Tag Archives: Ceremony

Now is the perfect time to honor our ancestors and ourselves!

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There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, 
which through the summer is not heard or seen, 
as if it could not be, as if it had not been! 
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Each season moves us through a period of transformation.  It is always beneficial to harmonize with the energy of nature and the season. And, as autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change, it can be especially beneficial to take time to connect. Traditionally, autumn is celebrated as the harvest season.  It is the time to allow our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. As the yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter, there is strong contraction of energy occurring.

In Chinese Medicine, the organs most active in this season are those of the Metal element – Lung and Large Intestine, both of which have strong functions of absorption and elimination.  With the Lungs this has to do with respiration and with the Large Intestines it has to do with digestion.  It is a natural time for gathering and letting go. Also, it is a time for us to nurture ourselves.

The emotions associated with this season are grief and loss and it is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness bubbling up this time of year. By moving into harmony with what is natural arising in our being and nurturing these parts of ourselves, we can support ourselves in creating greater balance, joy and ease of well-being.  We can also create a strong foundation for moving into the stillness of winter – one that can support body, mind, emotional and spirit.

In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about our ancestors and their legacy – what has been left behind.  It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones or “kin”.  This may come through memories, dreams or other surprise visits, too.   Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as our feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface.

Autumn offers us a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual. This can be for the gifts we have received and also for what we might like to let go of. It is a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief, limiting beliefs and/or patterns that are no longer serving us.  Sometimes we have a need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones or even to honor our own life experiences. Perhaps there are ancestral patterns such as addiction, abuse, shame or isolation that it’s time for us to let go of for ourselves and future generations.

Ceremony and ritual can be a potent vehicle for finding connection, honoring transitions and letting go.  It is something that is part of many cultures and that is a bit lost in our modern culture today unless we choose to create space for it in our lives, our families and our communities.  Learn more about Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual…

Suggestions for this season:

  • Take some time to think of your ancestors. Are there any memories surfacing or visitors in your dreams?
  • Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life?  
  • Are there are feelings of loss or grief that you need to share or honor that are unresolved?  
  • Is there is a pattern or limiting belief that you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage that it might be time to work toward transforming?  
  • What might you do to honor your ancestors and yourself this autumn?
Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work. Take some time to reflect. Simply connecting and asking your ancestors for help is a place to begin. And, consider taking some time to create your own ceremony or ritual to honor your both ancestors and yourself!

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Come Explore!

If you would like to explore this type of sacred soul work in community, I invite you to join me on Saturday, October 29th in Annapolis, Maryland for Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves ~ A Shamanic Journey Workshop for Autumn. It’s going to be a day full of rich exploration and connection.  Learn more or register at https://lettinggoembodyinglifeworkshopoct2016.eventbrite.com.

If you are not local to the MD/DC/VA area and would like to explore Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves this season, I am available to support you in exploring your own sacred soul work and creating your own ceremony and ritual through One-on-One Shamanic Healing Sessions via Phone or Skype. Visit http://www.bethterrence.com to learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Winter Solstice Meditation & Message

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For those of you on my email list, I shared a Winter Solstice Message & Meditation yesterday.  And, tonight I led a Solstice Ceremony & Meditation in Annapolis.  This is one of my favorite times of year and as we approach the Solstice at 11:49 PM ET here, I wanted to share this message with the Heart of Awakening community, too!

Many blessings to you for love, light and peace on this Solstice!

Beth


 

The Solstice is a powerful time of transformation ~ one in which we can connect more deeply our natural world and to the true essence of who we are.  I am sharing with you an audio meditation and message for this Winter Solstice time. You might like to listen to it at the time of Solstice or sometime in the day before or after.  Click here to lookup what time the Solstice is in your area.

Listen to Beth’s Winter Solstice Message & Meditation…

I hope you will take some time to tune and celebrate the Solstice energy wherever you are.  I often share that I believe that one of the greatest diseases of our time is DISCONNECTION.  As we take time to harmonize with the energies of nature and with our own deeper essence, we are able to experience connection and harmony in our lives, our relationships and our world.  This may be something you wish to do on your own or in community.  You can use this meditation or there are many ways to create your own ceremony or ritual – it’s good to be creative and explore what resonates with you.

