Student Instructions for Declaring Sacred Ground
“Look deep into Nature and you will understand everything.”
This assignment is about engaging with the Earth in a process called declaring sacred ground. Your task is to collaborate directly with nature in a unique and personally meaningful way.
Pay attention to all the points below as you will be graded according to how well you cover them. Do them all and I promise you an experience that may be life changing!
1. Pose a question to the Universe that you need help in answering. Here are some ideas: “What is the gift I have to offer the world?” “Should I continue on with this relationship?” “Should I change my major?” “Should I get a dog?” Choose something significant that you really want an answer to. There is always a question somewhere.
Next: 2. Choose a location for your quest. Make it somewhere new that you haven’t been before and where you can be alone. It could be beside a river, in a forest, on the beach or a wild section of upper Bidwell Park. Pick a place that challenges you. Cross a no trespassing sign perhaps. Push your boundaries! There is nothing out there that is going to hurt you so try to relax and let go of any fear you might have. Leave your pets and friends at home as they will be a distraction. You need to be alone.!
Now that you have begun thinking about the above issues, start paying attention to little signs that might come your way about picking a question and deciding on a place. Once you feel settled about your place and question, you are ready to begin your adventure. Select a time and go there. If you feel the need to change your location at the last minute, and it is not because of fear, than go for it!
Now you are ready for the most important aspect of this exercise and that is doing something to initiate Sacred Time.
3. Select a portal through which to enter Sacred Time. It could be between two trees or rocks, or when you climb over a fence, cross a creek or even get out of your car.
4. Before crossing this threshold you need to do something to relax, get calm and clear. Take a few minutes to perhaps smudge yourself with some sage, sprinkle some water on your head, throw some tobacco to the wind, sing a song, play an instrument, do a little dance . . . anything out of the ordinary! This is essential to enter Sacred Time. Doing this in a quality way is the most critical part of this experience and will determine whether you will have a mediocre time or an extraordinary one! Please give this aspect your undivided attention! And then, set aside at least an hour for what is to come once you go through the portal.
Okay . . . you’ve crossed the threshold and now you are an instrument truly tuned to the Earth! Your intoxication with worldly life is back on the other side. Everything is different now! Your mind is calm and you are hyper-vigilant about everything that happens as you stroll slowly, joyfully through the area you have chosen. The Earth is ready to collaborate with you. (It always is but usually we aren’t in a collaborative mindset like we are now!)
Be aware of interesting things that might cross your path, pass nearby or that may lay on the ground before you. Any thing may suggest an idea for something you will soon create or a clue to answering your question. Remember . . . in Sacred Time, everything is a metaphor for something else. A discarded lighter is not just an old lighter . . . it is fire, it is light, it is spark, it is a beginning or an ending. A heart shaped rock at your feet when you happen to be humming a particular song . . . what does that mean? A hummingbird flys by your head just as you were thinking about something. Pay attention to that! The jet up in the sky or vulture overhead is moving east. What does that mean? Maybe you should walk that way?
There are no real rules here . . . only to be alert, intuitive, with eyes and ears and heart wide open so the Earth coupled with your imagination can guide you. Trust fully any synchronicity that happens. It is a sure sign you are close to something very important. What is it? Be playful. Engage all your senses. You are accessing a part of yourself that is probably brand new. This is your birthright! Warning: When intuition springs up, reason, its competitor, rises also and says, ‘No, it is not so.’ Ditch that voice of reason! There’s plenty of time for that back on the other side.
So now some things have happened and you’ve found a few items or perhaps you just need to sit awhile and figure it all out.
5. Find a spot that speaks to you, that for some reason feels auspicious.
6. Construct your creation there with what you have found on your journey. Maybe you found not so much, but a song or a never-before-experienced thought found its way in to you. Find a way to celebrate that. Be playful and see what arises, see how what you found and the metaphors they contain might answer your question. If you found some human-made items, examine them closely. Read the words on them if there are any. Look closely and ponder. How might they might pertain to your question. Pretend like the fate of the world hangs in the balance of what you come up with.
See your creative act as medicine for the world, an offering that will change everything. This is the Earth speaking and it does have an answer for you to discover!! Notice what is happening around you as you create. And please remember, this is NOT about creating a masterpiece of art so don’t judge what you create by any artistic standard you may have. Also note that it is said that “the Gods” appreciate the ephemeral and fragile more than they do the permanent and long lasting so please don’t create a monument out there! The art is simply a reflection in form of what happened to you psychologically/spiritually/soulfully in the bond you developed with Nature while you were/are in Sacred Time.
7. Take a picture of what you created. When you are ready to go, leave it there or scatter it all to the wind, or bring it home. It is up to you. And then walk away without looking back. (Remember to include a photo of your artwork in the Submission Box below.)
8. When you cross back through the portal on your way out of Sacred Time, pause and offer a prayer of gratitude or maybe leave an offering of something you found. Reflect on your experience and pay attention to how your body feels. Are you happy, sad, relaxed, overwhelmed with joy?
9. Take some notes about your experience and when you get home write it all up. More things will come to you as you write and you may in fact not realize that your question was answered until you start writing it all down. Watch your dreams the next couple of nights after your experience. They may hold great messages for you.
10. Was this a meaningful experience for you. Why? What did you learn? Please remember to write about ALL 10 aspects of this assignment outlined below.
Your written description of your vision quest should be 2 full pages (approximately 500 words) – perhaps a bit more depending on your experience.
Please include ONE photo of your art creation made on your quest. For more information on Declare Sacred Ground see this: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sacred-space
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