Circular Earth Mandala
Earth Rituals and Outside Altars
We all have our daily rituals and routines – but one of my favourite things to do is to set up an outside altar on a walk or when I have some time outside in the garden.
I think it appeals to my artist’s side and hopefully it can inspire you to do this in your own way, as of course- there are no rules!.
Over the last few years, as a textile artist, I was fortunate enough to be asked to go to Canada to participate in a textiles exhibition on a beautiful piece of land which included a waterfall, woodland and a stream. There were also sightings of bears, hummingbirds and dragonflies.
Altars for the Heart
Heart Altars with Plant Seeds. By Owen Tuff 2013.
My artist partner Owen Tuff, started making these little outdoor altars and I realised that I’d also been doing a similar thing without realising it since my early childhood.
Between the years of 3 and 18, I grew up in North Wales and Dorset. I had a beautiful piece of land to rom around in, this is where I discovered the beauty of ripe, juicy elderberries and how to build a dry stone wall.
At the moment, I’m staying in Suffolk, Walberswick and I thought it would be a nice thing to show you some easy ways of creating an outside altar on the beach. I also made some simple boats with the students and we let these go to the sea, with their intentions for the future.
Three Simple Steps:
- Open sacred space
- Collect your materials for honouring and showing your gratitude.
- Place in a constellation that’s happy and satisfying to you.
Materials can connect to each of the elements: earth, fire, air and water. Use these elements or weather around you to inform your practice. Look at what you’re being told by the wind and the sky. Notice what birds or animals come to visit. Listen to the whispers of the ancestors in the wind while you work.
Here , I simply drew a labyrinth in the sand. But you could create mermaids out of natural materials or balance stones upon each other.
Mama Cocha the ocean and Pachamama are incredibly soothing and grounding beings to be with.
One of the nicest things to do is to have a fire ceremony outside and share some of the Munay Ki rites as a group with an outside altar to honour the ancestors. I hope this has inspired you in some way. If you have any further questions please get in touch.
May you fly with beauty
For all our relations
New Moon Blessings.
Shell Mandala 2 by J.L.E Crowe
This powerful new moon is a time of new beginnings and pathways. As Alberto Villoldo said when I was training… it’s important that we clear up our own river!.
In my last post I talked about different ways of honouring water, as well as working energetically with it.
This time I would like to discuss space clearing and how to dedicate an altar that’s dedicated to water.
Recently I was invited to visit a nearby blocked well. Many years ago, outbreaks of cholera caused the wells in our village to be closed over. My friend Aoife, a sound healer – had lived in the village previously and had received a message from spirit about a trapped soul at the bottom of a well. She hadn’t yet followed this up but a synchronistic incident led me, Aoife and another friend together last weekend. Aoife found out that the well she had been told about was at the front of this friend’s house!.
So, last night we went round to the house and made offerings of cornmeal and tobacco to the four corners of the land. We called in sacred space. Aoife had brought drums, a clearing bell and her beautiful voice.
Sound is very important, the sound waves help to keep the vibration raised enough to free the trapped or imbalanced energies. Rhythmical drumming or rattling also helps me to hold space and to step in between the worlds. Here, we are stepping outside of time.
Releasing a Trapped Spirit from The Well
We created an altar at the front of the house by the well. We lit two nightlights and blessed the well with spring water, smudging the whole area and ourselves with white sage. On the altar was a Q’ero symbol of yinantin, a supreme balance of masculine and feminine harmony, which was a red and white carnation.
Together, we tuned into the land and sensed that this trapped soul needed much love enveloped around it. He was so scared, he hadn’t necessarily fallen into the well but had become confused about where to find the light home. This could have been after a death due to illness at the time.
There he was in my mind’s eye as Aoife drummed and sang a gentle lullaby. I tuned into the land spirits and the water spirits, asking what they needed. They asked for a small chrystal. I opened my mesa and immediately knew which one had to go to the water in the well.
It took a long time for me to wiggle the brick in the ‘eye’ of the well free from the concrete block on top of it. Then, I could see the rounded brick walls leading vertically to the well bottom.
In gratitude, I threw down the chrystal and poured in some florida water. As Aoife held space, we called on this boy’s parents to help escort him to the light. We had the support of the land spirits, the water spirits and the ancestors to do this work.
