It is not my practice to call upon named Goddess’ or Gods’. Spirit does not usually ask me to categorize this or that, aspect of them, for the sake of something foreign to the receiver. So… what does that mean? During my years of public ceremony, I know I have foisted upon many circle joiners, foreign concepts, foreign spirits (literally and mythologically) and odd postures.
If one is used to a more formal circle, the shamanic circle may appear more loosely gathered and presented. When I call East… It is East… I speak the words I have been given. Sometimes I say “To the Buddha’s and bodhisattva’s, to Golden, Illumination, Birth, Great Hawk… Welcome to this Sacred time & Sacred Space.” Other times, I whistle and rattle and no words are even spoken. Relationship with the world around us, does not always require us to identify or categorize ~ sometimes it is wordless, unspoken. Nature speaks in sounds, bird calls, wind in the leaves, calls, barks, whistles.
Relationship has become a word I feel, within my body. We are constantly in relationship to everything. We all have heard/read/experienced the interconnectedness of all things. A relationship created and forged with Essence, is the foundation of my Spiritual journey.
When I have been called, to ask a Goddess or God, to attend with me in Ritual, I take it seriously. I wish to get to know with whom I have been asked to dance with. Who has invited me to engage in a deep and spiritual relationship with them in Ritual?
When asked the first thing I do is Track. I track the scent of the Spirit through history. I track the myths, the statues, the writings and the viewpoints. I think it is my Tracker spirit, who will not let me have just a bare glimpse of the Spirit I am calling. I would think it rude to do such a thing. Whether in my own personal ritual, or in a public ceremony, it is essential I have a relationship to the Spirit I am calling. The Sacred Space I have built is to be a vessel for Spirit to enter. As a shamanic alchemist I am co-creating an energy around me, which in turn, invites others to have an experiential relationship during Ceremony, and not just an intellectual one. When asking spirit into the room, spirit is more likely to enter the room, if it is coming at the behest of a friend, then, I believe, a stranger. When a Spirit or Deity enters a space, especially within Ceremony – there’s no denying their presence.
I intellectualize, as well as conceptualize the Energy I am hoping to form Relationship with. From a shamanic perspective it is very important to find stories of the Goddess, God, Prima Materia Being. Many times, the same Being is called a different name in different cultures. An example for me is my relationship to Skadi, the Giantess, who later became a protector Goddess is better known in our story culture as the Ice Queen. Teaching her story of courage, strength and loyalty with a Giantesses warrior Spirit has been a true spiritual experience and revelation for me. She even shared a simple song to chant in ritual to engage us all with her.
I have been very fortunate to have patient and understanding Spirits teach me. My lessons have not always been gentle, or subtle, however, I write this today, in part, because they never gave up on me. My Spirits are not my Servants. However, I would be remiss if I said that I am always patient or gentle when calling them into my Space. I was fortunate enough to work in sacred space with Malidoma Somé, a Dagara Elder from Burkino Faso, West Africa. During one of the Rituals I participated in, was the first time I ever heard anyone raise their voice at Spirit. Although I could not understand the words, the intent was very clear. It changed my perception of relationship with Spirit, Forever.
Relationship and partnership guides my spiritual practice. I cannot do the work I do, without them. Ways I express my Relationship is by creating different scented smudges for the different work I am engaging in. I like to build very specific altars, which creates sacred space to welcome Spirit into the room. My relationship with the spirits is one of friendship and partnership. I treat them as I do friends that I hold dear. During the course of my personal relationship with my spirits, I have experienced that they grow and change, just as we do. They reveal different aspects of themselves slowly, whether through journey work, reading, writing, or trying to stay open enough to hear their specific song or whistle. Everyone connects with spirit differently.
When called upon to Bring a specific Being into sacred space, whether for myself alone, or in a group, it is an honor. It is, also, a process, not just an event. Because I practice shamanism in the 21st Century, without the benefit of an elder, or one culture specific teachings, I have to forge my own relationships. Through this I also forge a path deeper into myself, which, in turn, I can aid to forge a path for others. Experience leads to experiential; but don’t discount your homework 😉
Other resources you may enjoy:
- Continue your journey and awaken the warrior within.
- A podcast episode on your own personal mythology in shamanism.
- The circle of shamanism – the Medicine Wheel.
- Or if you’re new to journey work and wish to develop your own relationship with spirit, get started with journey work here.
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