Plant Medicine Ceremony Guidelines
“Gnothi Seauton – Know Thyself." are the words inscribed above the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the temple of the famous Oracles of Delphi.” The Oracles of Delphi were high priestesses who used plant spirit medicines to connect with the divine.
When we call upon the spirit of a plant medicine, we are inviting that plant to connect with us on a multi dimensional level. Many studies have shown that the physical symptom of any particular ailment has a spiritual component that can be healed through, what I like to call spiritual intervention. Consciousness expanding plants can give us insights about what may be causing our own physical, mental or emotional issues. This allows us to develop a greater understanding about what has caused this block in the first place and treat it at the source or root. Most ancient shamans and many modern shamans believe we can obtain wisdom from the plant medicines themselves by connecting with them spiritually as well as physically.
In my 17 years as a facilitator for various spirit plant medicine ceremonies, one of the most beneficial teachings I received from these medicines is that when we have gratitude for the medicine we are communing with, the plant responds to us with this same gratitude. When we approach a plant medicine with respect it is more likely to bless us with the healing and the answers we are seeking.
In my opinion, gratitude for the plant medicines we commune with is the magic word! I believe each plant medicine has a higher spirit which accompanies it as a guardian. Some have a multitude of devas or angels which can be accessed if we care to connect with them for guidance and healing. Entheogenic plants are known to have a higher spiritual intelligence and an ability to help humans to evolve and connect with their spiritual nature. When we choose to honour the plant medicine we are communing with, we are connecting with the spirit of that plant medicine. For centuries medicine keepers around the world have understood that, just like humans, plants have higher spirits. When we connect with these magical allies profound healing can occur.
I truly feel we are all spirits inhabiting human bodies here on Earth. With the help of entheogens, we are able to connect with our higher spiritual essence and access parts of our brain which we are not normally in touch with. This gives us the ability to transcend the human plane of existence and tap into a more heart based wisdom where we may find the the true freedom our bodies and souls are yearning for.
I am currently putting together suggested rituals for all of the plant medicines I offer through Shakti Blissful Botanicals.
I suggest you add your own elements to these rituals making them special and sacred to you. We are each unique individuals coming from various backgrounds and influences. There are many paths to God/Goddess and no path is better than another. Each individual has a right to connect with the sacred in a way that feels right to them, so long as they are not harming anyone. Listen to your intuition and celebrate your own unique way of connecting to spirit. Remember that you are a divine manifestation of spirit in form. Trust your innate abilities and follow your heart!
1. Dieta: One to three days before your ritual, it is a good idea to follow some sort of dieta, a traditional practice of dietary and even social fasting which is followed by shamans around the world who ingest plant medicines for divination purposes. I like to follow my intuition about this and find each dieta is dependant on the plant medicine I am seeking guidance from. I love to keep my diet pure and simple, avoiding processed foods, especially on the day I commune with a particular plant spirit medicine.
Dietas also take into consideration fasting from things which may be unhealthy for you in some way, other than physically. For instance, you may wish to fast from circumstances which are potentially stressful or people who may not be treating you with the love and respect you deserve. In this way you are allowing yourself to purify and prepare for your ceremony, separating from things which may be distracting or draining to your energy in some way.
2. Intentions: It is a good idea to set your intentions ahead of time for your ceremony. Perhaps you are seeking an answer to a question you have, or some guidance about a particular direction in life you are considering taking. You may wish to write your intentions down or just meditate on them so you are clear about your goal or goals in connecting with this medicine.
“It is our purpose and destiny to bring a new dimension into this world by living in conscious oneness with the totality and conscious alignment with universal intelligence.” Eckhart Tolle
In order to find our true purpose, it is necessary to connect with our higher self and plant spirit medicines can act as a bridge between the human world and the world of spirit. Setting an intention can be as simple as setting a goal to connect with the realm of spirit
3. Checklist: I love to write a list of all of the things I want to remember to make my ceremony comfortable and safe for myself and my loved one's. Here is an example of my ceremonial checklist;
Plant Medicine Ceremony Checklist:
* Plenty of Spring Water or good drinking water,
* Healthy food for grounding after the ceremony,
* Comfortable clothing,
* Warm layers as an option,
*Blankets, pillows, a yoga mat, etc.
* A music library,
* Candles, Sage, Incense, Aroma Therapies,
* A bucket,
* Journal & pen,
* An altar for inspiration & cleansing purposes,
* A friend who agrees to be a contact in case I am in need of any assistance,
Tips for Ceremony:
Set & Setting: Each ceremony is different and special in it's own way. If you are going on a journey with friends it's a good idea to appoint someone as a guardian to look out for everyone and make sure they are safe or make a guardian schedule so that each person agrees to take a guardian shift.
Sometimes you may wish to journey on your own, in which case it is always a good idea to notify a friend who can agree to be on call as a space-holder or potential guardian for you should you require one.
Remember that set and setting can really influence our ceremonies. It is a good idea to surround yourself with positive, loving people when you are choosing to be with others and to take your environment into account as well. A clear uncluttered space allows for more clarity in your ceremony and helps you to feel better when you are in an environment which feels good to you.
Your Altar: I highly recommend creating an altar before your ceremony. It helps to create a sacred focal point. I honour all of the elements in my altars. For instance I love to place feathers on the altar for air, crystals and flowers for earth, sea or river water for water, and a candle and sage for fire. When we honour the elements we are also inviting them in to our ceremony which helps to create a sacred space and to call in all of the angelic beings which may offer their support to us in our journeys.
Opening your Ceremony: It is a good idea to do some sort of opening and closing ritual for your ceremonies. This helps to create a sacred container for your ceremony. During your opening ceremony I suggest calling in your higher self and your angels or spiritual guides to help protect and guide you during your ceremony. You may also connect with nature or whatever is sacred to you and comfortable for you. I strongly advise that you use this time to connect with the plant you are communing with in reverence and calling upon the spirit of the plant medicine to be your guide.
