Calling in a Container: When you are doing intentional shamanic work it is wise to call in the cardinal directions or to form a similar energetic container to assure that the helping spirits “hear” your intention and so that you are oriented with protection around you, above and below you. The language I am using is not just metaphorical, we are energetic beings in a world of many different kinds of influences and it’s like shamanic hygiene to open up our energy centres with care and within a protected space.
Calling in the cardinal directions is part of any indigenous shamanic practice, no matter what direction you start with or what Archetypal beings and qualities are pictured when you do it; it helps focus your mind and spirit toward the invisible, causal realms that really support our lives and orient us in the world, which is where we humans live.
We can call in the elements: they are really always there, but to call them in is to honour them and to bring our attention to the building blocks of our existence.
Non-human helping spirits, which we identify for instance as angels, bears, eagles, dragons, dolphins, ancestors, spirits from the collective who have lived before or not, bring power to our personal or community circle.
This calling in can be ritualized as taught by tradition or can be a spontaneous transmission that emerges when contemporary shamans invoke the directions and guidance that identifies the qualities and personas that will bring meaning and energy to the particular circles we create.
If you do not want to focus on all the possible negative spirits, then simply ask for the spirits you need for the circle, without necessarily needing to know ahead of time what they are in your intellectual mind and ask that the rest (that you do not need) go to the light. Calling in the directions is anchoring and opening, is moving to an intuition-informed space that will help align your body and soul by calling your spirit’s attention to the spirit world.
When we join in circle we join the many circles we have been part of, and the collective container is strengthened. Each time we “call-in,” for a mandala for example, we are calling in the history of all mandalas, and the foundations and roots of ancient practices. When we call in a medicine circle, we are reaching deep into our own ancestral memory and opening to guidance from the cosmos within a safe container.
For examples of different cultural medicine wheels and mandalas, see the reading list, visit a shamanic circle or go exploring online.
Enjoy the journey,