Ceremonies

Greeting the Sun ceremony

This ceremony is adapted from a lucid dream I had one night.

During my dreamtime journey, I was a Native American maiden accompanied by the tribe’s Medicine Woman, with whom I was in apprenticeship. It was just before Sunrise, the Milky Way spanned the sky, and the celestial dome was filled with twinkling stars. We were facing the East, awaiting the sunrise in silent contemplation. With the first rays of Light, we bowed to the ground, offered sacred herbs, and greeted the Sun.

When you first awaken in the morning, face the East.

Offer some herbs or a pinch of cornmeal toward the sun.

Think about your plans for the day: where you are going to be, who are you are going to be with.

Feel your connection to All-That-Is flow through your body.

Offer prayers of gratitude for what you have and what is going well in your life.


Smudging Ceremony

Smudging is used in several spiritual traditions as a method of cleansing. Smoke from burning herbs is fanned over the body, usually with a feather, cleansing the energy field of the person. The room or space outdoors used for the ceremony is smudged also.

The herbs most commonly used in smudging are the plants of the Spirit Keepers:

* Sweetgrass
* Tobacco
* White Sage
* Cedar
Sweetgrass stimulates positive energies. Tobacco absorbs either positve or negative energies. Sage gets rid of negativity. And Cedar is cleansing. Lavender, rosemary, and other plants may be added to your smudge mixture also. This enables the specific energies of the plants to become incorporated into the ceremony.

For this ceremony you will need:

* Sage, Sweetgrass, Cedar, or Tobacco, or a combination
* a shell or fireproof dish
* a fan or feather
* matches

Choose the plants you want to use, mix them in a shell or bowl and light them.

When they are burning, use a fan or feather to put out the flame.

Once the herbs are smoldering, draw the smoke to your heart, then over your head, down your arms, and down the front of your body, then the back of your body toward the ground.

Now offer smoke to the six directions: up to Creator, down to the Earth Mother, to the North, East, South, and West.

Walk around the area you will be using during your ceremony ~ your sacred space ~ wafting the smoke with the feather. You may want to leave a window open.

Adapted from “Dancing With the Wheel: The Medicine Wheel Workbook” by Sun Bear, Wabun Wind, and Crysalis Mulligan


 

Medicine Wheel Ceremony

For this ceremony you will need:

* candles
* stones or crystals
* Smudging herbs
* a shell or fireproof dish
* a fan or feather
* matches
* any herbs, shells, feathers, or power objects that you resonate with for use during this ceremony

Choose the smudging herbs you wish to use for this ceremony. Place a few pinches of your smudge mixture in a shell and then smudge your ceremonial area and yourself.

Place your medicine wheel stones in the appropriate directions.

Place candles in the center of your wheel and at the 4 cardinal directions.

Add any other items that call to you such as stones, herbs, shells, feathers, or anything else as feels appropriate.

Starting in the East, offer the mix by raising the shell and calling in its attributes:

* EAGLE, Spirit Keeper of the East guide me on my Journey to Illumination.
* COYOTE, Spirit Keeper of the South guide me on my Journey to Growth.
* BEAR, Spirit Keeper of the West guide me on my Journey to Inner Strength.
* BUFFALO, Spirit Keeper of the North guide me on my Journey to Wisdom.
* Offer mix to the Great Spirit by lifting the shell above to Father Sky and then by touching the shell below to Mother Earth. Ask for their guidance and feel their essence.

Sit in the center of your Wheel and take a few deep breaths.

State the guidance you seek, meditate, pray, give thanks, chant. This is your Wheel, come with an open heart, remember the guidance you receive.

When your Journey is complete, start in the East and close your Wheel. Move counter-clockwise (East, North, West, South) and offer the Medicine wheel mix to each Direction with gratitude. Thank Father Sky and Mother Earth.

Disassemble your Wheel, smudge the gemstones and all other items you have brought to the Wheel. Place them in a pouch or bundle them up in a cloth for use another time.

Take some time to write in your journal and reflect on your experience.

Adapted from “Dancing With the Wheel: The Medicine Wheel Workbook” by Sun Bear, Wabun Wind, and Crysalis Mulligan


Vision Quest

For this ceremony you will need:

* Smudging herbs
* a shell or fireproof dish
* a fan or feather
* matches
* a rattle or drum if you have one
* a blanket to sit on
* a compass
* a pen and notebook or journal
* some water
* herbs for give-away
* any herbs, shells, feathers, or power objects that you resonate with for use during this ceremony

Preparation:

Determine whether the purpose of your Quest is to discover your direction in life or to find a solution to a major problem. Intention is vital in shamanic work so be very clear of your motive for your Quest.

Cut down on your food intake and alcohol a few days prior before your Vision Quest. Fasting is a traditional practice during the quest so take water or juice with you.

Choose a location where you will not be disturbed and arrive early in the morning. To locate the power spot, slowly rattle around the area until the rattle lingers in a particular spot. Use your compass to determine the four directions and mark them with stones or twigs. Rattle around your power spot in a clockwise circle.

Smudge yourself and the circle. Place the blanket in the center, sit, and make yourself comfortable.

Greet and thank the elements, stones, trees, plants, insects, and animals. Invite them to help you on your quest.

Stay alert, listen, look, and wait. And make a note of anything that seems significant so you can consider it later. The spiritual realm often communicates messages to us through ordinary things such as:

* a visit by a particular bird, insect, or animal
* a discarded feather nearby
* shapes of clouds
* changes in weather pattern

An insight may suddenly pop into your mind or you may have a vision.

At the end of your quest, thank your surroundings and look for some small token to take home such as a stone, feather, acorn, or stick. Sprinkle some herbs as a thank you offering and leave the area as you found it.

Take some time to write in your journal and reflect on your experience.

Adapted from “Shamanic Experience” by Kenneth Meadows


Power Animal Journey

For this ceremony you will need:

* candles
* stones or crystals
* Smudging herbs
* a shell or fireproof dish
* a fan or feather
* matches
* a pen and notebook or journal
* any herbs, shells, feathers, or power objects that you resonate with for use during this ceremony

Prepare your ceremonial area. You can light candles, place your personal objects about, and play drumming or meditation music. Now smudge your ceremonial area and yourself.

Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, let your abdomen rise and fall. Get into your imagery space as you have many times before.

Now put yourself on a path. Feel your feet touch the earth, smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze on your face. Walk down the path. It goes downhill slightly. The ground is hard and has small stones in the soil. It is solid and secure. Feel the ground and the grass that is on each side of the path.

Walk down the path. It crosses a wooden bridge across a rushing stream. The bridge has stout railings. You can hear your feet echo on the bridge like a drumbeat as you walk across. If you need to drop something in the water that you want to get rid of you can do that now.

The path now goes upwards slightly and comes over a rise. Below you is a large meadow. In the center of the meadow is a grassy circle. Sit in the circle and wait.

Now ask for your power animal to come to you. They are like spirit animals coming out of forest. Let the animal appear and come up to you. It can come from a distance or appear from nowhere. The animal that appears to you is your power animal helper. It is your shaman’s animal. Let the animal come towards you. Let them begin to speak and move.

Stay alert, listen, look, and wait. And make a note of anything that seems significant so you can consider it later. At the end of your journey, thank your power animal.

Take some time to write in your journal and reflect on your experience.

Adapted from “The Path of the Feather” by Mike Samuels

Mitakuye Oyasin, For All My Relations, honors the web of life and all creationpixy