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).
Call in the immanent and transcendental source of all life (your God) and its manifesting components which constitute Earthly life comprising; the cardinal and solstice directions, elements of life, animal signs, ancestors, and spirits. Face the direction being called in turn and share this in turn amongst you.
The immanent and transcendental source of all life (your God): I(we) request your presence and blessing by invoking the cardinal and solstice directions, elements of life, the animal signs, ancestors, and spirits, that we recognize have created the building blocks of all life, which you have created. I(we) thank you, honor you, and worship you for this opportunity called my(our) life(lives). Please help me(us) transact this intent.
- East: Guardian of the east, the great eagle, element of air, and sacred breath—I(we) invite you in. Come to me(us) from the place of the rising sun and teach me(us) to fly wing to wing with the great spirit and illuminate my(our) destiny please; and teach me(us) to see through the eyes of my(our) heart(s). With each rising sun, please bring me(us) continued lessons of new beginnings. Thank you.
- South: Guardian of the south, great serpent, element of fire, and sacred heart—I(we) invite you in. Wrap your golden coils of healing light around me(us), and teach me(us) to release my(our) past and to burn through my(our) illusions of separation from the immanent and transcendental source of all life (God), purifying me(us) of my(our) old ways, which serve me(us) no more, so I(we) may transform anew. Thank you.
- West: Guardian of the west, mother sister jaguar, element of water, and sacred womb—I(we) invite you in. Come wash me(us) with your sea of compassion, so I(we) may come from a place of grace, love, mindfulness, and compassion. Reveal my(our) path(s) to inner mastery and unconditional love, and teach me(us) the way of peace and integrity, to live fearlessly and impeccably and transact my(our) purpose in your gift of life. Thank you.
- North: Guardian of the north, wise owl, element of earth, our sacred body—I(we) invite you in. Help me(us) remember ancient wisdoms, when to listen and when to speak, teach me(us) forgiveness and acceptance. Ancient ones, come and warm your hands by my(our) fire and receive my(our) offerings. I(we) honor the world you forged and those who have come before us. Teach me(us) to walk the sacred path; whisper to me(us) in the wind, in the crackle of the fire, and in the sacred space of my(our) heart(s). Thank you.
- Gaia, Mother Earth: Nurturing earth, rising from below to above—I(we) celebrate you and all your life forms, and thank you for creating and sustaining all life. In complete surrender of body, mind, and spirit, I(we) open myself(ourselves) to receive the mandala of creation and your healing energies. I(we) deeply honor you. Thank you.
- Father Sun: Father Sun and celestial heavens—thank you for bringing me(us) here to celebrate this moment. In complete surrender of body, mind, and spirit, please deliver me(us) to you, so I(we) may know the immanent and transcendent source of all life (your God) and heal in your presence, birthing anew, so love and compassion manifest in my(our) heart(s) forever more. Thank you.
- Final: This is now a sacred space, and to be within this circle is to be within the presence of God—the immanent and transcendent source of all life. Only love may enter and love may leave. We are now free to meditate, pray, contemplate these words, cast our ritual intentions, watch the flames, connect with the fire, and speak, if you wish, whatever is in your heart.
Closing the Circle: Sacred circles and fire ceremonies should finish by closing the circle once the embers fade away. Closing a circle is an important and mindful act and should not be omitted. You should say something like this aloud:
Immanent and transcendental source of all life (your God), whose presence and blessing was requested by invocation, I(we) thank you for joining me(us) in this sacred fire ceremony. Invoked elements, spirits, ancestors, and animal guides, you may now return from where you came and I(we) am(are) truly grateful for your presence in me(us)—thank you. I(we) honor you and ask you to continue looking after me(us) during my(our) ritual and in my(our) life(lives) beyond this present moment. Please help me(us) transact my(our) ritual intent, looking after me(us), offering me(us) guidance and healing. Give me(us) the lessons I(we) need, so I(we) may conduct my(our) life(lives) with compassion, loving kindness, equanimity, and generosity, all the while helping me(us) eliminate suffering’s cause. Thank you.
Follow the hyperlinks to know more about Ritual Meditation and its preparation. We will bring this all to life via an eLearning experience in due course.
Thank you and my best wishes.
This is very nice; spiritual and dignified.