This is one of a series of articles exploring the ongoing magic that is the Calgary Community Healers’ Council.The Community Healers’ Council is a ritual practice group, much like a community choir is a musical practice group. We gather together to develop our ability to move into deep ritual space as a collective.
Through ritual teachings and practices, we’re working to strengthen a non-physical capacity that exists with in all of us. This capacity, the ability to intentionally configure our individual and group consciousness for connection with the unseen realms, makes possible profound healing, learning, and transformation.
The Community Healers’ Council is an evolving exploration into the practices of individual and collective healing, and we gather to learn how to come into right relationship with the sacred living world.
Our indigenous ancestors (often many centuries back in Europe) understood that the landscape, the spirit powers, and the dead and non-yet-born are all part of our community. For this larger community to be healthy and sustainable, everyone’s voices must be included. As people raised in the teachings of dominant Western consciousness, however, we have mostly forgotten how to take part in this conversation, and the Community Healers’ Council is one attempt to remember.
One of the primary ways to participate with the world around us is through ritual, and at the Community Healers’ Council, we’re developing our own ritual practices. As an example, we’ve created a collective medicine bundle, a set of Council Stones, each of which is held by a current Council member. The stones guide and focus our work, and the relationships we are developing with them are profound.
When participants registered for the first semester of the Council, in September 2015, I asked each of them to find a local stone that was willing to bring the healing wisdom and energy of this land into the work we do. Each person prayed over that stone in the weeks leading up to the Council, asking that the stone help the group to be a strong and sacred container, a place for learning and healing.
At our first meeting, we painted the 6 directions of the medicine wheel in silver on each stone, and each person added a dot of personal colour to the stone that they brought, to mark their connection with it. Then, in a ritual of heartfelt exchange, Council members passed the stones from hand to hand to hand, until they ended up with the person who would carry them for that semester. When each person had their new stone, they entered into a ritual agreement to tend and connect with it for the next two months, and added a new dot of colour.
At the end of the semester, we did another ritual to close the relationship each person had with their stone, and returned them to the main bundle. I tended this bundle until the next semester began, when the stones were ritually distributed again, a new agreement for relationship was made, and a new dot is added. We’ve continued this ritual cycle through each semester of the Council.
During the semester, Council members work closely with the stones, asking them to help us learn to hear the voices of the unseen world. We invite the stones to bring us messages in our dreams, messages that will be of value to the Council as we deepen our understanding of ritual practice. As I write this, we are wrapping up the last session of the 3rd semester, and it’s amazing how deeply the stones have guided and shaped what we do.
The ritual with the stones is part of developing the field of consciousness that is the Community Healers’ Council. Through intention, awareness, and openness to relationship, we are building an energetic matrix, a pattern in the larger field of our community that supports healers and healing. My vision is that, years or decades from now, these stones will have been tended by many people, each of whom has added their own dot of colour. The medicine bundle, and the field of the council, will deepen and strengthen through the energy and intentions of all who have participated in it.