Shamans always begin healing ceremonies by opening sacred space.

In this space we leave behind the affairs of ordinary life, the bustling world of meetings and schedules, and prepare to meet the divine. Sacred space allows us to enter our quiet inner world where healing takes place. Within sacred space our burdens become lighter, and we can be touched by the hand of Spirit. After we finish our healing work, sacred space must be closed by again acknowledging the four directions, Heaven, and Earth.

Sacred space is a healing sphere that is pure, holy and safe. I imagine it as a shimmering cupola above the area where I do my healing work. Everyone within this space is protected. Sacred space creates an environment where our defenses can be lowered, where we can explore our soft, tender underbelly. Sacred space also gives us access to the luminous healer-the medicine men and women who assist us form the Spirit world.

You can create sacred space and summon the healing power of nature anywhere on Earth. You can use it while your own prayer reveals itself to you.

The shaman’s covenant with Spirit is that when she calls, Spirit answers. Powerful medicine people from the Spirit world appear in the form of luminous beings who assist us in our healing work.

You can employ a smudge stick of sage or a little scented water if you like. Shamans throughout the world accompany their prayer by fanning smoldering sage or incense with a feather in the appropriate direction they are addressing, or holding their hand up to the sky and saluting each cardinal point. You will need to determine the points; ideally this is done with a compass, but a close approximation based on your knowledge of the landscape is fine.

Begin by facing South. Smudge or blow the scented water to the South, then hold up your hand, palm facing out. Recite the first verse, calling upon serpent. Face each direction in turn as you repeat the process. Touch the Earth and look to the Heavens when directing your prayers there.

South
To the winds of the South
Great Serpent
Wrap your coils of light around us
Teach us to shed the past the way you shed your skin
To walk softly on the Earth
Teach us the Beauty Way

West
To the winds of the West
Mother Jaguar
Protect our medicine space
Teach us the way of peace, to live impeccably
Show us the way beyond death

North
To the winds of the North
Hummingbird, Grandmothers and Grandfathers
Ancient Ones
Come and warm your hands by our fires
Whisper to us in the wind
We honor you who have come before us
And you who will come after us, our children’s children

East
To the winds of the East
Great Eagle, Condor
Come to us from the place of the rising Sun
Keep us under your wing
Show us the mountains we only dare to dream of
Teach us to fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit

Mother Earth
We’ve gathered for the honoring of all of your children
The Stone People, the Plant People
The four-legged, the two-legged, the creepy crawlers
The finned, the furred, and the winged ones
All our relations

Father Sun
Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, to the Star Nations
Great Spirit, you who are known by a thousand names
And you who are the unnamable One
Thank you for bringing us together
And allowing us to sing the Song of Life

 

Closing Sacred Space

When your work is done, you close sacred space by thanking serpent, jaguar, hummingbird, and eagle. Release their energies and allow them to return to the four corners of the Earth. To connect with the energy of one of the directions, do not close that direction. Instead call on that archetype to enter you and accompany you on your path. (I do this by turning to the East, for example, and instead of closing that direction I blow the spirit of that archetype into my client’s crown chakra. I imagine the spirit of eagle entering them and informing their lives.) Then thank Mother Earth and Father Sky.