Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tools for Self-Transformation

"10 Powerful Tools to Use When You Need
Guidance, Clarity, Direction or Insight

All of these tools are free. They don’t require you to buy anything, go anywhere or talk to anyone. If you want input about using any of these tools, you can email us at

This is simply a special place in your home, like a section of a shelf, on which you place objects that have meaning for you in relation to the soul work you are doing. Flowers, pictures, and/or things found in nature are often placed on this altar. These are not meant for worship, but for honoring your soul’s journey.

Honoring is an important practice and essential for stepping into right relationship with your path. Honoring does not mean accepting or agreeing with any wounding that occurred. It simply means acknowledging without judgment and allowing your soul to find its neutral place; the place of no energetic charge. Let yourself be led and follow your inner guidance as to what should be placed there.

Breathing Meditation
It is wise to have a daily meditation practice. There are many forms. Find one that works well for you. My teacher has created a CD with a simple breathing meditation with full instructions. It is wonderful for starting your day and it works with and feeds the Bands of Protection. These CDs can be ordered from

Dream Diary
You may experience vivid dreams or have sudden insights. I encourage you to write them down so that you can see more deeply into the patterns that repeat in your life. Dreams are great informers. You can train yourself to remember your dreams. Keep a dream diary by your bed with a small light and a pen. As soon as you wake up, write down whatever you remember. Don’t move around a lot. Stay still, relax, and allow the dream memory to bubble up.

Dying Consciously ~ The Greatest Journey
It is possible to bring dignity and peace to the dying process and come to the end of this life with grace. The Greatest Journey is a free service dedicated to helping people maintain consciousness through the journey of death and beyond. It is designed to support all persons involved in the dying process: the individual, family members, and friends.

The Greatest Journey teaches us how to do this make the psychological, emotional and energetic closure needed through using the great death rites practiced by the shamanic traditions. If you or someone you love is dying, please visit this website: for resources to help prepare medically, emotionally and spiritually, and contact Awakening to Grace for additional support if you need it.

Journal Writing
Use a diary form, poetry, prose, pictures and/or symbols. I suggest a combination. If you have difficulty getting started with this, you might find it useful to start your day with ten minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing. Put pencil to paper and write nonstop for ten minutes. Do not censor your writing and do not stop even if you repeat the same thing over and over. You can do the same type of thing with drawing-without-thought using colored pencils, markers, or crayons.

Sacred Fire
Fire is a potent and quick transformer and transmitter of energy, prayers, and intention. When we place items in the fire during ceremony, we release them to Spirit with the prayer “Thy Will Be Done.”

The New Moon and the Full Moon are energetically potent times for ceremony, but do not limit yourself to those times. If you feel a fire is what needed, make one.

You may be instructed to burn a spirit arrow after a session. For this purpose simply open sacred space and create a small fire in your yard or use a match stick or toothpick and bowl or ashtray and make a sacred fire indoors. The sincerity of your prayers and intention is what will make it powerful.

Blow into the twig or stick that which you want to release and that which you are praying for, then burn it. If you have items from a sand painting, offer them at this time. When the fire is completely burned (no flames; only glowing coals) then close sacred space.

Sacred Space
In sacred space the veil between worlds thins and we feel closer to Spirit. Sacred space can be opened simply or more elaborately, but our reverence and sincerity is what brings it to life.
Opening sacred space can be done with rattle, spirit water and/or voice and turning to face each of the directions. Or it can be done silently. Do what feels appropriate to you in your situation.
Below is an invocation I learned from my teachers. These words are a starting place. The important thing is to speak from your heart. Learning to pray is a powerful, life-transforming practice. Use the language that works with your personal spiritual practice and be mindful of what energies you call in. At the end of your ceremony, close the directions by thanking each one for its presence, love and support and releasing it, just as you do for other honored guests.

Four Winds’ Prayer to Open Sacred Space
To the winds of the South
Great serpent,
Wrap your coils of light around me,
Teach me to shed the past the way you shed your skin,
To walk softly on the Earth. Teach me the Beauty Way.Woman making sacrifice
To the winds of the West
Mother jaguar,
Protect my medicine space,
Teach me the way of peace, to live impeccably
Show me the way beyond death.
To the winds of the North
Hummingbird, Grandmothers and Grandfathers,
Ancient Ones
Come and warm your hands by my fire
Whisper to me in the wind
I honor you who have come before,
And you who will come after, our children’s children.
To the winds of the East
Great eagle, condor
Come to me from the place of the rising Sun.
Keep me under your wing,
Show me the mountains I only dare to dream of.
Teach me to fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit.
To Mother Earth
I’ve come for the healing of all of your children;
The Stone People, the Plant People.
The four-legged, the two-legged, the creepy crawlers.
The finned, the furred, and the winged ones.
All my relations.
To Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, to the Star Nations
Great Spirit, you who are known by a thousand names
And you who are the unnamable One.
Thank you for allowing me to sing the
Song of Life one more day.

Salt Baths
These help to continue the release of heavy energy from the luminous body. Use one cup of sea salt (best without added iodine) plus one cup of baking soda in a very hot bath. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, no longer. Use this time to meditate and intentionally allow more release. Then rinse with clean water. Do not let anyone else use the salt water. This is best done just before bed. Typically these are repeated every day for 2 to 3 days following your session, but continue the baths beyond that if you feel they would be helpful.
Sand Paintings
The sand painting aids your energy transformation in a symbolic and mythic way. As the sand painting shifts, so does your energy and ultimately your life’s journey.

Find a location where you will be able to visit your sand painting on a regular basis for a few days. Ideally sand paintings are made outdoors on the earth but if that is not possible then use your imagination and find a space inside your home or on your deck. (A large tray or the underlining of a flower pot filled with soil or sand works well.)

Start by gathering items in nature that attract you or catch your eye. It is good to include some burnable items. If you decide to take from a living plant (leaf, flower, berry, etc.), make sure to ask permission and give thanks to the spirit of that plant.
Sand Painting

Open sacred space. You can either use the invocation listed above or use prayers or thoughts that are meaningful for you. My teachers taught us to call upon the six directions in the Four Winds’ prayer and face each direction as we honor it.

Make a circle (spirit ring) of a size that feels right for you. Stones or twigs or leaves work well for this, but follow your own intuition. You will be placing objects into this ring based on the issues you are working on. Follow you intuition; listen to your inner voice.

Inside the circle place the items you have collected in a manner or design that seems to fit with the issue you have been working with. Once you feel the painting is complete for now you will leave and visit it again later. 
Return to the sand painting at least once a day. Take the time to look at it and determine if the placement of the items continues to feel right or if you need to make changes. This could include changing the positioning of items, adding items or removing items from the circle.
During your time away from the sand painting, it’s helpful to process your changes through additional work such as journaling, drawing, etc.

Keep the sand painting open for as many days as you feel you are making internal change, plus one day for the changes to settle. Before dismantling the sand painting, either use the invocation listed below or use prayers or thoughts that are meaningful for you to give thanks and to close sacred space. Once you have done this, you can take an item or two from the sand painting that you may wish to burn in a sacred fire, symbolizing the changes you are making. Dismantle the circle and return the rest of the items to nature, as though the sand painting never existed. 

Suggested Reading
Shaman, Healer, Sage and The Four Insights; both are by Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D. These can be ordered from

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