What Grandmother Earth is doing in her cycle is a mirror for us as humans. We are of her body, everything we need to live and thrive comes from her. By acknowledging and honouring her natural cycle and flow of movement through ritual and ceremony, we can be in alignment with her spirit.
Being of service to the earth in this way shows respect for the living form that houses us. Coming into balance with her helps us to find balance within. We honour and celebrate these natural cycles of movement with community gatherings that include seasonal ceremonies and sweat lodges to celebrate and welcome her energy into our lives.
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Mabon is a harvest celebration. Days shorten and Nature begins to prepare for the winter months to come. We celebrate the bounty of the harvest, reaping what we have sown. With wisdom and gratitude, we use this bounty to prepare for darker, colder days ahead. We also acknowledge the natural contraction of nature into the winter dreaming cycle as we set intention to slow down and go within.
This is a time of special opening into the world of spirit, establishing a connection to our ancestors. It gives us the opportunity to honour our ancestors, to tell their stories and to remember. It is a time to confront fears around death and to face death through ritual. We use this time to channel our energies towards slowing down our pace of life to prepare for the coming winter.
Yule is the shortest day and longest night. It is a time to go inward, into the birthing caves to see the energy of death and look into the shadow. We acknowledge the darkness for its capacity to teach us of re-birthing ourselves into the light. We allow the mind to soar while the body rests.
The sun returns. The darkest night of the year has passed and the light is returning anew. It is an opportunity to cleanse, purify, rest and renew in anticipation for the life to come. A time for preparation of the new season, for new gestation within the Mother. The lighting of fires within the hearth symbolises the heart fire that helped us transition through the darker months.
Ostara brings the midpoint of spring, it is a time of warming on the earth, and with this warming comes the promise of renewed fertility. Life brings rebirth, reminding us of the potential for all living things. Night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. It is a time of great fertility, new growth and rapid change.
Beltane is the celebration of springtime. Nature dresses herself in green and the outdoors beckons in an explosion of life. Things above and below the earth start to stir and grow, cracking open the winter shell to allow life to emerge. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, God and Goddess surrender to desire and lie among the grasses and blossoms and unite. This act encourages us to awaken the beloved within and to become pregnant with ourselves.
Litha is the longest day and the shortest night. The light of the sun warms the bones of the fertile earth, our pregnant mother. It is celebrated with bonfires and rejoicing. We acknowledge that this is the time when all things move quickly in the direction that they must grow.
A celebration of the abundance of harvest, this is a time for consuming, sharing and feasting. It is a time when all of nature is open fully to the light with the potential to mature into the fullness of themselves, to be the full blossom or the ripe apple.
The sweat lodge is an alchemical tool that sits within sacred law and is in alignment with all of creation. It enables us to heal ourselves, so we too can step into alignment and become sacred humans. It holds within it the perfect balance of the Everything. This includes all the elements: water, earth, air, fire and void as well as all the worlds of Grandmother Earth: the plant, mineral, animal, human and ancestor worlds.
The lodge structure is created from saplings gathered with care and respect. They are fashioned into a dome shaped hut, covered by either blankets or skins and has a flap as a door. The lodge symbolizes the earth’s womb, introspection and the feminine. The door to the lodge always faces the fire which represents the spark of life, our connection to spirit and the masculine.
The Dance Chief guides the ceremony, while the Fire-keeper provides the heated rocks and takes care of the people in the lodge.
The people enter the lodge with humility, asking for healing not only for themselves but also for their lineage (the 7 generations that have come before and the 7 generations that are yet to come). While inside the lodge, participants create a space within themselves so they can ask for what they really need for their healing. They share prayers of healing for others and let go of all the things standing in their way so they can dream their lives anew.
Exiting the lodge symbolizes a person’s rebirth into the world.
Historically, humans from across the world have seen sweat lodges as a means of purification, to maintain their health and well being on all levels. When a person sits in a sweat lodge, they have an opportunity to let go of what’s not working in their life and to become more receptive to discovering what will work.
The ceremonial ritual combined with pouring water on heated rocks, increases each participants vibration so that they can shake loose and free up slow moving energy. It facilitates detoxification of impurities from the physical body. Through intention, the participant lets go of unproductive thoughts, behaviours and patterns and heals emotional pain from the past.
Opening up to the ceremony in this way creates the space for change and the re-balancing of your physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and energetic levels. Regularly attending a sweat lodge is a powerful way to set your intention for what you wish to manifest while letting go of what prevents you from living the life you desire.
Our sweat lodges follow the same ancient time-honoured traditions of the Twisted Hairs lineage.
We gather together for the preparation of the space which includes smudging, blessing and calling the powers of creation into the stone children, building the sacred fire, covering the sweat lodge and calling on the powers of the medicine wheel to create an alchemical container within which we can do our work safely.
Although it has a structure, the ceremony, the theme and the participants are always different. Therefore each sweat lodge is a unique experience unto itself.
Following each ceremony, we gather together to share insights gained before bringing the circle to a close. To conclude the gathering, we celebrate our rebirth by sharing in a feast. Each person brings a plate of food that has been created with love and prepared with care. This feeds the spirit as well as the body and serves as a communal heart gift that we can share with each other.
We are honoured to offer community sweats, where women and men come together to share in this powerful healing experience. Weaving Willow runs sisterhood sweat lodges for women only and Worldweaver runs periodic brotherhood sweat lodges for men only.
“I hold up this pipe in honour of the Sacred Laws, that all things are born of the feminine creative energy and sparked by the masculine conceptive energy, and nothing will be done to harm the children of Grandmother Earth.”
These words are spoken to begin a Medicine Pipe ceremony. It is considered the most sacred of all medicine tools and is used for prayer, inner reflection, healing, personal growth and ceremony. It is made with a specific symbolism and alchemy that empowers you to step into a more balanced and centred state of awareness.
The bowl is the container and holds the feminine, receptive and creative energies. It holds your prayers and intent. The stem is the spark and holds the masculine, active and conceptive energies. It gives the spark of life to your prayers and intent within the sacred tobacco.
The worlds of Grandmother Earth are present in the Medicine Pipe. The stone bowl is made of the mineral world which holds and transforms. The stem is made from the plant world which gives and determines energy. The animal world is represented either in effigy form carved in the stone or with quills, fur, or feathers attached to the Medicine Pipe.
As my teacher has taught me, & his before him in honour of the Twisted Hair Way, we use the Pipe as a tool to catalyze our prayers of intent for ourselves, others & the collective of all humans. Within our teachings, the Pipe is considered the most sacred of all medicine tools & is used for prayer, inner reflection, healing, personal growth & ceremony. We step into this ancient sacred container of alchemy & magick, sharing our heartfelt prayers of healing, growth & evolution for ourselves & for the family of all humans.