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 by 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.

The wedeme are geniuses at knowing how to create the space for what needs healing, movement, shifting, flowing, or awareness within us, and having us feel that directly when we do the work they prescribe for us. When we carry out the rituals, we recognize it ourselves. We have the “aha” moment. 

We think we were going for one thing, yet feel another. Because of this, we develop an understanding deeper than the intellect. Something actually transforms in our body mind and soul. Wedeme hands are very tiny and their work is subtle, but if you follow through with it, you will experience the magic over and over and over again.

Witnessing each other’s pain in silence, no fixing, no analysis, no advice, just sitting with our own pain, each other’s pain, feeling the pain of the tree— sitting with it all in silence, to me was the true alchemy of this ritual when we carried it out.  

And it was not what I thought we were going for. When the tree said to me, “Don’t let them talk. One word only.” I thought she wanted to keep it short, but no…she wanted the silence. She wanted us in silence with her, she wanted us in silence with each other and with ourselves and our individual and collective pain. 

And it was magical. I thank everyone who showed up to it all. 

So, if you carry this ritual out on your own, allow there to be space for silence and if you carry it out with someone else, allow for the silence with one another. Try not to discuss or analyze after. Just allow the pain to be present, give it some room, to just be, give yourself room to be with the pain of yourself, of another, the collective pain in the field. Give it some space, without needing to act. 

If you can be outside in nature, that would  be best, because the tree really wanted us to be in that space, with no sound except the sounds that are naturally there.  

Shhh. Be still my friends. There is pain here.

The Grandmother Oak 

This tree lives in a local park in our physical community. She is a community shrine where we do many rituals for the community and make offerings to the tree for holding the community. She holds the spiritual and local community in the large umbrella of her canopy of branches and underground roots which extend energetically to wherever people are who interact with the Strega Tree collective. We hold you all in our prayers constantly. The tree scans the energetic field created in and by the community like a radar. If you are reading this, you are part of our extended community and the Grandmother Oak holds you as well 

It was while sitting under her a while back that she told me, “There’s too much pain in the field. Gather the community of diviners and offer a public ritual to whomever wants to come to help relieve the field of some pain. It’s too much for me to hold.”

That was surprising to me. The ritual was not only for us, it was for her. The tree, the community shrine, is part of this ritual as well. She holds the membrane of the community and she was needing help to hold it. When you carry out this ritual, please feel welcomed to call on the Grandmother Oak as well as send her some love. 

For this ritual you will need:

1 raw egg
Healing charcoal (for sale in apothecary at this link), otherwise salt or water
Pen and paper
Bowl of water
Wood ash
Candle (optional)
Incense (optional)

The Ritual:

  • Come to a place of stillness. You may want to light a candle, light some incense, take some deep breaths.
  • Call upon the Grandmother Oak, the ancestors and the earth.
  • Come into contact with the pain you are carrying. Feel it, be present to it.
  • Allow one word to emerge that encapsulates the pain you are currently holding.
  • Speak the word aloud
  • Take five minutes or more to free write about the pain you are currently feeling, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Fold or crunch up the paper and set it aside for now.
  • Take the raw egg and hold it in your hands. Ask it to be willing to extract and hold all the pain you are feeling. If it feels right, you can move the raw egg over your body, hold it to your heart, forehead, allow it to stretch out around your aura, hold it for a while, asking it to be willing to take all the pain you are holding. 
  • Once complete, coat the egg in healing charcoal which will help metabolize that which you have inserted into the egg. If you do not have healing charcoal you can use salt or water instead.
  • Now sit in quiet for 8 minutes. Sit and be with all that you are letting go of.  If you are with another, sit in quiet together as you allow the pain to be transformed. 
  • Once the silent time is complete, place the paper you have written onto in the bowl of water asking the water to transform and dissolve the pain in the note you wrote. Once the note is dissolved enough, you may dispose of it and the water. (If you are out in nature, you can do this part when you get home if it is easier.)
  • Take the egg to a place on the earth where you can either dig a hole and bury it, or leave it upon the earth somewhere under a bush or tree, to be further metabolized.
  • If you bury the egg: dig a hole and line it with wood ash. Ask the earth to please continue metabolizing and transforming the pain the you are letting go of. Thank the earth for her help and offer 1 portion of hibiscus juice onto it (2 tbsp dry hibiscus flowers steeped in 8 ounces of water). Cover the egg with earth. 
  • Now you are complete.

~Strega Tree Apothecary

Featured Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

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