In the Irish countryside and in Northern Portugal, among so many buildings of the Bronze and Iron ages, it has been found some really interesting buildings with the same function as the Sweat tents so well known among the Lakota indians of Northern America, known as Medicine Lodges or Medicine Houses. These buildings like anyother similar ancient constructions in Finland, Sibéria, and other countries where Saunas existed, have the same function of ritual purification and to communicate with the spirits. These houses are all very similar in the way they work, a simple hole in the ground with tree trunks covered with earth and stones. In Northern Portugal and Galicia, both on Portuguese and Spanish soil, such buildings were found, dated from the Bronze and Iron Ages, when the Celts and the Celtic tribe of the Lusitanians lived there, it is known that these people took at least two steam baths per week, but this wasn’t just to clean the body, in truth it was more for religious and spiritual practices, for the purification of the body and to interact with the spirits of the elements, of fire, water, air and earth, all combined in one place and making steam, this also helped enter in trance and actually communicate with other spirits. After this long bath, making the body sweat and all the impurities of the body cleansed in a way to protect oneself from evil beings, the person would dive in cold water of the near by well or river to wash away any negativity in the body.
Nowadays we know about the ancient practices and even the rituals that take place in such occasions, because shamanic tribes still exist and use the same method, but unfortunatelly we don’t know what kind of sacred ritual was performed during these ceremonies in the Celtic culture, but it is interesting to see that worldwide people share the same habits, and that many European countries even share the same type of architectural style and the buildings have exactly the same function.
To know more about these ancient European practices we have to take a close look to the similar practices of the North American indians, or the Siberian peoples, to have a little idea about these steam baths with spiritual purposes, because unfortunatelly with the coming of Christianity, there practices were also banned, what seems to be a simple steam bath, was indeed a cause to pursuit those who did it.
It is possible that people might add hallucinogenic herbs in the process, so the steam might help to induce trance, some Indo-European tribes did it, and also the Eurasian tribe of the Scythians did it and there are accounts of it because their kingdoms spread all the way to Bulgaria.
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