Enter the Toltec

Sherrie Locke, written on 5 Kat, January 2014

For many of you who know me personally, you know that I am a very private person, preferring to work in the background or as the support system for friends and clients. Many times I have chosen to live life “under a rock” or in the outback, always on the “Universal Relocation Program” (which I will discuss in a future post).

In my life I have been initiated into many traditions. I found out later that my invitations for these initiations came due to the fact that whichever elder I ran into was interested enough in me to “look into” what I am.

Shortly thereafter I would receive an invitation to accept (or not) the inner initiations of that tribe or culture. Thus I have reached this juncture with an extremely diverse set of skills and knowledge.

On many occasions I have also had the opportunity to share knowledge I have learned from other cultures and to make correlations that have deepened my understanding of each culture and the interconnectedness of it all. This knowledge has allowed me to experience what I term the “golden thread” that connects us all together.

Sometimes names, words or phrases used are different. Within each ceremony, each tradition, lies a commonality, a base, a union, an understanding of who we are and what we want for this planet and the generations to come. So there is a similar “tone” going on. I call it The Prime Directive. All this diversity makes for an interesting life.

It was around 2007 that I came into contact with the Toltec tradition. The ball game changed dramatically at that point. I had been working with an engineer in Florida on a tech project when one night, very late (we used to work until sunrise), he asked me if I knew anything about the Toltec teachings. I said “No, nothing really, other than some references from the Carlos Casteneda books I read many years ago.” I really knew nothing about it.

Charley told me a fascinating story of his life and how he came into contact with a wonderful teacher (which, I now know, was a funny statement) Cheyenne Maloney. The reason I say its a funny statement is that Cheyenne really doesn’t like or use the word “teacher,” so we lovingly call her our Fuda. (It’s a word we made up for our “fearless leader,” who prefers not to label things in general.)

This began a new chapter in my life, a move to Florida and a subsequent relocation to Guatemala. All due to the amazing effects of walking the Toltec path, which is not an easy one and certainly not for everyone.

I will elaborate on the Toltec belief system and adjustment of the human assemblage point in a future blog.

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General Smudging Guidelines

Written by Sherrie Locke on 2 Ix, February 2014

In most Native American and other indigenous traditions, a clearing or a cleansing is performed as the opening for all ceremony or ritual practice, whether is it a personal ritual or a group ceremony.

Many traditional ceremonies use local plants and herbs. We will begin with a most basic smudging: a ceremony or ritual performed to either clear oneself and aura or to clear a space such as ones home to evacuate stale or negative energy stored in the space or auric field.

You will need three items.

1. White sage (Salvia Officinalis) or a white sage smudge stick (you can purchase these in the incense section at Wholefoods.) For the non-metaphysical properties of sage, see http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Salvia+officinalis.)

2. A fire source (I find the sacred “Bic” works well). I was with an elder at a remote sacred site a very long time ago, and he asked me if I had a light. I looked at him and said, “A light? Like a flashlight?” He said, “No, I was asking if you carry the sacred flame.” I said. “Well, I don’t think I have had that initiation grandfather.” He stood up and proclaimed, “I am the keeper of the sacred flame!” Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a red Bic lighter, scratched it to life and held it to the sky.

He sat back on the earth, held the lighter in his open palm, looked me in the eyes and said, “My dear Sherrie, you never know when you will need to build a sacred fire, so always carry the sacred flame. This is traditional.” Then he gave me the red Bic lighter. Moral to the story: always be prepared.

3. A fireproof dish, bowl or a pan of some kind so you don’t set the house on fire. This is, of course, not necessary if you are working outside on the earth.

If working with loose sage, you will use the pan to burn the sage in. If you use metal, be sure you consider the heat factor and use an oven mitt or something.

If using a smudge stick, you will be using the pan to hold underneath the smudge stick so that if it pops or gets really hot you can catch the ashes and embers. Trust me you will need this. (Traditionally we use an abalone shell for a smudge bowl and a wing or feather to fan the smoke from the bowl or from a smudge stick. We are well trained in cleaning the aura, place or the like, we can feel it. The wing and the spirit of the bird help us go directly to the “thickness” and remove it like a surgeon.

Practice makes perfect. The tool is only as powerful as the practitioner. These are rules we go by in general. A smudge may be beneficially performed by a novice, but it might not be as powerful as a ceremony performed by a traditional shaman or properly trained practitioner who is tuned in, intentional and heart centered.

