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  • By : Lalu
  • July 26, 2019


Chapter 26 – Grandmother Ayleen, Earth Day and Nazli – April 2009


After the ceremony in Guavate, Grandmother Ayleen and I got very close. I invited her to visit me in New York. We scheduled many clients to see her for healing sessions and organized an Earth Day ceremony in one of the nearby parks.

I invited the gang as usual and my friend Evelyn asked if she can bring her friend Nazli. Of course, it was an open ceremony and anyone could attend. For those of you who never attended a ceremony, here are a few guidelines.

It’s important to secure sacred space and anchor in higher energy. The way we do this in our Native American tradition is to smoke tobacco to call in the Ancestors. We also burn a combination of white sage, tabanuco, and copal to purify the space. The mixture is supposed to call in a Council of Indigenous Ancestors that was formed to help Mother Earth and awaken her tribe. The Council comes from three traditions. The indigenous people and wisdom from North America – white sage; the indigenous people and wisdom of the Caribbean – tabanuco; and the indigenous people and wisdom of the Mayan – copal.

The stage is also set by placing a beautiful blanket in the center of the area where the ceremony will take place. You can place on the blanket flowers, water, crystals, incense, drums, rattles, instruments, fruit and vegetables, alcohol, and items that have special value in order to cleanse it and infuse it with positive energy.

Once you have purified the space and called in the four directions and higher energy, the elder conducting the ceremony calls in the four directions in addition to earth and sky: the sentient beings and divine energy from the North, the East, the South and the West, followed by Mother Earth and Father Sky. Then the elder talks to the participants that are gathered in a circle. Usually, there is an intent for the gathering and this is explained. What follows can be a guided meditation, a drumming circle, prayers for a specific reason and intent. There are also ceremonies that requires participants to make tobacco prayer ties. These are usually made prior to the official ceremony.

Participants are asked to bring food and an offering. The offering is for Mother Earth and can be anything that comes from her womb… plants, flowers, fruits, seeds, vegetables, crystals, and alcohol. Alcohol is considered an alchemical element. In order to harness alcohol from a plant, the plant takes all the elements – earth (soil), fire (sun), water (rain), air ; and through the process of fermentation you are creating a fifth element. Alcohol in ceremony is used as an offering to Mother Earth and as an energy exchange. You can request a healing for example.

Towards the end, the participants are asked to share. They can share a thought, a poem, a song or a chant. Then the circle is closed by giving thanks to the four directions and to Mother Earth and Father Sky.

When we arrived at the ceremonial site, Grandmother Ayleen gave us all instructions on how to prepare for the ceremony. She asked us to take a blanket we brought and place it up against a beautiful tree. We then placed all our offerings and food on the blanket. All along Grandmother Ayleen is smoking a cigar calling in the Ancestors. Once the stage was set, Grandmother Ayleen guided us through a lovely ceremony. She then gave us time to walk out into the forest and connect with Mother Earth and make a request with the alcohol offering. When we returned back to the circle, she asked if anyone wanted to share a poem, song or anything from their heart. This is when I first noticed Naz.

Naz requested to chant and she started this piercing native american chanting. It was hauntingly beautiful and heart piercing. I knew from that moment, that this woman, Nazli McSweeney, was not only very special but that we would be close friends. More on Naz later.

Grandmother Ayleen: I would like to take a few moments to acknowledge this amazing Grandmother, elder, healer and teacher. In addition to learning the beautiful nuances of how to conduct ceremony, the greatest gift that Grandmother Ayleen gave me was to ‘trust my own voice, my own intuition.” Every time I asked her for advice, she would ask me to sit down and go into my inner world, my inner silence, and from that voice, find the answers. I’m forever grateful for our relationship.

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