Monday, December 18, 2006
PRAYER TIES AND FLAGS; See Drawing. Prayer ties and flags are spiritual tools created to be a physical representation and carrier of the energy of a prayer. They may be brought and left at the spot that a ceremony is being held or carried to some other place and left as a token of your dedication. Each time the tie or flag is re-encountered it becomes a reminder of your prayer/intention and thus fortifies it with your additional energy of attention. Through your intention the prayer moves on.
I am suggesting designs for your ties or flags, but be aware that there are many forms and you may envision and design ones of your own. This is your Soul’s way of letting you know what serves it and your energy best. I suggest you try each of these examples and be on "the look out" for others that come to you. I recently read about a little "prayer basket" filled with feathers, a stone and a shell laying on a bed of herbs. Tobacco ties were tied to the handle of the basket. Please bring your ties and/or flags to place on our sacred cedar tree. If you wish, bring your supplies and make the ties here; we will have some sacred tobacco & cornmeal to use. If you can’t do this, please come anyway.
PRAYER FLAGS: Cut strips of natural cloth (so they bio-degrade) about an inch wide and in various lengths. Use various colors that please you. (Many Earth People used red, white, yellow and black representing the directions and the inter-relatedness of all things.)
PRAYER OR TOBACCO TIES: (drawing) Cut a 1 1/2 - 2 1/2" square piece of natural cloth. The color can be any color you choose that represents the dedication (prayer) you are making. Tie bundles strung together often have four colors representing the unity of the four directions.
• After you have cut the square a pinch of tobacco only or a mixture of tobacco, sweet grass, sage and/or other herbs are placed in the center of the cloth as you say your prayer (request). Your prayer is thus mentally placed with the "tobacco" into the bundle. Gather the comers together and tie it at the top around the pinch of tobacco. When tied, touch the pinch bundle to your forehead and say words of dedication that represent the quality of your thoughts in relation to the bundle. Then place the bundle in front of your mouth and nose and breath your essence into it with your out breath. Next, touch it to your throat and speak about the qualities of your speech that you make with this bundle. Touch the bundle to the center of your chest with words about your heart-felt-ness, and lastly touch your belly between your navel and your regenerative organs and speak about the qualities of creation and the powers that go with it.
You may string many ties (bundles) together on one string or cord if you wish, or make individual ones. They can be strung into a necklace to be worn during a ceremony and burned so that the smoke released carries prayers to the universe and the Great Mystery. If you tie the bundles to a sacred tree or other relation you may wish to tie downy feathers with them so that when the wind blows it carries your prayer above.
December 21st is the shortest day of the year and the Sun reaches the furthest point in its southern travel at 6:22 PM that evening. In consideration of this event we will hold our annual Solstice Ceremony on FRIDAY December 22.
The festivities will begin at 2pm as we gather wood and construct our bonfire. We will also make prayer ties (See instructions for making Prayer Ties in the next post) and grind some Sacred Cornmeal for everyone to take home. Folks are welcome to come anytime from 2 pm until 6 pm. Partners and children are welcome. At 6:00 there will be a short talk explaining the ceremony and Solstice traditions.
The bonfire will be lit at 6:30 pm and will be followed by a potluck feast after the fire. Please bring some food to share. Herm and Linda will be providing Esau’s Potage, a traditional soup made of goat meat, lentils and other fresh vegetables.
We will observe the beginning of Earth Renewal by lighting a symbolic fire. Several of us will have fasted, meditated or reviewed our lives during the time leading up to this ceremony. Now we are prepared to make an offering to our ceremonial fire that will represent something about ourselves we would like to change, a habit we would like to break or we may add something symbolic to the fire that symbolizes closure in an area of our life.
Each of us will have an opportunity to step forward to the fire as we feel moved, one person at a time. We should solemnly remind ourselves of our intentions and make our fire offering. You may silently add your offering or you may share what your offering symbolizes with the group. When you are satisfied that you are in tune with your thoughts and the fire, you may step back to the group and another will step forward. There will be silence by the group during the ceremony.
When we have each made our offering representing change in our lives we will each step forward and add a final offering as we send a prayer of thanksgiving for all of our Blessings to Wakan Tanka, The Great Spirit (God). Once again, take as much time as you need, then step back and rejoin the group.
This will conclude our fire ceremony. We will now light our Owl candle to transport a portion of our fire back to the lodge where feasting and celebrating await.
We hope you can join us. RSVP is required. E-Mail your intentions to Linda at: "LindaNaturesPace (at) earthlink.net" prior to December 21 at 9pm.