How to offer and prepare a sacred fire ceremony for letting go and deep healing...
In almost all cultures all over the world, the offering of fire ceremony or ritual is one of, if not, the oldest traditions known.
The element of fire was most important for ancient peoples, literally for survival. Fire helped keep them warm from the harsh elements, it cooked their food and protected them from predators. Also, the fire, the hearth was a central hub for the community or the family - meetings and councils were held including time to gather in traditional ceremony, rites of passage and respite.
Ceremonially, while we engage with sacred fire, we choose to connect "as one" with fire with all our senses - allowing the spirit of fire to inform and transform us.
In our work walking the shamanic path, we have also been taught to engage with four specific levels of engagement:
During ceremony, we no longer experience the “I”... we engage mindfully along and with the power and wonder of spirit. Choosing to connect, "we" become the fire, the sparks, the light, the smoke, the sound of the wood crackling, the moon and the stars, each other and ourselves, no one and everyone.
The transformational fire ceremony is done on the full or new moon of each month - in the window of 1-2 days before or after. It is a time for us to come together as ayllu (community) to support each other in sacred circle - to create a safe, sacred container - to ask the sacred fire to help us let go "our stuff" - to let go of the heavy, dark energies (hucha or hoocha) - those energetic issues that no longer serve us.
"Hucha" is a Quechua word that means, "heavy and dark energy" - it holds no judgement, is not negative or positive - it's just heavy and dark, simple as that - no drama. Heavy or dense energy generated by resistance to life in the form of stress-related attachments. Resistance is typically fear-based - Its energy constricts. Fear hinders the natural flow of energy through the luminous body. When this occurs, hucha accumulates.
Accumulated hucha gets stuck in our luminous field - which can keep us bound in many ways. Hucha is only created between humans and we pick it up through our relations when we are out of "Ayni" of reciprocity, balance, harmony - right relationship; sacred interchange.
So, it's good to let go of our hoocha - like taking a bath (in water) for our physical body - we are cleansing our light-body, our luminous self with fire.
The sacred fire is a transformational gift of healing freely given to us. When we release hucha at the sacred fire, it becomes food for mother earth who then composts it and turns it into food that sustains life. Hucha is thus important to humanity. The act of releasing or letting go "our stuff' to mother earth is a sacred act of giving and receiving. I love knowing that I don't have to fear giving away my hoocha to her because it feeds her and she feeds me. I thank you great mother for this gift and for teaching me this.
sacred fire ceremony – outside wood fire...
Below are instructions on how to prepare and offer an outside sacred fire ceremony. This can be a community or solo/small ceremony. Have a sacred intention for the fire so those who are attending know why they are gathering.
In the Andean Shamanic Path, we are given ceremonial rites of passage in the (first) South Direction of the Inca Medicine Wheel - One of those rites is the seeding of the Ayni Karpays - where, an archetype is blown into each of our seven chakras.
Part of our homework/stepping into the path as shaman-healer, is to feed and grow these seeds/karypays with sacred fire. We are asked to offer seven individual fires for each archetype before coming to the next session of the West direction...
Before coming to fire ceremony, find a small stick in nature - perhaps one that calls you. With this stick you will create an offering to give away to the sacred fire to be burnt. We sometimes call this stick a "spirit arrow" or "death arrow" representing an issue or something you want to let go of.
To begin the process of letting go - that which no longer serves you, with the spirt of your breath (as your intention), blow your issue three times into stick - giving it away fully. We do not re-engage with the issue, we simply give it away. Doing this serves to focus your attention in an active meditation to prepare for fire ceremony. You can also write your issues down on small bits of paper and wrap them around the stick or decorate if you wish, though, not necessary - the intention blown-in is good. If you are adding to the stick, just make sure that you are using combustibles that will burn easily and safe for the environment. No plastics, etc.
Prepare a Pachamama Stick. Have someone choose and bring a "Pachamama stick" to circulate during the fire ceremony for prayers and intentions for Pachamama - to hold/intend/pray with mother earth's present healed state.
