Ritual

Blessings and Ministry

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual method found cross-culturally on every continent for the past 40,000 years.  The word “shaman” (as it is used generically now) evolved from a Siberian word of Tungus origin: “saman.”  Cross-culturally, shamans are viewed as mediators between the ordinary world and the realm of spirits.  They help to restore balance in both individuals and community.

Although Shamanism is not a religion, its methods create a close connection to the community and the natural world.  Certain similar belief systems are seen historically and in contemporary practicing Shamanic peoples.  Shamanic practices have continued to be practiced on every continent for thousands of years, and today is undergoing a resurgence worldwide.

Through the practice of Shamanic methods, one develops a spiritual practice rich in ritual, community, and close with the natural world.

Turning Toward Sacred Space

Everyone needs a private sanctuary.  A place to be silent, safe and nurtured.  A place to experience divine spirit.  This divine expression can be found, accessed and focused through the creation of private and public sacred spaces.  We can experience the sacred by visiting preexisting sacred sites or by creating new ones.

In the externally-oriented, fast pace of modern western society, we need more than ever to infuse our environment with sacred stopping places.  Places to remind us of the diving spiritual energy that surrounds and infuses our beings.

The most important aspect of anything sacred is intention.  Since energy follows intention, any sacred space we intention ally create is imbued with spiritual (divine) energy.  From conception, it is alive and you become like a mother, providing the necessary support and labor.

Children especially benefit from the creation of a personal sacred space.  Together a parent and child can create a space where the child can find refuge.  It is important that the child is assisted in the creation of the place and just as important that their private is respected when they enter this space.  Appropriate spaces could include a place in the bedroom or house that is designated as private.  This is especially helpful for young children suffering loss related to divorce, death or relocation.

 

How To! – Making Space Sacred

I remember, when I was a child, a large flowering bush in my backyard.  I would climb under the bush and sit alone.  Soft dirt under a thick canopy of branches provided privacy.  I remember the fragrance of the flowers and the small of the dirt and still see the sunlight filtering through swaying branches dancing over my dirt covered toes.  A sacred space stimulates all the senses.  it evokes memories of colors, fragrances, textures and sounds.

Once I had a dream that I was to make a small garden in my home.  In the dream, I was shown the Susquehanna Riving winding its way between two hills with a vision of my home standing along side them.  In my dream, the river was shown to be represented by sand.  The hills were represented by two large rocks.  The home was represented by a lantern.  I located a very small space on my property and created the garden as shown in my dream.

My family recently visited my grandfather’s homeland Ireland.  Sacred stone circles and holy wells were very accessible and held significant meaning for me.  You can visit an ancestral homeland or plan a vacation visiting sacred sites in North America.  Search the internet, or write for information on ancient sites.  Books are available, such as Sacred Places in North America, by Courtney Milne.

Decrease Separation

Creating sacred space decreases the separation we experience on a daily basis in our lives.  The more attention and intention we give to remembering our interconnectedness to all things, the more whole we will feel.  Remember, our bodies are sacred containers that receive from and share with the environment around us with each breath.  Take a few moments each day to enter a sacred space, and breathe with intention and consciousness.

More How To! – Create a Sacred Garden and/or an Altar in Your Home

Here are some examples of how to turn towards the sacred this season.  You can create your sacred space alone or with a loved one.

Create a Sacred Garden

* Use a sacred symbol to begin your design.  Possibilities include: a Mandela, medicine wheel, labyrinth, circle, raised pyramid design, or even the shape of an animal (turtle) or even a constellation.  [honor elements]
* Add meaningful plants and herbs – edible plants to create sacred meals, plants known to positively effect some health issues you may have.
* Add sound – bells, chimes, flowing water, fountain, birth bath, pond
* Create a theme.  Honor religious beliefs with shrines.  Attract wildlife, butterflies and birds.
* Designate a sacred tree – tie ribbons or prayer flags on the tree.  Place a bench and altar near the tree.  Add raked stones or sand and plants with special fragrances.

If you do not have a garden plot, you can create a container garden for year round use.  This can be placed on a balcony or sunny window.  Just miniaturize your design into a portable garden.

Create an Altar in your Home

Altars can be permanent or portable.  A special tray can be moved to a table during meditation and then covered and placed out of harms way in a busy household.

* Designate a small table, tray or shelf.  Find a more private location in your home but not so hidden that you will never see it.
* Place personal significant objects such as: cloth or scarves of special textures and colors, incense, candles, water or sacred herbs, small statuaries of personal significance, pictures of ancestors, flowers
* Add natural objects such as stones, feathers, shells, pine needles (eternal life).  Add an item like clay – in native American and Celtic cultures, clay can represent life emerging from Mother Earth.  Clay is from the earth and transformed by fire.

A very small portable altar can be taken wherever you go, even to hotel rooms where the atmosphere can feel cold and foreign.  Just roll small sacred objects in a cloth and place in a special pouch and unwrap when you arrive.