An integral part of being in partnership with Spirit is mindfulness. One way to anchor mindfulness is to be in ceremony. Notice I said be in ceremony, not do ceremony. That is illustrating that being is a state without a clear beginning and ending. Doing implies an action is started and ended and then we go on to the next thing in our day.
Mindfulness is a state where we feel present and conscious of every thing going on around us and within us all at once, similar to using our felt sense. We are completely in the moment.
When we add reverence to this mindful consciousness, we have ceremony.
Being in ceremony with the little experiences flowing throughout the day carry us like a river that streams from the source of our hearts. It reminds us that we are interconnected with everything around us on multiple levels all the time.
These little experiences are rooted in feelings like gratitude for the plants we are cooking that gave themselves for our dinner and the farmers that tended them, the excitement of hugging a friend we haven’t seen in awhile, helping someone by holding the door for them, crafting an email with a kind tone. Even realizing that we are irritated, or sad or tired can spark a ceremony of stopping what we are doing to cry or rest. Being in this river of personal ceremony leads to unconditional love for oneself, which spills over into unconditional love for every other being.
And it gives us the ease and power to shift into the times when we need to do ceremony. When we come together in circles or share in those significant life moments, the reverence we bring to the event is radiant.
One morning I was meditating on the subject of reverence after hearing a talk by Welsh shaman Susan Raven on Nature Spirits and how she received the potent message “Human, Reverence thyself.” from an ancient and powerful nature being.
The Deva of Ceremony came through in a strong wave and said to me:
It is very important to realize that you are in ceremony 24/7. Thoughts and words as much as deeds and actions. This is especially relevant if you are shamanic, or a spirit mover. Reverencing yourself is only part of it. Knowing that you are sacred, yes, but that everything around you is as well. Treating the world with that reverence. Yes, it sounds like a tall order, but really it is time. What else is more important now?
What else indeed?
Many of us have made a commitment or set the intention to start a purposeful co-creative relationship with Nature Spirits or Hidden Folk. Once set, we need to follow through and start the conversations, as they are quite attuned to that and are listening. I use the term Hidden Folk to describe Faeries, Sidhe, Elementals, Devas and other nature beings that share the earth with us, but are of a frequency behind the veil of most humans’ every day perception.
When we reach out and communicate, it does not go unnoticed. We can communicate by speaking, singing or creating. We can meet them in natural places like forests, gardens, and parks but also in our houses, in dreams and in shamanic journey.
Faeries are especially appreciative when people want to connect with them. There are a few forest trails in my area where people have created very small faerie houses in hollow logs and under bushes with bits of twigs, and tiny toys and furnishings. They have even painted little signs for them. I know someone who did that with her kids in a nearby forest, and it was such a beautiful creative project for them, the neighborhood, and the faeries. In some places they have even left little painted faerie dolls perched on fallen logs or on tree branches. When I step into these spaces, I have found the energy of the area feels different. It is not only playful, but vibrant and mystical, and I catch colors and movement of the Hidden folk out of the corners of my eye. It is as if the trees, bushes and moss covered stones speak with their presence, saying, “Here the veil is thin. Here step carefully, there are faerie folk about.”
I find that I am talking to the Hidden folk and nature spirits more and more as my practice deepens. I do this in different ways depending on the situation and my mindfulness. Because I am a big clumsy unaware human a lot of the time, I have accidentally intruded into their space and gotten some stings and bruises as they expected me to be more mindful! Now I make it a point to greet them, “Hello grass, trees, faeries…I respect you and mean you no harm. May my relationship with you be peaceful as I pass by.”
Offering prayers and blessings is a good way to express gratitude. It expands our heart field and creates instant simple ceremony. One blessing I say often in the forest is, “Beautiful ancient tree spirit, thank you so much for all you do for the world, for your anchoring energy, your oxygen, your nurturing so much life. Blessings to you.”
I have discovered that the Elementals can be quite shy and very wary of humans. When we want to engage with them, asking for permission is very polite and helps start our relationship in a good way. We might ask,“May I see the Undines in the stream?” or “May I hear the Sylph’s song in the breeze today?”