Read my post on Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual to get some ideas for creating your own Solstice Ceremony or other ways to incorporate ceremony and ritual into your daily life.

Upcoming Events

January 1 – 30 ~ Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program (Virtual)
1st Sundays ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Telelcass (Virtual)
2016 Dates TBA ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process Group in Annapolis, MD (Local)
May 1 – 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: 31 Days of Loving-kindness Meditaton & Practice (Virtual)

June 2016 ~ Discover The Healer Within 4-Session Virtual Program

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Discover The Healer Within – Connecting With Sacred Space

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                           “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”                                                                                                                            – Joseph Campbell

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In many of the traditions I have studied, illness or disease have been defined as being out of balance or harmony; some say with our soul, some say with our different aspects of self, such as body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Historically, this has been a foundation for healing and yet, in our current medical model, we tend to be hyper-focused on specific conditions or symptoms without looking at the whole person.  This is hopefully beginning to change as we are seeing more focus on the whole person, but it is is slow process.  What I have learned in my own journey and in working with others for over 17 years in the field of holistic healing is that a key to transformation and healing is to take responsibility for one’s own healing process.

For this purpose, the definition of “responsibility” is the ability to respond.  This is a choice we can make for ourselves.   Often, I hear folks say “I know what I need to do, I just can’t seem to make those changes” or “I know I need to do something, but I just don’t know what”.   And, we often need to get support or guidance, particularly when we are working to change long-held patterns, conditions or beliefs.  Yet, ultimately, only we can truly know our own selves.  Getting to know ourselves and our inner guidance system is a major step toward healing and transformation.

It is also important to learn to experience that change is possible.  I find this is best done experientially through what I refer to as a “state change”.  As we begin to have the experiences of feeling differently, hopefully better, we begin to learn how to create our own shifts and then, the possibilities for change become wide open.  It is often in this space, which is usually one where we begin to create greater presence, clarity and awareness, that we can begin to know ourselves more deeply and learn to access the healer within.

There is no set formula and there is no magic formula that works for all people.  It is important to learn what works for us as individuals, to learn what doesn’t work and to learn how to be in tune with ourselves in an ongoing way.  Life is a journey and although we may heal from one condition or transform a pattern or belief, we are multidimensional beings.  As long as we are journeying in this life, there will be more work to do and another layer to explore.  So, learning to access the healer within and take responsibility for our own process is a vehicle that supports our evolution as human beings.

Learning to connect with Sacred Space is something that is a part of every culture and religion of the world.  It is something we can do in community and it is something we can cultivate on our own, both inwardly and outwardly.  When we enter into Sacred Space, we change energetically.  We step more fully into the present moment, our hearts open and we become more fully engaged in our experience.  Whatever our background or beliefs, finding ways to cultivate and connect with Sacred Space opens the doorway for knowing ourselves more deeply and accessing our inner wisdom.  This can be a powerful component in discovering the healer within.

At its most basic, Sacred Space is a place that invites the contemplation of divine mystery and encourages an attitude of spiritual openness.  We can consider this somewhere where we open our hearts and find support from spirit, in whatever way we define or believe that to be.  A Sacred Space may be a physical location where we go to search for meaning or truth such as a temple, church or even a place in nature.  It is not necessarily a place where answers are grasped or understood but more so it is where questions may be asked.  It can be a place or state where divine inspiration mixes with practices such as ritual, song, dance or prayer that help us to feel a sense of connection with our spirituality.

The origin of the word “Sacred” stems from Latin, sacer, which means “to make holy”.  In a sense, sacred refers to something that is set apart from the ordinary perhaps with intention, feeling or conviction.   Stepping out of the ordinary, out of the busyness or affairs of daily life is a foundational aspect of connecting with the healer within.  There are many ways to step out of the ordinary.  Many think of going to outer places such as temple, cathedral, space in nature, but we also have the ability to connect with and cultivate that sacred space within our own selves.

As we learn to connect with Sacred Space, both inwardly & outwardly, we begin to come into greater alignment with our own essence and the energies around us.  This helps to create a container for intention, connection and healing.  Although I refer to inner and outer ways of creating Sacred Space, this is really all the same.  “Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world.”  The outer is important as it reveals to us where our work lies by what is emerging in our lives.   When we become our own healer – we move inner to outer and outer to inner interchangeably knowing that energetically they are the same.