Set the fire prior to the ceremony. Someone will be the fire-keeper. Someone will be the space holder. Begin by placing the kindling in the form of a Southern Cross and then build a teepee of wood – starting to build from the east with 4 separate sticks. This process is a prayer – be mindful of what you are doing – creating ceremony, right action, right loving, right mind - give thanks to the tree people for offering their body for the fire.
The space holder will begin the ceremony with those gathered/ready around the fire-pit. For any ceremony always open sacred space – call in the sacred directions, south, west, north, east, mother earth, father sky.
The fire-keeper will light the fire from the east direction. Begin a chant and drumming/ rattling to honour and encourage the fire.
As the fire begins to burn, the space holder will feed the fire with olive oil three times: offered first to the four directions, then heaven and earth, and, last connecting the circle with the fire by honouring “all” those present, while holding the oil, one-by-one, acknowledging each person eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart - connect with them so they connect with you - for all to come to presence.
Test the fire for friendliness. The moment the fire becomes friendly it changes colour and burns in a different manner, settling down some. This change will be learned from direct observation and experience with the fire; it will be discovered by the student/space holder and those present.
When the fire is friendly, the space holder opens the ceremony of offerings by making their
offering first to the fire (with someone at their back - holding space for them).
All others then make their offerings to the fire coming in from the four directions. One person holds space behind each of them. Each person approaches the fire and silently puts their offering into the fire (with someone at their back) – letting go. Take a moment once you place your stick mindfully in the fire, be aware of what you are doing - connect with the fire as it begins to consume "your stuff". Be aware of the transformation occurring in this moment... your "hucha" is being transformed into light as it feeds the fire.
Let go by unwinding, with your hand (counter clockwise) from your three centers, one at time.. from belly, heart, forehead/3rd eye and give away any hucha/heavy energy to the fire. Fully let it all go - know it.
Then, after a moment, put your hands briefly through the fire (three times) drawing clockwise filling the energy of the fire and transformed healing light into your belly area (of right action), then into your heart (of right loving), and then the forehead/third eye (of right thinking/mind) – you are filling back up with that light (transformed). Feel this with all your senses - be present with this transformation of healing the fire is offering you. Give thanks for the gift of letting go, emptying and filling yourself back up with light and healing.
The only protection when touching the fire is to come before it with a pure heart. You can touch it lightly or go deeply into the flame. It is not meant to be sensational or dramatic, though rather a way to focus attention and energy upon one’s transformation.
Meanwhile, the Pachamama stick is being passed around the circle for all to place their blessing and prayers for mother earth... by blowing their sprit-breath into the stick... to hold her healed state in the present moment - we are the "ones we've been waiting for" choosing to hold and dream our world into being as we wish to dream it. Again, use all your senses during this process - as if the healing has already happened in the present moment. It is our resonance of who we truly are which will fuel our dreamings.
Next, after all the offerings are made, the oldest person or youngest person places the Pachamama stick in the fire. Sing and rattle the Pachamama Song as the stick burns.... singing three times is good.
As the fire burns down - this is an opportunity to offer prayers for the community, those who are close to us, globally. This is also a time to name those who have recently passed over - to lovingly let them know it's okay for them to go home to who they truly are. When everyone feels complete...
Close sacred space - giving thanks to the sacred directions and those spirit-helpers seen and un-seen who were present.
At least two people, ideally one male and one female, or who is called, stay with the fire until it is burned down to embers – let the fire naturally burn right out - please, no water on the fire. If necessary - in the case of an emergency, dirt can be used to smother the fire - use your common sense - if the fire needs to be put out in because of emergency, put it out as quickly as possible.
optional fire ceremony with an inside shamanic candle ceremony...
Sometimes, for whatever reason, it can difficult to hold or attend an outdoor fire ceremony - especially if we live in areas where outdoor fires are banned.
