Practical Magic(k)

Vessel for Change: The Metaphor of the Sacred Bowl

The sacred bowl represents our experiences of this life – our ‘holy grail’. We fill and empty it as we journey through life. A healthy ‘vessel’ is always in flux, and is our primary tool to managing change. Intention, alignment, surrender and action keep our bowl on the move… Inherent in the intention to change is the recognition of the need and then commitment. First, your energetic body, through your subconscious mind, shifts to manifest the facilitators of change. Often the unexpected occurs, and also when we question whether we really want the change. Unless we are very awake, we may fail to take advantage of the ‘help’. Next is alignment in three spheres of influence; all the parts of you (the ‘inner child’, the ‘critical parent’, a ‘wild woman or man’ or both and a ‘responsible or irresponsible adolescent’); the people close to us (you can ask for their support and commitment outright or communicate with their energetic body, by having your spirit body call forth theirs), and your own Soul.

Surrender may be the hardest aspect of change as it encompasses a real willingness to do whatever it takes to bring about the change and that means letting go of control. What we think we have to do and what we actually need to do for the change may be two very different things. With our mental capacity, we are only capable of knowing a small percentage of the totality of any situation. Only our spirit body can comprehend all the interrelated connections. Therefore, help from the spiritual realm is the only way that we can be sure that our change is in harmony with the highest good of all those involved in the situation. We must trust a power greater than ourselves and take that ‘first fierce step into the unknown.’

Unless you take action in the physical world, your intention remains only as ‘potential’. The action can be anything on the physical plain that is movement toward the change. Once made, the realm of the spiritual will join in. This does not release us of our responsibility to continue taking steps toward our goal. We often get in trouble here because the steps we take are a set-up for failure. They are too big for our capacity at the time or we come up with the actions through the habits of the belief systems we need to change. The best plan is to set small manageable tasks up, one by one, which will move you toward your goal and do them. Shamans use these devices as their ‘first step for change’. Making a prayer stick is a physical action that by its very nature gives notice to the spirit realm and it is therefore a perfect ‘first step’.

Calling in…  A Prayer Stick

Find a straight stick approximately 30 cm long and 1.25 cm thick, rounding the top end and sharpening the bottom end with a knife so that it can more easily be stuck into the ground. Paint three dots on the ‘face’ for eyes and a mouth. Now roll paper with a written prayer or symbols of the prayer around the body of the stick, secured by wrapping cloth around the body over it with a cord or twine ‘belt’. Decorate with feathers or other materials on ties of twine or leather. Your prayer can be said while you are making the stick or after, holding it up in front of you as a ‘witness’ to the prayer. Once placed into the ground, the prayer stick becomes a world tree or conduit from the Earth to the Heavens in which the dedication/prayer is carried up and an answer is channelled down.


About the author: Barbara Meiklejohn‐Free is a healer, author, teacher and storyteller – all of which she employs in weaving the ancient craft of the Shaman. Drawing on her extensive work with the Native American traditions, as well as those of many other indigenous cultures including her own Pagan heritage, she is a recognized expert in assisting people to explore the Calling, in vision questing, in performing initiations and in hosting ceremonies across the globe. Barbara has been communing with Spirit since the age of 12 and her work today is synonymous with integrity, authenticity and vision. Her no‐nonsense, hands‐on approach has helped thousands to reclaim their natural gifts through her many talks, readings, performances, seminars and residential workshops.

Barbara is the author of the Sacred Sites Oracle Cards, published by Watkins Publishing.

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