Posts Tagged ‘shrine’


The Five-Fold Offering: Connection To Source Through Manifest Prayer

December 2, 2009

Somewhere deep within the spiritual and genetic vaults of our beings is a desire to bring our prayer into tangible form. Since the dawn of time, this manifestation of prayer has come in the form of ritual offerings to the Most High. By allowing material items of value and connection to become ‘translators’ of prayer matter into prayer energy, we are allowing the prayer process to be not just about thoughts, visualization, and emotion- but about the bodies we inhabit and the world in which we live as well. Ritual offerings are a true rite in ‘holistic prayer’, and in this article I’d like to explore with you some simple ways you can bring these rites into your spiritual journey right now!

The Five-Fold Offering As Mirror Of The Soul

Whenever we give thanks to the Divine, or petition the Divine for help needed, we are involving the full spectrum of powers within the 5 primal elements of our life journey. These are expressed as body/earth, emotions & base desire/water, action & manifestation/fire, thoughts & visualization/air, and energy/life power. Anything we experience in this life in some way includes a portion of each of the above elemental expressions. The personal manifestation of the elements (thought, body, emotions, etc.) is personal, where the primal manifestation (earth, air, energy, etc.) is cosmic. By recognizing these five core building blocks of manifestation, and realizing how we use them in our every day affairs, we can feel a connection and closeness to the big picture that is both comforting and awe-inspiring.

The five-fold offering, which is mirrored in varied ways by traditions across time and location allows us to use these foundational powers to solidify, actualize, release and transform our prayers from this realm to the next.

By selecting offerings which resonate with our desires/purpose of prayer, we are plucking the spiritual ideal from the vagueness of the mind and making it come to life before us. This way, spirituality becomes active in the material world we call home right now. Once the offerings have been set- they then act to carry the prayer in a more direct and magnified way to the realm of All Possibility!

Making offerings can be done for a cosmic Divine ideal, a personal Deity, a Patron or the Universal Intelligence. In addition, the offerings themselves allow the prayerful to take time selecting things which they find meaningful, connected to the desire and valuable in general.

A sacred space such as an altar or shrine can be used, or a simple tabletop area which has been cleaned works just as well. Any additions you choose to make such as flowers, cloth, images, statues, etc. is up to you.

The offerings you choose must be meaningful to you, and should have a resonance of personal value and sacrifice. Don’t offer things which you are personally impartial to- or the connection will not be made properly.

Defining Your Goal And Selecting Your Offerings

Have your desire/prayer goal/thanksgiving clear in mind. Spend as much time making it as clear and direct as you can. Once you’ve accomplished that, it’s time to select offerings which are compatible to your goal. Common offerings in harmony with the elements are food for earth, water for water, candle for fire, incense/fragrance for air, action for energy. We’ll use these common associations in the next step.

So let’s say your prayer goal is a healing for a loved one….

  • Your earth/food can be something that reminds you of the ill person- something they love to eat.
  • Your water/water can be pure water for purity, or an herbal tea with resonant healing qualities.
  • Your fire/candle can be in a healing color, a favorite color of the ill friend or can simply be a flame to bring light of healing and to burn away the illness.
  • Your Air/scent can be herbal incense, a favorite perfume of the ill person, or essential oil resonant to the illness.
  • Your energy/action will be words of supplication and gratitude spoken aloud, as well as the action used to gather and place the offerings.

For abundance, think of offering a few dollars to be then given as a blessing to charity.

As you can see, this can be applied to any type of prayer working you choose. For love prayers, you may choose traditional symbols of love to offer such as chocolate food offerings, rose oil perfume, rose water, etc. Do what feels right- and always ensure the items you choose to offer mean something to you!

The Prayer Working

The process you use to do a ritual prayer offering can be as simple or complex as you choose. I always teach that you should spend more time in the energy section of the offering than you do in the 4 other elements. It should be about meditation, prayer, expectancy and gratitude-in-advance no matter what you decide.

Choose clean vessels (plates, bowls, candle holder, incense holder, etc.) to use during your working. Spend time ensuring that what you offer ON is in good repair and feels clean and looks nice to you. This is a great time to break out the fine china… after all, who could be a better guest than Source?