Walking a shamanic path is about engagement of beauty and intention - we can choose to engage with the transformation of fire in the presence of a simple candle indoors or out.
Preparation. Again, before any ceremony, or a shamanic candle ceremony, always create and open sacred space by calling in the energies and powers of all the directions... this is essential.
Light a beautiful candle and sit before it. If you are outside and it is safe and permissible, light your fire. Be aware of fire bans where you are (never leave unattended) making sure it is completely out before you leave.
Next, open your personal space around the flame as you light it. Open your wiracoacha (personal sacred space around you) Allow a few moments in meditation, honour the directions and anyone else including the spirits present. Then, offer to the flame all that has come up since the last fire ceremony, for purification and clearing – let go by unwinding with your hand (counter clockwise) from your 3 centers, one at time.. from belly, heart, 3rd eye and give away any hucha/heavy energy to the fire/candle light...
Growing the seed of your archetype/karpay... or, filling back up with light...
Connect with the archetype/karpay you wish to grow the seeds for. Connect with its qualities and its gifts you may wish to visualize the entire initiation process of the archetype/karpay.
Now, take from the flame the light and warmth into your hands as if you were holding a golden orb. Place this orb of light into your chakra (the one relevant to that archetype/karpay you are working with), begin to grow the seed in that chakra. Feel the power of the light and the warmth accepted and embraced by the seed of the archetype/karpay... use all your senses as you do this... feel it... know it... embrace it...
Allow the power of the archetype/karpay (or light) to expand and grow within you.
Finally, when feeling complete, rewind clockwise each center, belly, heart, 3rd eye....
Know that through the light and warmth offered at the fire ceremony, the seed is grown and strengthened within you until you fully claim and live the power of the archetype/karpay.
Finally, once you have finished the Fire Ceremony for the archetype/karpay you are working with, it is essential that you close your personal sacred space... Close sacred medicine space... if outside, make sure candle/fire is completely out and leave space as you found it – with no trace, giving thanks to the helpers + spirits who have come to guide you...
Continue to connect with each archetype/karpay in between fires... get to know them...
By carol weaver - www.carolweaver.com
copyright © 2016 - all rights reserved
Resources from www.incaglossary.org and Alberto Villoldo, PhD - thank you!
Below, the chant, Karpay Rites - Welcome Song to the Archetypes - written + performed by weaver...
I share what i have learned with the heart of munay... if you have found value + wish to support my work... perhaps consider buying me a coffee, thank you!
In the Andean Shamanic Path, (Inca Medicine Wheel) during the South first direction, we are given ceremonial rites of passage. One of those rites is the seeding of Ayni Karpays - where, seven archetypes are blown into each of our chakras.
Part of our homework/stepping into the path as shaman-healer, is to feed and grow these seeds/karypays with sacred fire ceremony. We are asked to offer seven individual fires for each archetype before coming to the next session of the West direction.
The great archetypes of the Andean tradition are organizing principles of the Universe. They are the forces that we call to create sacred space and they are the energy beings that have been planted as seeds in each of your chakras. It is important to remember that you have received them as seeds, they are pure potential - it is your own engagement with them and your relationship with them that will grow them into the powerful forces that inform your chakras in new ways. That is why you do the fire ceremonies, to grow these seeds with fire.
Take time after each fire ceremony to source yourself from the archetype in each chakra, see your world from that perspective, so that you get your own sense of connection to each archetype. lnstead of being exclusively informed by our histories and by our cultural prescriptions, these organizing principles of the Universe, begin to organize our energy centres.
great serpent - 1st chakra (root)
Mother of the Waters: A giant serpent, the mother (spirit) of waters, mother of rivers, deity of the river. She is the archetype of the healer though out many cultures. The one who teaches us to shed our skin in one whole piece... to shed our personal past like she sheds her skin. The primary life force, the one who dives deep, deep - who knows the way into the deepest places inside of ourselves - the One who walks with beauty on the belly of the Mother- the One who knows the way back to the Garden, the place of innocence.
