One intention I’ve set for this year is to find ways to bring more elements of ceremony into my daily life. This helps me to be in the state of reverence and harmony within myself and everything around me. For me ceremony is a way to bridge the mundane and the reverent, the physical and the etheric. It reminds me that everything is Spirit and everything is sacred.
Recently I had the good fortune of being in a global ceremony led by a Peruvian elder and teacher Wilbert Salas Atasi, who has been a teacher to a couple of my close friends. One of Wilbert’s gifts is to create powerful despacho ceremonies. This ceremony was for the new year 2024 and created an energetic container for our prayers and intentions to be in what he calls ayni, the state of being in right relationship with Spirit.
Thanks to the spirits of technology we are able to gather together at the same time no matter where we are in the world and see and hear one another. I was fully enmeshed in it, participating and sharing my energy with the ceremony and with all the other people who were online with me, as well as all the people who would watch the recording of it later. All of us focused our prayers and intentions on each element as he added to the despacho. The despacho works like a container for these elements and prayers and when complete it is folded up in paper, loosely tied, then given to a ceremonial fire for release. At the end of the ceremony he shared the power and blessings by tapping the wrapped bundle on our outstretched hands, and from thousands of miles away I clearly felt the powerful flow of it move in and around me.
After the ceremony my Spirit team came in with a clear strong message for me. They said that I could make a similar ceremony every week to help anchor my intentions and call in blessings and create ayni with all around me in my life. Then it was like they took my toolbox and dumped it out on the floor in front of me. I got really excited.
What came out of my toolbox was my innate creativity, intuitive vision, empathy and all the shamanic and Reiki skills I have learned over the years. And the sacred objects all around me, my crystals, crystal skulls, oracles, art, herbs, feathers, flower essences, were the medium to work in with these tools. I started clearing a space on my altar right away.
I then became aware of some beings standing at the threshold of my consciousness. They had the feel of fae and Sidhe. They were standing by, getting ready to take part in and help create the container for the Gaian Congress, a gathering of human, nature and Spirit beings that I would be attending in a few days. This was a formal nudge for acknowledgment now so they could begin readying their part. I let them lead as we co-created a ceremonial space for our intentions. It unfolded as part crystal grid and part oracle reading, and reflected our prayers for powerful ayni, for right relationship between all of us and all of our realms.
This ceremonial creation worked its magic for ten days then it let me know it was done a few days after the Gaian Congress ended. The next ceremonial grid was already forming in my vision for prayers and intentions for a successful surgery and recovery for my dear friend’s upcoming procedure.
This new way of thinking about personal ceremony brings together many elements that have been scattered throughout my life into a focused relationship.
What I am calling a grid can be thought of in different terms, an altar, a mesa, a mandala, a sigil or design. It doesn’t have to have the appearance of a grid, it can take the shape of anything. And I don’t think there is any rigid format or recipe about what items we decide to put into it.
What is important are the intentions that are seeded into it, what it means to us, and how we feel the energy flowing as we create it. The other key piece which sparks the energy is feeling the co-creative relationship with our Spirit partners as we harmonize and let the weaving of our partnership create magic.
Elements included selenite roses, kyanite, mica, crystal skulls, herbs and flowers and cards from the Sidhe deck by David Spangler & Jeremy Berg
As we continue our practice of being heart centered humans, we naturally expand our perceptions of awareness. When we are in our second attention* and using our felt sense, we realize that we are receiving so much information on subtle levels. If we are paying attention we can begin to sense the rich layers of the subtle energies and beings that share our world. These are the nature spirits and elementals that inhabit the plants, trees, winds, water and stones. We can also sense the devas, which are the overlighting spirits of places, beings and ideas, among other things.
How we receive the information depends on how much we are paying attention. It also depends on how well we have come to know our own body's energy so we can separate what is ours from what is not. If we are walking through a forest and we feel a sadness come over us, can we tell who it belongs to? Is it ours because we were thinking about someone we miss? Was it from the person we just passed on the trail? Or is it coming from the forest itself?
If we can stay in neutrality and keep paying attention, we might get more information. We might pass out of the area of sadness to one of lightness, and we may not know the cause of the change, but we know the forest feels and looks different to our senses. And other times the cause might be quite obvious as we ascend the next hill and see the land below razed by logging. The forest is mourning the loss of their trees from a clear cut, the plants, trees and animals still in shock from the unnatural and unilateral destruction of their homes. Then of course we become sad as well, sharing in the mourning of the loss.
And then it is up to us as intuitives, light workers and representatives of the human race to communicate and interact with the nature spirits. After all, it is one of the reasons we are consciously in our second attention. We want to work from this level of evolving intuition.
So we may walk to the edge of the clear cut or just inside it. We let ourselves feel what we feel so it can be released. We can say prayers for the loss of life, for the beings who lost their homes. We can ask the overlighting deva of the area to come and help any beings who are still in shock or lost to find their way home, and to help heal the area. We might leave an offering of some sacred herbs or tobacco, we might offer a song. And we can bless. We bless by honoring what was lost, and loving what remains.
