Some of you may be wondering, what is a prayer stick and how do I get one? Prayer sticks, like many of the tools of Shamanic Practice, are about focusing your intent on what you are seeking to manifest in this reality.
Prayer sticks are, basically, wood branches that have been decorated to symbolically represent your intent, and are in themselves a prayer for guidance, focus, and blessings along your path. If you are seeking new job, a new love, healing, or peace, creating a prayer stick is a meditative exercise that will help you deeply contemplate what you are seeking to manifest and specifically what you envision for yourself. You can make one at any time, and place it in your garden, the woods, or anywhere that calls you to raise your prayer for change to the Spirit World.
How to Create a Prayer Stick
First, of course, you need to meditate on what you want to manifest. You may want to go on a Shamanic Journey and ask your Power Animal or Spirit Teacher for guidance and wisdom. Be careful what you wish for -- remember that it may not come in the way you hope! Make a few notes in your journal to help physically bring your intent into the world.
Second, find a stick that calls to you. I gather branches after a storm or when on a walk, that I think would make good prayer sticks. Your stick can be from nature, or a purchased dowel rod, or the leg of a broken chair -- whatever works for you and is accessible. It can be long or short, but should be sturdy enough to hold your embellishments. When you gather these gifts, don't forget to leave a gift in return: a pinch of cornmeal, tobacco, sage; a hair plucked from your head, a flower -- anything that seems right to you -- to demonstrate your thanks.
Gather items to adorn your Prayer Stick: paints, yarn, leather strips, beads, crystals, feathers -- whatever seems right to you. Often when I am preparing to make a tool, I find feathers along my path, and you may notice that, too. (Just don't forget to leave a gift in return.)
Once you have your materials gathered together, find a good, peaceful place to create your Prayer Stick. A prayer stick is the physical manifestation of your prayer to the Universe; it is a sacred act to create a Prayer Stick. So turn off the television, put your phone away, and begin decorating your stick. As you create, think about what you want to manifest and envision how it will change your life. Select items from your stash that represent your vision and intent. Your Prayer Stick can be very simple or exceedingly fancy -- whatever seems right to you.
Now it's time to "plant" your Prayer Stick in Mother Earth. Earth is feminine, and your prayer stick is masculine, so the act of planting it in earth is a balanced act of ceremony. Find a special place to plant your Prayer Stick. You may want to place it somewhere where you will see it often to remind you of manifesting your dream. That could be in a potted plant in your home, in your garden, in a place of public ceremony, in the woods, or in the desert. Whatever seems right to you. Some people like to drum or rattle to get ready for this small, intimate ceremony, but that may call other humans into your circle and that is up to you.
Next, perform your personal ceremony to manifest your dream. I like to go to where I want to plant my Stick, and stand or kneel silently while I close my eyes and go into a meditative state. I then use my energy to create a circle of protection around me. (You can use sage for this, but I like to use my energy for personal ceremony.) Next, I open my eyes and look to Mother Earth and Father Sky, and silently speak of what I am seeking to create in my life. I then say (silently unless I am alone in nature), " Great Spirit, it is with humble thanks that I offer my prayers to you, the Universe, Mother Earth, Father Sky, the powers of the East, West, North and South, and all those who love me. I ask that my Power Animals, Spirit Teachers, and the Ancestors guide me in my quest and help me to accept that which is best for me as I seek this gift of change." Then gently plant your stick in the Earth with love and thankfulness. Thank the Spirits for their assistance, exit the circle you created via the East door, and go on about your day with Love in your heart.
As always, if you have any questions about this article or creating a Prayer Stick, please contact me.