Ceremony is a beautiful way to express our gratitude for the beauty and abundance we are experiencing in any form and to call in anything we are intending to manifest. Ceremony honours the elements and all of life with reverence and a sweet lightheartedness. Here are some of my favourites:
EARTH, WATER, FIRE & AIR
Fire ceremony is recognized for its power of rapid transformation and is a cornerstone of The Four Winds energy medicine training. I use a metal fire dish as shown to ensure safety at all times. I prefer an outdoor fire when possible but intimate indoor candle, wood stove or oil lantern ceremonies work just as well. It is the reverence and intention brought to the ceremony that matters.
The ceremony begins with a prayer to Open the Directions, calling in the spirit of the four directions to support the prayers as well as Mother Earth, Sky Father and our brother and sister star nations.
Once the fire is “friendly”, prayers are blown into a stick or other organic material and placed into the fire to be taken by the fire to Great Spirit.
Prayers can be made to release something that is no longer serving, or, to help manifest something you want to bring into being. Either way, the spirit of the ceremony is to honour and give thanks for the learning and gifts that have been provided. At group ceremonies, a prayer stick for the healing of Mother Earth is passed to all present for individuals to blow in their own prayers for our beautiful planet.
Water Ceremony has become a daily ritual for me as I live near Lake Simcoe and love to witness the sun rise over the lake most mornings. I offer tobacco, seeds, nuts, beads and chocolate as I revel in the beauty of the rays of light on the water and the ever changing skyline.
While ceremony in nature is particularly nurturing, we have opportunities to honour the water every time we drink a glass of water, run the tap for cleaning, cooking or bathing or flush the toilet. Water is life. I learned the most about water ceremony through hosting Shona Elder Mandaza Kandemwa and by participating in many sacred journeys to Peru, Zimbabwe, California, Newfoundland and more.
Click here for a Statement from the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers for World Water Day March 22, 2014. This link includes a prayer for the healing of the waters.
Both fire and water ceremony can be done at any time and as often as needed. They are traditionally done to honour the new and full moon as well as the four changes of seasons; the winter and summer equinox and the spring and fall solstice.
THE POWER OF RITUAL TO HEAL
Ritual is something I am still learning about bit by bit. As I understand it now, ritual is a way of engaging with the Spirit World in order to heal, transform and transcend in order to expand into something new. I have had the honour and privilege of participating in 3 extended rituals with Dagara Elder Malidoma Some, the author of Ritual: Power, Healing and Community. Being a part of an Ancestor Ritual and a 2 day Grief Ritual was a powerfully transformative experience. In the Beyi Ritual, I received my Dagara medicine name to help support and grow my ability to embrace and move into my soul’s chosen work in this lifetime. To view a video of Malidoma being interview about the importance and function of the soul click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXOaBA7ntQ8
HONOURING THE SACRED; HOME ALTARS
Altars are beautiful ways to honour the Divine in your everyday life. As with ceremony, altars can be as simple as a single flower in fresh water or packed with precious items that remind you of your connection to Spirit. Altars are kept alive through your attention.
Ancestor Altars honour all those who have gone before and thank them for the lessons they endured that allow us to be here at this time.
CLEARING HEAVY ENERGY
Smudging with cedar, sage, Palo Santos or a blend of sacred plants is an excellent way to clear the energy in a space before doing ceremony or engaging in healing work for yourself or others.
When it isn’t appropriate to use smoke, there are many energized sprays. Bells, singing bowls and drumming are also excellent ways to clear and transform the energy in any space.
Offerings are another way to honour your helping spirits, the spirits of the water, rivers, mountains, trees, plants or any living being. Tobacco is considered to be a sacred plant by many Indigenous cultures and is used to honour and give thanks whenever something is taken like a stone, shell or feather. Before taking a stone, feather or shell, remember to ask for permission and listen for the answer from your internal guidance. Then blow your gratitude into your offering and let the wind or water take it away.
In Peru, it is customary to offer Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) the first bit of any food or drink including wine which is poured directly on the earth.
Other natural things like corn, cornmeal, honey, seeds or herbs can be offered in gratitude as well. I was advised to honour the water spirits with offerings of milk and the mountain spirits with honey and chocolate by Dagara Elder Malidoma Some. Elder Mandaza (Augustine) Kandemwa suggests that the water spirits love tiny blue glass beads.
Whatever you choose to offer, think about the safety and wellbeing of the animals that may be exposed to your offering.