Many times we go in and out of our second attention, flitting from our felt sense into mental chatter. When we are not paying attention, the spirits may use other means to give us messages.
This fall I was exploring an area in the hills around us with my brother, and we were walking down a non-public trail I found that I had not been on before. A friend and I had done some tending in the area with the deva of the place and with the nature spirits a month before and I was checking in on how things felt. Overall they felt lighter, more balanced and connected. We came across a huge circle of mushrooms, the biggest I’d ever seen, maybe 15-20 feet in diameter. To me it felt like that was a sign that the nature spirits were thriving.
The trail led on under old oaks and through lush long grass, and I started down it, chatting with my brother about something else. Then I started having a burning sensation on the bottoms of my feet. It was very odd. I stopped. I amplified my felt sense and took in the subtle vibrations around me, and got the direct message that the nature spirits didn’t want us going any farther that day. We turned around and started walking back the way we came and immediately the burning sensation in my feet went away.
I thanked the spirits for giving me the message that way, grateful to be paying attention so they didn’t have to give me something bigger to get my attention like a falling tree branch or a hole to step in for a sprained ankle!
The more we let Spirit know we are open to receiving messages, the more they will give us. It is up to us if we pay attention to them or not.
*second attention is when our feeling and intuition primarily inform our awareness rather than our mental judgment
As we learn to tend to our own energy, we get clearer about what our own energy feels like. Practices like yoga, chi gong, and tai chi help us feel how the chi or life force energy moves within us, and how it affects our energy levels. Practices like meditation, mindfulness and contemplation help us get used to our own energetic signature, which is like our unique background frequency. It is that sense of ourselves that is always there that we hardly pay attention to while we are busy living our lives.
Once we know our own energy pretty well, we have a clearer read on how other energies we come into contact and interact with affect us. If we pay attention with our felt sense, we can get a lot of information that helps us avoid trouble, deepen relationships and add depth and richness to our lives.
We might start by noticing how our energy feels in different places and with different people. We have all had the experiences of walking into a building, shop or forest and feeling very uncomfortable like we want to get out as soon as we can. It can feel like a heaviness, a skin crawly type of feeling, or maybe just a feeling that we are not welcome. We usually leave as soon as we can. We may also experience the same thing with certain people, like a heaviness or uncomfortable feeling while we are around them, sometimes lingering after our interaction is over.
On the flip side of that, we have all probably been places that feel good. We like to spend time there. These might be places like grandma's porch, or a room where spiritual circles meet, or our own backyard, and of course our favorite places in nature. And we also may notice that it feels good to be around certain people. We not only enjoy their company, but we feel uplifted and light after we part.
As we pay attention to the energy we are sensing, it informs us, helping us make decisions about where we want to live, who we want to spend our time with, and what we bring into our own energies.
If we walk into an antique store where the energy is heavy and unpleasant, do we really want to buy something there that could bring some of that heaviness into our homes and energy? And if we don’t buy anything and leave pretty quickly, can we notice if we unintentionally brought some of that energy home with us anyway?
Situations like that are when it is so beneficial to know your energy because then you know when you are carrying something that is not yours, or as the mystic seer and teacher Orion Foxwood describes it, “ Honey, you stepped in something.” Then we can smudge with a cleansing herb like sage, use our pendulum, our intention and free will to clear it from ourselves.
But we have to know our own energy to know when we need to tend to it. And we need practices to screen out and release energies that are not beneficial to us. If we feel off in any way, that is a signal to check in with our intuitive self and our spirit helpers to see what needs to be tended to bring us back into balance.
As a practice, start the day with your breathing, sitting, felt sensing yourself. Note your energy. Before going to bed, sit and check in. Do you notice a difference after all your interactions and travels of the day?
All my teachers I’ve had over the past 20 years have had a method for releasing what is not ours at the end of the day. Most of them are fairly universal, easy, and usually involve breath and visualization, and like most energetic practices, intention is key. Knowing our own energy well is invaluable to navigating relationships with beings we meet in non-ordinary reality and in the spirit realms. And knowing it and tending it well is crucial to keeping ourselves healthy and moving forward along our path of spiritual evolution.
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindred spirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
FAIRY CONGRESS - Offers a summer weekend gathering in person with workshops, circles and of course faeries and nature beings! They also offer a winter virtual weekend with amazing guest speakers like Orion Foxwood, David Spangler and R.J. Stewart. I highly recommend joining the online network to participate in monthly workshops, circles, and book clubs.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Owner Valeria Pearson lovingly created SOLE TO SOUL YOGA studio with a community focus. There are classes for all levels and events that lift the spirit. I am delighted to partner with her to offer a kirtan chanting circle once a month.
My friend and herbalist mentor, LAWRENCE BIRCH is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
ROGER WHEELOCK and GAYLE RUTH are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association. Roger has a practice in Asheville, NC https://www.communityshaman.com/
NEW WORLD KIRTAN = Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -