Proper Etiquette When you Visit a Sacred Site in the Woods
By Madis senner
At my presentaion “The Eastern Hermetic School of Geomancy” at the ASD conference in New Paltz I talked about proper etiquette in entering the woods and visiting a sacred sites. I think it important to delve into this in more detail because too many dowsers and geomancers unfortunately do not understand the impact that they have when they visit a sacred area. Sadly thrill seekers, ghost hunters and the curious have severely spiritually damaged many ancient stone and earthen structures. The may look good, but their vibe is awful.
The following has been adapted from my book, Sacred Sites in North Star Country: Places in Greater New York State (PA,OH,NJ,CT,MA,VT,ONT) That Changed the World pages 69-77.
Having a Positive Impact With Your Visit
Your visit is going to have an impact upon a particular sacred space; you can either enhance a sacred space, or diminish it. We leave imprints, spiritual imprints of our thoughts and actions wherever we go. If they are positive they enhance a space and fortify Mother Earth there. If they are negative they sully the space with negative consciousness and dampen Mother Earth at the location. Unfortunately, the vast majority of supposed sacred sites around the world don’t have a great vibe because visitors have not been respectful.
When visiting outdoor locations I suggest you approach your visit as if you were visiting someone’s home. Consider bringing a gift to show your respect and intention. Something simple such as a flower, a piece of fruit, some tobacco; it is not so much what you bring, as an expression of your intention. You want to show interest and honor the space.
You can also show respect by asking permission before you physically enter a sacred site. Think of it like ringing a doorbell, or knocking on someone’s door before you walk in. To do this ask permission, either mentally or verbally, before you enter the space. Wait a few moments before entering.
|Author meditating at a sacred site in Vermont. Photo by Peter Voss.|
If you are visiting an outdoor sacred site bring an old plastic bag and pickup clutter. On your approach and once you are in the space pickup papers, beverage cans and other garbage and put it in you plastic bag to take out with you when you leave. By cleaning a space you are showing your concern for it and physically reinforcing your intention to spiritually enhance it.
Bringing a gift, asking permission to enter and cleaning up will not only help to lift the vibe of a location but can greatly enhance your experience at the site. A sacred space, particularly one in Nature is a neighborhood made of its vibe that can take on a life of its own, and Nature Spirits, or beings in other realms that may inhabit it. When you show respect and concern for a space the community may reveal things to you, or have you experience things that you would not have had if you had not shown respect. It will also help dampen the attitude of someone that does not want you there.
Act in a ‘sacred manner’ while visiting a sacred site. Keep your thoughts positive and focused on the divine. You are in very holy space, so act accordingly. Try to be as quiet as you can at a sacred site, particularly if you are outdoors. Visually acknowledge other pilgrims and let them be; unless of course it is clear you both wish to talk, then by all means do.
Please refrain from bringing technological devices with you on your visit such as cell phones, GPS’s etc. as they are very damaging to Mother Earth. Electronic transmissions and WiFi disrupt Mother Earth’s Energy Plane. In a world that is a sea of consciousness they are particularly pernicious and damaging.
Electromagnetic energy from Mother Earth could also damage your cell phone, digital watch, and digital camera. If you are looking to visit a place that is very charged be aware it could damage your devices.
You are looking to build a bond with Mother Earth. If you were a smoker would you smoke in front of friend who was suffering from a lung disease and challenged to breathe? Of course not. So please be judicious in what you bring with you when you visit your Mother.
A Welcome Circle for a sacred site is like the foyer of a home. It is where you greet your host, remove your coat, or boots if necessary and prepare for your entry. A Welcome Circle is meant to prepare you for your visit and help maintain the spiritual integrity of a space, and hopefully improve it.
Even if there is no designated area, you should still perform the actions of a Welcome Circle. If you are with a group, hug each other to show unity and friendship.