The following are some ways to explore connecting with Sacred Space:

Calling The Directions – In many cultures, including Native American, Buddhist, Asian, Celtic and other indigenous groups, there is a strong connection with the directions, which carry energy and meaning.  Calling in the directions can be done as a ritual to start the day or open Sacred Space; also, one can work with the energy or quality of a certain direction.  This can be a way to connect with specific energies as well as the greater whole.  This type of practice supports moving out of the limited construct of our individual self into the collective energy of creation.  Prayer For A New Day is an example of this practice.  Associations and meanings will vary based on culture or tradition; this is an example of how one might explore and find what meaning or method of practice is most resonant for them.

Shamanic Journey Work – From the shamanic viewpoint, everything is alive, has spirit, and all things/creation are interconnected through what we call the web of life.  There is an understanding that we need to respect and honor all things and all beings as we are a part of a greater whole.  In a shamanic journey process, there is an opportunity to connect with the Sacred Space within and explore one’s own inner guidance system.  Learn more about Shamanic Healing: A Journey Of Reconnection

Ceremony & Ritual – This is a wonderful way to access and create Sacred Space.  This is something one can do according to their own personal belief system or culture.  It can be as simple as stating an intention and lighting a candle or an as elaborate at a medicine wheel gathering or ceremony.  The important thing, once again, is to find what resonates with you and begin to bring more of this into your daily life.  Learn more about Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual.

Meditation – Meditation practice, in and of itself, is a way to enter the sacredness within.  Also, moving into a place of stillness creates a gateway to our divinity.  The practice of meditation and creating a space to practice can be wonderful way to cultivate Sacred Space.  Having a clear space, coming to the cushion or seat in an intentional way, perhaps lighting a candle or incense, etc. is a way to shift our energy more fully into the present moment.  Each time we practice, we are fostering our experience and ability to access in any moment.  If you’d like to explore a 31 Day Guided Practice, try May Is For Metta.

Mind/Body Practices – Finding a practice that supports body, mind, emotion and spirit such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and coming to it in an intentional way offers an opportunity to consciously move into Sacred Space.  Working with this type of practice helps to develop awareness of one’s own energy system as well as our interrelationship to the greater whole.

Sound Healing – In many cultures and shamanic practice, sounds such as drumming or rattling are used to facilitate a natural altered state of consciousness.  For many people, simply listening to music is a way to shift their energy and awareness.  Using sound or music is a powerful way to create a state change and can be utilized to connect with Sacred Space.  Using a certain sound or piece of music can be part of a ritual practice or ceremony as well.

Spending Time In Nature – The natural world is the original sacred space.  When we enter into the natural world or consciously connect with nature, our energy automatically shifts.  This can be as simple as going for a walk in the woods, hugging a tree, or laying on the earth.  We may wish to bring natural elements into our home such as rocks, plants or a waterfall.  We can connect with nature physically but also can do so energetically through meditation, visualization or shamanic journey work.  Mother Nature is one of the most powerful gateways to cultivating Sacred Space.  Also, as we love, honor and respect nature, we begin to access more of our own sacredness as part of a greater whole.

Stepping into Sacred Space facilitates a shift in our energy and our consciousness.  This affects us on all levels – body, mind, emotion & spirit.  We may not see changes right away as it may take time to manifest but this is creating a foundation for change.  As we enter into the stillness and begin to shift our energy from the busyness and chaos of the world and of our own mind, we can begin to hear our inner wisdom more strongly.

Again, everyone is different.  There is not one blueprint for healing and transformation.  What works for me may not work for you.  But, there are many tools, resources and practices to explore and see what is resonant for you.  Ask yourself these questions:

“Where do I feel a shift?”

“Where do I feel a sense of connection?”

“Where do I feel more at ease?”

“What practice or experience helps me to access my deeper essence or my inner wisdom?”

Always be asking and observing as life is a great exploration.  This is why journaling can be a great practice to support the process of transformation and healing.  Even if you are not into writing, it can be a great way to track your experiences and begin to build a toolbox or resource list for your own personal journey of discovering the healer within.