Food & Water: It's always important to drink plenty of water during plant medicine ceremonies and to eat some grounding food AFTER your ceremony is finished. Food can help us to ground, but if we eat too soon before our ceremony is through food can also cause nausea or be an indication to the body that the ceremony is over and so the doors of perception may begin to close sooner than we wish. Of course, if you want your ceremony to come to a close eating food can be an ally in this way too. keeping in mind it is beneficial to eat healthy food that makes us feel good and does not drain us in any way.
If we are sensitive enough, the doors of perception can stay open for up to 3 days or more after a plant medicine ceremony. Keeping our diets pure allows our channels to our higher spirit to stay open as well. A wise medicine man once shared with me that If we eat processed food or foods high in sugar, this can create holes in our energy field and we may lose what we have received energetically during our ceremony. For this reason I love to stay pure for at least 3 days before and after a ceremony.
Keep Warm: Sometimes we may feel chills during a ceremony or become colder or hotter than normal and it's always good to be prepared for both. I love to have warm layers nearby or a blanket I can cuddle up in just in case.
Release: Plant medicines can help us to release what does not serve our highest good.
Sometimes our bodies may release through purging. This is why it is recommend to include a bucket and kleenex in your checklist. You may wish to line your bucket with a trash bag for easy disposal during your ceremony.
Although purging is not something we usually look forward to doing, it can be a great release for our physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual bodies. If you do need to purge, you can tune in to what it is you are letting go of and in this way become grateful for this experience. Afterwards you will often feel so much better and lighter, so let it go. It is much easier than fighting the feeling and attempting to hold it in. Believe me, that is no fun at all!
After purging it is a good idea to rinse your mouth with water and gargle and spit to clear your throat, etc.
Below are a few more helpful ways we can help to co-facilitate this process of release as this can be one of the greatest gifts we receive from our ceremonies.
Rest: It is helpful to change the energy during ceremonies from time to time. I find it is essential to follow our bodies higher intelligence and tune in to what our bodies needs are.
Sometimes it is helpful to lay down and relax or surrender during our ceremony, so having a yoga mat and pillows etc nearby can be helpful. Once in a while our central nervous system may become over taxed during a ceremony or we may begin to feel overwhelmed. If this happens to you, remember that this is normal and remind yourself that you are safe and that this feeling will pass. I find that often all I need to do is surrender to the plant medicine that I ingested and allow it time to integrate into my physical and energetic sphere, so to speak. If we relax and place our trust in the plant medicine we took, remembering it is an ally and a friend, we can allow all our anxiety to be let go of and released through our breath and our intention to relax. This is when laying down can be helpful.
If this happens to your I recommend you lay flat on the ground in a comfortable place, close your eyes and relax your breath, allow all of the stress you may be feeling to release through each exhale. Inhale the unconditional love the universe always has to offer us and exhale all that is not of your highest integrity or all that does not belong.
Stretching: Another way to shift our energy, when needed, during ceremonies is to do some yoga or stretching to release any tension we may be holding or clear any energetic blocks we may be experiencing.
Again, it is recommended to follow your bodies higher intelligence and allow your body to move and stretch in a way that is best for releasing all that does not serve. Remember to breathe as our body and our breath are interconnected with our spirit.
Dancing: Dancing can be another way to release or shift energy during ceremonies. It can feel so good to shake off all we do not need to carry with us anymore, or all that does not serve our highest potential. Dancing is a way to free our spirit as well and allow us to become more fluid and less rigid. Often we hold our stress in an unconscious way and dancing can be a tool to unlock these stagnant areas and allow new energy to flow in. Remember to breathe and drink plenty of water when needed while dancing and if you get tired, rest. When we put our bodies first, our mind, heart and spirit can come back into alignment and homeostasis again as we trust our own natural rhythms.
Singing and/or playing instruments: The Hindu word Nada Brahma translates "sound in unison is God." When we create music together with others we can reach a spiritual state which brings us into communion with the divine. If you are alone, you may wish to call upon your spiritual guides to be with you as you sing or play instruments. You may find that music flows through you more naturally when you are able to connect in this way. This can be a truly beautiful and magical experience.
Music Playlist: Creating a music playlist for your ceremony can be a wonderful ally for you. I suggest creating a playlist of music that does not distract you from your ceremony but helps you to go deeper and connect with what is sacred to you.
Meditation: Meditating during your ceremony can help you to stay grounded while connecting with spirit. It also helps to slow us down so that we are able to receive messages from the divine.
Closing your Ceremony: Remembering to close your ceremony is important so that you can ground and begin to close the spiritual channels so that you are in your body and your energy field is contained. It is also important to thank the medicine and the guides who were present with you during your ceremony. This is respectful and shows that you were paying attention and are grateful for all that you received.
Final Words of Advice: When we treat plants with love and respect they will treat us in the same way. A good gardener knows that when a garden is healthy and abundant, the gardener is also healthy and abundant, for what we sow we reap. There is a symbiosis that happens between plants and humans which can only be understood through the direct experience of this interconnectedness.
I suggest entering into your next plant medicine ceremony with an open mind and heart, understanding that plant medicines have a great deal to offer to us and that there is more to them than meets the eye. When we allow ourselves to believe in magic, anything is possible.
Connecting with plants on a spiritual level is bringing us, as humans, closer to nature and closer to our own natural rhythms and the natural rhythms of the universe we are inhabiting.
I wish you abundant blessings for your next plant medicine ceremony. As you connect with the magic the spiritual plant kingdom has to offer, may you receive the healing you desire and reconnect with the wisdom and divinity that resides in the deepest place of your heart!