4/22/2014

Earth Mandala

earth day

Harrsen_Rio_02

In honor of Earth Day I am sharing our first guest post on the blog! One of my goals this year is to expand our community and share the work of people I admire. This blog started out as a very personal blog about my journey moving to Los Angeles and beginning my wellness practice.

Over the last two years my life and practice has grown and it seems fitting to honor that by inviting others to contribute. To be honest it’s a little scary opening myself and the blog up like this, but deep down I know it is the next phase on my path. There was a time in my life when I wanted to be all things to all people. That desire came from a place of lack and longstanding belief that I was not enough on my own. While I still have periods of doubt and feelings of unworthiness I do not let them rule my life. This is major and this is in many ways is the radical acceptance I try to dwell in as often as possible.

Healing and living well really does take a village. We cannot do this alone. In the spirit of our ever expanding global community I fully believe that my world becomes richer when I give people space to share their gifts. Today is a celebration of connecting with and showing reverence for our incredible planet. I could not think of anyone more fitting to share a teaching with us than the lovely Maggie Harrsen.

I came across Maggie’s Instagram feed several months ago. I was so captivated by her images as they made me feel grounded and calm. Her use of color and light was spot on and I became very interested in her teachings and ritual practices. She is a modern medicine woman who has studied many healing modalities including energy healing, shamanism, meditation, plant-based foods, and Qigong. Maggie is a well traveled soul who holds space for many and supports them in a truly holistic and integrated way.

One of the reasons I am so drawn to Maggie is her clear connection and devotion to our earth. She spends a great deal of time outside and she has inspired me on many occasions to make it a point to enjoy more intentional time in nature. It is with great honor that I share her Earth Mandala with you today.

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Teaching

As the warm air of Spring arrives, a beautiful time of transition opens before us. New life emerges. As our outer world transforms so does the landscape of our inner world.  The season of Spring presents a time for us to align with our inner truth, the seeds inside of us waiting to blossom with the droplets of rain and sun. One of my most loved rituals is the practice of creating an Earth Mandala, a Healing Circle, a Flower of Life,  a cosmic diagram connecting us to the Universal oneness. It is an offering of prayer and love to Mother Earth and the Spirit of the land where you live.

This ritual was inspired by the sacred Andean Despacho ceremony of the Inka tradition. Since ancestral times, people of the Andes have used this ceremony to connect themselves with the harmony of nature and to live in Ayni, in reciprocity and right relationship. To practice Anyi is to acknowledge the interconnection between human beings and the natural world that sustains us. In Peru, a Despacho ceremony is performed by the Q’ero shaman to honor Pachamama, Mother Earth or the Apus, the Mountain Spirits. Using various natural elements as offerings to represent the stars, rivers, clouds… the shaman creates a three dimensional Mandala composition as a symbolic act of respect for all of life.

Creating an Earth Mandala is a basic ritual that will be unique to the natural world around you. The environments we live often vary – perhaps you live by the ocean, in the city, or in the mountains or desert.  Each environment is distinct and as you will see, the Mandala illuminates the beauty surrounding you and within you. It is best to perform this ritual in nature however you may also create the Mandala inside your home by placing it on the ground to connect with the Earth element. This can be an individual practice or you may feel called to invite loved ones, children and animals. You may wish to include music, instruments, like drums, rattles, or bells,  and burn herbs of white sage or palo santo. Use your intuition and bring in the elements that resonate with you.

I often use this ritual when I journey to new lands, to greet the Spirit of the land with honor and gratitude, thanking them for receiving me. Recently upon traveling to Sedona, Arizona, a dear friend and I created an Earth Mandala on the sacred red sandstone of Bell Rock. We found a special piece of land where a twisted Juniper tree stood deeply rooted. We laid down four pieces of selentite crystal to represent the four directions and used native flower petals and leaves we collected on our hike to create various outer circles. We began burning cedar, sage and palo santo and to our surprise an Earthworm rose deep from under Mother Earth to greet us in the center of our Mandala. This was truly a magical experience that presented us with a powerful message.

When you create sacred space using ritual, you will notice little miracles such as the Earthworm, are all around us. Pachamama is always teaching us. If we begin to open our eyes to remembering her ways, we will begin to see with the eyes of our heart. The healing vibrations of this ritual will be felt personally, by loved ones and by Mother Earth. By creating an Earth Mandala, your intention and action sends filaments of light to our eternal Earth Mother and to all of us Earth children.

Ritual

Center yourself in nature and gather native elements from the environment around you such as flowers, leaves, stones, shells, nuts, berries. Notice the color of the object you select and its corresponding chakra, the swirling energy centers within you. Allow this practice to be an expression of your creative spirit.

Find a sacred space and select the first element to be the center of your Mandala. This object will hold your overall intention, so begin by saying prayers into the object, bringing it into your third eye and heart chakra and then place it in the center of your offering.

Each additional element carries a symbolic meaning and is placed around the center element with intention, intuiting what message it will carry and where it wants to be placed. When you feel your Mandala is complete, gently leave your offering on the Earth, allowing the elementals (Sun, Rain, Wind, Land, Spirit) to merge with your creation.

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This ritual is an excerpt from my new book Rio Abajo Rio,  released on April 10th and now available for purchase.

For more offerings and teachings visit Puakai Healing.

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2017