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SHAMANIC TOOLS



DRUM -Drums are very expensive to buy, furthermore it requires a partner to beat on it while you go off into a trance. I recommend that you use a drumming tape, or music that is soothing to you. If you feel that a drum is necessary then purchase a tambourine, take out the discs and replace them with feathers and ribbons.

Silver Branch - This is something that is mentioned in many Celtic legends. It replaces the Shamanic rattle and the drum. The Silver branch is symbolic of the otherworld tree where the birds of Rhiannon sat. You can make one by cutting a branch from a tree, or purchasing a dowel from a hardware store. The branch should be 12 - 16 inches long, or smaller. Cut grooves into the surface of the branch or dowel to keep the bells you attach from falling off. Golden bells should have a pleasing sound that is clear in tone, tie them to the branch. The three bells are symbolic of the triple Goddess aspect.

Cloak - In some legends the Shamans wore a cloak of feathers. This is not only impractical, but it would be both uncomfortable and expensive! You may wear an ordinary robe or cape made of any material. The preferred colors for the cloak are black, green, brown and white. If you wish, you may decorate this cloak with feathers or beads.

Headband - Some shamans wore headdresses. You may substitute the headdress with a colorful headband. If you wish you may purchase a crescent moon headband from a specialty pagan supply store.

Cauldron - The Cauldron is symbolic of Cerridwen's Cauldron of inspiration, or initiations. Initiates approved by Cerridwen underwent a ceremony in which they drank a special mixture of herbs from her Cauldron. This gave inspiration, and knowledge ("awen") to the seeker of truth. A sturdy cast Iron Cauldron may be purchased from several pagan supply houses. The cauldron does not need to be large. A small one is better, since you will want to move around with it, or place it in the center of your altar. Depending upon the type of journey, the Cauldron may also be replaced with a chalice or a bowl. If you are going to be drinking from the Cauldron, then I suggest that a chalice is your best replacement.

Sword of Nuada - The sword was brought from an ancient city of the Tuatha De Dannan before their migration into Ireland. Nuada's sword is reminiscent of other legends such as King Arthurs "Excaliber." You may purchase a sword from a specialty store (Cost Plus sometimes has them at a reasonable price), or you can make one of wood, then decorate it with Celtic designs.

Lugh's Spear - Lugh's spear came from the city of Gorias. The spear is said to have been all conquering just as Nuada's sword. It is also an equivalent to a Celtic staff, which can be made from a tree branch or a large dowel. The staff should be no more than head high. It can be plain or decorated. You may attach a crystal to the head of the staff just as many pagans do with their wands. Remember to drill or bore a hole into the tip of the staff large enough to accommodate the crystal, then glue in with Crazy or Super Glue. You may also attach various ornaments or colored ribbons to your staff.

Lia Fail (leea fawl) The Stone of Destiny - This came from the city of Failias, which was said to cry aloud when a rightful king stood or sat upon it. The Shamans stone should be flat and small. When you find a stone that suits this purpose, cleanse it in a solution of salt water to remove any negative vibrations it may have accumulated over the years. If you can't find a natural flat stone, then you may substitute ta piece of marble.

Crane Bag - The Crane bag is used to carry all of your tools. It should be made of a natural material, such as chamois skin, leather or heavy cloth. A purse or bag with a shoulder strap is perfect for this. You may also want separate smaller bags that you will place in the Crane bag to hold healing herbs, rune stones, ogam sticks, stones and crystals. Oils, incense, and other magical objects.

Although Shamans carry many different stones, Crystals are considered separate tools. Crystals are living things from the earth, and are extremely powerful. Each crystal resonates a different spiritual energy. You will want several different crystals for different types of work. You must determine which energy each crystal holds. Some are used for healing, others as soul-catchers to return or repair a lost or fragmented spirit. Your crystals must be cleansed after each use. The use and employment of Crystals will be covered in a separate a glossary.



JOURNEY OF BLESSING


This Shamanic journey allows for you to acquire tools from Cerridwen in the Underworld realm, as well as receive a blessing for the tools you have acquired.

Set up your sacred space, your drumming tapes or music. Lie down on your blanket or cloth , then go through your relaxation exercises to prepare for your journey. Begin your journey with the cave or tree just as you have in the past. Remember to drop all of your problems in the pond or river.

Go to the lake which surrounds Cerridwens Island Castle, following the rock lined path which leads you into the center of the lake. Enter into the side of the cave as you did in your first underworld journey. There are glowing gems embedded into the side of the cave which light your pathway.

