Since returning from Peru I’ve been opening sacred space for myself by performing a smudging ceremony accompanied by some version of a prayer to the four directions. A “prayer to the four directions” is a bit of a misnomer because just about every version I’ve seen involves calling out to the spirits of at least six directions: the four cardinal directions, up to the heavens, down to Earth, and sometimes even back to the center of the self. There isn’t one right way of doing this. Some traditions start in the East, others in the South. Some address the spirits of the Heavens before bending down to Earth, and some do the exact opposite. All the indigenous tribes seem to have their own particular version of this ceremony. After a bit of research, comparison, and experimentation, I found myself especially drawn to how they do this in the Andes (in Spanish) and, in North America, to the way of the Mi’kmaq people, who remember to include the heart center of the self as the seventh direction.
This ritual reminds me that I am fully supported and connected, not only to all the living creatures on this planet, but to forces unseen. It’s also a really effective way to connect with my heart. My heart glows when I do this for myself, and I become aware of this two-way flow of the support I open myself to receive and also of the love that I express for everything around me. I really love holding my left hand over my heart when I read these prayers out loud because it brings me even closer to this expansive heart energy. It is such a beautiful way to settle in before a sitting meditation or something more active like journaling, tarot/oracle card reading, Akashic Record work, etc.
I may have already mentioned this elsewhere, but I am not one for keeping daily rituals. Aside from sleeping and drinking water, there are very few things that I want to do every single day. Indeed, what I found is that I like to mix it up and do this a bit differently each time. Sometimes I do a bilingual ceremony. Sometimes I dispense with the set script all together and improvise. Still at other times I choose to focus on meditating on just one aspect of divine assistance (I love working with the elements!).
Tapping into this mish-mash of traditions concerned me a little, so I asked my Records about it. They assured me that it wasn’t disrespectful to experiment in this way, and that I’m doing so in order to find my very own method of doing this ceremony. What they underscored as being important to me was being aware of what made my heart sing, so I could build my personal ritual on similar elements.
I invite you to try your hand at this, too! I hope that you find the experience fills you with peace, joy, love, support, and everything good!