I have been fascinated by eclectic shamanic ceremony for about 4 decades. To me ceremony is the act of holding sacred space with specific intent. I am a ceremonialist, not a ritualist. Rituals are acts that are dictated within a specific tradition to be done at a certain time and in a certain way. There are right ways to do it, and wrong ways to do it. I am more interested in creating living ceremony.
The intention of the ceremony I facilitate is to help connect us to the cycles of nature (that is the cycles of ourselves) and create a more balanced, and healthier, way of life. Sandra Ingerman clearly voices that ceremony is meant to create change and transformation. Positive change and transformation that opens doorways and reveals paths to unexpected adventures. Ceremony draws the veil thin between the seen and unseen worlds.
It is alive and can be unpredictable. Ceremony is held in a space that is deserving of honor and respect (ie. sacred). Not always the same, it flows moment to moment and varies with intent and participants. I do solo ceremony often, though ceremony with others is particularly beautiful. We know about things like wedding ceremonies (which within certain traditions can be done in a right or wrong way). Ceremony is an excellent way honoring all of lifes passages (birth, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, elderhood and the final transition). I find it also is wonderful to celebrate new homes, businesses and adventures. It is all about celebration. I will be writing soon about other ceremonies, especially Despacho Ceremonies, one of my favorite to facilitate and participate in.
I take an eclectic cross-cultural approach to ceremony and shamanic practice. While influenced by a number of traditions (especially Peruvian) I strive to make my practice relevant to the world I grew up in and my personal experience. I do not try to become of another culture. There are a number of tools that I have used in ceremony over the years. Variations of these tools can repeatedly be seen around the globe on many different continents and in many different cultures. Rattles and drums are ancient and everywhere. Small bags and pouches holding ‘medicine’ items are universal. Feathers have been used around incense and scents broadly, as well as for personal (and sometimes magical) adornment. I am not adapting these tools from any particular culture as I see them everywhere.
Our ‘personal medicine’ has to do with our uniqueness. No two people are alike (not even identical twins). Each of us carries into this world differences. Each of us has a life experience that is different as well. The way you uniquely perceive the world, digest it, interact with it and manifest yourself in it is your personal medicine. It is your medicine, it can be used to heal yourself and others. It is the good in you given to yourself and others. Certainly, much of what we manifest is not medicine.
When we strive to live a good life, and follow The Golden Rule (Ayni / Sacred Reciprocity) we are making good medicine. When we manifest racism, hate and ignorance we produce poison. You make the choice, you make the medicine.
When I discontinued Medical Practice (doctor medicine in this case) in 2011 my priorities were able to shift significantly. There were items on my priority list that always hung out down at the bottom and were superseded by many other ‘important’ things. I never got to them due to that. Some of these were doing more shamanic work, making folk art and handicrafts. I am thankfully now moved these things to the top of my priority list! And I find that they all have to do with ceremony. I like supporting others in these efforts which I personally find so rewarding. That is how RattleHead came to be.
I can’t remember why I made my first gourd medicine rattle. I do remember holding it in my hand, using it and clearly thinking … “I’m gonna make a whole lot of these!”. And I have! When I realized that I wanted to support other folks doing ceremony it became clear that I wanted to make additional ‘Ceremonial Tools’ for personal use. Let me show you some.
RattleHead Drum Stand — Lightweight, fully adjustable, folds flat, durable oak. Crosspiece adjusts up or down (wing nuts) to accommodate most size drums for standing or seated play. Angle of drum to ground is adjusted by changing length of rope by retying knot. While playing it relieves muscle tension, fatigue and is gentle to back and neck.