Ceremony and Ritual

Written by Sherrie Locke on 1 T’zi (Dog), June 2014

 

A ritual is a series of actions in a religious or spiritual ceremony, but can also be any procedure that is followed on a regular basis. A ceremony is usually a ritual with spiritual or religious intent, and is devotional in nature.

Shaman Performing Ceremony

 

People perform many rituals on a daily basis, from your morning ritual to the things you do the same general way, every time whenever possible. For women, it may also be beauty and personal care. The examples are endless. These are rituals.

You can, on a daily basis, also add other rituals that benefit not only your physical body and environment, but which also open you up to expansion in other realms, help and assistance from ancestors, communication with your higher self and connection with all things. Special ceremonies have been performed for aeons to mark special events, dates, seasonal beginnings, births, deaths and myriad purposes in between.

For special events, you can choose to gather special foods, flowers or things related to what you are doing. They may be for healing, such as in a plant ceremony, or a rite of passage of some sort, which is lacking in most Western cultures. We from indigenous heritage find these rites of passage very useful. They let you know you current responsibilities in the tribe or family unit.

In Tewa culture, there is never a family slot unfilled. When a grandmother passes, one of the mothers (usually the eldest) becomes the grandmother and the eldest daughter then becomes the mother. So there is always someone to speak to regarding things you would ask Grandmother, Grandfather, Mother, Father, Aunt or Uncle. For instance an Aunt or Uncle would be consulted if the subject were an inappropriate question to ask a parent or grandparent.

This also puts the family in a mindful state, which produces the proper guidance for the one who seeks it. So in each family and tribal unit, there is a resource available to be tapped and utilized. My cousins and I used to laugh and say the tribe was in trouble when become the elders. Well, we have matured and have built on what we were taught as children, with the added wisdom of what we had to overcome in our generation. We are the extension of our family and tribe. Our life is also our resource. Now we are prepared. If this was practiced more in today’s society we wouldn’t be in the state we are currently in.

We do ceremony to remember. We do ritual to transform and strengthen ourselves.

Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin! ~SL 2014

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Symbols or Weapons of the Four Directions

Written by Sherrie Locke on 1 Serpent, March 2014

The Four Directions and their Symbols and Weapons

Direction Time Color Tarot Suit Symbol or Weapon
East Sunrise Yellow Sword Feather or Dagger
South Noon Red Wands Wand or Fire
West Sunset Black or Blue Cups Chalice
North Midnight White Coins Coin, Pentacle or Shield

This is according to Western occult tradition. Some indigenous people, such as the Maya, may use other directional colors for their ceremonies. (The Maya use red for east and yellow for south.) Most are reversed north to south at the equator.

The four directional colors represent the four races:
Yellow of the East
Red of the South
Black of the West
White of the North

The four elements are:
Air
Fire
Water
Earth

Most traditions I work with are generally in this format due to my obsession with the “connecting thread.”

As in anything, traditions are also evolving, so colors and gender may vary in schools of thought and study both in older and more recent curriculum of esoteric study. I will say the Western initiatory path is pretty much standardized back to basic Kaballistic theory.

As you gather your weapons, they will likely be what you use from here on unless you decide to replace them with an upgrade.

Note: with feathers, we (the Elders) find that the feathers of a living bird are the most powerful kind, and many times are “gifted” by a spirit animal, It’s a totem thing, very strong.

Next a ritually sacrificed animal. Don’t freak, it’s done all the time in tribal cultures, in a sacred manner and all parts of the sacrifice are utilized, nothing is ever wasted.

Third, some feather whose history you do not know can be a symbol you can relate to.

In the USA, please be aware that possession of certain feathers carries a hefty fine and some are not allowed to be transported anywhere. So don’t do show and tell or hang it from you rearview mirror. We as first nations people actually have to have a permit to possess and carry certain sacred objects, go figure. One eagle feather incident could be a $50,000 fine and jail time if they wanted to push it, so be mindful.

Also, it is better to use a cup or knife whose history you know rather than picking up some antique that has been God knows where or used for what purpose. Be mindful!

As I have said before, some items, particularly ritual items, cannot be cleared, so I can read them, if I would choose to even touch them. If I am not in the same location with said item, I can easily check its vibe and likely its history, too. Yes, I do this work, but please don’t show up with questionable items and expect me to do whatever you ask. I may not, I might, it certainly will not be for free.

For representation of earth I may use some dirt or a rock, but usually a coin of some kind.

Be creative, stick within your base of knowledge. If you start changing currents of natural flow, you had best be conscious of WHY. Stick to the basics of what you understand for now; you can get elaborate with banners of the four directions, symbols and items as you learn and grow more accustomed to working a medicine wheel or ceremony for invoking or evoking an energy. I have already posted a blog on the subject of evocation or invocation, and suggest you know the difference before you commence on this subject.

In the mean time… have fun, learn, refine, expand!

Ho! Mitakuye Oyasin!
Blessed be!
It Is Done.

Amulets, Talismans and Other Power Items

Written by Sherrie Locke on 6 Net/Lizard, March 2014

In most first nation traditions of North America, powerful “things” come into one’s life at certain junctures as a person matures. For others, a medicine quest can bring one items of connection and power.

These items could be anything from a root, a feather, a crystal, a stone, a tooth, a claw, an amulet, a piece of jewelry and so on. Sometimes they come from a family member or, an elder, from the earth or even from a store (hey, this is the 21st century).

Some items are more powerful than others; possibly they have been ritually prepared or “fed” in some way by a shaman.

My intention for this brief post today is, rather than to explain the usage of objects of power, to simply address the existence of these beautiful symbols of individual or even tribal power. They help us to learn reverence, they help us to remember, to connect.

Treat your power items with respect, and each time you handle them, do so with reverence for what they represent, how they came into your life and what they have shown up to teach you.

These items may not always be with you, you may not have them forever, but they will be “in you” and “of you” and accessible to you in real-time or for always through connecting and remembering.

Ho! Mitakuye’ Oyasin!