As you reach the doorway to the Underworld, stop to observe the landscape, the otherworld beings. When you are ready you may proceed through the entrance into the Underworld. Remember once again to keep your seven senses alert. As before, an underworld being will come to greet you. Explain to her/him that you are seeking your Shamanic tools, or are seeking a blessing for the tools you already possess. The being will guide you through the underworld until you reach the center of a forest. There is a clearing in the center of the forest where a stone altar stands. Cerridwens Sacred Cauldron stands on one side of the altar, Cerridwen stands on the opposite side.

Go forward to speak with the beautiful and awe-inspiring goddess. Explain to her why you are in her realm, then ask for her blessing, for yourself and your ritual tools. Cerridwen will point towards the altar. On the smooth surface you will find one or more tools which are gifts from her to you. Take a close look at them, then pick them up one at a time. Feel the tools in your hands, allow your senses to reach out. Cerridwen then hands you a bag, put your new tools into it.

Listen carefully to what she says to you in your conversation with her. She may allow you to drink from her sacred Cauldron. When you are ready to leave she will point to the ground with her hand forming a solid rainbow at your feet. The rainbow will lead you into the Upperworld. Step onto the rainbow with your guide and you will instantly arrive at your destination.

When you arrive in the upperworld you will be at the entrance of a castle made of crystal, gems and precious metals. Your guide will take you through the Castle. You will go through several rooms and hallways before your reach the central court where several Celtic deities await your arrival.

Danu, Brigit, Arianrhod, and Rhiannon stand at the central altar, with Bran, Dagda, Manannan mac Lir, and Llyr nearby. Step forward to speak with these deities, then carefully lay your tools onto the altar. These deities will add their blessings to the one which your received from Cerridwen. You may or may not be presented with additional tools from the deities in this realm. If you are presented with new tools, examine them carefully before placing them in the cloth bag presented to you by Cerridwen.

Danu will bring out a silver chalice covered with gems filed with an amber liquid. Drink from the chalice, remember to use your sense of taste, touch and smell as you drink. Listen carefully to anything the deities may have to say to you.

When it is time for you to return your guide will lead you through a dark tunnel, that you will quickly slide down until you feel yourself returning to your body. Remember to record your experiences in your journal immediately upon returning to your full senses in this realm.


HOW TO USE YOUR SHAMANIC TOOLS


You will not use the same tools for every journey, now will you prepare your sacred space the same way each time as each journey will require something different.. Your Animal Allies and Otherworld guides will advise you or lead you in your preparations for each journey. You may or may not decide to work outside, but you should always be comfortable no matter where you work. You are not required to sit in an uncomfortable position, as pain will not help you progress spiritually. You are more comfortable laying down, then that is what you should do.

This is just a beginning example for you to follow in setting up your sacred space in preparation of a journey. Set out your ritual blanket or rug, with your notebook and pen close by. At the North edge of you blanket set up an incense pot on a flat stone. Light a small piece of charcoal, placing it inside the pot. When the charcoal is hot drop a teaspoon of crushed pine needles onto its surface. You may add a few drops of pine oil to the pine needles if you wish. Place your sword, staff, silver branch, cauldron, chalice and wand next to the stone. Set your stones and crystals around the edge of the cloth. There is no set pattern, you are to use your intuitive abilities to determine their placement.

Take the wand in your left hand and the sword in your right, then go to each cardinal point, beginning with the direction that is strongest for the ally you plan to use. For example, the north point is the strongest point of power if you wish to use a dragon ally. Tape the ground three times with your staff, then salute with your sword upraised. Sing greetings to your ally, then move clockwise around the circle, stopping at each cardinal point to repeat your actions.

Upon returning to the north point lay down your sword and staff, adding more herbs to the incense pot. Carry the pot clockwise around the circle, beginning with he north point. Hold up the pot upon reaching each point within the circle.

If you wish to journey to the Underworld, set your Cauldron (the symbol for the Underworld) to the left of the incense pot and stone. If you wish to journey to the Upperworld set your chalice (the symbol for the Uppwerworld) to the right of the stone. Either use your silver branch to create a rhythmic melody that will take you into your trance, or use a tape of drumming or soothing music. Lie down on your blanket with your head on a pillow. If you are using the silver branch you will probably not even realize that you are no longer shaking your branch as you pass into your trance like state, as your subconscious will instinctively know when to stop shaking it.

When you reach the otherworld you want to journey to, seek your Animal Ally. You will either find a Cauldron or a Chalice near the guide who greets you, depending on which world you choose to travel.