The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life - Sandra Ingerman MA 2018
Working in the Unseen Realms
Ceremonies to Create Energetic Balance
Most of the ceremonies I’ve shared so far have been rooted in the physical world. While this is a powerful way to work, it is, as I’ve mentioned, not the only choice. Since the true magic of ceremony occurs on the level of spirit, working in the unseen realms can be just as effective as working in a physical space. A group of friends or family who cannot meet in the physical world can still perform a ceremony in the unseen realms with positive results.
Get familiar with the technology you want to use for a virtual ceremony. You might want one person to drum, but drumming over the phone or the internet may sound distorted. In such cases, a prerecorded track might be clearer, and people can sing or speak over the track. Participants can envision themselves drumming and rattling while in a guided meditation, or they can physically drum, rattle, sing, and dance during the ceremonial work in the unseen realms.
If you lead a virtual ceremony, use the “Guided Meditation to Create an Altar in the Unseen Realms” in chapter 5 to take people to your altar in the nonordinary realms. Use the description of opening the veils between the worlds as each person visualizes stepping out their front door. Or create your own guided journey or meditation to bring your group to the altar room or ceremonial space in the unseen world.
Describe the path and the landscape in detail. Focus on what people will see, smell, hear, feel, and taste. This will help each person be fully present as they walk the path. They will engage as if they are actually walking through a beautiful place in nature instead of watching themselves walking on the path as if it were a movie.
I will now share a powerful ceremony to release an old hurt. I’ve used this cauldron of light practice in my groups as a ceremony of forgiveness. The act of forgiveness dissolves unhealthy energetic bonds that keep us trapped in unhealthy relationships. The cauldron of light works in the unseen realms much in the way a fire ceremony does in the physical world.
ROBERT’S CAULDRON OF LIGHT
Robert had a terminal illness and wanted to feel complete before he died. He loved working with the cauldron of light to practice forgiveness.
Before each ceremony, Robert called his helping spirits into his virtual altar room. In this space, he envisioned a cauldron filled with brilliant, cleansing light. His guardian spirit met him with love and brushed away any energies that would contaminate the sacred field of the altar space. This was a safe and holy place for Robert to work.
Robert took many journeys to forgive himself for actions in his past. Each time, he envisioned placing words or drawings into the cauldron of light. Then he always moved to journeying on the people in his life that he needed to forgive. Robert understood that each shamanic journey is a ceremony. As so often happens in journeys, Robert’s helping spirits gave him valuable and sometimes unexpected information about what he needed to transform, helping him uncover unconscious feelings of shame, blame, and regret.
Robert worked to forgive as many people as he needed to forgive in order to experience a state of peace, so he could die without carrying grudges into another lifetime.
The cauldron of light works as a shared practice with others. Your group might envision walking through the veil between the seen and unseen realms into a beautiful garden where there is a great cauldron of light. Once there, you perform your ceremony in the nonordinary realms to release and transform negative states of consciousness.
PERFORMING FIRE CEREMONIES IN THE NONORDINARY REALMS
I lead groups in performing a releasing ceremony in the virtual realms.
After preparing, I lead the group past the altar room to a meadow where they see a distant bonfire. Guardian spirits cleanse each person before they enter the circle. I tell the group there are bowls filled with effigy objects for the fire, such as prayer sticks with colored yarn wrapped around them or medicine bundles filled with herbs. Each person picks the object that calls to them.
After the invocation, we gaze upon the beauty of the night sky. We listen to the fire crackling, smell the smoke, and look into the beauty of the circle. The drumming and rattling begins. Participants place their effigy objects imbued with the pain they are releasing into the fire as the drumming, rattling, chanting, and dancing continues. With virtual ceremonies, including physical activity like singing and drumming helps people engage more deeply.
We feed sacred herbs into the fire in gratitude for taking our pain and transforming it to loving and light-filled energies that feed the collective. I end by guiding people back to the room they are journeying or meditating in and lead a short grounding exercise, asking people to connect deeply with the earth.
VIVIAN AND THE SACRED CAVE
Vivian’s group wanted to work in a virtual territory that felt more earthy than an enclosed altar room. She designed a guided meditation to lead people to a sacred cave in the unseen realms. Vivian and her group drummed and rattled as they made the journey to this place, strongly imagining each sense coming alive with their surroundings.
A great fire burned in the middle of this dark cave. Vivian and her group danced and sang around the fire. Everyone released the power object, letters, or drawings they had made into the transformative power of fire.
CREATING A VIRTUAL PRAYER TREE
A Prayer Tree is a living altar to work at, a place to tie on prayers for any purpose while sitting in silence, absorbing the power and wisdom of the tree. It is not always possible to find a tree in nature that is appropriate to work with, especially if you live in an urban area, but you can create a virtual Prayer Tree no matter where you are. Although you can work with a virtual Prayer Tree alone, it is a special experience to be able to bring together friends, loved ones, coworkers, or students to tie their prayers onto a tree existing in the unseen realms. Imagine people from around the world working together with one beautiful Prayer Tree.
I have led guided meditations and journeys to take groups of people from all over the world to a beautiful Prayer Tree in the unseen realms to tie on prayers on behalf of ourselves, others, all of life, and the Earth. After our preparation work, I lead the group past the virtual altar room to a giant old-growth tree whose width is enormous and whose branches reach gracefully to the sky.
We invoke the helping spirits and then chant or speak words of thanks to the tree for taking our prayers for healing, blessings, and peace to the creative forces of the universe, which will work with us in partnership to make our prayers so.
The guardian spirits cleanse each person. We gather around, taking in the beauty and wonder of the tree and surrounding nature.
