Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9/14/11—Touching The Ancient, Immortal Soul

Today's Draw: The Five of Pentacles from the Native American Tarot (Lo Scarabeo).  Do you have any sort of spiritual/personal ritual or ceremony you perform? Have you ever communed with that part of yourself that is ancient and immortal? Do you have a thing for smoke and fire?

What I love about non-traditional decks is all the options they offer beyond the usual 78 in a normal tarot deck. Normally the Five of Pentacles would be about financial loss or having a poverty mentality or feeling down and out...something like that. 

But this particular Five of Pentacles has NOTHING to do with that. In fact, it represents cedar, which is one of the four sacred smudging herbs—along with sage, sweetgrass and tobacco (and sometimes lavender)—in Native American practice. So in the Native American Tarot, the Five of Pentacles is about ceremony. 

One of my best kept secrets is that I'm a ceremony queen. Nay, diva! It's a secret because I only invite a special few to share in my ceremonies. But I make my own incenses and oils. I anoint everything and set up a sacred altar. I come up with elaborate ceremonial rituals for participants, usually involving fire and tiny explosions...haha. Everyone is asked to bring something to the ceremony so that, through the planning ahead, their energy arrives before they do. There's often music...I have a few drums and complete set of crystal singing bowls, along with various chimes and rattles. Sometimes crafting is incorporated into the program. I have a laser generated star machine for indoors ceremonies, usually accompanied by chants to bring people out of body. And typically people end up bearing their souls and making themselves vulnerable to the group in the some way. I'm sure you've all caught on by now that I'm quite the dramatic person. Multiply that by 10 and you've got one of my ceremonies.

I love to create, so every one is different. I usually begin days before by drafting the "script" and making the incenses and oils. Every detail is thoroughly thought out, all the way down to cheat sheets for participants so they don't forget the order of things during their part of the ritual. I know it sounds anal, but there are a number of steps that usually have to be followed and I can't expect them to memorize those steps when they're busy thinking of what their affirmation will be or what they'll etch on their take-home altar item or whatever...haha. Did I mention I REALLY get into this? Fortunately, everyone enjoys them and can't wait for the next one, so clearly I'm not too overbearing. :D

Anyway, the ceremonies might be for finding love, adding something new to your life, getting rid of an old habit, healing, honoring the year's passing, etc. Group ceremonies are made more powerful by the collective energy of the group so, for me, choosing the right dynamic is essential. Although I'm usually the mistress of ceremonies, I've also been known to enjoy the ceremonies of others...full moon manifestation ceremonies or the sweat lodges I occasionally go to. One day the cards will lead me to talk to you about a deeply spiritual, out-of-body moment I experienced at a lodge building ceremony a few years back. But we'll save that for another time.

Taking part in ceremony and ritual goes beyond making wishes, saying prayers or even of purifying some part of you that you feel is in need. In fact, it goes beyond the physical body and your current existence to touch something very deep at the soul level. If you believe in souls and reincarnation...and if you believe that the soul and even your DNA carry the code of human life history...then maybe there's a way to retrieve or reawaken some of the early energies. And if a way exists, ceremony and ritual are one of the vehicles to take you there. There's something about smoke and fire that will do that for you.

I can hear a hundred heads shaking in unison as readers all come to the same conclusion. Again. "Tierney is a witch. She denies it, but she is." Whatever. Witches certainly do do ceremony best and I borrow from them a great deal, but ceremony long predates witches in the history of man. A part of me deeply connects to that part of us that is the original human (before we bred with aliens and became less hairy...I'll save that theory for another entry, too...haha). And yes, it deeply connects to what you might consider earth's first witches, the shamans. When I'm deep in the moment, I feel those ancestors, their ancient DNA flowing through me. When I'm preparing for a ceremony, I hear their whispers as they guide me. This is different than meditation or anything else. There's a different reverence, a different feel, a different hand of creation. 

Catholics do the body and blood of Christ thing. That's a ritual. Facing east and praying every few hours is a ritual. And the day-long prep for an authentic sweat lodge is too. It's almost instinctual within us and yet is one of the sad losses we've volunteered to take in exchange for modern "rituals" like adhering to schedules or doing things in the same order during our morning routines. These things may bring us comfort and even put us in a "zone", but they don't really touch the same depths. 

So consider adding some sort of ceremony or ritual to your life that does. Something with smoke and fire and and intention and reverence. Something you do uninterrupted and just for your soul self. It can be as easy as sitting in candlelight with some good incense burning and journaling once a week. Or setting an intention by writing it on paper and keeping it someplace special. I do everything first class...handmade journals, beautiful papers, wax seals, artisan altar items, expensive incense. I like to awaken every sense. This takes things out of the ordinary. Over time you can add things to make it more complex. Years ago I did an entire evening of beauty. I would take a bath and imagine the waters purifying me. I'd exfoliate the week off of me with a scrubby to prepare for the new. I'd wear something that felt sensual and crawl into bed with my journal and some chocolate, my room lit by candles. Then I would write, imagine, dream. No sound, no interruptions. Just me holding court with me. 

If you put some thought into it, you could come up with something fabulously "you", too. Just sit in silence and ask yourself how you can honor your soul, your higher self, that part of you that is sacred and divine. Then try a few things and see how it goes. There is a part of you that rose from smoke and fire...that worshiped smoke and fire. Touch it and touch eternity.

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