This little boy spirit was ready to go and appreciated our efforts to coax him up to the light. I used my Vogel Chrystal to help him go and performed a small fire ceremony later to release him to the stars.
We were both happy that the process had been easy and closed sacred space.
Tips for Space Clearing.
Clearing the land can be as simple as this. One of my favourites is called ‘Clearing – a Guide to Liberating Energies trapped in buildings and land’ by Jim Pathfinder Ewing.
Even if you don’t need to do a full land clearing or release a trapped spirit, this time of year is excellent for clutter clearing.
You could tune into the water table beneath the earth, or the nearest body of water to check that it’s flowing freely and feels happy. If there’s a need for anything , you will receive a message through auditory, visual, kinaesthetic means or even just a ‘knowing’.
I will be talking more about space clearing soon. In the meantime if you have any questions, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy water cleansing and sacred ritual bathing!.
New Moon Blessings
For all our relations.
All water is sacred!
Whether it’s sacred water in the form of springs, streams, the ocean, or the rainwater that falls gently on our lands, there are some indescribable things happening around the world threatening to poison our water and potentially our lives.
I was so inspired by this beautiful film below by wild swimmer Natasha Brooks and also by the fact that it was World Water Day on 22nd March. I thought I would gather some inspiration together. I hope that this post gives you some ideas about how we can work with water in a shamanic way.
Experience the world as living energy, an exercise.
This wonderful exercise is taken from Elizabeth Jenkins Book ‘The Fourth Level’.
Experience your energy bubble, it normally extends out an arm’s length all the way round you. Experience what is outside it and then bring your awareness back into yourself. Extend your awareness towards a body of water closest to you. This could be a vast ocean, river, lake, small stream, pond or spring. If there is no body of water near you, ‘see’ in your mind’s eye the groundwater that exists almost everywhere below our feet. Perceive this water body as living energy and the most refined essence of the water, it’s ‘sami’. Enjoy this perception of the spirit of water, what does it need? Listen and see if you can send it your love and highest energies.
The Q’ero do a lot of their energy work from an energy centre just below their belly button called the Qosqo Nawi. Literally translated, this means the belly eye, or red earth eye. You can also use your Siki Nawi (Tail eye) , which is connected to the element of water. This is located in the same place as your root chakra. Either of these centres would be good to send your highest energies from. Imagine a cord or ‘seqe’ of light that goes from one of these two energy centres to the body of water in your mind’s eye or to the waters under the ground.
The Q’ero use water as a cleanser of the aura in their ceremonies and believe it’s an essentially female living energy that can be connected to and communicated with.
Water has been proven to hold an energetic imprint of any substance that it comes into contact with. The work of Masaru Emoto demonstrates that not only physical and environmental substances change water but so do our thoughts, intentions, prayers and music.
Here is a beautiful fire ceremony for the ocean with a Mayan elder in Guatamala, songs by Nalini.
Water in ‘Ayni’ or reciprocity
Sacredwatertribe.org have suggested saying that together we could hold the intention of love and gratitude while sharing Ho’oponopono prayer.
Water, I am sorry,
Water, Please forgive me,
Water, Thank you,
Water, I Love you.
Ho’oponopono is a powerful Hawaiian prayer for forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a powerful incantation to the water and allows one the opportunity to make right on any wrong actions, negative thoughts, or negative energy that we have created. This prayer is received by water and thus water will reflected back peace and harmony.
More ideas for a Water Ceremony coming soon!
May you walk in beauty
For all our relations
Spring Equinox prompts us to plant our dreams
What is the meaning of the Spring Equinox?
Spring Equinox signifies the union of our masculine and the feminine sides. It also reflects the balance and the meeting point of the light and dark in our lives. From the point of the Spring Equinox, daylight is increasing and a new tide of life begins anew.
This is a time that can be seen as a way through chaos and into fertile possibilities, a new way of life. Traditionally we evoked the Goddess Oestre (the Goddess of Light , taken from the word Oestrogen). She can help us through the chaos before and after the equinox.
Why celebrate the Earth Calendar Festivals?
Its important for me to honour the Earth calendar dates that relate to our natural seasons in the UK. I also practice a shamanic tradition based in the High Andes of Peru, with the Q’ero nation.
I love organising small ceremonies and gatherings with friends to mark these special breathing points of the year. They mark a time when there’s a thinning of the veils between the worlds. This is where we can regain our balance, aligning with our dreams and intentions for the year.
