Looking for inspiration for your spring Equinox ritual? Why not make a prayer arrow, says Numinous founder Ruby Warrington…
Greetings from Rancho La Puerta! One of the (if not THE) original old-school ‘health farms.’ Open since 1940, La Puerta is located down in Baja, California, and is basically 3000-acres of orgasmically beautiful ranch where you come to workout, get pampered, and eat three clean, organic, plant-based meals a day, in the name of a total system reset.
Most of the ‘retreat’ type settings I find myself in these days also include a healthy, heady dose of cosmic healing. Just a couple of weeks back I was swimming with dolphins in the supercharged seas directly above the sunken ruby crystal of Atlantis, taking morning kundalini classes and getting high on raw vegan Tiramisu and cosmic breath work (a whole other story, which I will share in detail another time!)
No such numinous antics at La Puerta, where the schedule flips from cardio classes to yoga, and healthy cooking school to lectures on personal development. Sure there are daily meditation clases, and I sought out a heavenly crystal bowl sound healing session (which, judging from the snores, most people were treating more like a siesta), but the focus here is on good, wholesome mind-body alignment. None of that mystical mumbo-jumbo. Or is it?
One of my favorite workshops all week was called ‘Make a Prayer Arrow,’ taught by a local artist named Tim Hinchcliff. Taking from the indigenous traditions of Mexico, he described the act of making our arrows as “a direct communication of heart and spirit, conveyed to the higher powers of Nature.” In other words, a straight-up tool for magical manifestation – and just perfect for the day right before the vernal Equinox!
When I mentioned this, he gave me a look to say; “hell yeah missy, that’s why we’re here,” and carried on talking the group through the meaning of the “votive” arts (from the Latin votum – for ‘vow’). “It’s the same as when we light the candle on a birthday cake, and blow it out with a wish – which can also be seen as an eternal flame, placed in a sacred space, conveying a wish for health, happiness, and pursuit of our dreams.” LOVE. IT.
There was all sorts of crafty goodness laid out on the table in front of Tim, representing what he called the “Five Languages of the Dear” – all of which we would use to “express our focus in crafting our Votive.” And so I invite you to take from the below in creating your own Equinox votive, to birth a new intention for your cosmic journey!
1. RICE PAPER – for writing out your Votive / intention. This could be a goal, passion, or offering of gratitude, for ourselves, for others, or for humanity.
2. DOVE FEATHERS – to summon the spirit of the Dove to be your messenger. The Dove is a symbol of peace, love and spirit, and her “coo” is a call to a higher sense of awareness.
3. COLORED YARN – representing either the five directions (in Huichol cosmology), or the Chakras. “Your choice of color expresses you in all it’s pureness,” said Tim, and he explained the representations as follows:
North – WHITE for the clouds and sky realm
South – BLUE for water and growth
East – RED for the sacred mother and the new Sun
West – BLACK for the ocean and the dream world
Center – YELLOW for Earth regeneration and creativity
Crown – WHITE / VIOLET connection with infinite wisdom
Third Eye – PURPLE / INDIGO seeing within, devoted intuition
Throat – BLUE / TURQUOISE voice communication, clear thought expressed
Heart – GREEN soul heart awareness, love through action
Solar Plexus – YELLOW gathering of life force through positive work
Seat – ORANGE creativity, regeneration of self
Root – RED beginning and ending pulse, earth beat and balance
4. HERBS / SPIRIT PLANTS – oh the sweet smell of the fresh cut herbs from the ranch! “A small bundle attached to your arrow will both energize your senses as well as communicate your message,” said Tim. The basket contained:
Rosemary – “dew of the sea,” for remembrance and cheer
Lavender – “lavar – meaning ‘to wash’,” to find courage to let go of stress and fatigue, enhance intuition
Bay Laurel – “sprig of peace,” to gather strength to excel and celebrate achievements
White Sage – “wand of healing,” releases entanglements, brings wisdom
Rose Geranium – “hug of the hills,” home and memories, creativity and fertility
5. QUARTZ CRYSTAL – there was also a small dish of baby clear quartz crystals, presented by Tim with the following message: “With my clear thoughts and intentions I have crafted this arrow today, crystal clear and strong.”
Tim then showed us how to attach each of the above to a slim stick of wood, our arrow, starting with the rice paper intention, which we wound around the stick and fastened in place with a small piece of wax.
We then used the colored yarn to wrap the feathers in place, and continued winding yarn around the stick, leaving enough space at the bottom to “plant” the arrow in the Earth somewhere meaningful to us.
The sprig of herbs and the crystal were then tied to the arrow with more yarn, to create a colourful, fragrant totem of gratitude, love and positive intention!
I love any kind of ritual that’s designed to create a physical representation of my inner desires, for myself and for the world I inhabit, and was so grateful to find Tim’s workshop during my stay at la Puerta – where it turns out the magical and the mystical is all around, when you choose to look for it.
I plan to plant my arrow tonight, sowing the seeds of my hopes and dreams for the coming year and acknowledging the experiences that have brought me to this moment. 2015 – we got this!