All these ceremonies bring us closer to the Creator and remind us of our purpose in this life, and to be grateful for the things we have.
Midwinter Ceremony – in the middle of winter; starts a new cycle, the time when all things are new again, and will remind us that we are starting a new cycle.
Maple Syrup – at the end of spring
Thunder Dance – early summer; honors water life.
Moon Dance – early summer; pays respect to the Grandmother and to all female life. The Moon Ceremony will help us pay respect for Grandmother for working with us, for helping with the crops, for working with the female life, plant life, and the water life
Strawberry – early summer; pays respect to the medicine plants and healing powers
Planting Ceremony – early summer; acknowledges the food sources
Bean Dance – midsummer; honors this food
Green Corn Dance – midsummer; honors this food
Harvest Dance – end of summer; celebration and thanks for the harvest and for our good fortune of the year.
Moon Dance – early fall; pays respect to the Grandmother and to all female life
End of Seasons Ceremony – fall; prepares for the next cycle
In 1716 John Fontaine wrote in his journal the following description of Indian Sweat Lodges he saw while accompanying Alexander Spotswood and four Meherrin Indians during the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe expedition.
Between the town and the river, upon the river side, there are several little huts built with wattles, in the form of an oven, with a small door in one end of it; these wattles are plastered without side very closely with clay, they are big enough to hold a man, and are called sweating-houses. When they have any sickness, they get ten or twelve pebble stones which they heat in the fire, and when they are red-hot they carry them into these little huts, and the sick man or woman goes in naked, only a blanket with him, and they shut the door upon them, and there they sit and sweat until they are no more able to support it, and then they go out naked and immediately jump into the water over head and ears, and this is the remedy they have for all distempers.
Cherokee Sweat-Lodge, similar to what the Meherrin historically used.