I feel it is important to do personal smudging frequently, especially after interacting with others, to re-center yourself in your own energies and clear any negativity. It is required prior to most traditional ceremony. Like we say, leave your shit outside the lodge.

Health and holistic practitioners can benefit greatly by doing smoke cleanses but may need to devote a considerable amount of time to this and also to cleaning the space they have been working in at the end of the day. Note that sage is an antiseptic, so it can also be used in treatment rooms or where people have been ill, not only to clear residual emotional debris but also to clear airborne germs and pathogens.

I must also note that in this day and age many places will not let you burn anything. I have run into this myriad times, especially in California. There are other types of cleansings that can be prepared and used in this situation, which I will address in a future post. We are solely focusing on smoke cleansing or smudging.

Smudging Basics
Basically it works like this. Take a few deep breaths and relax. If you plan to cleanse a room or a house, walk through it first and look at the places that gather energy so you have an idea what to focus on. Set your intention (to clear you and/or the space).

How to Do a Personal Smudging
Always smudge yourself before you smudge another person or start a house clearing or blessing. For a personal smudge: light the sage, get it burning and then blow out the flames. Start at the bottom (feet) and let the smoke kiss your body, bathe in it, thank it for taking away what you do not need, for clearing and letting go of any negativity. It’s that simple.

How to Smudge a Room or House
For a space or house clearing smudge, begin and end at a designated point (you work that out). If you are smudging a house, you might want to start at the front door, move in a steady fashion, clockwise or counterclockwise (your preference or belief system but choose one and stick with it), going in that general direction through each room until you get back to your starting point.

Be sure to watch how the smoke rises in different areas, it will tell you where the negativity hangs out. You might want to spend a bit more time and smoke on those areas. Don’t forget closets, drawers and cabinets. You can expedite this by opening them all on your first walk through, then go back after you have completed the whole project and put everything back the way it was, only now it’s clean and de-cootied. I always open a door or window afterward to let anything out that needs to go out.

Other Notes on Smudging
If you are using a smudge stick, put it out under running water. After it dries you can reuse it, but if you crush it out it will continue to smolder and be a fire hazard.

If you are using loose sage, carry a bag of it around with your bowl so you can add to the fire rather than having it all go up at once.

Go forth and clean that space!

I will post a more advanced cleansing ceremony at a later time, this is intended for newbies and getting used to doing the cleaning rituals.

Ho! Mitakuye Oyasin!

Preparing Space for Divination or Healing

By Sherrie Locke, 8 Kej, February 2014

I am a stickler for “preparing space,” it is the single most important aspect of doing a good reading, a good and productive healing session or anything “meta”-physical. It is the key to things going well or according to the intended plan.

The first thing to do is make sure the space, area or site you are working on or with is cleaned. This means smudging the space, setting an intention, opening a work space, holding that space, and when you are finished, closing that held space and giving thanks to those plants and beings who help in the whole operation.

I have witnessed many a healer/reader with no sense of “boundaries” or space and who are often not even clear on the intention. This will not do! Not only must the facilitator be conscious of these parameters, but they must also be clear with the client so that the intentions for the sessions match.
This is the beginning of a successful interaction for all parties.
The next thing to do is be conscious of your level of understanding and knowledge, first of the intended modality you plan to use, and then and most important, is the knowledge and understanding of the place or location you are working in.

I am also a stickler about not bringing in a tradition that has nothing to do with the area, region or culture on which whose land you stand. So be conscious and reverent, because the spirits of that very place are helping you by interacting with all that is being done there.

As I have said many times before, you are can’t fight a Sumerian demon with a few Christian prayers and by throwing some white light at it (or holy water for that matter). You will wind up dead, only to come back and figure it out next go around. Possibly with collateral damage.

So be aware of your limits and realms of knowledge. If you think something is out of your league, then it probably is and you should call for assistance or just step away. Or keep the session within your realm of expertise. Believe me, I have had to clean these things up many times for others (another specialty in my “tool kit”). That is, if there were any survivors to counsel and they could make it to me.

There are many ways to create space and to hold that space, I will elaborate in a future category of “Working Rituals.” In the meantime, be mindful, conscious and intentional in all you do, for this will serve you well and your interactions even better!