I hope you’ll take some time to reflect and explore connecting with sacred space as a way to discover the healer within.  Just 10 minutes a day of entering sacred space can be a powerful practice.  You may wish to try different practices each day for a while or choose one to work with for 10 – 30 Days to explore what’s possible.

As always, I’d love to hear your experiences, thoughts and reflections…

Are you ready to go deeper in your process of transformational and healing?  I’d love to support you in your journey to discover the healer within.  Learn more at www.bethterrence.com/Individuals.

 

Celebrating 10,000 Views On The Heart Of Awakening Blog

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It may seem like a small milestone to some but it’s an exciting one for me.  Last night, we passed 10,000 views.  I am so thrilled to see The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community growing and learning together.  It was my birthday on Wednesday, 1/23, and one of the things I have begun to share here already is that I intend this year to be a year of CELEBRATION!  So it feels fitting to celebrate here on The Heart Of Awakening and most of all, to celebrate everyone who has journeyed with us over the past 10 months.  I am so grateful for the community that has emerged and the connections that have been made.  I am amazed to see people visiting each day from all over the world.  Visitors from such places as Denmark, Chile, Japan, Australia, Italy, Mozambique, Pakistan, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka are a few that have visited in the last week.

Curiously, are some of the key words that come up in searches most regularly.  The most popular include:

Soham mantra ~ soham breathing ~ soham meditation ~ bach flower remedies ~ transformation~ salmon power animal ~ breath connection ~ metta meditation, ~ power of intention ~ animal spirit medicine ~ prayer for a new day ~ the heart of awakening

I have been so fascinated by the popularity of the Soham mantra meditation that I plan to do a follow-up post soon.  I, personally, find it to be one of the most simple and profound practices available to us.  It is wonderful for any beginning meditator as well as an experienced practitioner.  Stay tuned for a new post on this topic soon.

The following are the 10 most popular posts on The Heart Of Awakening Blog:

Soham Mantra Meditation: Breathing, Connecting, Being

Day 2 of May is for Metta 2012: Loving-kindness Practice For Oneself

Lessons From A Salmon: A New View On Struggle

7 Ways To Cultivate Love And Compassion For Yourself

Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool For Transformation

Grounding In A Rapidly Changing World

Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual

Exploring Metta Meditation

Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach

Shamanic Healing: A Journey Of Reconnection

Although folks tend to land on a specific post, May Is For Metta is actually a 31 Day Guided Practice of Loving-kindness Meditation which occurred here in May of 2012 and other sites previously.  I am so happy this is here as a resource for people to explore this wonderful practice and to support cultivating a daily meditation practice.  I am planning to do additional daily guided meditation programs here in 2013.  There is a page dedicated to May Is For Metta which summaries the practice and has links to all of the daily posts for anyone who wishes to explore this as their own guided process.

Most of all, I celebrate and thank everyone who has journeyed here and explored the path of the heart as a gateway for awakening and creating a new paradigm for our world – one based on Love, Compassion, Acceptance, Collaboration and Unity.

If you have a favorite post or if there is anything you’d like to see more of this year and would like to drop a note, I’d love to hear from you.  I am so looking forward to exploring in new and beautiful ways in 2013.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin… All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today.

Love & light,

Beth

Prayer For A New Day

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Grandfather Sun
We wake to see your shining face
Honoring the spirit of the new day

Spirit of the East
We welcome you
The path of the rising sun
The way of Eagle
Bringing new beginnings, soaring vision and hope

Spirit of the South
We welcome you
The path of the noonday sun
The way of Coyote
Illuminating our hearts, minds and spirits
With clarity and purpose

Spirit of the West
We welcome you
The path of the setting sun
The way of Bear
Bringing strength, courage and trust
Taking us deeper into spirit with each breath we take

Spirit of the North
We welcome you
The place of sacredness within
The way of Owl
Helping us to find the light within the dark
Uncovering those places in ourselves which need transformation

O Great Spirit.  Creator of All Things
We welcome you
Gifting us all of the support of spirit in each moment
The path of Angels, Archangels, Ancestors, Mentors, Guides and Spirits
Help us to walk in the way of spirit today
Remembering our connection to the energies of creation

Mother Earth. Sustainer, Nurturer and Provider
We welcome you
Honoring all of your children
The Two-Leggeds, Four-Leggeds, Winged Ones, Elementals
Plant Beings, Stone People, Insects and Spider Beings
Hungry Ghosts and all who walk in the earthly realm
Great Mother Earth carry us into the day
So we may walk together in harmony and peace

Sacred Center
Connecting earth and heaven, heaven and earth
The place where all directions merge and where all beings meet
The way of Oneness, Love and Light
Help us to walk together in Oneness, Love and Light on this day and always.

