By Anu Heinineva
Translated from Finnish by Kati Kortesalmi
”In Finnish folklore the sauna combined live generations and excluded ancestors. The ancestors thought to visit from the other side to this side right in the sauna. Even today, when leaving the sauna, the last water scoop may be thrown to the ancestor or the saunas leprechaun – same time ensuring the sauna logs will drying.”
Sauna has been a sacred place in Finnish culture and there has even been some kind of shamanistic ceremony. Some plants growing in Finland were soaked in the water before going to the sauna. When water was thrown into the sauna stove, it was giving visions. In addition to bathing, the sauna birch whisk was an important healing instrument for whip evil spirits out of the human body. The sauna elf was considered good and the spirits of the sauna were also important figures in the old culture. Although sauna bathing has become very everyday for many modern humans, there are still subconscious beliefs and ways we may not even be able to imagine come to the ancestors mysticism covered world. I remember myself being a little bit of afraid of childhood outdoor sauna when it was empty. These may well be memories of life a few hundred years ago in Finland. It always felt that some invisible force was working in it. Sauna has definitely always been for myself my own church, where I retreat to meditate and to purify from negative energies. I’ve also heard often for customers the stories that in the sauna the intuition fly best!
Recently, I have receive a strong messages from the root of Finnishness, and with this my home sauna has received many reforms. The spirit world has also talked to me a lot about sauna. The old Finnish spirit came to tell that Sauna was once a place where old generations taught the young. Even today, many important business and life-related decisions are being sift throug into heat! Before in the sauna was often faced deceased spirits, and perhaps the same traditions continue in the unconscious levels, because somehow for every situation there is to be found that the best solution, just like it itself.
I believe that you have also experienced like me the way that when you are about to go in sauna the head is full of frustrated thoughts and anger comes out of the ears of smoke, but suddenly there, in the sauna, the heart fulfills a good will and new fresh, far-reaching ideas. Perhaps it is the old spirit of grandmothers and -fathers, who comes from the spirit world to whisper in our ears beautiful encouraging words. However, in the heart of Finnishness, are the very live good will and kindness for everyone! Before in the sauna were healed sick, cupping, give birth, say the love spells, and washed dead for his last trip. There has been a saying in Finland: ”If the sauna and tar are not helping, then the disease is for dead.” In special holidays, the purpose of the sauna has been to cleanse the body, mind and soul. Holidays can be mentioned as midsummer sauna and christmas sauna. Illnesses were believed to have come from bad spirits, and with the spells and sauna birch whisk bathing it was believed that these spirits would be expelled.
Elias Lönnroth tells about healing ways (this section is freely translated):
”At first the sauna was warmed by thunderstorms or shore-lined trees. The heating was kept in secret so that the envious and other mischievous would not have a hint for healing. The land of the three or nine houses were taken a three branched birch sticks, called ”kirovarpu”. The wizard was equipped with three surface splint and three woodchip taken from the saunas doorstep. After came in the sauna, the wizard first wiped the walls of the sauna, the roof and the floor, to exorcise all the envious and other mischievous to escape. After that, or even later, the wizard could have taken a knife or other sharp steal that she/he would bite three time to harden the spirit. He mutter quietly at the words of water, fire and steam. Then the wizard began to bathe and massage the sick. At the same time, the most dramatic part of healing began. The wizard began with a loud high voice, to spits and screech her/his teeth, thump legs to the floor, or jumping up, and his twisting body in a way, as she/he was in the rage, interrupting his spelling with deep sighs and sounding ”hoh hoh or öh öh öh let the spirit breath”. The purpose of fury was to get the wizards spirit to rise and harden to the words of spells. And when the wizard then was ecstatic she/he shouted the spell so fiercely and with a frightening voice that, at that stage, the sick person was already shaking for fear. After bathing, the wizard cut the birch whisk into small pieces and hid them under the floor. According to Lönnrot, after leaving out to sauna the wizard hit the three times crossing the earth. The meaning of the last habit has remained a mystery. ”
”Bathing in Sauna is a ritual for Finns. It starts all ready with heating, which is a honor task. As rituals, the midsummer and the christmas sauna are easy to set as examples. The sauna room must be faded and the temperature just right. Sounds such as the sauna stoves hiss and boiling water boiling are important. Also important essence are objects: waterbucket, scoop and sauna birch whisk that gives the right aroma. Things that are unsuitable for the sauna are clothes, controversies, alcohol and sex. Before the sauna were where the children was born and the dead taken. ”(kirkkojakaupunki.fi)
Even today, a pregnant woman can relieve her childbirth in the sauna. Many other pain relieve there too and we can now read about women’s magazines, how the sauna promotes dieting, the removal of poisons from the body, and the acceleration of metabolism. That’s what your old folks knew already. In fact, I like to take ice cold detox tea in the sauna, and the winter it’s nice to walk in a while in the cold, or rolling over into a soft crust of snow to scared the bloodstream. As a reminder to the unaccustomed, it must be said that be careful the icy crust of the snow as it can easily make many nasty wounds on bath-softened skin.
