Many people expressed that they wished to be at the Alchemy of Pain ritual held by the Strega Tree Collective last week but had conflicting events on their schedule or they were not well enough to come out to the park. Therefore, we are offering a version of it here for you to do yourself or with others.
A note from Theresa on her experience at the ritual:
Strega Tree diviners often say that the style of divination we do is “prescriptive.” This means that rituals are given for the client to carry out on their own based on issues that are diagnosed by the wedeme and kontomble.
I cannot emphasize enough how this is the magic of this style of divination that the Dagara people of Burkina Faso are so generous to share with us. These “hand-crafted” and personalized rituals are the unique signature of this style of divination. While there is so much that comes through in the divinations themselves, you only feel the full power when you carry out the ritual prescriptions.
After being engaged with this work for 13 years, it still surprises, delights and impresses me.
This is a ceremony to honor a woman who has moved beyond the years of menstruation.
What you will need:
½ cup of olive oil
Paper and pens for each guest
2 or 3 large Leaves ex. Banana leaf, or flax- and either plant cordage or string
Sun tea- women- white sage, elderberry fresh (when gathering ask the ancestors to reweave their web of support.) dried elderberry, dandelion, red rose, mint.
Sun tea if men are present (just for men)- white sage, oregano, thyme, mint, fresh fennel, dried and fresh elderberry.
Bucket or tub for a foot bath
What can one say about the majesty of the ocean and how its very life is being threatened in the same sentence? And yet, that is the situation we find ourselves in, the tension and contradiction we must hold in these times.
As Rachel Carson wrote in her beautiful tome to the ocean, The Sea Around Us:
“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life”(xiii).
Water is life and the ocean gave birth to all forms of biological life on this planet. Strega Tree Apothecary offers this bracelet and the ritual that comes with it to honor the ocean and allow the wearer be reminded of its beauty and majesty, to hold the ocean in highest regard. There is a prescriptive ritual included at the request of the Kontomble that will take you to the water’s edge to lean more deeply into this connection.
It’s great to have a place to interact directly with the elemental beings and bring them gifts and food. They are frisky. Be warned: Things can begin to move around in your home. Conversely you may suddenly find things you thought you lost. But ultimately this is a heart connection. Under these tricky deeds is a being wanting to know your heart. Wanting to trust you. A shy being that wishes to befriend you.
It is true, not all elemental beings like us or want to play with us but those kind won’t come to the call. Some indeed want to be left alone, have nothing to do with humans. Then there is no need to interact with them, unless you are bothering them and they let you know. Of course you should listen to that but with this particular shrine and the following ritual, don’t be afraid to call the wrong kind because they simply won’t come to an invitation to friendship.
Ritual is a time out of ordinary time. There are varying types of rituals, large group rituals, long intense rituals and then there are the small, everyday offerings that are also rituals, and these are the most common in this work. When I offer milk on my shrine for the grandmothers, I consider that a ritual. When I walk to the water and make an offering for a person in need, that is a ritual. When I pour water to the Earth, asking for conflict to be cleared and communication to be eased, that is a ritual. Ritual is so common to human experience that most of us don’t even notice how many we participate in within the span of one day. Do you call your children or your parents often and regularly? This too could be seen as a ritual: special time set aside just for them. Do you pray or say affirmations, engage in gratitude thinking? These too are rituals. Do you visit a place regularly to commune with nature? This too could be seen as a ritual.
Divination is essential for any medicine worker. We need to have a way to ask in to situations that need addressing and understand what to do to facilitate healing, clearing or effect change. Following is a simplified list of how to go about divination in general.The essential questions for divining are who, what, where, why, and when?These are the questions to direct any inquiry we enter into. It is also helpful to return to them when we feel overwhelmed by information that is coming in during a divination and are getting a bit lost in the deluge. Each medicine person is schooled in their own particular way to ask questions and receive answers. This is what I mean when I speak of divination and divining. If you have absolutely no training, begin to listen in your own way and take the the following as a broad guide.