Life review, taking time to review our lives and the valuable relations we have formed, enables us to better feel our connection to life. Creating a life review is an important activity to accomplish when preparing for death as a rite of passage. I started my own life review by creating an inventory of those I want notified upon my death. Each of these people or animal friends share my life’s adventures. By writing about them I remember when I felt most awake, alive and engaged.
There are many ways to approach a life review. One of my...
“After death our physical body returns to the earth. Our wisdom returns to the mountains. Our soul returns to the stars.” – Q’ero elder
I met Don Francisco Chura Flores, a Q’ero medicine man, when I attended a class on shamanic energy medicine in the desert of Joshua Tree, California. He dressed in the colorful hand-woven clothing of his people who live in the high mountains of Peru. He was not a tall man, but his presence was substantial. He had traveled to the desert as a guest of The Four Winds Society to give us, the students, the healer’s rites of the Q’ero...
“With the current revival of shamanism and shamanic healing, we are at last beginning to recognize the spiritual and psychological value of much that our ancestors knew.” – Sandra Ingerman
A shaman is one who is trained in the use of altered states of consciousness. It is believed that shamanism and the wisdom traditions of trance, journeying, shape shifting and energetic healing have been practiced for some 10,000 years in all regions of the world. While individual practices may have local distinctions, the foundational techniques are universal.
“I will never forget how we changed this room from a place of burden to a place of glory.” – Megory Anderson
Creating and holding sacred space for someone who is ill or dying is a simple but powerful tool. The holding of sacred space separates the area surrounding the dying from the outside world. It produces a healing environment that is safe and peaceful. We create this sacred space with intention and grace.
While there are many ways to open sacred space, the results are the same. The person being held senses the calm, nurturing embrace.
“In ceremony…all is made new; everything becomes sacred.” – Sun Bear
Do you know how to create a ceremony?
The true purpose of a ceremony is to change things or to recognize a change that has already occurred. While the intention of the ceremony is directed toward a specific goal, each individual participating in a ceremony may experience it quite differently. Ceremonies often contain ritual practices that have been performed for generations. These ritual practices promise a connection to Spirit. However, a ceremony also allows space for creativity, spontaneity and...
“Sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell
Sacred space is used for ceremonies, rituals or simple periods of meditation. It creates a container of peace and possibilities. Within sacred space, we sense a deeper connection with others both in this reality and in non-ordinary worlds.
Opening Sacred Space
Opening sacred space is most often performed in words through prayer, poetry or song. It is often accompanied by musical instruments. The invocation you choose will depend on the beliefs or spiritual traditions you hold. This...
“I do despachos for health, love, and for business... and for the Apus.” – Don Agustín, Q’ero paqo
The signature ceremony of The Living & Dying Consciously Project is a despacho ceremony, which has been practiced for hundreds of years in the high Andes Mountains (Apus) of South America. A despacho is a prayer bundle prepared in gratitude to the earth, the mountains and the spirits that support us in this world.
All despachos have common elements and yet each has unique intentions. A despacho can be a simple offering with few ingredients or it can be an el...
Humans have been building altars for more 30,000 years. Many of the rituals and ceremonies of ancient altars have been lost, but the call to build altars is still vibrant today. In some areas of the world altars are considered necessary in every home or place of business. In our modern world we often unknowingly build altars on our work desks with favorite objects or pictures to accompany us throughout the day.
Altars are especially useful in times of transitions, celebrating new beginnings and endings or simply shifting roles and relationships. Altars bring healing...
“Sacred ceremony helps us bring our being into alignment with the natural flow and rhythm of life.” Steven D. Foster
For thousands of years humans have used ceremony to commemorate the stages in their lives. In the past, ceremonies validated our steps through the thresholds of birth, adulthood, marriage, parenthood, elder and death. And, in doing so our transitions were accomplished with greater ease.
In our modern society the use of ceremony for the thresholds in our lives have been mostly lost or have become disconnected from our spiritual and emotional growth.