Assemble your offerings. Take some time with each offering to first wash/wipe/cleanse through visualization/etc. Once cleansed, each item should be spoken to to define why it was chosen (i.e. Walnuts for the wisdom I seek, etc.) and how nice it is. This connects the items to you, and connects you to their power.

It is extremely important to remember that offertory work is NOT a bribe! This work is done as a manifestation of internal prayer- and nothing more. We are not ‘giving this to get that’ from Source in this work- we are simply connecting in a more tangible, powerful way based solely on gratitude and the desire to offer something pleasing to Source. It is also important to remember that Source NEEDS NOTHING! We are not ‘feeding God’ to keep It alive- rather we are asking It to share in what it already owns. Toxicity in these understandings can create so many problems in ritual workings- so please take as much time as needed to meditate on these truths until you are confident they are in your consciousness on all levels.

Assemble the items in a pleasing way on the sacred space of your choice.

Feel free to include background music, preliminary meditation, incense, candles, etc. Whatever gets you in the mood for prayer magic!

  • Calm and center yourself. Get clear about your purpose for doing this working.
  • Connect with your inner true self, then with Divinity.
  • Present your offerings, and one by one in the order of earth, water, fire, air, then energy, present them individually by touching them or pointing to them. Explain to the Divine why you are offering these gifts of gratitude. Be proud of what you have selected to raise energy, but maintain humility and a sense of dependence at the same time to ensure that the ego doesn’t consume the offerings before they reach the Divine platform.
  • Ask clearly and with confidence that the Divine ‘partake and consume’ what you have offered, asking that it be pleasurable, loving and reciprocal.

After the four physical offerings have been made, move on to a detailed and heartfelt prayer. It’s always good to begin with a glorification of Divine mercy to attune to that energy, then to ask, then to meditate on the results being received by you (or whomever you are praying for) in totally surrender and fullness.

Once you feel the offerings have been received- and in many cases there will be a ‘switch’ in the energy feeling of the offerings…

  • Again state gratitude and thanks for the offerings being accepted and the prayer being moved to manifestation.
  • Intend that the now sanctified items which have passed into the high spiritual realm and back again be blessed to carry the power of manifestation into our world.
  • You may now, in a serene and meditative mindset, eat/drink/smell/admire the remnants. If this is for someone else, you may wish to give the food and water to them to take into their bodies, and allow the candle and incense to burn themselves out. I often like to save one of the offerings to be placed outside as a gift for all people on the earth who may need the same type of help I am asking for. This level of compassion wells up huge amounts of energy- and it seems appropriate to me to use the incense usually since I can imagine it moving across the world and touching those who need it.
  • The process of consuming blessed offerings is extremely powerful when done with awareness. If you don’t want to tell a person that the food is special- that’s okay too, and it won’t change a thing!
  • Allow yourself to bathe in the power of having taken in Divine-blessed energy in a tangible way… and I bet that apple tasted a whole lot sweeter than usual, too!

With prayers for all peace, empowerment, health and joy…

Joshua Williams


Centering Power : ۩ Spiritual Shrines Explored ۩

June 9, 2009

Shrines are an extremely powerful expression of spirituality. Almost every spiritual path in the world and throughout history has created dedicated, sacred space to connect with soul, cosmos and Divinity. I’d like to help you tap the potent healing, Divine connection and personal growth that is available by creating your own sacred space in your own unique way.

Why Keep Sacred Space?

In my teachings and in my spiritual experience- shrines should be viewed as an external expression of something happening deep within. We are walking a material/physical path here, and so sometimes tapping into that power within that exists on the more subtle/spiritual level can be tough. Keeping sacred space allows us to connect to that depth in a material way- engaging soul, body, mind and even ego in the pursuit of Divine connection!

Keeping sacred space not only literally reminds you of Divine presence in your life and the power of the path you walk every time you pass it, it also creates a deep subconscious link that ever-runs keeping you present in that sacred light.

Sometimes, when we pray within, the energy and movement we are trying to create by connecting to the Divine STAYS within. Shrines are a great way to ‘get out of your head’ and truly open up to something ‘other’.

