This ritual is copyright Steve Seer and the Shamanism101 folks. I had to practice this ritual as part of my week one initiation, and I’m recording the various experiences I’m having with it. My notes / thoughts appear intermingled with the steps of the ritual.
1) Kneeling before sage in a bowl (such as Abalone shell), consciously light the sage. Best is to hasten the flame by gently ‘swirling’ the shell (not so fast as to lose embers!) Blowing on it to hasten the burning is in certain circumstances considered disrespectful, and is generally discouraged.
Thoughts: The wind that’s blowing across the table is more than taking care of the embers – it’s going to blow them away. I had reservations about this ritual from the beginning because I *loathe* incense and smoke of any kind. That’s why I opted to do this outside. I don’t feel ‘respectful’ in the least, as my thoughts don’t seem to settle and I’m looking at the smoke with something akin to hatred. However, as I began to the light the incense, I could feel a heightened sense of physical awareness, and I was able to ground and center.
2) Carefully place your hands in the smoke as it rises before you and ‘wash’ your hands in it. Here, as in all the washings that follow, consciously cleanse as you do the movements. As you ‘wash’ your hands, concentrate on washing free any ill that these hands have done in the world, even if from ignorance, and cleanse them as preparation for ‘doing’ well in the sacred work that follows and in the future.
Thoughts: Oops – forgot to pay attention to the intention. I was so busy reading the instructions and trying to get the movements and sequence correct, I didn’t pay attention to releasing the nonphysical debris. There’s just enough smoke to coil over my hands, so that’s good.
3) Gently obtain some of the smoke in a ‘cup’ of your hands, and bring it up to wash your head. Concentrate on cleansing your mind.
Thoughts: Okay, well, that’s not so bad. I can ‘cup’ some smoke, and I can even smell it, so I know I’m ‘washing’ my head. Well, forgot the intent that goes along with it again. Still focusing too much on the movements and sequence.
4) In the same way, bring some to wash your heart at your chest. Concentrate on cleansing your heart vis-à-vis others and the
Thoughts: A wee bit better here, got to cleanse my intentions in the heart better – starting to focus on the purpose of the ritual now. Spent most time doing this. This is where I feel it’s most needed.
5) In the same way, bring some to wash your abdomen. Concentrate on cleansing your intake and gut/visceral urges.
Thoughts: Okay, I was able to REALLY visualise that. I had to spend as much time on this part as I did on the heart above. I really need to clean out this area. In fact, I can tell that this area and the heart area are were my energies most need to be concentrated at this time.
6) Then gently bring some to wash down one leg.
Thoughts: I did sweep some smoke cursorily over my leg, but forgot to add the intention; tried it again, that was better. The smoke is beginning to really bother me and I’m starting to rush.
7) And bring more to wash the other leg. As you wash your legs, concentrate on how these legs take you to so many places in the world, that you wash away those ‘goings’ that were not clean and good for yourself and others, and that you now use them to take you through the world in good ways.
Thoughts: Okay, sticking with this, I redid the first leg and went back over both legs several times, but more distracted by the smoke than the visualization and intent. Kinda not working well this first time.
8) Then placing one hand on the Earth (or floor if indoors), breathe silent or audible words of gratitude for our Earth and all beings, and as you do so bring to mind the many beings in the world and the Earth herself, and feel this thankfulness. In a sense, this is an offering.
Thoughts: I didn’t think anything, I didn’t push any energy into the Earth, I just lovingly touched the Earth gently. I just felt those feelings, and then I rushed to get rid of the damned incense.
Ugh, ugh, ugh. I can STILL smell the smoke on me. It’s been a half hour. My chest is tightening up, and my face is swelling. I *loathe* incense and smoke. But, I’m determined that I give the ritual its due, and not just summarily reject doing it just because of allergies. For my next working of the ritual, I’m going to switch to my sage stick and use that, instead of drawing smoke all over me by ‘cupping’ my hands. I will, however, continue to try the ritual outside. I don’t want an asthma attack.