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Magic of China
Ancient China was a culture influenced heavily on the belief of ancestral spirits. Ancestors were the bridge between the living and the Divine. Ancestors are weaved into the mystery of life and death and animals, which is why the Wu deified Spirit Animals as messengers and protectors of the Realms.
The Wu were predominately female shamans in ancient China. They understood the intermingling of spirits and humans – of what lies above and below. The concept of ancestors was not widely known or appreciated at first, and so the spirits would not reveal themselves to just any human. Rather, they would descend into the Wu’s body, using it as a vessel to communicate their wishes. The Wu were then transported into altered states of consciousness, dancing in a whirlpool of a trance.
Wu were masters of invocation, divination, healing, and even exorcism. They were chosen to connect to the Realms in ways not everyone could. They summoned spirit animals of the Lower, Middle, and Upper Realms to help them transform. Bird, dragon, and snake medicine are the most common examples used. Bird helped the Wu reach heaven, Snake helped the Wu navigate Earth (as did Tiger), and Dragon traversed the Lower Realms. Their dances formed the basis of modern QiGong, which has deep shamanic roots.
The matriarch of the Wu was Xi Wangmu – the great goddess, residing between heaven and Earth; protector of the dead and the living, granting immortality to spiritual seekers. It is said that in the far reaches of the west, in her garden hidden in the highest cloud, hosts a tree of peaches – the fruit of immortality. Xi Wangmu is the great cosmic weaver – the creation and destruction. Life and death, Yin and Yang. She is the great mother of all – she who creates and maintains the great female principle. And her Wu possessed the luxury and power to climb the ladder to her sovereignty.
- Discussion Question: How do you navigate your relationship with the spirit world?
Ritual – Invoke Xi Wangmu
Images, oral traditions, and historical descriptions show women as invokers, healers, herbalists, oracles and diviners, ecstatic dancers, shapeshifters, shamanic journeyers, and priestesses of the ancestors. The Chinese Wu were ecstatic priestesses who danced to the music of drums and flutes until they reached trance, receiving shen (spirits) into their bodies, healing and prophesying under their inspiration, speaking in tongues, swallowing swords and spitting fire. The power of the shen gathered around the whirling dancers was said to cause objects to rise into the air, to prevent wounds from forming when the dancers slashed themselves with knives.
In ritual, we will explore the immortality of Xi Wangmu, and the power of the Wu, and travel into the Upper, Lower, and Middle Realms. We engage with ancestors and spirit animals who can guide us, assisting us as we see and interpret signs all around us, reconnecting us with our lineage. Journeying and connecting with our ancestors and spirit guides brings us closer to Oneness. They are the allies who transition between worlds to reveal our truest essence and Higher Self. The Middle Realm (Earth) reflects our highest pinnacle and the blossoming of our greatest purpose. We travel above and below as we journey to find the fruit of our immortality.
We first light our Snake Candle to honor Earth, our blessings and offer our gratitude. In shamanic journeying, a drum or rattle is used to create a repetitive beat, which is in tune with the vibrational frequency of the Earth as well as the heartbeat of your physical body. The rhythmic drumbeat has proved effective for the majority of people as they embark on their adventure. We use our rattle to produce a slow, methodical beating in combination with our internal rhythm – which slows and relaxes your mind and escorts you into the state of consciousness needed to journey. The beat within the music serves as the bridge to the spirit world – it opens the archway through which the soul can travel. We shed our earthly skin and venture forth to the lower and higher planes.
We then light our Dragon Candle and descend to the Lower Realms, and come face to face with the instinct, ego, awareness, and primal desires that infuse our life force. Close your eyes and meditate to perceive clarity and pierce through illusion. Circle in on any negative, toxic energy within or around you, and consume it with love, fully transforming death into life. Do you see any animals accompanying you on this journey?
And finally, we light our Bird Candle and ascend to the Upper Realm, the spirit realm, where our ancestors reside. They connect us with the creator and the knowledge of ages. Can you hear their messages? What do you see? Ask for a message, and then give thanks, and slowly come out of meditation. Move your fingers, your shoulders, and your head. Come back to the Middle Realm. Open your eyes and give gratitude once more – to your guides, your spirit animals, and your ancestors.
- Discussion Question: What do you feel when you invoke Xi Wangmu?
Magic of China: Dance with the Wu Set
This set is filled with tools intentionally chosen to help you invoke the Dance with the Wu in ceremony. You, too, can summon the spirit animals of the Lower, Middle, and Upper Realms to help you journey, transform, and connect with your guides and ancestors.
I chose pine, mandarin, and Osmanthus Attar (also known as Devilwood) as the key notes for my Spirit Dance Perfume. Pine purifies the auric body and uplifts the spirit. Mandarin restores power back to your body, giving you more vitality and confidence. Osmanthus Attar is known to attract prosperity and aids your process of transformation – whether it’s for healing, prosperity, or abundance.
Included in this set is one Snake Candle Votive with clear quartz chip stone to represent the Middle Realm, one Bird Candle Votive with clear quartz chip stone to represent the Upper Realm, and one Dragon Candle Votive with clear quartz chip stone to represent the Lower Realm. Clear quartz was chosen for each votive to help amplify, magnify, and seal your intentions.
You will then receive an intuitively chosen shaker/rattle. The intention is for you to share your instrument on social media. I also hope you will join me during Sabbatical class, and engage in rattling your instrument. The sound and vibrations we create with our rattles will be heard and felt around the world.
You will also receive one stone set. This includes one piece of petrified wood to represent Earth/Snake, one piece of peacock ore to represent the Upper Realm/Bird, and one piece of fire agate to represent the Lower Realm/Dragon.
Petrified wood is an extremely grounding and protective stone. It is said to calm the nerves and instills courage, well-being, and security. Attuned to your Root and Third Eye Chakras, this stone is commonly used for shamanic journeying and etheric contact with elders.
Peacock ore heals, aligns, brings wisdom, and attunes you to all the rays of light and sacred energies. It facilitates what we call “outer realm” magic, such as astral travel, and even super-charges spell work.
Fire agate awakens one’s zest for life and living, sparking the embers of creativity, sexuality, Life Force, and will. These are authentic tumbled fire agates, which means that they are not treated with heat! This gemstone helps with shamanic journeying, vision questing, and serves as a protective stone during astral travel.
And finally, you will receive a gorgeous piece of SG canvas art with your set (if you wish). This canvas art was designed right here at SG Headquarters, to help you invoke the dance of the Wu in ceremony and in your own sacred space.
- Discussion Question: Which spirit animal do you relate to?