Holding the Darkness at Bay
Creator came to Bear one day and gave him a drum. He told Bear that he must sing his songs when there is darkness he cannot escape. Bear took this very seriously and practiced every day. The Earth heard him singing and taught him songs for the water and the rain. He would go to the river and sing to the water, his tears running down his face . . . his love ran deep for the Earth. One-day, Bear noticed a darkness coming towards him. This cloud grew bigger and bigger and Bear started to sing. He sang his songs and beat his drum so loud he was sure Creator would hear him. He called out to Creator but did not get an answer. He worried Creator could not see or hear him because the darkness was becoming so strong. The Earth’s energy came up through his feet and Bear suddenly felt grounded and not afraid. He heard the Goddess whisper, “You must use your light with each song.” Bear was confused. “What is my light and how can I find anything with such darkness around me?” he asked himself. The Earth’s energy rose up into his legs right past his belly and into his heart. Suddenly a bright light came streaming out of bear’s chest and Bear started to sing and dance and play his drum. His voice was clear, and the sound waves mixed with the light waves beaming from his heart. As Bear sang his song the darkness began to shrink down into nothing and very soon it was gone as quickly as it arrived. Creator stood in front of Bear and said, “I am happy you have found the answer to the darkness. I have always been with you. My energy flows through the top of your head down to your heart and meets the Earth’s energy fusing together to create light. This light, combined with your voice, is like a tapestry woven together as a protection from all evil.”
He smiled at Bear and said, “You will always hold the darkness at bay.”
There are many ways Earth medicine can help us to heal and clear the darkness away. Before we begin to use the natural gifts the Earth provides, we must respect and understand that each living thing has a spirit. One way to show reverence for all living things is to ask permission before picking or cutting a plant, taking a rock or anything from nature.
In Native American cultures tobacco is used as an offering. I always carry a little tobacco and use it to pray with before gathering cedar or any of the other plants I use as a part of my practice. If you do not have tobacco to give, perhaps you can place a small amount of food for the spirit of the plant or rock. It is my belief that we must feed these unseen elements - just as we would feed our own family. We do not have to put a whole table of food out (although there are cultures who do this) just a tiny amount to make an offering.
In my opinion, the Western or Pacific Red Cedar tree is the best plant to use when clearing negative energy. First, I make an offering to the tree. Then I feel that I have permission to pick the greens from the tree and hang them up to dry. Once the greens are dry, I like to burn a small amount in a fire safe bowl or coffee can. When I light this, I allow it to flare up first and then I blow the fire out. I use the smoke throughout the house and body. This is called smudging. This clears out nega- tive energies. Cedar smudge sticks are also great to use but it is important to obtain a fire safe bowl or coffee can as that will prevent any stray pieces from falling away. You can use Juniper in the same way as it is related through Earth Medicine to the Cedar tree.
I use Sage for blessings. You can pick sage in the desert or grow sage in your garden. Remember to give an offering to the plant before you harvest. The smoke used from dried sage leaves is a way of asking Creator to bless an object, baby, house or ceremony. Sage has been mistaken by some people as the plant medicine to be used to clear away negative energy. Unfortunately, that has the wrong effect and actually blesses the negativity. Sage is a very sacred plant and needs to be honored for the Earth medicine it holds. Sweet Grass is used by many tribes in ceremony. This plant is considered the oldest plant on earth by the Ojibwe and Cree, who refer to it as the hair of Mother Earth. During sacred times the long grass is braided into bundles. The spirit of this plant is one that has assisted and protected many ceremonies.
Our four-legged friends, the winged ones, trees, plants and humans take their physical or dense form from the Earth. The Earth herself holds vast amounts of energy that is expressed in all forms of life. However, the soul of those life forms, be it a tree, animal or human has incarnated from somewhere else in the universe. We are all made up of organic material and so by connecting our energy with the Earth’s energy we create a powerful way to receive what we need when confronted by dark forces.
Dark forces are a part of dualism; the good and bad, right and wrong, light and dark. If we allow ourselves to dive into our fear, we are investing in the illusion of the duality. In order to protect ourselves we can connect by grounding our energy deep into the Earth. By going further in meditation, we will find inner peace and better observe the duality. Deep meditation allows us to step back as an observer and no longer engage any part of our energy into whatever is negatively confronting us. When our fear is activated by dark forces we give them power over us but if we chose instead to only observe, that power is diminished. In a state of observation, we connect with a much higher frequency that is source.