A shrine is a place or object that represents, holds and makes a space for a certain entity, abstract concept, idea or belief. At the shrine, offerings are made or prayers are said to and for what is held there. The practice of building shrines has many functions, some of which are psychological in that they allow us to externalize certain ineffable concepts, like the soul, or a relationship to a powerful but unseen being. Externalizing means giving form to something that we only feel, perceive and understand as untouchable, within or numinous. The practice of externalizing helps us to actively work with them, consider, and care for them in a way that is different from when they remain unseen or are internalized only. With the shrine, we are able to take that relationship, being or concept and place it in a concrete form outside of ourselves, look at it and interact with it in a real time, three-dimensional way.
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.
If you feel yourself to be a medicine person but have not found your path or lineage and don’t know what to do, trust that you will eventually be guided to a path that teaches you skills and leads to an initiation of some sort through which you will develop your own particular kind of medicine work. However, you do not need to be initiated to do most of the work and rituals described on this website.One thing many people who are just beginning to do this kind of spirit work ask me is “What are the most common offerings made to the spiritual dimensions?” Below is a list of the top 5 from the divination system of the Dagara people from Burkina Faso that I am initiated into.
Knowing the Landscapes of our DreamsIn this blog post we will attend to personal dreaming and developing our own vocabulary around our own dreams.Dreaming is very healthy for us. It is a time to interact with the library of our soul and be fed by it, to explore the subconscious parts of ourselves, and be held and nurtured by the Dark Goddess of the inner Earth: The One Who Brings the Dreams. Scientific research is currently discovering the importance of dreaming to our overall health and well-being. There are many dictionaries and systems for dream interpretation; however, I encourage everyone to develop their own vocabulary around their dreams. They are the landscapes of our souls and other lifetimes, images and layered impressions of personal experiences we are transforming or coming to understand. In fact dreamtime is the chance to integrate and more deeply understand all of these.