Some years back I was assisting my Native American friend in a ceremony. We had about 10 people that day. That ceremony was similar to one they use on soldiers returning from overseas. There was a lot of heavy energy released and I had a hard time coming back into my own space once the ceremony ended. My friend instructed me to smoke from his ceremonial pipe, which had cannabis in it. At that time, I did not smoke at all. At first, I refused, but he insisted, saying that the smoke will help to bring me back into balance.
After the first puff I began to feel my spirit return into my body. By the end on the fourth draw, I felt calm, at peace and grounded. Little was I to know that that day was the beginning of my long and intimate relationship with cannabis. She became my guide and teacher and has allowed me to grow into the person I am today.
The number one thing I learned working with cannabis is that space and intentions matter. If we are to use it for healing, we must be very clear about where we do it, how we do it and with whom. Failure to do this can lead to anxiety, soul fragmentation and confusion. It can create blocks, energetic leaks and open up portals to worlds and energies that are not in our highest and best good.
Today, I’d like to share with you my process of setting space, intention, and journeying, whether working with cannabis, also known as Santa Maria, on myself or with clients.
- Physical space: it is important to be in a place where you feel safe. I like to be in my own home or in a place where I will not be disturbed. I have also held a number of ceremonies in nature, always finding a secluded spot where we will not be disturbed.
- People: the people in your space are just as important as the space itself. There must be trust and a feeling of safety and security within the group.
- Energetic space: prior to opening up a ceremony I will clear the energy with smudging and calling in my spirit guides. I like to use sage, frankincense incense or palo santo. Sometimes I will also use rose oil or camphor oil. Sometimes I will also use crystal or Tibetan bowls.
- Intention: I think about what I would like to achieve in this session, either in my personal journey or as a space holder if I’m facilitating a healing or a ceremony.
- Selecting the medicine: I prefer to use flower in a ceremony setting because the spirit of the plant seems to be strongest in a flower. I source my flowers from growers I personally know because the energy of the grower will directly impact the energy of the flower. I will generally use a hybrid. If I am working with clients who are experiencing anxiety or are working through heavy traumas, I will select a strain that is higher in indica.
- Selecting the delivery method: I open each ceremony using my Chanunpa pipe (special ceremony pipe) and then I pass out small glass pipes (or joints) so that the attendees can be in charge of how much flower they consume.
- Music: the music depends on the setting on the goals. Sometimes we will sit quietly. At other times we will have live music. Generally I prefer a mixture of electronic music and medicine songs (such as Icaros).
- The journey: after smoking, I take my attention to my breath and instruct others to do so. If I am by myself, I will surrender to the medicine and ask it to show me that which I need to know. If I am facilitating then I will lead a guided meditation using the words and imagery provided by the medicine. Generally, we will sit quietly, although occasionally a person may go into an experience that requires help. If this happens, I may guide them using my voice or energetically go inside their journey and assist them there.
- Length: the journey generally takes between fifteen minutes to two hours.
- Finishing the journey: once the journey is complete, I begin the process of bringing myself and people back. This is where my training as a healer really matters because I know how to make sure that all parts of our spirit return into the body.
- Sharing: if in a group ceremony, those who feel included to speak will share their journey and ask questions if they have any.
- Closing: To close the ceremony we will eat some fruit and drink coconut water to fully ground into the body. At times, I will also include hape (plant medicine from the rainforest) to ground the energy and seal the healing.
When used consciously and with the right intention, cannabis can be an amazing medicine and teacher. If you have been using cannabis medicinally or recreationally but haven’t yet tried to meditate with it, give it a go. Find a ceremony facilitator that you trust or use the above guidelines to create your own ceremony.