At this time we can tune in more easily to what the earth, the elements and the natural world are saying to us. While at this point of the earth’s evolution, I feel it’s important to slow down enough to connect with Mother Earth’s heart. When we sit quietly during meditation or ceremony, we can hear what she has to say.
Inspiring People for our own Gatherings and Ceremonies.
Glennie Kindred has helped me to shape my ideas around these eight earth calendar festivals. I also gained inspiration from the Druid path and a book called ‘Hedgewitch, a guide to Solitary Witchcraft’ by Rae Beth. Rae Beth talks of the two weeks before and after the Equinox as a time of transition , great stress and tension. She says that all the elements of life are being brought into balance, physically as day and night attain equal length.
Before we can step onto our new path , we need to let go of the old ways and let them break down!.
Decorate eggs to place on your Spring Equinox altar!
What can we do to honour the Spring Equinox?.
- Meditation : We can ‘plant’ the sacred seeds we hold within us into the outer world. This can be done by symbolically planting herbs and flowers into compost and decorated pots.
- We can decorate eggs, placing them in a willow basket on our altar. We can honour the time we have taken to incubate our ideas and plans for the coming year. State your intention as you hold your egg and pass it around your circle of friends to be blessed if you are holding a ceremony.
- Take time to bless and honour the feminine and masculine side within you through journeying to those parts, sitting with them and evoking them through ceremony.
- Get outside and feel the wind in your hair, blowing your prayers to the wind spirits for yourself, your family and friends, for the earth. Hang up a prayer flag or create your own flag for the garden.
- Make something delicious with the spring greens around, like nettle soup, here is a delicious recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.
Use the air element on a windy day to send your Spring Equinox wishes and prayers to the world.
Enjoy your Spring Equinox (Monday 20th March at 10.14am, with the sun moving into Aries) whatever you may be doing !.
May you fly with beauty
For all our relations
‘Come out of the circle of time And into the circle of love’. Rumi
Enjoying a simple and beautiful life ..
Ali creating a shamanic ceremony called a ‘despacho’ with a group.
A wonderful way of enjoying precious moments with my friends, my family and the community can be through preparing a simple shamanic ceremony with them.
For me, ceremony is about setting my intention and working with ayni (in reciprocity). In the Q’ero tradition, we show gratitude before something happens, not afterwards. We are surrounded by the unseen worlds and they are always willing to help us when asked.
Shamanic ceremony is by it’s very nature creative. Each shaman or shamanic practitioner is different and the way things are executed always change according to the person and their passion for life. One of the most important elements is our intention and our breath. If we can blow all our passion and creative energy into the prayer bundles of our ceremony, it’s going to make a powerful mountain of natural healing energy for us all to enjoy over the months to come.
A despacho is an envelope of dreams that holds our prayers and wishes for the future. It is made up completely out of natural ingredients and all of them are things that you can find in your kitchen cupboards. The despacho brings us back into right relationship with our world and with ourselves.
This is an offering to the earth and heavens, a prayer of gratitude, in the spirit of service to the family/community/society/community that we live in. Please see my blog post for more details as to how to make one for yourself.
Have a look at my blog post about creating your own altar, which is such a personal and creative act in itself.
Creating The Earth Festivals as Shamanic Ceremony.
I follow a Celtic tradition, as well as the Q’ero path and celebrate the earth festivals of the year for Europe: These are the Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltain, Summer Solstice, Lammas , Autumn Equinox and Samhain. Each time of year is very different and pertinent to the type of activity we choose. Glennie Kindred is one of the people who has inspired me to get together with friends and into the community. She has written some really beautiful books, check her out :). I will be writing about ways of celebrating the Spring Equinox very soon.
Ritual and ceremony brings the sacred into our every day life, where we can honour ourselves and our ancestral lineage. Take the opportunity to connect with the unseen worlds and our guides at these turning points of the year. Spend time with others and celebrate the Full Moon and New Moon Fire Ceremony, it can be great fun!.
