Blog - Stepping into Freedom

Jeffrey and Cielle share their thoughts as well as those of others about energy healing, ceremony and shamanism
Thoughts about Ceremony
Jeffrey Backstrom

Ceremony is “hummingbird” work, mythic work. The hummingbird represents the Soul’s journey. Finding the resources to complete your sacred quest, to fully become what you are meant to be, what you “came here for.”   Your ceremony is about your myth. Where you are now on this journey, where you're going. Touch into your Soul's purpose here... even as barely glimpsed today, however dimly. Let that vision be fed, supported, nurtured.

The indigenous view of man, nature, and the divine is that they are not really separate. Just as every cell is part of the whole body, or each fern or moth is part of a forest, so each of us is part of the whole organism of Nature. Hence, though the despacho involves “offerings”, it is not a sort of transaction, like an indulgence. The ceremonial acts are undertaken to create balance (in Quechua: Ayni). They express our participation in the ongoing process of Nature, while at the same time they signal the needs, the receptivity that we, as part of nature, are experiencing.

You are an organism within the creation. Like the llama or the mountain flower. There are forms you "intend" to create. And the rest of creation will receive that, as well as whatever you produce. The animal makes CO2 and the plant makes oxygen.

When you bring your personal concerns in this context, you are not imposing your limited will or wishes on creation. Rather, you are seeking to bring those wishes into the balance of the  whole, to align your desires with  the rest of the creation-process. 

What does ayni consist of with you specifically? Not just what you need, but what your gifts are.

The Quechua term for the heart center is munay. This is often thought of as love; another word is connectedness. Munay may be seen as a perceptual state, a state of consciousness. A way of knowing. Feeling through the munay center those threads of connection, between ourselves and all the rest of the creation we partake in.

So when you come into ceremony, you do bring with you all of who you are. All the concrete, worldly stuff is included; it's part of the whole... but take it to the mythic.

Need money? OK, and what is the deeper significance? Is there anything about "not deserving" you need to release? About not being able to feel abundance? Is there some block in action? As you call for more of the Earth’s resources to come under your stewardship, what is your intended use?

Do you bring hopes regarding relationship? What is in the way of deep connection, of Munay? Feel for what the deeper significance of the desire may be.
Don Francisco always asks that we bring to mind our intentions in these six concrete areas:    

Home/home country

So what's with the offerings? Is this a transaction? Well, clearly we are "giving" to Mother Earth what is hers already! Food, leaves, flowers, etc. And, we are already one with the Creator, so how can we be in a transaction?

Are these not supplications? There is nothing in t he despacho of "I am unworthy, sinful by nature." We live in the garden; we have been gifted this garden; we have never left this garden. We share in the balance of this garden.

Why coca leaves? The coca plant is revered as divine among the high mountain peoples. "Mama coca", she is called. She is the giver of remarkable life energy. Imagine living at 18,000 feet. Now imagine being a subsistence farmer at 18,000 feet. The alkaloids in the coca plant allow the body to extract much more of the oxygen from the air. As a result, much more energy is available for family, for culture, for spiritual life, at the end of a full day farming by hand or following herds. When you make a despacho, you will probably have to substitute a different leaf, since our culture has been unable to resist the opportunity to degrade this sacred plant. But allow whatever leaves you use to represent the energy that we too receive from the sacred marriage of Earth and Sun. Bring to mind the wondrous life-processes which transmute minerals and light into our own bodies! The very bodies which support our experiences, actions, emotions, soul-incarnation..

Whether your ceremony is a traditional despacho, a community fire ceremony, or the ceremony you create for yourself, just where you are and just as you feel the need... allow yourself to shift into that perceptual state: munay,
connectedness, and feel what will bring balance.

And finally, be prepared for change! If you have called forth realignment with Nature... do not assume it's the other-than-me parts of nature that are going to do all the aligning!

Ayahuasca essay by Steve Beyer
click here

Hummingbird: Warrior of the Soul's Journey
click here

Awake in the Garden
click here

Tom Kenyon: The Hathors on Transition States of Consciousness
click here

Mayan Prophesies