Creating Sacred Space For Ceremony

Whatever type of ceremony you are doing — whether alone or inclusive of others — the foundation is creating sacred space. In attending a physical dance, your primary focus is of observation as the ceremonial space is defined for all. Now in Dancing From Afar the onus is on YOU to responsibly create and maintain a secure ceremonial space.


Creating Your Space

  • Anytime you do ceremony you want to begin by casting a safe circle around yourself. You are casting that circle with purposeful intent as an envelope of protection and boundary around you. You become the center of that circle, and it becomes a microcosm of the Universe — if you cast it right.

  • As you define your circle, make it a manageable size. A personal circle only needs to be big enough to encompass your altar, the ceremonial items you will be using, and yourself with room to lie down if you need to. Enter and exit in the East.

  • There are many ways to cast or define a circle. One of the oldest ways is with (uniodized) salt. Cedar, even as smoke or in water, or cornmeal, can also be used. You may want to use a physical object to assist you, like a wing or feather.

  • Clear within the boundary of your circle as you clear yourself. Items you bring in should be smoked down (cleared) as well. You want to be safe so you can be fully present and connected with the Tree, particularly from afar.
  • Once the circle is cast, it is the time to call in the Powers, or Four Directions, the Earth and the Sky. Then you may invite the spirits you want with prayer, a summoning, a song, etc. — whatever or whomever you are asking to help you, and nothing else. Be choosy, be specific, be precise. Keep it simple.

  • In the Shoshone/Great Basin tradition, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass are the medicines that the ancestors recognize. (It should be noted that sweetgrass is not used to clear or seal a circle.) Understandably, it is also acceptable to include in your ceremony a medicine of the ancestors on the land where you are, if you know how to use it.

  • Use discernment. Move in ceremony as you would in life, which the Old People say is the real ceremony.

  • At the end of your work you need to close your ceremony. Release the Powers both physically and spiritually by methodically releasing those beings and spirits who must be thanked from your heart with gratitude, respect, and acknowledgment that gifts have been given. They won’t come back if you don’t treat them right.

  • “Thank the Powers, leave no trace.” The area of your ceremony should be as clear, clean, free and undefined as you found it. Dissolve the boundaries of your circle to restore it to a neutral space.

  • In setting sacred space for a small gathering of folks, the same principles apply. As always, rigorously follow the current CDC social distancing protocols.

It’s serious work, but don’t be afraid.
Make it joyful.

“One must NEVER use sage, cedar, and sweetgrass together! I have seen smudge sticks for sale with a combination of these herbs. That is sending a mixed message to the spirits and they will not come! The herbs should be used separately and with intent and prayer.”
Clyde Hall