Image by MelodiousThunk via Flicker
Overnight, between Mardi Gras a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in the Western Christian cycle, seemed a perfect while for a transformational fire and ashes rite. I incensed this space with Frankincense and Myrrh, drummed and chanted a while, then re-collected and wrote down on sheets of paper all lingering regrets, resentments, and shortcomings that showed up in my consciousness stream, for recycling, redirecting, and releasing into healing.
I did not spend many moments cogitating over any details so I would not bog myself down in this phase instead of shifting my attention towards visions of change for the better. I scribbled each item quickly on separate sheets of junk mail paper, not new sheets, so this ceremony would recycle used paper that arrived here also, and so there would be several or more hand written papers of odd sizes to twist into a symbolic sculpture, representing the life pattern(s) I am shifting.
With separate bits of paper of many textures, colors, sizes, and shapes this shamanic process becomes more-dimensional - much more than a 1-D list. No order of importance was designated as I released each marked paper to fall onto the stone circle in the sanctuary center. I let each one fall upon any of the sacred directions represented there. Then, I drummed and chanted another while before fashioning a rough, un-perfected sculpture as a symbolic container. I worked quickly, expressing gratefulness for the original beneficial intents behind each pattern to be shifted, and for all the learning to be retained.
Then I burned this hastily sculpted paper shape until it was ashes. Then I marked my face with its ashes and scattered the rest to the winds. My face felt like a shamanic mask then, painted with outward signs of inner shifts. Then I drummed and chanted again and shamanic journeyed for healing and transformation for myself and, as always, for all in the world and universe vibrating in resonance with me.
On this shamanic journey I was burned down to ashes also, then reconstituted by Spirit and Spirits, then given healing touch by many helpers, saints and angels. I was instructed to keep Lent as a period of lightening up. Lent does come from words meaning lengthening days, when life lightens up noticeably day by day. I sang and danced and drummed to conclude this ceremony during what might have been the darkest hour of the night.
There are many ways I can lighten up and I shall be living them starting now, over again, refined and renewed. I keep many seasons and holy days individualistically, as I am guided by Spirit and Spirits in my shamanic life-way, superimposing the yearly calendars of several religions and traditions and inventing ad hoc holy days. So there are as many days and seasons for recycling, renewing, and releasing as I need in my ongoing lightening up!