.
What is a medicine wheel drumming circle?
The medicine wheel drumming circle is a type of prayer ceremony in many Native American cultures. This ceremony is likened to a sweat lodge, but without the sweat. It recognizes the four cardinal directions as spiritual powers with specific energies and honours them in each of its four rounds.
The medicine wheel drumming circle ceremony is facilitated by a spiritual practitioner who leads the participants, allowing the energy of each direction in the rounds to come into the circle to facilitate prayers and healing.
The leader facilitates a spiritual journey through the simple and steady beats of the drum. S/he then uses them as a lifeline to find the way back to the world of ordinary consciousness.
The Salal Drumming Circle
Don Beacham self-identifies as Cree and his drumming ceremony is guided by the Nehiyawak teachings related to the medicine wheel. Don’s interpretation of the Medicine Wheel includes the way we see ourselves and our relationship with life-cycles, seasons, and our connection to our ancestors.
In Cree teachings, the four directions in the Medicine Wheel also represent the four planes of existence - spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical – which need to be balanced to function as human beings.
There is no beginning or end within a circle, emphasizing a sense of equality and balance. Don’s drumming circles are thus open to everyone without any barriers. His drumming circles are powerful, inclusive and nurturing.
Don uses orally-transmitted ancient sacred songs and drum/rattle beats to instill a sense of peace and connection with the self, the circle, and beyond.
The medicine wheel drumming circle connects you with the gifts of the four directions to cherish and ground yourself.
Learn from the teachings of the drum, the circle that is the drum.
“Aboriginal Teachings are about a way of Life”
The introduction to Reiki workshop is for those who are coping with stress, illness, turmoil, or just interested in learning a tool of healing. Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of healing and self-improvement that anyone can use - for themselves, family, friends and others.
What is Reiki?
Reiki helps activate the body’s natural healing abilities by means of subtle touch. Reiki sessions are known to induce peace and relaxation, which invites increased vitality into all aspects of our being. The recognition of these benefits has led to hospitals - such as the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Centre - to introduce Reiki in their treatment and palliative care programs.
Reiki was founded in Japan and has been practiced as a ‘hands-on’ technique that promotes healing. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which loosely means "Great/ Universal Spirit or Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". Mikao Usui Sensei started teaching Reiki in 1922. Based on the concept that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us all, if one's Ki is disrupted, blocked or low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress.
Reiki is not a religion. It has no dogma. Reiki is not dependent on belief systems at all, and works whether you believe in it or not. A Reiki treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats all aspects of a person including body, emotions, mind and spirit, creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and well-being.
Anneli Twan (Reiki Master since 1984)
Anneli has been practicing Reiki and giving treatments since age ten, when she received Reiki level one from Hawayo Takata in 1979. Mrs. Takata, who originally brought Reiki to North America in the 1970’s, learnt Reiki from Churijo Hayashi (a retired Naval Medical Officer). Hayashi Sensei was taught by the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui Sensei, who also entrusted him to expand and teach Reiki.
Mrs. Hawayo Takata made twenty two Reiki Masters in North America during her life-time, which included Anneli's mother, Wanja Twan. Wanja made Anneli a Reiki Master in 1984 in order to assist her with the very popular Reiki classes she was teaching. Consequently, at the age of sixteen, Anneli taught her first Reiki class in 1984 in Denmark. Since then, Anneli has travelled to Australia, England, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, the USA and Canada, teaching and speaking at Reiki gatherings.
“A Handful of Health” - Hawayo Takata
The Sweat Lodge forms part of the ceremonial life of many First Nations people in North America. Even within one territory, there are many differences in the way the ceremony is conducted. Sweats vary from purification and cleansing sweats to healing sweats. Other types of sweats can include clan sweats, sweats for vision quests, sweats for sun dancers, and sweats for when you seek your spirit name.
The Sweat Lodge has been called “The most powerful place (space) in the world”. When you enter the dome-shaped lodge, you are symbolically entering the sacred womb of Mother Earth. The frame of the Sweat Lodge is made of a specific number of Willow or Vine Maple saplings - the ribs of Mother Earth.