jaguar - 2nd chakra
Mother-Sister Jaguar: The one who knows the way across the rainbow bridge to the world of mystery - the one who swallows the dying sun, teaching us to step beyond fear, violence and death. The archetypal connection to the life force of the jungle, everything that is green; steward of the life force - Luminous Warrior who has no enemies in this world or the next -represents the Life/Death principle and renewal. Jaguar is a master tracker - chews and mulches hucha, heavy dark energy.
hummingbird - 3rd chakra
Ancient Ones and Hummingbird: The place of the ancestors, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, ancient memories, ancient wisdom - the Ones who have stepped outside of Time but slip through the veils to help us remember the ancient ways - the way of the Hummingbird, who drinks directly from the nectar of Life -- not built for flight yet undertakes and accomplishes the impossible epic journey. Hummingbird teaches us about the joy of life in the present moment.
eagle + condor - 4th chakra
Condor + Eagle: The great archetype of the East, the place of the rising Sun, the place of our Becoming, of who we truly are - principle of seeing from high perspective, vision of clarity and beauty, the great wings of the condor hold the heart, teaches us to see with the eyes of the heart – the One who pushes us out of the nest to spread our own wings so that we may always fly wing-to-wing with the Great Spirit. Eagle teaches us about new birth and new beginnings.
huascar - 5th chakra
Huascar: Lord of life; Lord of death. Historically, one of two sons of Pachakuti lnka (the lnka who read the prophecy of bearded men with sticks that spoke with fire who would turn the world upside down). Huascar was the keeper of the medicine teachings; he was killed by his brother who then negotiated with the Spanish.
He became the harmonizing principle of the Lower World - the chaotic dark place of all creative potential. He/she is the renewer of the Earth and our own personal need of renewing our own earth, fields that are fallow, places that need aerating. The gift of Huascar is to harmonize our relationship with our Shadow.
quetzelcoatl - 6th chakra
Quetzelcoatl: Lord of the morning/the dawn; the Day Bringer, Morning Star; Quetzel is a beautiful jungle bird and coatl is serpent, reptile, a feathered, winged serpent that has acquired flight - the organizer of the middle world, brought irrigation, medicine plants and stonework, walked the Americas, brought stability, music, dance, flutes, drums- though it has been lost in our culture, we can call on it individually, an animistic knowledge of the ways of the Earth - organizes your relationship with the Middle World - when you come into relationship with Quetzelcoatl you don't have to micromanage your life.
pachakuti - 7th chakra (crown)
Pachakuti: Historically, the lnka king who was given the prophecy that the world was turning over (coming of the Spanish) the keeper of the possibilities, organizing principle of the Upper World; - embodies the concept of circular time, stepping outside of linear time - makes time stand still- brings order, heavenly order- coming into relationship with
Pachakuti allows us to recognize what can be changed and changing it before it is born.
The above descriptions come from Dr. Alberto Villoldo. Come to learn and build your own relationships with the seven archetypes - by engaging with them, getting to know them, building those relationships of power - by feeding them with sacred fire ceremony.
The above artwork, Rainbow Chakana, Great Serpent, Jaguar, Hummingbird and Great Eagle by carol weaver creative © copyright, all rights reserved - Huascar; Inca Glossary, Quetzecoatl; Pinterest, Pachakuti, Wikipedia -- thank you!
Sing/chant them as well:
I share what i have learned with the heart of munay... if you have found value + wish to support my work... perhaps consider buying me a coffee, thank you!
quickening (power song)
at a moment’s notice
the mother’s arms
side to side
straight to the heart
as far as one
and let go
with total trust
as i fall
and loved within
the ever present
one in the all
and just knowing
and the song
-- © weaver x (((o)))
Note... the spirit encounter that sparked this poem, view this post >>
i wish to acknowledge with gratitude that i live, work + play on the traditional and unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation...
i'm a creative soul choosing to walk softly on our blessed earth mother's back... more here...
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