Sacred Journeys – Ceremonies to Honour the Six DirectionsKim Elkington April 1, 2016
I have been asked by readers to share, in some detail, how myself and friends celebrate the earth cycles. Within the group I meet with these days, some are new to such gatherings and others are wizened. To level the field, we decided to take turns creating each ceremony, because we are initiated to the energies very personally, through that process, and it keeps it real and fresh. It was Anne’s turn this time, and with her permission we share our gathering for the spring, held this week. Please feel free to use these sweet words or be inspired by them in your own celebrations, be they with others or on your own.
We always begin by immersing our hands in purifying water, then smudging (with smoke, sound or scent) ourselves and each other, and then take turns representing the directions. As we call in each direction we face that direction, and one of us lights a candle. Later as we close and thank the energy of that direction for their presence, we blow out the candle:
EAST: “Energy of the east, spirit of air and home of eagle. Spring Equinox is the time when our northern soil tilts back towards the warming radiance of the Sun and a new cycle of growth begins. Help us be bringers of light and growth; fill us with hope for new beginnings, illuminate our path, and help us to see with Eagle eyes, both the finest of detail and the overall landscape. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
SOUTH: “Energy of the south, spirit of fire and home of wolf and serpent. Equinox is a time of inner and outer transformation and rebirth. Warm our hearts with your fire, give us courage to lovingly release that which no longer serves, help us to purify ourselves and make ready our vessels that new dreams may take root and grow. Like the serpent, whose belly stays in close contact with the earth, help us receive and honour the teachings of the earth. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
WEST: “Energy of the west, spirit of water and home of bear and jaguar. Thank you for your gift of preparation and wise use of resources. We welcome the arrival of water from snow and ice into liquid nourishment for the rivers and streams, all the creatures and plants and the earth. Quench our thirst for growth, and wash away old ideas and belief systems that no longer serve. We ask you to cleanse and purify our minds, bodies and spirits that we too may be reborn, washed forth into a new cycle of growth. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
NORTH: “Energy of the north, spirit of earth, and home of the ancestors and dragonfly. Thank you for the gifts of perseverance, resilience and ‘groundedness’, for being with us through the long darkness of winter, and for teaching us to connect, share stories and pursue inner journeys. Stand with us as we step across this threshold into Spring, share your wisdom and guide us through the next cycle of birth, growth, harvest, and death. We acknowledge and honour the limitless capacity of the Earth to hold and support us. Help us walk gently on our journeys. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
ABOVE: “Energy of the Above, the space between all that is, was and will be and all that connects and unifies us with all beings. You are the recycling of breath, the linking of spirit and the galactic bridging, which carves out the space in which the Wheel turns. Help us feel the unifying connections, fill our minds and spirits with childlike awe of all possibilities and breathe away all that clogs the process of growth and rebirth. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
BELOW: “Energy of the Below, spirit of the Earth, essence of Pachamama. You support and nourish all beings, send forth life and welcome back what no longer serves. We welcome your omnipresence, your support and your unconditional love and protection. Remind us of our connections, help us step over the threshold into the new cycle with clarity and the confidence that we are loved and supported. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
WITHIN: “Energy of the Within, the space that is ourselves within the collective whole, the vessel of our souls and spirit, our inner sanctum. Thank you for being with us today, for helping me to show up and be here with my sisters and brothers, for holding space and celebrating the uniqueness that is me, while gently blending the margins where we merge seamlessly together into a beautiful oneness. Grace us with your presence today and always”.
As this was a spring gathering, we acknowledged the energies of creation and rebirth, the sprouting of seeds, the blossoming of our dreams, and cultivated our deeper knowing that the Universe hears and witnesses us. We did this by sharing our dreams, through our bodies or art or words, knowing they would magnify in the sharing, and bring them closer to us.
As a cleansing ritual, we were invited to create an offering for the Earth, feeling free to use a combination of materials or just one, as seemed fitting to our process (eg tobacco, sage, dried flowers, seeds). Lovingly we placed all the thoughts and materials in the bundle, tied it up and offered it to the Earth outside for recycling and conversion to unconditional love.
Then together we co-created a mandala with flower petals, seeds, and other compostables, celebrating together the blossoming potential of spring.