Closing Sacred Space

Written by Sherrie Locke on 6 K’at, March 2014

Every time a ritual or ceremony is performed, there is an intention set as to the duration of the operation. As in:

Is it a space clearing and protection ritual (short)?

A fire ceremony (two-three hours)?

A business (duration of original manifestation and/or duration of the business)?

In the case of a ceremony, the shaman and possibly certain “gatekeepers” have been holding space for everyone involved; the more who are conscious of this, the easier it is to hold space.

Some circles may become rather elaborate, with someone in charge of watching over and monitoring certain movements within the group and circle. As in many tribes, only the assistants would be allowed to speak directly to the shaman, since they have been trained in proper protocol and customs.

When the shaman/leader of the group concludes the ceremony, usually he or she will say, “It is Done!,” “We are done,” Or “So be it!, it is done!” Then the general group is dismissed.

After that, the gatekeepers and/or shaman will “collapse” the space held and end the entire session, giving all back to the earth.

Personal Ceremonies
In the case of personal ritual ceremonies, just remember that you opened a sacred space, so you must close it and collapse it when done. Never leave ritual items lying around. Put everything away.
Ritual offerings may be left.

On the mundane side, yes, even when selling a car, a simple closing ritual can be done to clear your energy from the item, place or object, before it is transferred to the new owner. When I buy a car, I welcome it, smudge it, and remove all items of the previous owner.

Clear and smudge your vehicle at least once a month and ask that it and all passengers be safe and protected. You check the oil, tires and water don’t you? Just add a few things…check!

(In Guatemala, the “chicken bus” companies bring in shamans to bless their buses and drivers at least once a year. The ceremonies, naturally, are performed on E/Eb days, which mean Road.)

When you are ready to sell the car, thank it, clean all your stuff out of it, smudge it to remove attachment, and she’s ready to go to a new home.

Closing Space for a House and Personal Items
Collapse all fields only when you are moving out of a house. Do the same with jewelry or any personal items you are selling, in order to clear and close out your energy.

Note: Certain things cannot be cleared and can be read for eternity by someone like me, so think about that too.

Closing a space is therefore an ending, a closure, pure and simple: you opened the door, so close it behind you.

We are all good at starting things, let’s get just as good at ending them!

Ho! Mitakuye Oyasin!

Advertisements

Space Clearing 101

Written by Sherrie Locke, 4 Toj, February 2014

I tend to forget that most people were not raised the way I was, so there are many things I take for granted as just simple general knowledge. It was after a number of years that I discovered that even though these things are in plain sight, very few people ever take the time or energy to really look at their environment and, most especially, at the state of their own character.

Let us begin with just a few simple things to do and some very simple techniques to do them.

Entry and Exit Points
In a home or business there are entry and exit points, there are windows, there are cabinets, drawers, rooms for special things, a kitchen, a bed room and a bathroom. Thinking in terms of the four directions (Air, Fire, Water and Earth), a room, items and things in your home represent each of these and is ruled by these energies.

The kitchen and bedroom are ruled by Venus. The bath is ruled by the moon (Yemaya) and so on. I will write a future post on planetary rulership.

The manner in which this knowledge is implemented is something that I personally am a stickler about.

Do you think about what you are doing? I mean really. Go in your bathroom, what does it look like? Is it clean? Do you realize the plumbing system in your home is an entry and exit point? So, do you really ever clean the energy around the drains? The faucets? And the toilet?
Some of the most meticulous of energy workers will do all the other cleansings (with sage, sea salt, and the like), and yet they never consider these other entry/exit points. So I am gonna give you a hint, a way of fixing it and hopefully spark you to be more mindful about everything you do and the environment you are in.

The Drain Stops Here
Drains collect energy. There are water spirits, and just like any other realm, some are really sweet and some are foul. So once a week or once a month after you have done a space clearing (see my article on general smudging guidelines) you might want to pay attention to the drains and to the other entry/exit points in your home or the environment you are working in. Especially if there has been negative energy or illness in the space.

A simple inexpensive way of clearing out not only dirt and grime but also unwanted energies. I use ammonia, the cheap stuff you buy at the grocery store. So every once in a while, pour some down all drains and also in the toilet and flush it. The ammonia drives away negative energies.
And another thing I always laugh about is the age-old statement, “You left the toilet lid up again.” Well, ladies, let me tell you, a man leaving the seat up is nothing compared to the fact that you leave the lid up exposing the toilet bowl, like a vessel of water awaiting programming, and then broadcasting out into your home (I am not kidding kids).

So here’s the deal. A bowl of water collects energy. The toilet is an entry and exit point into your home. So why do you want to leave it open unless you are using it?
Consider this, and you might start being more mindful about everything you do. And for you germ-o-phobes, it’s like this: you have your sink where you brush your teeth, you have a toilet in the same room, you go in and use the toilet, flush it with the lid up, and the water molecules not only go down the drain but also swirl up into the room and environment, spreading a thin invisible mist in the entire room, oh including your toothbrush and toiletries and your freshly cleaned body. Think about it, really.

So ladies, stop complaining about men not putting the seat down and close the lid on the toilet when you are not using it! Jeez people. Just be mindful about what you are spreading and doing especially in your own home, if you expect to really do a good energetic job that will hold space. It may sound like a simple thing but it can make a world of difference in your home.

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!