Last week, I provided an overview of the AODA’s seven-element system. I have worked with this system as my primary magical and energetic practice for almost 15 years and have found it to be an extraordinarily flexible and engaging approach to working with the land, the spirits of nature, and providing blessing and healing to the land. Thus, today’s ritual is a land blessing ceremony, with both solitary practitioner and group variants.
Many traditional land blessing ceremonies include using some form of energy (in our case, the seven elements) to bless and protect a space. This ceremony draws upon the energy of the seven directions for blessing and healing. This ceremony is ideally done walking the perimeter of a piece of land you want to protect. If you aren’t able to walk a perimeter of the space due to size or other considerations, you can adapt it by simply calling in the elements. I would suggest before doing this ceremony, you do deep listening (chapter 2) with the land to make sure such a ceremony would be welcome (it almost always is!) This ceremony has individual and group variations.
Land Blessing Ceremony for a Solitary Practitioner
Materials: A bowl of lightly salted water and a smoke cleansing (smudge) stick (with a candle or lighter for relighting). A bowl of herbs, soil, or sand for marking the circle of spirit below. A wand, staff, sword, or knife for tracing the circle of spirit above. A bell, rattle, or drum for sounding spirit within. You can place all materials on a central altar and/or lay them on the ground. Prior to the ritual, select a central stone, tree or other natural feature to be the anchor for the energy that you will be raising.
Declare intentions. Start the ritual by declaring your intentions in your own words. For example: “The purpose of this ceremony is to bless and protect this landscape and allow for regeneration to happen. I am here as a healer, friend, and fellow inhabitant of this land. May peace abide in this working and throughout these lands.”
Make an offering. See Chapter X for appropriate offerings. You can use your own words or say, “Spirits of place, spirits of this land, I make this offering to honor and acknowledge you. Guardians of this place, of matter or spirit, be with this place.” Pause and wait for any messages or feelings before continuing.
Fire and Air. Walk the perimeter of the land and/or in a large circle within the land for the next part. As you walk, you will begin by blessing the space with the four classical elements, air, fire, water, and earth. First, bless and clear the space using air and fire with your smoke purification stick. As you walk, visualize the elements of air and fire strongly in this place (you can envision them as a yellow and red light). As you walk in a Deosil (clockwise) pattern, chant:
“Smoke of healing herbs and sacred fires that purify. Clear and bless this place.”
When you return to the place you began, pause as envision the energy of air and fire.
Earth and Water. Now, bless and clear the space with water and earth. Again, envision the elements strongly in this space (you can envision them as a blue and green light). Take your bowl of water and flick it out with your fingers as you walk.
“Waters of the sacred pool and salt of the earth. Clear and bless this place.”
When you return to the place you began, pause as envision the energy of water and earth.
Spirit Below and Telluric Current. Move to the center of the space. Say, “I call upon the three aspects of spirit, those which connect the worlds. Let the spirit which flows within all living beings bless and protect this place today and always.”
Draw a circle on the ground in a desoil, as large as you would like. Alternatively, you can once again walk the perimeter of your space. Mark as you are drawing your circle, mark it with the herbs/flowers/sand. Move to the center of the circle and place your hands on the earth. Pause and envision the currents of energy deep within the earth. Say, “I call to spirit below to bless and protect this land. Great telluric current that moves through this land, great soil web of all life, I ask that you fill this land with your energy and blessing.”
Pause and envision the currents deep within the heart of the earth as a green-gold, rising up from the core of the earth and blessing the land around you, bathing the land in a gold-green glow.
Spirit Above and Solar Current. Using your hand or other tool (wand, staff, etc.) draw a circle in the air above you. Alternatively, if your space is small, you can walk the perimeter with your hand or tool in the air. Move to the center of your circle and raise your hands into the sky. Pause and envision the energy of the sun and movement of the planets, all providing energy and influence. Say, ““I call to spirit above to bless and protect this land. Sun that shines above and the turning wheel of the stars that bathes this land in radiance, I ask that you fill this land with your energy and blessing.”
Pause and envision the sun radiating the solar current down to you a beautiful yellow golden light. Envision the stars and planets each contributing their own light. This light blesses the land around you, bathing the land in a golden glow.
Spirit Within and Lunar Current. Using the drum, noisemaker, or a simple chant, begin to reach out to the spirit within all things. The spark of life, the nywfre that flows within each thing, this is the power of spirit within. Place your hands on a living thing within the land, such as a central tree or stone, and sense the spirit within it. Say, “I call to spirit within, the enduring spirit within all things. Spirit that connects us all, I ask that you fill this land with your energy and blessing.”
Pause and envision the spark of life and spirit of all things, rising up from within. Envision the other six energies coming to the central point where you have your anchor stone/tree and see the energy pouring into that anchor point, only then to radiate outward to the surrounding land being protected.
Deep Listening and Divination.
Make space for the spirits of the land to communicate with you before finishing your ceremony. For this, I suggest either deep listening (if you have honed your skills) or using a divination system. Allow yourself to grow quiet and let the voices of the land speak to you.
Gratitude and Closing
Close the ceremony by thanking the seven directions.
Move to the east and say, “Spirits of the east, powers of air, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Move to the south and say, “Spirits of the south, powers of fire, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Move to the west and say, “Spirits of the west, powers of water, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Move to the north and say, “Spirits of the north, powers of earth, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Move to the center, and put your hands on the earth. Say, “Spirits of the below, power of the telluric current, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Raise your hands to the heavens. Say, “Spirits of the above, power of the solar current, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Cross your arms over your chest and close your eyes. Say, “Spirit within all things, power of the lunar current, thank you for your blessing this day.”
Group Ceremony Variant
This ritual can be done in a group setting. If you have less than seven people, divide up the elements between you. You can also split up earth and water and air and fire into separate elements (see language below). If you have a larger group, multiple people can carry a representation of the element and/or some other energy raising object, such as bell, drum, or rattle. Language for all four elements is as follows:
Air: “Smoke of healing herbs and sacred fires that purify. Clear and bless this place.”
Fire: “Sacred fires that purify. Clear and bless this place.”
Water: “Waters of the sacred pool. Clear and bless this place.”
Earth: “Salt of the earth. Clear and bless this place.”
Seven Elements as a Framework
The nice thing about the seven-element framework is that its quite adaptable. Once you have it, you can do a lot of different things with it–this land blessing ceremony is but one of any number of options. Blessings till next time!