I tell the group that there are bowls with prayer ribbons. We each tie prayers very loosely on the branches and then return to the circle. The group’s singing, drumming, and rattling supports each person. Participants leave gifts of flowers or something else from nature that represents beauty, love, and gratitude as an offering for the tree and the helping spirits.
After closing the ceremony, I lead participants back home through the veils of the unseen into the physical.
AUDREY’S PRAYER TREE
Audrey decided to create a Prayer Tree for a group of family members who live throughout Australia. A beloved relative was having severe health issues, and she asked her family to join her in the adventure of working in meditation with a Prayer Tree.
Audrey used an online program to have everyone on video while she drummed and rattled as she led the ceremony. She guided everyone to walk through a rainforest, with vines brushing each person as they walked. The vines cleansed everyone by brushing away their ordinary concerns and burdens. The vines formed an arbor, leading them deeper into nonordinary reality realms.
Audrey described everything in detail, asking each person to feel the soft, rich soil beneath their feet and feel the mist and humidity of the rainforest acting as a container for their collective field of energy. She described the sun shining through the trees, so everyone could soak in the warmth, smell the fragrances, and even taste the salt in the air.
They came to a magnificent and exquisite tree in a clearing. Audrey asked everyone to walk to the tree and stand in silence while appreciating the power of the tree and their love for each other. They focused on their intention for healing their relative while holding loving hands.
Audrey chanted as she cleansed them with incense, asking everyone to put aside their fears and thoughts to focus on the prayers they wanted to tie on the tree. The family took prayer ribbons from the offering bowls and tied on prayers for their ailing loved one. They also took the opportunity to tie on prayer ribbons for world peace. They left petals of their favorite flowers as offerings—rose, dandelion, and sunflower—and then were guided back home.
This ceremony touched Audrey’s family as they let go of their conflicts and joined together for the healing of a loved one. Their hearts expanded, and they bonded deeply in ways that continued over time. Each continued to visit the Prayer Tree through meditation. They experienced peace as they sat with the Prayer Tree and reflected on their own lives and the lives of loved ones. They continued to leave ribbons of prayers for healing. Their beloved family member who was ill made a great deal of process in her healing through the love and prayers offered to her. They were so grateful to this massive tree being who helped focus their prayers.
Audrey was touched to watch four generations of family come together to perform a ceremony. This alone was an enormous act of healing.
PUTTING YOUR TRUST IN YOUR HELPING SPIRIT OR DIVINE ALLY
Sometimes, the most powerful ceremonial work you can do is to place your trust completely in a helping spirit, divine ally, or the power of the universe.
To start, do your preparation work as you would for any ceremony. Use drumming, spiritually expansive music, or any technique that helps you step out of ordinary life into sacred space. In the unseen realms, ask to meet with your helping spirit.
Once you are with your compassionate spirit, state your intention of what needs to be released or healed. Ask your helping spirit or divine being to unwind this pain or trauma, something that needs to be forgiven, or another issue. Your helping spirit will unwind threads out of the core of your being into a shimmering ball of light that they will release to an element to be transformed.
This is a powerful healing ceremonial experience. It is also an intimate time with your helping spirit or divine force as you release to them a pain, belief, trauma, something that needs forgiving, or an old sacred contract that needs to be broken. It is a true act of surrender and a beautiful way to heal.
DELORES RELEASES HER BINDS
Delores came to see me as a client. She had been in psychotherapy for years, attended classes on meditation, and focused on exercise and eating a healthy diet. Despite her best efforts, her life felt off track. She found herself in abusive relationships, a dead-end job, dealing with financial problems, and feeling like she was not in the flow of life.
I performed healing work with Delores and taught her how to perform a healing ceremony in the nonordinary realms. Using all the elements of ceremony, Delores met the divine and compassionate spirit Mother Mary. Through direct telepathic contact, Mother Mary told Delores about a sacred contract she had made during a past life, when she had agreed to sacrifice her needs. In this past life, she was a bit selfish and was not a compassionate wife or mother.
Mother Mary compassionately held Delores and assured her that this contract was fulfilled but that she was stuck repeating old patterns from her past. The cycle of sacrificing joy for misery needed to be broken for Delores to grow. Mother Mary asked Delores if she was ready to let go of this old binding contract. Delores was thrilled to work with a divine figure that she had so much love and trust for.
Mother Mary reached into Delores’s solar plexus and started unwinding what looked like shimmering blue yarn. Then Mother Mary blew on the yarn, which transformed into little roses that rained down on Delores, signifying that the contract was broken and fulfilled and that it was now time to embrace the beauty of life.
Then, Mother Mary filled Delores with light, so she was whole.
TIGER DISMEMBERS MARTIN’S CONTRACT
Martin felt like he was under a curse. In ceremony, he met his helping spirit, Tiger, who told Martin about an old contract that now needed to be let go of. Tiger used a dismemberment ceremony—a powerful and ancient practice that allows a helping spirit or ally dissolve energetic blockages. Martin felt no fear or pain as Tiger’s paws reached into his heart, pulled out a contract, and tore it apart.
Martin felt immediately lighter after Tiger dismembered and devoured the contract, which had bound up his joy and ability to create a healthy life.
Martin’s Tiger then filled him with light. He also performed a general healing on him to make sure Martin felt whole and filled with love and power.
Use any ceremony I’ve described or one you design on your own to let go of life’s disappointments. I love the unwinding ceremony, dismemberment, and cauldron of light when I work with helping spirits or divine forces to release disappointments. I suggest this work to those who are disappointed when their ceremonial work did not lead immediately to their desired outcome.