Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Bring Magic To Life through the Prayer Stick Ceremony

A bit of peace in Nature
I find my peace in Nature. It is the place where my soul communes with what feels most clean and whole. As we've gone through this tunnel of darkness into light with my daughter's sickness, Nature has been a big part of our healing, for which I am very grateful.

Serenity amidst Nature's gifts
I am blessed to have a bit of Nature to care for on this property where I live, and I have punctuated it with symbols that remind me of the blending I can create between society and Nature to bring about serenity and peace. This is one of my beautiful Buddhas that kneels happily amongst the peonies and pansies. Sometimes I put a bit of birdseed on the plate that Buddha's holding, and sometimes the rain comes to make the plate a water dish or bathing place for the birds and other tiny creatures.

Laughter and trust equals a great relationship
So my daughter and I have a great relationship. She's my best friend, someone who completely understands me. She's encouraging and supportive and we totally get each other's silly jokes, plus we often have wonderful, deep conversations late at night about all sorts of things. She knows how to come up to me and reach out and turn down my Mommy Meter button even though we're not exactly sure of its location. We think it moves, along with the eyes in the back of my head. The photo above is the Mother's Day card she gave me - it gives you an idea of the understanding between us - I about fell off my chair laughing when she gave it to me, and so did she. It's now on my refrigerator under one of the multitude of magnets I've collected. We thoroughly enjoy it every time we look at it.

Sharing the peace
During this healing journey, our family has experienced much of the dark side, which includes fears of all kinds. When the body and soul are thrown off balance, many things go out of whack, and Jessie experienced this to a very severe degree, including the loss of what we recognize as a sign of our womanhood, her monthly flow. It stopped without explanation in August as the sickness ravaged her body, and as she began to heal, the women in our family kept our fingers crossed and waited through the weeks and months of winter, as well as through the spring. We did not know how much of herself could come back into balance, if, when, if when.... With a weight loss of about 60 lbs over the course of the illness it was important to nourish all the cells of her body, as well as her mind and heart and spirit. So we cooked and cooked, with butter and cheese and meats and bread and vegetables and salads, as much organic as possible. When she first came home I fixed her food in dishes the size that our cat eats from - three bites, just eat three bites. She was in so much pain and her body so very tormented that eating was next to impossible for her. 

The champagne sat sleeping for months. We often have the family over for holidays and at those times we celebrate with a little champagne at Christmas, birthdays, or things like Valentine's Day. I'd had a bottle left over from one of those holidays and when I brought my daughter home I knew that bottle had a very special purpose. It was to be saved for the return of balance in her body, the balance that would restore the flow of womanhood, the balance that would mean her body had enough reserves to return to its normal rhythms. Sacred bottle, sacred bubbles, sacred golden liquid of celebration waiting to happen.

Nature's Blessing (by Andrew G. Cooper)
I had several things I wanted to happen as milestones along the way of her healing journey. I wanted the Blessing of Nature and I recognized it through the gift of a beautiful four leafed clover that I found and gave to her, which happened not when I was actively looking for one, but as I was happily walking about in the backyard. I looked down and there it was. I picked it and left a single strand of hair in return, as I always do - never take anything without giving.... There was a time when I was about 15 that I found 21 four leafed clovers, and over the years I have found many many - they are always a gift of Nature and I love them.

Among these things that I would recognize as the restoration of health to her body was the return of her monthly flow. So when she told me today, with her eyes all fluttery and her cheeks a bit blushery, that she was at last experiencing this wonderful flow I teared up and hugged and kissed her, then ran for the phone to call the women of our family, who had also been keeping the faith.

And I had planned, as part of the acknowledgment of what we'd all been through, Jess most of all, a ceremony to take her, to take all of us, more concretely out of the darkness and into the light. It is a ceremony I've done twice before that I learned a long time ago. It is the Prayer Stick Ceremony.

After we've been through an experience in our lives that changes us, a fork in the road, a tunnel through which we traverse, it is good to acknowledge the things we are releasing and the things we are embracing as we step into our new world. It is a way of releasing our fears and bringing our hopes and desires, our focus and commitment into reality. It is a way of communication between worlds.

Prayers Going Up
In order to acknowledge the "before" and "after" stages of this journey through sickness to healing, we each went to the wilder part of the backyard where the pine trees grow, and we each chose 12 sticks. Some were short and fat, some long and thin, some curly, some even sort of furry with a fine coating of fluff. 

At twilight, the time between light and dark, night and day, the most magical time of day, we lit a lovely fire in our chiminea and sat, enveloped in its warmth, drinking our celebratory champagne, and contemplating the messages of our sticks. For each of us, six sticks represented what we were releasing during this ceremony, and six sticks represented what we were embracing as we move forward into our new world, the "after" world, taking healing along with us.

So we took turns, and each of us stated one thing we were releasing and tossed that stick onto the fire, then we stated one thing we were embracing to fill that void, and tossed that stick onto the fire. We thought sensitively and carefully about each of these Prayer Sticks, and felt the feelings flow through us as we announced what each stick represented and tossed it into the fire. It was an atmosphere of complete trust. It was a time of renewal. We stepped out of the tunnel of darkness and into the light with these Prayer Sticks.

Jessica and Rob and Lil Bear after the Prayer Stick Ceremony
We felt cleansed and peaceful and relaxed as the ceremony came to a close. I had a poker stick, which I always do with outdoor fires - something to stir things up and keep the flames going, and it was the last to burn, closing our ceremony with gratitude for all our blessings.

Try this ceremony sometime when you find yourself at a fork in the road - when you find yourself smack in the middle of challenge and you want to create a concrete message that announces what you're willing to give up and what you're willing to embrace as you step forward into the changes that have come about. It is something private that you can carry with you to give you strength and remind you of your new commitments and your new freedoms. Spread your wings and with gratitude, step into your new world with confidence.

It is a Very Good Day.


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