Cleansing. The first thing you should do in the Welcome Circle area is to smudge yourself. Smudging will help remove any negative thoughts or other spiritual debris you may have picked up recently. You may wish to carry a feather with you. If so, swirl it around your subtle body head to toe. You can also use your hands: either by flicking your subtle body as if you were removing lint or dirt from your clothing; or you scrub your subtle body as if you were washing your body with a wash cloth. I often say ‘clean and protect’ or just ‘clean’ while I smudge. Think of it like removing your dirty boots before you enter a home.
Under no circumstance should you light a fire, a stick of incense, or smudge stick for smudging. The risk of a starting a fire is too great.
The other thing you should do in the Welcome Circle area is to say a short prayer. A few words, whether be a blessing, thanks, or offer of hope, or a request. A prayer will help center you, prepare you and warm you up for your spiritual experience. Think of a foyer on how it acts as a medium from the outside to coming inside. Similarly with a Welcome Circle you are going from the profane to the sacred.
|Geomancer and Earth Healer Peter Shell meditating in the original vortex in the Spirit Keepers' Circle at Gossamer Wood.|
It is a good practice to try and spend 5 to 10 minutes, or longer meditating in the Welcome Circle. This will help burn off any imprints (samskaras) that you may recently picked up and give you a strong spiritual cleansing before you enter the holy area. If you, or anyone else that is with you is hesitant to spend time in the Welcome Circle take it as strong warning that something is amiss. If this happens you should give strong consideration to not entering the sacred space.
By performing the rites of a Welcome Circle in the same space repeatedly you will give that intention to the space. Over time a strong imprint, or thought form, will develop increasing the potency of the ritual for subsequent pilgrims. Cleansing will become increasingly more effective and preparation for entering the space will become more, and more palpable. An Energy Vortex, what I call a Natural Vortex formed in the original Welcome Center, at Gossamer Wood in Canandaigua, NY (www.gossamerwood.org) from all the meditating, praying and smudging that was done there.
Bring a feather with you to use for smudging and consider leaving it there to indicate to others the purpose of the area. Stick it in the ground, or in a tree to show that it was intentionally left there.
Experiencing a Space
Make sure to meditate, say a prayer, do a ceremony, visualize a beautiful image or hope for world peace. Do whatever you feel called to do.
Read a book, be inspired, dream or just be. Enjoy. Just being in the space is going to lift up your consciousness.
The important thing is that you have a positive spiritual or loving focus.
If you are outside and have to go to the bathroom walk very far away, several hundred yards from the FOC. Bring a small shovel to bury and cover up any debris. You are looking to keep that intention outside of the sacred space and not sully the environment.
The Primate Directive
Honor Star Trek’s the Prime Directive and do disturb animals in this realm or beings in the unseen world around us.
Nature Spirits and beings in other realms often inhabit a sacred site, or places with a particular feature of Mother Earth. Sacred sites can also have a ‘thin veil’, where communication and awareness of other realms is greatly enhanced. You need to give respect to everyone, no matter what realm they inhabit.
Do not go to a sacred site looking for Nature Spirits, or try communicating with them. Think of how you would want someone to behave if they visited your neighborhood—would you want them to beep their car’s horn to announce their arrival, and shout I am here? No, absolutely not.
Should you see or hear something take it as a blessing and let it be. Ditto with animals—Let them be. If you meditate for a long time and are very still you may encounter an animal. Ignore it and create some noise to make it aware of you. I am a big believer that a good day in the woods is a day when you don’t see any animals.
I would also try and limit the size of your party. Too many people at a place at one time puts stress on it.
Amp Up the Vibe
These are only a few of the suggestions for visiting and improving a sacred space. Think of some others yourself. The most important thing is to remain positive and respectful and meditate, pray or do a ceremony when you are there.
Madis Senner is a former global money manager turned Seeker. He is a Keeper, watching over and spiritually cleansing/enhancing several sacred sites. Sacred Sites in North Star Country, is his fourth book and available for purchase through the ASD bookstore. You can read his musings at www.motherearthprayers.blogspot.com.