Last night I attended a Full Moon circle organized by Joyelle Petersen and Danielle Heenehan, two amazing women in my town who are bringing back the art of ceremony. The weather was beautiful, so they could hold it outside in a friend’s big backyard. They had rugs, mats and pillows of every color arranged on the grass for the circle. The altar was set up on one side with rattles, drums, sacred herbs. A good crowd of about 15 of us was there at the start time, and we shared tea and snacks we brought. I knew a couple women from other groups, but what struck me was that I felt so easy about talking to the people that I didn’t know, despite my feeling shy in big groups. More women kept trickling in and as I talked to them, I found many times we have some other friend or organization or modality in common.
As the ceremony started and a shamana sang a sacred welcoming song, I looked at the gathering of about 30 women and felt the strong invisible web that we created. We were weavers of our community, teachers, students, moms, grandmothers. Then I could see us in a birds-eye perspective woven together with all the other people coming together in ceremony all over the planet for the full moon, creating our web of light. Visions like that give me great optimism that humanity just might pull through these chaotic times.
Creating ceremony can be hard work. It’s not only just the planning, it takes a devoted energy to hold the sacred space for everyone to come together. I am so grateful that I know people who value ceremony, and have the skills, the heart and respect for the joyful work they take on to feed the spirit of our community.
Many of today’s most popular shamanic practitioner teachers and authors such as Sandra Ingerman and Michael Stone have been talking about this subject recently on their websites and even holding internet workshops and webinars on the subject. Why is it a hot topic lately? Simply put, it’s the times. And the time is ripe. We have never been more on the brink of changing the status quo of the old paradigm than we are now. We saw recently what grassroots movement can accomplish with Bernie Sanders’ run for Democratic nominee last year. Even though he didn’t win, the power of the people that came together to support him was palpable. It was not the same old power-over that has been in charge for millennia, it was power-with. It was power together, and it was empowerment.
Many of us shamanic practitioners and light-workers have been starting to come together in groups for about the past ten years. We are aware of the way our intentions are strengthened when we are in community together, and have sensed and felt the vibrational ripples flowing out from our gathered energies. Add the sacred intention of ceremony to the power of community and you have a force that changes reality. Ceremony causes a shift in perception, and in the morphic field we call reality. This is how we get things done. This is the reason many of us incarnated here together on the planet at this time.
Corvallis is blessed to have many groups that come together in community to do the good work, whether it’s meditation, metaphysical science, activism, satsang, Reiki or shamanic practice. Some of these are on Meetup.com, or in the local paper community calendar, or just slightly under the public radar by word of mouth.
We are blessed to have at least one regular shamanic journey group that meets once a month here in Corvallis. It’s hosted by a beautiful couple who have a sweet little place out in the country outside of town. Each month someone from the group volunteers an intention for the circle and we bring altar items and journey together on the intention if we feel called. This past May the intention was brought to the group to journey for our town; the land, the community, the spirit. What do we need to know about Corvallis and its spirit helpers, now, or in the past or future? Then we all journeyed about that. Some got glimpses of the future or the past, and some met the spirits who watch over the town. Several of us were drawn to the Willamette River that runs through the town. It’s a very sensitive river, feeling the thoughts and attitudes of the people who live with it and get their drinking water from it. It wanted us to know that, and that it feels when we send our gratitude and when we send our angst about the water being polluted. It is important for all of us to be aware about what we are putting in the water, and how we are using it, but seeing it as polluted isn’t helping it. The gratitude is what it needs to keep its vibration high.
After this journey, the idea came up for a blessing ceremony for the river for our next journey group in June, which coincided with the summer solstice. We decided on a prayer raft of all organic material that we could put our prayers and blessings in and offer to the river. I volunteered to find the raft, as I knew of a tree that had fallen and splintered and was slowly peeling off its layers as it started decomposing. My friend and I went out to that deadfall and she found the perfect piece. When I told Lyn, the facilitator of the circle, that we found the raft, she asked if I would lead the ceremony. I told her that I would be honored. I brought in elements of a despacho to the ceremony because I felt this ceremony was to keep us in right relationship with the river and its spirit helpers. Everyone was asked to bring a couple flowers or offerings to hold their prayers.
Whenever we work with someone, human or spirit, we must always work from a place of permission. I did a journey to the spirit of the river and asked it if it was okay that we did this, and how did they feel about it. We had a great chat about its helpers and which of them would help guide the raft. The main thing that the river wanted in the prayer blessings was love and respect. After we blew those prayers into the offerings and assembled the raft, we journeyed for any other prayers, messages, or gifts to add energetically. After opening the circle, we all went down to the river and offered it to the spirits. One of the women brought rose petals from her garden which we sprinkled along with the current. Watching the raft float downriver with its little beeswax candle twinkling as dusk fell was a moment of beauty and power than none of us will soon forget. I think of the river spirit whenever I turn my faucet on, and send it love and gratitude.
Our journey group is planning to add more ceremony to our gatherings, to shift our senses into sacred work that creates the world we want to live in together. What are you doing in your community? How can we link up our communities into a movement for anchoring the new paradigm, where nature has a voice that is listened to and respected, where the Divine Feminine is honored and in balance with the Divine Masculine?
We had a beautiful despacho ceremony for the Vernal Equinox on March 20. I frequently feel called to offer a despacho on the equinoxes or solstices and open the ceremony up to friends and community. To explain what they are, I can’t say it any better than shamanic teacher Alberto Villodo, so I am including what he says about them:
“A despacho is a prayer bundle or offering. For hundreds of years, the Laika (high shamans or wisdomkeepers of the Q’ero lineage of Peru) have used the despacho ceremony for a wide variety of occasions – births, deaths, as an expression of gratitude, to heal physical and emotional ailments, to restore balance and harmony, or when there is a specific request of the spirit world.” (http://thefourwinds.com/blog/shamanism/what-is-a-despacho/)
I’ve had friends who have visited in Peru and they have told me that they are even used for what we would call mundane things, like before a shopping trip. I think this shows their concept of themselves as having a dynamic relationship with Spirit all the time, and their mindfulness of keeping in right relationship with all that is. I use the term Spirit here to include all beings of an etheric form; Nature Spirits, elementals, ancestors, spirit guides, the Creator, just to name a few.
This reciprocity can be a gift for all the blessings in life; past, present and future. In a way they are like love letters of gratitude, streaming out energetically into the web of life.
The traditional despacho is done with offerings that are wrapped in paper and then burned in a fire to release the prayers. My mentor, Cheri, was gifted the vision of a water despacho. It works with the elemental force of water. After the prayers and gifts are added to the bowl of water, the MariEL Medicine Power Symbol is used to energize the offering with the blessing and power of the Divine Feminine. Then it is offered to a body of water or to the earth. I make sure to use all organic, compostable items in the despacho, so I am feeding nature with nature.
When I journeyed about where to offer this one, I got that the forest park behind our apartments would be happy to accept the gift of the despacho. So after it cooked for 2 days on my altar, I scouted a good spot for it under some fallen logs that felt right, near the trailhead. My friend Yvonne and I offered it there on the World waters day on March 22nd.
Ceremony is a lovely way to deepen your connection with your own spiritual practice. Including friends or community amplifies and expands the energy, raising the consciousness vibration of all. It’s a beautiful gift all the way around. Thank you to everyone who shared their prayers and their energy.
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.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
Energy Intuitive and Nature Communicator - Cheri Melton's work with Devas and Nature Spirits is profound. So happy to have her as a friend and mentor -