Reaching far back into human consciousness is a knowing of the importance of ceremonial circles to align with patterns of organization found in our greater universe. Ceremony is used to create balance and instigate positive change. Ceremonies remind us that we are part of a wave of energy in flow with all of creation and not merely a separate particle as our thinking mind perceives. We can use ceremony to emerge new phenomena. In this article, I discuss the essence of ceremony from tribal and physics perspectives.
This spring I participated in many ancient wisdom circles and ceremonies that stimulated a fresh energy, a heightened vibrational frequency and heart connection to other humans sharing this earth walk at this time of great change. A wisdom thread that kept emerging from peoples from many countries and heritages from around the world is the call for us to come together and share our stories and songs and create new ones for this time. There is a call for remembering, enlivening our connections to elemental forces of our earth and cosmos and each other.
article written 2009, edited 2017
Essence of Ceremony
Ceremony is the intentional use of symbols by humans combined with action wherein the intangible becomes real. The symbol comes to life and movement is activated or acknowledged. Healing-rebalancing occurs in connection to the energetic forces of nature and spirit.
This reaches back into the origin of consciousness itself. Ancient peoples knew the importance of well planned ways of keeping the balance of the sacred circle. Ceremony is an enactment of basic concepts and elements of a cosmology so that they can be understood by everybody. In this way, a community shares in a mystical experience of sacred knowledge.
Ceremonies also evoke energies to create change, to honor, acknowledge. In participating in ceremony you walk your prayers. Ceremonies are held at the major seasonal turning points such as solstices and equinoxes. Or at times of changing points in the life of an individual—birth, naming, renaming, puberty, marriage. They keep one attuned to the natural flow of life.
Self-generated ceremonies are very different from traditional ceremonies. Traditional tribal ceremonies have been handed down through generations of Native peoples and are conducted in an exact way. For example, many traditional ceremonies call in very powerful spirit helpers who must be treated in the appropriate manner. Years of participating and training are required. These ceremonies flow from a context of shared language and wisdom from the their place on Mother Earth.
For almost three decades I have absorbed much inspiration and joy from observing and participating in indigenous ceremonies. I have been particularly touched by the depth of sincerity they put into prayers and creating a positive group energy. And by the power of the sound and honoring ways are used to evoke energy, emotion and positive change. Native peoples are also role models to me of accepting energies with deep gratitude, trusting in their interaction with a sentient universe.
In ceremonies I lead I am very respectful not to copy from any of today’s Native American tribal ceremonies. I use universal, time-honored ways as a framework. I have learned the power of focusing many days or weeks in advance as helper energies are evoked. I listen to my guidance and intuition and use years of experience to bring these universal ways into a living, contemporary form for all people. A kind of surrender takes place as you become a fluid vessel for waves of energy to flow through.
There is an awakening in our Western world to the need to participate more directly with energies of creation that flow so powerful through nature. We are co-creating a new tribal way open to all people that is growing out each of our deepening relationship with the circle of life and evolving consciousness of life on Mother Earth.
Aligning Vibrationally With Greater Circles of Life
There are universal patterns of organization of life forms and energies throughout the cosmos. When we participate in ceremony, we are consciously aligning ourselves with the greater patterns to achieve a new balance or create something new.
I have come to understand that the organization of our bodies down the tiniest strands of spiral-shaped DNA within the circular shape of our cells is replicated in the larger forms of organization of the cosmos. The cells of our body are circles containing a center or nucleus, rotating electrons and an enclosing membrane. Our sun and earth and sister planets are circles born out of a rotating spiral cloud of dust and gas. Our sun is located on one of the spiral arms of a vast wheel-shaped star city called the Milky Way Galaxy.
Prehistoric rock art around the world depicts spirals, labrinths, circles, stars, the sun, the moon. These are archetypal forms that arise out of human consciousness.
Some Navajo Ceremonialism Concepts for Restoring Balance
Some key concepts from Ceremonial Healing. Traditional Ways Of Healing Expressed Through Navajo Consciousness by Nancy Maryboy and David Begay:
“Many ceremonies involve a transference of spiritual healing essence through creation of elaborate sandpaintings (dry paintings) and oral narration of cosmological mythologies. The narrations and ceremonial materials are emphatically not symbols of bygone eras; the patient actually becomes the one who undergoes the cultural healing–a re-creation and a reconnection with age-old energies and beings.