A ceremony called life: A butterfly enjoying the sun on her wings
A Simple Creative, Daily Rhythm
The most simple ceremony is your daily rhythm of life: Walks in nature, open fires, home cooked food, reading, music. Whatever it is, make most of the simplest pleasures available to you and to your life. Life for me is a treasure of friendship, personal time and weaving the beautiful magic that is for me creativity and healing. This in turn, helps me to feel more relaxed and prepared to conquer those difficult times and creative blocks when they arise. While researching for this post, I found a beautiful book on Cygnus Review called ‘A Ceremony Called Life’, which is definitely worth a look. As I was bringing up my small children ‘ Simple Abundance – A book of Comfort and Joy ‘ by Sarah Ban Breathnach really helped me on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to hone our daily rhythm to our changing needs, what speaks to your soul?.
Come and join us, contact me for more details of the ceremonies dates this year or go to My Meetup Group ‘Wild Star’ . Join me on my Facebook page Lucid Healing Shamanism, where all my ceremonies are listed, or ask for your email to be added to my database – email@example.com.
Wishing you an infinite resource for your well being.
May you walk in beauty
For all our relations
Baba Yaga Altar for shadow work.
What is a creative block?
I work a lot with creative blocks in my shamanic practice, it’s a fascinating process! Clients are often held back on an ancestral level – possibly feeling that they’re ‘not allowed’ or ‘not good enough’ to create what they want to in the world. There are patterns to be released here and blocks to let go of. Whatever you do, hopefully you feel inspired by doing the work you love. If you’re not doing what you love, then make small manageable steps towards your dreams. When you work with passion in your life, the universe will step in and support you in your endeavours and try and make things easier for you.
A creative block could be:
- A ‘heavy’ pattern of behaviour,
- A self sabotaging response,
- A leaking/loss of energy over a long time or from a traumatic experience,
- A negative self belief/ contract with ourselves
- Anything that we tell ourselves or do that stops us from moving forward towards our creative dreams and future.
How can we track to the root of a Creative Block?
Ask a shamanic practitioner to track the root of an issue for you if you don’t feel confident doing this yourself. In my own practice, I would get a client to pick a Khuya (a stone imbued with loving kindness from my mesa, or medicine bundle) and blow the essence of their creative block into it. Then I would track and tune into four animal archetypes: Serpent, Jaguar, Humming Bird and Eagle to help me to see where they were being held back.
The pattern or leak could be on an ancestral or karmic level and it could also be soul loss. Tracking will be able to help to determine where the root is very quickly and then we make a plan together as to how to proceed. One of the most powerful tools to use around the issue of creativity is shadow work.
Our shadow contains our juiciest creative power or treasure. they are the parts of ourselves that we repress because we don’t feel good about showing them to the world. The older we get, the harder it is to keep these shadow parts hidden away.
Facing our fears and shadows can help to dissolve a creative block.
Shadow work also can help us to be more discerning with our energies, seeing where we leak or give away energy instead of using it for our own creativity. In order to be creative we need to be organised and to look after ourselves, nurturing ourselves with natural foods. Listen to your body and develop body awareness. Keeping a dream diary or creative journal has also helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life.
One of the ways we can approach our shadow parts is by journeying to a specific part of ourselves that may need to be brought into balance through the arts, ceremony or visualisation and having a conversation with them.Often, these repressed parts of ourselves just need recognition and love, in order to re-integrate and harmonise with our energy fields once more. They are only creating havoc or resistance because they are trying to get our attention.
The story of Baba Yaga (found in Clarissa Pinkola Estes ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’) is a very powerful metaphor for learning to trust our intuition.
Other ways of clearing creative blocks could be through illumination, extraction or entity release .
Allow yourself the freedom to express yourself through art, music, sculpture or dance and allow those aspects of your true self to really shine and be integrated. When we engage in a creative practice, we receive inspiration and well being on so many levels.
In my next post, I will be talking about shamanic ceremony and creativity.
May you walk in beauty
For all our relations
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.
The Creative Flow
My creativity has sometimes been like a flowing river and at other times like a trickling stream. Some days it slows to a complete halt and I feel like there’s nothing I can do about a creative block. However, there are plenty of shamanic tools that we can use to help that flow run strongly once more. A creative block needs unravelling with patience, self compassion and love.
Having your own sacred space or quiet spot in the house can help you to feel nurtured and supported into re- discovering your creative spark.
Clearing Our Rivers
Our healing process can happen in between other important or every day life events. Sometimes it’s easier to not look at the parts of ourselves that need to come into balance, because then we can pretend it’s all fine. Sometimes our bodies cry out for a creative approach and get sick if we don’t listen to the little messages. (What could those messages be?)
