Creating Sacred Space
Opening a circle and conducting a ceremonial fire (small/inside) or large/outside) is a way to create sacred space in your mind, within which to undertake healing and spiritual work. Creating a sacred circle, invocation, and conducting a ceremonial fire transact this intent. What follows is a framework, or suggestion, giving you scope to adapt to your situation or cultural context (spiritual faith or religion). Better to conduct one than not at all, and then learn and adapt as you go. Print this out for each participant and study/visualize its conduct beforehand. Use it on-site until you no longer need it.
The Steps to Opening a Circle and Conducting a Ceremonial Fire
- Organize ceremonial fire materials around the place of fire. Incense blocks, small ceremonial candles (yellow, red, black, white, green, blue), flower petals (same colors; replace black with a dark color), and offerings (sugar, candies, cigars, aromatic incenses).
- Ritual Cleansing: Each participant should anoint him/herself, or each other, before the ritual with cleansing water (essential oils).
- Stand at the edge of an imaginary circle around the ceremonial fire place. If you are a group, then hold hands. Close your eyes and visualize the energy flowing anti-clockwise (the Earth’s direction of rotation and orbit) for a minute or so, saying, “Only love may enter and love may leave” (silently or aloud). Become present in the Now, clearing your mind of thoughts.
- Smudging: Before entering the sacred space (imaginary or bounded circle that contains the fire), smudge yourself, or each other (smoldering dried sage, sweet grass, etc.), all the while visualizing all negativity drifting away with the smoke. You have now entered sacred space and should remain inside the circle until the fire becomes embers. If you must leave, ask permission within yourself, cut an imaginary door at one of the cardinal points, step outside, and then immediately close it. Do the same upon your return, thanking yourself within and smiling.
- Invocation (see below): Call for the presence and blessing of the immanent, transcendent, and eternal source of all life (your god) by invoking the cardinal and solstice directions, elements of life, animal signs, ancestors, and spirits that have collectively created the building blocks of all life.
- Assemble the ceremonial fire collectively or by assigning someone for this task. Assemble the blocks of incense in an anti-clockwise manner at each cardinal point (North, South, East, West (NWSE) and solstices midway between SE-NW, NE-SW). Then place colored candles on top of the incense (South is red; East is yellow; North is white; West is black/dark-colored; inter-SE (winter solstice sunrise) is blue; inter-NW (summer solstice sunset) is green). Progress each point toward the fire’s center. Light the candles on the fire when you are ready.
- During the fire: Offer prayers of gratitude and love to (as you see fit)—the immanent, transcendent, and eternal source of all life (your God), our ancestors (close, ancient, and evolutionary), Earth, Sun, Moon, planets and stars, cardinal and solstice directions, the elements (Earth, Air, Water, and Fire), animal signs, ancestors, and spirits. Then make any requests and/or state clearly your Ritual Meditation intentions. This can be done silently or aloud. In between, maintain silence, pray, and cast your ritual intention(s) while focusing on the fire. The flames will carry these intentions between the realms, ensuring your higher self (consciousness) knows you know. Most of all—respect the space and others’ silence; collectively agree on any norms for this time upfront. This typically lasts 90–120 minutes.
- Close the circle: You should remain inside the sacred space until the fire becomes embers, whereupon you should close the circle (click link below).