In the Navajo way of thinking, the causes of imbalance (disease) and healing (restoration of balance) are intrinsically interrelated. Reconnection and restoration of balance with the natural environment need to be facilitated. The restoration of balance becomes an initiation process in and of itself, giving the patient spiritual authority along with increased understanding. Through the spiritual and ceremonial assistance of a traditional practitioner, healing may occur.
The cosmic order is a cyclical experience. The dynamic order within the cyclical movement of the cosmos is a universal occurrence based on natural recursive systems and immutable energies. Traditional Navajos perceive the universe as all-inclusive, each element being a holographic component of a self-organizing holistic system. The traditional organization is somewhat similar to concepts utilized in contemporary systems and chaos theory.”
Sun Bear: All is made new
Sun Bear wisdom that I know from personal experience to be so true:
“The most important thing to remember about ceremony is that it is a way for humans to give back to the creation some of the energy that they are always receiving.
~ When we sing, we give energy through our voice.
~ When we drum we allow the earth’s heartbeat to join with our own.
~ When we pray we give energy through our hearts.
~ When we look upon our relations, we give blessings thru our eyes.
When humans participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred space where:
~ Everything outside of that space shrivels in importance.
~ Time takes on a different dimension.
~ Emotions flow more freely.
~ The bodies of participants become filled with the energy of life and this energy reaches out and blesses the creation around them.
~ All is made new; everything becomes sacred.”
Kogi Wisdom from Columbia
“Knowledge of a place implies certain practices–this is most important to ensure harmony,” according to a Kogi leader from the Sierra Nevada mountains of Columbia who was here in Sedona in April. This wizened elder radiated a natural power born of the depth of his life long spiritual practice. “I see people here that remember.” He voiced concern that many people today don’t understand the language of the earth and encouraged us to pay attention to the purpose of our own place and help enhance that. “We use ceremony to keep the balance. Ceremonies have meaning in relation to responsibility taken. Ceremony is like a thread, as a placenta connected from beginning.”
*He was one of the indigenous elders invited to the Return of the Ancestors gathering — sponsored by
the Institute for Cultural Awareness — held in northern Arizona locations over a 10 day period, April, 2009.
More about the Kogi:
“The Kogi believe the Sierra Nevada to be the ‘Place of Creation’ and the ‘Heart of the World’. They call themselves the Elder Brothers of humanity and consider their mission to care for planet. They understand how the planet works as an integrated unit rather than the separation of all things in our worlds. They achieve this through meditation wherein they communicate with all living things on the planet – humans, animals, plants, rock, etc.
They live in Aluna, an inner world of thought and potential. From Aluna they astral travel or remote view to places both on and off the physical planet. Their sacred lands are perceived as a metaphysical symbol of cosmic forces within the whole world – an oracle of the natural balance and health of the planet.
They are aware of a great change that is coming now to planet Earth. Their Mountain is dying, symbolizing this transition. Similar to what many other tribes around the world see is a world that was about to be destroyed by the misuse of consciousness. Then they saw the emergence of light consciousness as part of the process of humanity emerging as a race of beings in higher evolved light bodies. This strongly connects with the metaphysical teachings of our times.
The Mamas sent one of the Kogi who spoke Spanish to contact a British film maker who was in Colombia at that time. They asked the BBC to make a film to tell the Younger Brother about their concern. It was called ‘The Elder Brother’s Warning ‘or’ The Message from the Heart of the World’. Alan Ereira, the producer, has also written a book about the Kogi called The Heart of the World.
The tribe known as ‘Los Kogui’ of Columbia are today’s custodians of the ancestral Tairona culture. The Kogi plant crops and live off the land and prefer not to mix with outsiders. The Kogi constantly move about from place to place, between their different abodes spread among the different levels of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This is looked upon as taking care of their nutritional needs without abusing the environment.”
excerpts from: http://www.crystalinks.com/kogi.html
I took these images on a very cold, windy dawn at a powerful and joyful ceremony at the Grand Canyon led by Havasupai peoples (they are the ones wearing the ram horns and who live in the canyon) welcoming all peoples to celebrate the essence of the eagle and condor who fly free here. I feel, too, this is a time of all peoples coming together in heart-centered circles.