In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter solstice is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. This day marks the death period, the turning point from darkness to light. The day is recognized and accorded special significance in many cultures. Often it is designated as the North on the medicine wheel of life. This dark time is indicative of a time of release, to let go of the old self, and to prepare for new beginnings—the new growth of spring. Rituals are performed in order to enact this time of release. The period of darkness extends from December 21st Solstice to March 21st. This is a perfect time to let go of the old and to bring in the new. Whether it is the winter solstice, the first of the year, or any time during the cold winter months, the time is right for the psyche to respond to a releasing and reclaiming ceremony.
During the change from one year to another is the only time of the year that so much of the world is on the same page energetically, which I actually find quite amazing since one of the hardest things to do energetically is to have agreement amongst people, especially worldwide. This like-mindedness creates a massive wave of energy, more than you could ever muster on your own, no matter how elaborate the ceremony you are conducting. It is the largest possible amount of energy coming in from around the world.
One of the laws of energy is that the more energy that is added to something the greater impact it has and that like frequencies of vibration actually gain in mass, density and volume as they accumulate. This cumulative force creates an enormous thoughtform. With intention you can wield this thoughtform to work for your advantage. Thus, ceremonially we can capitalize on the wave of agreement throughout the world, that it is a good time to let go and to declare something new for yourself.
Rituals are performed in order to enact this time of release. Rituals help us to feel the experience, to have an actual tangible event locked into our memory. Rituals also help us to focus our intention and with focused intention miracles happen. One of my favorite rituals is that of creating a Talisman.
A Talisman is an object which is created to hold an aspect of an individual. Many people are trying to rid themselves of a belief, an attitude, a characteristic, a behavior, or even a feeling about another person that has burdened them—whatever is making their life less than perfect. From a shamanic perspective the making of a Talisman is a powerful procedure to perpetuate the release process. In fact, the Talisman becomes the object of release. This is the incredible power of the Talisman; it isn’t just a symbol of an attitude or belief, but it becomes the attitude or belief. This all comes about through focused intent and learning how to imbue power into an object.
I highly recommend that you intensify the power of your Talisman by designing and constructing a Talisman using great care and intent.
To fashion your Talisman, I suggest you go out into nature. Have in your mind your intention and ask Spirit to help you. Take a walk and start to collect sticks, grass, flowers, leaves, and other objects that you can put together into a talisman. You might create a Y shaped talisman, one side representing release and the other side representing what you want to gain or create. As you are crafting your talisman you want to imbue it with energy. To instill the positive energy you seek, hold both the images of what you want to release and what you want to declare in your mind. I suggest that you release what you wish to divest yourself of and what you wish to bring into being individually and separately, going through the imbuement process twice. Imbuing can take on many forms. Shamanic imbuing is done by physically transferring energy into your object or talisman. You can blow it in, dance it in, drum it in, rattle it in, or by any combination of actions. The point is to transfer from you the suffering or pain that you feel from whatever you want to release and move it into the talisman so the talisman now embodies this feeling and becomes it. The suffering has now transferred out of you into the talisman, so that now you are free. The same is true for the transference of the things you wish to declare but in the opposite direction. The talisman then assumes the nature of that which you wish to create and transfers it into your being. In this ritual, the talisman is destroyed by fire. When the talisman is burned there is a great transmutation of energy back to you during the ceremony. Your declaration is heard in the universe and you receive the feelings of this transference. Since I do this ceremony as a community event, I often have my students verbally declare to the community what it is that they declare and then the community parrots that back to them in a strong voice. The receiver is then receiving from the fire as well as from the community the affirmation of their declaration.
When you add in elements such as fire you compound the power of the action. Calling on the power of the elements has been a shamanic practice since the beginning of time. Fire is often identified as the element of transformation and transmutation. When things are thrown into the fire with intention the fire then takes from us what needs to be released and transmutes the energy. Make sure that everything on your Talisman is burnable. You can perform a fire ceremony as a community event with a huge bonfire or it can be in an outdoor fire pit, a fireplace or even with a candle that represents the transmutation process. In the case of using a candle, I would write down what is in the talisman on a piece of paper and burn the paper in the candle flame, then bury the talisman in the ground and let the Earth work her magic for you in replacement of the fire.
Working with fire can be extremely exhilarating. As a community we form a circle around the fire. We all have drums and rattles. Individually each person steps out from the circle and begins to dance his/her talisman. They dance around the fire, holding all of their intentions in their heart, building energy with their dance. The community enhances the energy with their drums and rattles. Possibly, there are encouraging calls going out to the individuals as they dance, encouraging them to build more and more energy as they dance. When the time feels right, the person with the talisman will stop at the fire and plunge their talisman into the fire. The community breaks into chaotic and exuberant supporting sounds heightening the experience for the release process. The person at the center then pauses, gathers his or her thoughts, then declares with strong voice what it is that they wish to declare or claim for them self. We all say this back to them in exclamation.
The sacred smoke will carry the intentions of both release and declaration out into the universe.
As you are constructing your Talisman, bring your total intention and concentration into the fact that the Talisman is your belief. The nature of your object is not what is important; the power and the intention that you put into it is. Do this in silence, in a place where you will not be disturbed and where you can concentrate. Do not share with family or friends what you are intending. Many of us have the habit of breaking the power of the moment by talking about it. You want the power to build inside of this Talisman until you are ready to burn it. When not praying with it, keep it covered, preferably in red cloth. You may wish to keep the Talisman with you for a few days, even sleep with it by your bedside. I suggest that you meditate with it, forming a strong energy of intention. This is another way to imbue your talisman. You will do this until you feel that the Talisman “becomes” your intentions. Watch for magic, the Talisman can actually start looking different as it shapeshifts into your intentions.
Intention is one of the greatest creative forces that exist in the universe.
Intentions have a profound impact on your brain and your heart. Forming the intention puts energy into motion, both in the body and energetically in the ethers. That is why focused intention is so powerful—actually miraculous at times. We witness this power in the results of prayer, of conscious visioning and consciously bringing things into manifestation. Prayer is focused intention. Masterminding is focused intention, Envisioning is focused intention. When intentions are focused, the power is greater and the manifestation potential is accelerated and magnified.
Acknowledging the miracles that we have all witnessed and received adds power to our intentions. This is a divine time to say thank you to the helping spirits, power animals, faeries, weather beings, light beings, angels, arch angels, ancestors, descendants, counsels, star and earth beings and teachers. Be sure and thank the fire after the ceremony. Acknowledging the bounty given to you from the invisible realms and holding this appreciation in your heart during this ceremony will enhance your experience.
If you have others that want to share in this ceremony, invite them. You are creating the aspect of community, like minds coming together in support and a way to intensify the energy. When you add in fire, community as witness, and the emotional impact of your actions, you have an intention that lives on in the Universe! The power is enormous.
A powerful declaration to the universe!