The sauna stove is the altar of the sauna church. It should be beautiful and pleasant corner. You can put the soft lights to the stove corner or hang over it crystals to invite the good energy. In our sauna there are also salt stones top of the stove, which release a healthy salt mixed with the steam. In addition, there are many herbal supplements that can be added to scoop water, but those herbs what bring visions I do not recommend to anyone these days!
The water bucket and the scoop can be chosen with the idea that the water what is to be throw to the sauna stove is sacred and the steam rising from the stove will bring healing. The more beautiful the items you choose, the better the image will remain in the sauna. For me, a genuine mood was raised by an old-fashioned wooden saunabucket, which had been tarnished on the surface for a old fragrance. The most important thing here is the intentions and the feeling of holiness. For Finnish it is not need to track down from far, because the skill of bathing in sauna gets us from the genes and fortunately, many of us have sit with the grandparents in sauna the same way as traditional.
In the old times, and even today, the strength of the sauna was raised with various spells and sauna songs. The spells can be sung, spoken loudly, thought, or muttered to yourself. Everyone works here in their own way.
As the best spells I like the ones that have come either through channeling or what have been learned from grandparents and go some way in the family. In Finland, there long has been secrecy in a healing culture, and the most powerful spells have been told only as highly deserved students, and now I think it is back to us as a national karma when those who knows the spells are starting to be few. Fortunately, we have a sauna and we can warm it in the hope that we would meet the old healers and get back from them the words of holy healing. They should then be used without timidity and shyness and teaching everyone enthusiastic about it.
In the past, the right kind of sauna for the people has been a sauna with a stove what has to warm with firewoods or even a smoke sauna. The significance of bathing in our culture certainly also reflects that even my 13 year old child can describe as a perfect sauna and sauna style for him. As we live in a new time, I think everyone has now the opportunity to decorate own city sauna as a place of sacred healing as well as any cottage sauna; even if the walls were not made of logs and the stove would be heated by the power of electricity alone, there is a strong spirit there in any case!
The candles bring the ancient atmosphere to the sauna. They can be put on the saunas benches and on the walls of the sauna. We switched off the saunas light bulb a few years ago and it has not been replaced, so nice is the atmosphere of candles light. In addition, different type of stones and crystals are very good. In fact, I acquired to sauna bench agate geodesist, which creates in a small electric sauna perfect ancient spa atmosphere and vibrates with the healing vibrations to the bathers. In the roof we hang on top of the stove cut from amethyst five beautiful glitter stars. Here I have to remind that we can find fantastic grounding stones in Finnish soil. For example, Tulikivi is a well-respected healing stone in the world. In addition, in Lapland are really powerful smoky quartz, rose quartz, snow quartz and amethyst. In Finland, among other things, are very rare rock spectrolite. I recommend from the bottom of my heart you to get to know these stones first before you go to foreign rock types! You can still use your own imagination and decorate your church, even as an angel or unicorn residence. Imagination is within this only limit and there is no need to ask for permission from a neighbor.
In the ancient when bathing in sauna, has been also used a peat baths, honey baths or clay baths, and the sauna birch whisk was both for washing and a healing tool. The same elements can be found in for example in nature products stores. The Rasoul clay or finished masks are brilliantly rejuvenated. You should protect the saunas benches well before bathing, so avoid the nasty washing process after your enjoyment. The smell of tar is part of a healing sauna absolutely. It can be added to the sauna stove with water scoops or hanging to the roof sauna elf made from the jute, which has been dipped with genuine tar. If you are courageous tar’s old strength can be try freely!
Bathing culture can also be grown outside the sauna steam room. I do regular baths for myself and my family and sauna moments is coming a bit of a hit at home. Nowadays, we do not have any actual trade soaps instead self-made soap bars. We wash the hair with rye flour, egg, clay, Neem powder, Aloe Vera, Honey and rinse with water, with alternating added lemons and apple vinegar. I often add clay for the whole body, and I go on the sauna steam side for a moment. Of course music is a point. New time brings new winds and we were bought for example. bluetooth speaker that is water resistant. We have chosen a variety of healing music to belong to the bathroom. A particularly strong mood seems to come from shamanic traditional inviting songs and healing songs. Of course, the Finnish tradition includes a magic drum and a Finnish fitzer play. For those who feel these comfortable in the heart, you should try it out!