And if we are cultivating these kinds of relationships, we need to communicate whenever we are about to take action that affects them. This kind of communication is key when working with plants or gardens. When we ask if now is a good time to prune or harvest a plant, and then listen for the answer, it creates much goodwill. And if the answer is yes, we ask the plant spirit to withdraw their energy into the roots or below the shears. It is also respectful to let the Gnomes (the earth elementals) in the ground know when we’d like to dig a hole, or plant seeds. Even in something as mundane as cleaning the kitchen we can give a respectful warning to the undines and sylphs if we have to use any harsh cleaners that will go down the drain or have fumes. Of course eco-friendly cleaners are best, but sometimes they may also have unintended effects.
Our communication can also take the form of an action like leaving offerings or creating ceremony. When my daughter was little someone gave her a tiny china tea set. One day a plate and cup from the set found their way to our family altar. We would put offerings of tea or wine in the cup and a berry or a chocolate chip on the plate. “For the faeries.”, we would say. That tiny cup and plate are gone and my daughter is grown, but I still leave offerings regularly on my house altar. I have a friend who takes a jar of milk and honey out with her when she wildcrafts herbs to pour out for the faeries in gratitude of the harvest.
All these ways of connecting and communicating strengthen the webwork of goodwill and mutual respect between all beings. We will find that we conduct ourselves this way as a default not only to Spirits and the Hidden Folk, but to friends, neighbors, and strangers we meet. This openness and kindness can be a powerful way of creating the change we want to see in the world.
Shamanism is the path of the visionary mystic. We need to see what is happening around us with clear objectivity, both in our ordinary reality and in non-ordinary reality, as well as the Otherworld realms where we journey. But we also need to see what the outcome can be, something that might not yet have form in the outer world. That takes imagination.
I did not fully understand this when I first started on my shamanic path. I was focused on getting information accurately, so that I knew I was truly engaging with Spirit and Spirit helpers. I was afraid of making things up, and so I kept trying to compartmentalize my imagination and I pushed it to the side. My first shamanic teacher saw that and tried to discourage that practice.
She needed to teach me the value of using my imagination, so she took me through an exercise. I was to close my eyes and imagine what my life would look like if I could do and be absolutely anything without any limitations at all. Well, that was hard for me. At first I did not know how that would look. The ‘anything” was so overwhelming all I could see was nothing. I decided to start with something simple. I tried to imagine myself sitting on a boat in the tropical sun surrounded by clear azure water and jumping dolphins. Then a thought surfaced with “You’ll get seasick”. Ah, interesting. I tried many different scenarios. I found that I either had a hard time unplugging myself from my current life circumstances or that I would not be able to see around the laws of physics of how something would be achieved, like removing every bit of plastic from the oceans. My brain kept cycling into perceived limitations.
This was such a valuable and sobering lesson that I never forgot it.
I remembered being a very imaginative person when I was younger, always day-dreaming and creating stories in my head. I don’t know what happened, or exactly when I began losing that skill. Maybe it just fell out of use in my practical adulting life, or was overshadowed by mainstream collective cynicism, but I realized that I had to retrain my brain to imagine again. And I found the key is to do it regularly, like any other physical exercise. It is the foundation of manifestation. We cannot manifest something if we can’t imagine what we want.
We need to be able to use our imagination in shamanic practice to create the outcomes that we want for ourselves and our clients. In every healing modality, for it to be effective, we need to see the situation, ourselves or our client as perfect, as whole and healthy. I wrote more in depth about this subject previously, which you can find here.
How imagination presents itself is different for everybody. Even though the word visionary implies seeing, when we fully engage our imagination we use all our senses. Some people see things in their minds eye, for others it may be a full body feeling. We all have unique ways of using imagination, but the more we use it the stronger it becomes.
If we feel our imaginative skills have atrophied, we can start small, with what we know. It might be a memory of a pet or object we had as a child, or the thought of our garden in our backyard. We bring in all the senses and re-create not only the vision, but the texture under our fingers, the smells, the emotions, the energetic connections between us and it. And when the limiting thoughts come up, we kindly, gently, receive the lesson and imagine our way around them. The insights gained in the process are valuable. And we might even end up creating the life we really want to live.
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.
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 -