Inside the Sweat Lodge, the participants sit in a circle around a central pit where heated lava- rocks are placed. When you enter the Sweat Lodge you are seeking the help of the Creator, your ancestors and the spirits. Helping spirits are called into the Sweat Lodge by means of ancient songs, sacred drums and rattles. At the end of the ceremony the spirits are thanked and sent home. When you come out of the Sweat Lodge your spirit feels new and alive. People feel lighter and cleansed, and some feel the healing energies and an awareness of all of creation and its beauty.
The Lodge Man
The Lodge-(wo)man is a person who has trained for many years to earn the right to run a Sweat Lodge ceremony. They have received the teachings and have gone through ceremonies and fasting to develop the gift that is given to them. The Lodge man/woman knows the protocol and history of their lodge and are able to explain it clearly when asked.
Don Beacham has been running Sweat Lodge ceremonies for over thirty years. He belongs to the Norway House First Nation in Northern Manitoba. He has followed Native Spirituality since 1984, walking the Red Road (no drinking or drug use). His Cree name Wapun Muskwa (White Bear) was given to him in a Shaking Tent ceremony. He is a pipe-carrier and a Sweat Lodge Man. Don enjoys sharing the teachings of his elders, and stories of his years of experience with people who are on their healing journeys. For many years he worked in the prisons in BC, assisting indigenous inmates with their spirituality and guiding them towards healing and reintegration into society. He has counseled people from all walks of life, on issues of alcohol and drug addiction, relationships, depression, suicide and trauma. Combining his knowledge of western and indigenous teachings, Don has also facilitated many support groups and circles on family violence, family of origin issues, and marital issues.
“Aboriginal Teachings are about a way of Life”
Historically made throughout Asia - especially in Nepal, India, Japan, China and Korea – singing bowls have been used for meditation, music, relaxation, and general well-being. In recent years, along with gracing altars and meditation rooms, singing bowls are now being used in relaxation therapies.
At the Salal Sound Meditation Sessions, you are welcome to test the spiritual and physical benefits of an antique Tibetan Singing Bowl.
What is a Singing Bowl?
In various ancient Asian traditions, singing bowls have been used as a signal to begin and end periods of silent meditation, during chanting to mark the passage of time, or in traditional rites and ancestor worship. Along with Naad Yoga - which uses mantras to harness sound, breath, and rhythm to command our brain, body, emotions, and actions – singing bowls have been incorporated in sound healing techniques in modern times.
Antique singing bowls produce harmonic overtones creating an effect that is unique to the instrument. The subtle yet complex multiple harmonic frequencies are caused by variations in the shape and the metal composition of the hand-made singing bowls. The fundamental frequency and the multiple audible (and inaudible) harmonic overtones of the signing bowl is said to resonate with Naad - the essence of all sound.
Evidence of Physical Benefits
Scientists from the National Institutes of Health and the department of Psychiatry at UCLA conducted studies on sound healing techniques to find significant reduction in depressive symptoms and increase in mental health scores among participants.
The department of Medical Oncology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York encourages sound therapy alongside conventional medicine, observing that relaxed patients have lower stress hormones, stronger immune systems, and better tools to cope with the psychological and physical effects of their disease and treatment.
The Salal Sound Meditation Sessions
Many spiritual traditions employ audible sound to connect to the inherent mysticism of their practices. In all of these traditions, ‘the sound’ is also a reminder of the infinite depths of silence.
“Listen to the silence”
Periodically, we offer cooking classes inspired by our common ancient human heritage of treating food as medicine. The Ayurvedic cooking classes aim to promote a healthy, balanced, and eco-friendly approach to nourish our mind-body system. Developed in India more than three thousand years ago, Ayurveda is regarded as the world’s oldest holistic healing system. The focus of Ayurveda is on promoting good health and wellness through a delicate balance of the mind, body, and spirit. The Ayurvedic system believes that all living things are made up of five basic elements – fire, earth, air, water and ionized-space (plasma) – which combine in the human body and is characterized by three doshas (bases) -Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. Your health and well-being is related to the balance of the doshas. Basic principles of Ayurveda helps in understand ones mind-body type, and allow you to make optimal choices about diet, exercise, supplements, and other aspects of your lifestyle.
Ayurvedic cooking is nutritious, balanced, and tasteful. In each meal, it contains all six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) which ensures that all major food groups and nutrients are included. Making you feel satiated, and curbing the urge to snack and overeat.
Classes or workshops can be organized upon request.