Thursday, April 30, 2015
A Ceremony of Release
1. Create such a Ceremony of Release for you, for your ancestors, for the generations yet to come, and/or for your community.
2. Chose a time—Halloween and New Year’s Eve are both wonderful times to do this—but there’s no need to wait for them to have this ceremony. Any time you wish to hold such a ceremony is auspicious. For instance, there are three other cross-quarter days—celebrated on their eves; Candlemas on the eve of February 2; Beltane on the eve of May 1; and Lammas on the eve of August 15. There are the solstices and the equinoxes. Also, the dark of the Moon is an excellent time for releasing the old, and it occurs thirteen times a year.
3. Invite those you wish to have attend, letting them know the function of this event and describing the ceremony. This helps them meditate ahead of time so they can decide on the issues and patterns they want to release. You might also ask them to bring along any special symbolic elements they might want to burn in the fire.
4. As you gather, ask all the participants to help create a sacred space in which to do the work. Offer a prayer to the four directions, and the above, below, and the center to connect with Spirit.
5. Take time for each person to talk about past situations, traditions, family experiences, or anything else connected to what they have found unworkable in their lives. Give each person a square of black cloth, a pinch of tobacco, and random symbolic items such as stones, shells, buttons, little feathers, bits of wood, and other things they can use to represent patterns being released in case they have not brought things of their own. In addition, it’s helpful to have slips of paper and pencils on hand so people can write down anything for which words are the only appropriate symbol. Lastly, give each person a string or bit of colored yard to tie the little bundle.
6. Create a fire to burn these releasing bundles in order to transform them. This can be a bonfire outside, or a fire indoors in a fireplace or even in a heavy skillet set on a tile or trivet in the center of the gathered circle.
7. After building the fire, smudge both the participants and the fire with sage.
8. Call in the ancestors of each person to help them in this process.
9. Allow participants to come forward, one at a time, encouraging but not requiring them to say their prayers out loud, and have them throw their bundle into the fire. A good image here is for them to think of the fire as releasing and transforming all the energy formerly held in those old ways so that it can be used by the Great Spirit in new and beautiful ways.
10. Finally have a feast of celebration around your fire!
- Brooke Medicine Eagle, Buffalo Woman Comes Singing