Finding Connection Through Ceremony and Ritual

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One of the greatest diseases of our times is the sense of disconnection that is felt with ourselves, others and the world.   By bringing ceremony and ritual into our daily lives, we can begin to reconnect to the sacredness and beauty of life.   It can be a way to rediscover ourselves, to align with our soul purpose and to deepen our sense of connection with all things.

Many of us have come from backgrounds where ceremony and ritual was some part of our religious upbringing.  For some, that is something that we continue in daily life.  For others, it is something we may have abandoned as we grew and changed our views. For others, it may not have been part of our experience at all.   The new paradigm is about bringing it all forward; so, whatever your path has been, now can be a time to explore and reexamine your practices to see if they are in alignment with who you are today and how you intend to be in the world.

Some of the ways that ceremony and ritual can help us include:

  • Paying tribute to important life events and honoring our transitions
  • Being in harmony with the seasons and rhythms of nature
  • Creating sacredness in our lives
  • Honoring our ancient traditions or creating new ones
  • Releasing attachments to energies, relationships and situations, which are no longer serve us
  • Calling in energies and intentions we wish to bring forward
  • Evoking an ecstatic state of being and connecting at a soul level
  • Helping to heal our fundamental spiritual wound – the illusion of separateness from creation
  • Supporting specific healing for ourselves, others and the world
  • Aligning our energy with the present moment
  • Helping us to be more fully conscious and awake
  • Gaining clarity and understanding our experiences
  • Accessing spiritual guidance and wisdom

Ceremony can be something we do individually, with others or in community.  However we choose to create it, ceremony is a way to step out of the busyness of our lives and the world of linear time into sacred space where deeper understanding, healing and wisdom resides.  Ceremony, in and of itself, is a paradigm shift.   It can help us to focus on our visions and intentions and begin to draw them into the world of matter, allowing them to become manifest.

Rituals are the specific rites or tools we use as part of ceremony.  They can be used to create sacredness in any moment.  Many shamans begin the day by honoring the directions and connecting with the elements of nature.  Many people begin their day with meditation or prayer of some kind.  Whatever it is, beginning the day with some type of ritual or spiritual practice is a powerful way to move consciously into your daily life.  Some ways to create ritual include:

  • Lighting a candle
  • Setting an intention
  • Burning sage or other healing herbs such as sweet grass, yerba santé or cedar
  • Setting up an altar and arranging spiritually meaningful articles or pictures on it
  • Drumming, rattling, chanting, singing or listening to music or sounds of nature
  • Reciting prayers silently or aloud or reading from a sacred text
  • Cultivating a meditation practice
  • Being in silence and honoring the sacredness that comes from that space

Whether you choose to practice ceremony and ritual with others or on your own, it is important to create practices that support you in the present moment.  Here are some questions to consider in creating a ceremony or ritual practice:

  • What is your intention?  What is the reason for the ceremony or ritual?
  • Will it be personal, with another person or group?
  • What elements or tools need to be gathered?  What preparation needs to happen?
  • What will the structure of the ceremony or ritual be? Who will perform it? Where will it be done?
  • Are there any prayers, readings, songs, poems, and dances, etc. that you wish to include?
  • How will you open and close the ceremony?

Ceremony and ritual can be a beneficial part of daily spiritual practice.  It can help to align our energies in the present moment and to bring increased harmony to our lives.  Take some time this week to consider what you would like to create in your life and how ceremony and ritual may support that process.  Whether it is creating a ceremony with a specific intention or incorporating a ritual into your daily life, notice how this invokes a deeper sense of connection with yourself, others and the world.  Let your heart be your guide as you create your own new paradigm.