Listening to your little Voice
I urge you to really listen to what your little voice is telling you, even if it sounds crazy. Healing doesn’t happen in the sequence of 1,2,3 – it can appear quite random and after 3, you may need to go back to 1 for a bit and then revisit -5. We have layers like an onion of our heavy patterns, self beliefs and power loss hidden in our luminous energy field. It takes time for the healing process to shed one layer and then reveal another.
Drumming and Shamanic Journeying.
Shamanic ceremonies often use a drum. I often take a shamanic journey to a creative medicine space, in order to tune into my little voice more keenly. Sometimes I use creative visualisation or journeying techniques – asking to be guided what to make or paint. When we need to find a balance between the inner and the outer worlds, drumming or journeying can help us to access aspects of ourselves that are holding us back from dreaming our world into being. In this Shamanic traditon, we journey to the three main worlds: Lower/the underworld (Ukhu Pacha), the middle world (Kay Pacha) and the upper world (Hanaq Pacha).
Drums are such a personal piece of your tool kit. You can either :
- Make your own drum,
- Have it made for you out of deerskin or hide
- Buy a synthetic Remo drum available in most good music shops
- Use a CD/MP3 recording.
Here are a few ideas for journeys, contact me if you would like any more info on how to journey safely.
- Journey to a creative safe space where you can ask questions about the next step.
- Ask your power animal to help you solve a creative problem and show you the way forward.
- Ask your guide to show you how to strengthen your river of creativity.
- Journey to the stars to see your highest potential.
- Journey above the stars to ask for a gift for your highest destiny.
There are endless ideas, have fun !
In my next post I will talk more about creativity and ceremony.
May you fly with beauty
For all our relations
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
Nuno Felted Coat by Ali Rabjohns. Tailoring: Sandra Ventris. Photos: Ruthie Martin. Model: Holly Rabjohns.
How does creativity and shamanism weave together for me?
I’ve always enjoyed listening to and working with the rhythms of the natural world. Using art techniques has helped me to go inside myself and connect to a natural rhythm and something greater than myself – like the universe around me. Making art when I was younger has eventually led me to shamanism. What I enjoy most is creating special places outside with textiles and natural materials. These places can connect us to the elements and honour our cultural heritage.
In my art practice the materials I use are mainly textiles based; I particularly love using nuno felt. The name is derived from the Japanese word ‘nuno’ meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose wool fibres into an open fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. I love experimenting with painting, felting, journal work, natural dyes and deconstructed textiles, as well as botanical printing with flowers, leaves and seeds.
Regarding creativity, let me make it quite clear that you don’t need to be an ‘artist’ to be creative!. The way we live can be the most profound creative statement that we ever make in our lifetimes. Something as simple as arranging my flowers, or choosing a colour for my walls brings me great satisfaction and contentment.
Have a think for yourself and your life’s journey: how would you like your creative flow to be improved on a daily basis?
What are your creative dreams?
Then ask yourself:
What synchronicity is happening to already help that flow?
Have there been any chance meetings or strange dreams to show me the way forward?
Notice the flow of help already available to you. Ask for guidance from your unseen helpers and thank them in order to move forward.
Also, let’s set our intention not to let any negative experiences making art at school or growing up let us be put off. Above all, it’s important for us not to be too hard on ourselves as we try things out. Let’s have some fun, the Q’ero have a word “puqllay” which means sacred play. We can be as playful as a child! It may sound like a cliche to connect with our inner child but it’s so important to keep that connection strong. If I don’t do this the magic in life seems to fade away.
Weaving creativity into your daily life
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London
Working with shamanic techniques helps me to be more creative. The trick is to put time aside regularly for your creative practice and for me, it helps me to do this as I weave in ceremony or ritual during the course of the week. Think of this as a revolutionary act, turn off your phone for half an hour, turn off the wifi and tune into your own needs and rhythms. Journaling, meditating, listening to music or even dreaming out of the window can take it’s place.
“The painter has the universe in his mind and hands.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
I’m planning a 30 day shamanic programme for recovering artists or creative individuals, let me know when you would like to receive it.
I will be talking about shamanic techniques that can help your creativity, as well as ceremony in another blog post, see you soon!
May you walk in beauty,
For all our relations