We are in an age where ceremony is being revived into the mainstream. Whether we are speaking of plant medicine, breathwork, or yoga, more people than ever are not only trying these practices but making them a regular part of their life. Because these practices are reaching far, they are also spreading themselves away from their roots, and with this comes change.
We can create a polarity here and better understand what is evolving. In one camp we have the traditional and fundamental teachings as close to their lineage as possible. For example. There are direct lines of teacher to student lineages in yoga, or breathwork, and there are traditional ways of doing plant medicine ceremony, such as the Shipibo tradition with their use of Ayahuasca. There is an advanced knowledge carried within the traditions that corresponds to a deep knowing of how these respective medicines work on the human body-mind-spirit complex. This knowledge comes from thousands of years of dedicated study and devotion to a way and should be respected, held sacred, and protected.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, in life there is always a stable conservative force, that is orderly and linear, and there is the chaotic and creative force of change. Actors who embody this energy evolve traditions from their original form into a new entity of sorts, this is where we get various off-shoots of yoga, breath, and new ceremonies and religions.
As in all things, people may be split between which camp they choose to endorse, but these two forces are inevitable in nature, and they are here to benefit the whole. When dealing with practices that have such deep power and a depth to their roots, it takes great consciousness and keen sensitivity to properly evolve these respective traditions without watering them down. It is easy to have well meaning individuals want to share the benefits they have received from a practice by teaching it with little training. Something is lost at times, something beautiful, something sacred.
I am a breathwork facilitator. When I am teaching in alignment with my ceremonial lineages, I am taking great length to create the proper conditions. For example, An out-door ceremony, connected with the four elements, perhaps around a fire, there are dietary recommendations for participants, and at my best I am preparing to guide by fasting and preparing for days, or weeks. Introduction and invocation into the ceremony has a structure, which involves connecting to the 4 sacred directions, calling in guides, getting clear on intentions, etc. There is detail, form, and a cadence that involves pre-ceremony, and post-ceremony work. Everything has a structure and reason, and when everything is in good alignment, there is beautiful healing. I have spent days and weeks fasting and preparing for events, sometimes months following specific diets and cleansing rituals. These are all important, and yet, I have had personal breathwork session that were 20 minutes, in the back of my vehicle, that have been as pivotal and powerful as some of my most well-thought out ceremonies.
Further, I have led ceremonies in yoga studio’s, in clinics, and at impromptu events that have been equally powerful, and/or at the very least offered individuals the exact medicine and balancing they needed to move forward. It is important to note that everything helps everything, and sometimes months of dedicated practice fruits days or weeks later.
Which leads me to understand that multiple levels of healing and ceremony are important. I love to do ritual yoga, which can last for hours…and conversely, I love to drop into my neighborhood casual yoga class. I love to connect with breathwork in ceremony, and I’ve also had deep experiences connecting to my breath during dentist appointments. When speaking about breath medicine specifically, when one has learnt to use their breath as medicine, they connect with source, or with the sacred, and they can bring that with them everywhere.
There is a great need to evolve our practices to reach more people, once more, especially with breath medicine which everyone can safely connect with and find their own personal connection to their inner healer. It is important to create our lives as ceremony and sacred, and not just in the churches or temples. Breath allows us to do this. Sincere practitioners will at times be serving breath medicine in what may be traditionally ‘non-sacred and nonceremonial’ atmospheres, and they should know that ceremony is an inner dimension of intention and the action of turning within. All is sacred. A facilitator should be aware not to dilute their medicine and keep in contact with their highest way of serving and facilitating ceremony, and yet serving in the way that their soul calls them to and that helps the individual they are working with.
I did not choose breathwork. It found me. My teacher and Mentor Edward Dangerfield found me. My soul called out for me to teach. I liken it to how doctors work in hospitals, and yet will go overseas to underdeveloped nations bringing the bare bones of their work to offer their services at the level where they can reach individuals. It is all about helping others from a good place of heart. That being said, breathwork, and energy medicine and its respective language is often too metaphysical and ‘woo’ for individuals, and I’m more than willing to drop any need to push a certain way of thinking and speaking about a practice that may barrier someone from connecting with a practice. This is especially true for breath medicine, as it can be taught as scientifically and as grounded in the physical as an individual is versed in speaking to that language.
Key points stand out that there is no objective or universal right or wrong way to do ceremony. The way to choose is the way that is in alignment with your soul’s highest understanding of what is best for the all. This takes a continual checking in and a great deal of self-awareness. Further, individuals may inherently choose to practice a certain way and they will benefit from finding a respective teacher who teaches in alignment with their vision. We are in an age of personalized medicine, where the facilitator is not merely playing a role of guide, but where the facilitator and participant are connected, as all humans are connected In a shared process of finding wholeness. How one reaches and teaches another is unique to each relationship and offering, and it is my prayer that facilitators are working in alignment with their highest intentions.
Everything is sacred. With great respect and consciousness, we will preserve ancient lineages and grow new one’s, following the ever-expanding process that nature evolves in. Healing and wholeness is available for all, those who carry the knowledge and practices are called in our age to be great wisdom keepers and models. It enlightens my soul to see so many dedicated practitioners, healers, guides, coaches, and teachers sharing their light and helping the all. We are all one, we will find a way. Much love and blessings to all, and I look forward to breathing with you, whether in ceremony, or just hanging out on this sacred earth.
All my relations.