In Neoshamanism and Core Shamanism specifically we tend to align to the directions before we do any ceremonies. This alignment and attunement is designed to attract the attention of our helping spirits (wherever they may be) but also to help us connect and attune to the various Mysteries.
For this exercise and simple ceremony you will need a rattle (though it’s important to note that you do not NEED a rattle to open sacred space, and this ceremony can be adapted without the use of a rattle, just for this exercise utilize a rattle).
Begin by placing a hand on your heart and breathing deeply into your heart. Grounding and centering yourself. Hold the intention that you are creating and opening sacred space. Begin to rattle as you see fit, at a slow or fast speed, with specific rhythms or none! Hold this intention for a moment.
Beginning at any direction (though East is a good place to start) rattle in the direction. Have no preconceived notion of the direction, allow yourself to be open to any impressions, feelings and qualities that may come to you. If you feel compelled, you may use songs, words or gestures to welcome the direction. Try to feel the qualities of the direction, allow them to come naturally. Once you feel the attention of the Spirits on you, move in any direction (though clockwise is most traditional) to the next direction and repeat.
Once you’ve closed the circuit as it were, returning to the direction you began at, you may wish to address other directions.
I tend to work with seven directions, personally. For me seven is a magical number, and represent the Three Worlds.
As you would with any other direction, rattle and allow yourself to feel the qualities and virtues of those directions.
Once all the directions you wish to honor and attune to is complete, take a few moments to feel and see the space to the best of your ability. See it breathing and vibrating with energy and Spirit. Call to your helping spirits, ask them to be present, explain to them the purpose of the ceremony.
Your sacred space is now open and ready to be used.
Once your work is finished, some people feel it to be necessary to close the space by repeating the actions they done in the beginning, or doing the actions in reverse. Some, like myself, close the space in other ways. What’s important is that there are clear indications of when a ceremony/ritual is about to begin and when a ceremony/ritual is closing. How that is done is of no matter, as long as it’s noticeable to you and the others that are present. By repeating the actions to create sacred space, or by doing them in reverse, psychologically we are telling ourselves (and others present) that the sacred work is now complete.
Make sure to ground yourself appropriately. You can do this by focusing on your breathing, by eating, by taking a shower (cold or hot works), by holding a stone, running hands under cold water, drinking water, feeling the Earth itself and so on.
Common directions that are acknowledged are as followed:
- The four quarters such as North, South, East and West
- The cross-quarters between the four main directions
- Above and below
- The center, or heart space
- Inside the space, outside the space
Experiment and try. See if it works for you.
There are many, many ways to open and create sacred space. Rattling and utilizing the directions is but one of them.