Taosit Low Shrine

Taoist Guan-Shi-Yin Shrine

How To Get Started

The first thing you should do is pray and/or meditate. Connect not to a specific religious or defined concept of your unique connection to the Divine- but to your own. Allow feelings, thoughts and sentiments arise within you that give you the sense of being held by the All. You are certainly welcome to use religious or traditional iconography in your sacred space- but use it only if it really resonates with you. Remember that you are creating an outward symbol of your heart… so it must be personal to be powerful!

People often get overwhelmed by the idea of creating sacred space because they have seen what other people have. Don’t start there! Begin by establishing where your space will be- foundations first! Find a nice able, bookshelf, wall shelf or nook that will be undisturbed and can be kept clean. A space you can have to yourself for private prayer and meditation is also a good idea.

Once you know where the space will be, give it a good cleaning and think about adding a cloth or tapestry to the top. I have an Egyptian brocade hanging behind my shrine, and one on it that my icons and other sacred items rest on.

You’ll be surprised to find that as soon as you dedicate a space to your spiritual life- creating a new ‘center of your universe’, things that should be there will start popping up. Photos, statues, stones, offerings of food and water, prayer beads, fresh flowers, incense, candles, etc. are all common and very powerful additions to any sacred space. Keep your heart open and get excited about having the space and it will soon be filled up!

Dedication of your shrine should be specific and heart-felt. Shrines are traditionally dedicated to a specific manifestation/face/name of the Divine- so whatever form of the Divine All you work with can now call this place a temple!

Buddhist Shrine

Buddhist Shrine

What Should I Put On My Shrine?

I suggest starting with some type of spiritual iconography that represents who your shrine is dedicated to. Spiritual iconography is created (ideally) to evoke and invoke a very powerful response throughout all levels of our beings- and having the icon really helps get focused and receive.

You may choose statues of a Goddess and/or God, abstract symbols like crosses or solar wheels, painting of Deity or a personal symbol that brings that energy connection to you. Again, allow this to be personal and honor what YOU feel… nothing is wrong here!

Once Deity has been represented, you’ll want to honor It as a great guest. This is where you get to be creative and express your own unique spirituality!

There will be come items you might keep on your shrine all the time like incense burners, candle holders, dishes, stones, etc. There might be some things that come and go with the season or where you are at a particular time. My shrine always reflects the season because I offer only flowers and foods that are in season. If I am having a personal issue, healing crisis or other life change- I might represent that on my shrine to create a psychic bond between Deity and myself that won’t close down when I happen to forget for a moment that I am loved!

Traditional shrine implements from many paths include: flowers, candles, incense, oils, talismans, stones, art, photos, written prayers, and so on. Allow your soul to speak out and be creative!

Dia De Los Muertos Temporary Shrine

San Maximon Shrine

Rites And Rituals Of The Shrine

Many spiritual traditions have a set form of rite and ritual to perform at the shrine. You might want to research some of these- or better yet create your own! Here are some basic ideas to get you started…

  • Spend 15 minutes each morning sitting at your shrine in prayer and meditation
  • Make an offering of cool water and fruit each day, then eat it once it has been blessed
  • Keep a container to write prayers and requests on your Shrine and review them daily
  • Recite sacred texts or books daily at your shrine
  • Create prayer postures to symbolize beginning and ending your shrine session
  • Play musical instruments or sing to connect with the Divine

The more you work with your shrine, the more powerful it becomes. Eventually- the shrine starts to resonate and vibrate at a spiritual frequency that acts as a constant hum of blessings in your life! Shrine service should be consistent. There will be times you’ll need to break and just hang out in that space- but a regular daily session will create subtle changes within you, attract ascended spiritual masters, honor the Divine in a BIG way and just give you something to really look forward to.

Feel confident that anything you choose to offer to the Divine via your shrine service will be perfect. You have a connection and relationship to the Divine that is ALL YOURS! No one else in the entirety of the cosmos relates to the Divine in exactly the same way you do! Honor that by creating sacred space that is in praise of the Divine while honoring you as an individual soul. Doing this creates a psychic bond between the Divine and the soul that you will notice in just a short time!

Holy Spirit Backyard Shrine

Holy Spirit Backyard Shrine

Shrine Connection On The Go!

Once your shrine is established and vibrating with Divine power- think about making a portable shrine using a small linen pouch or matchbox that you can carry with you wherever you go. Find a way to connect the dedicated shrine to the portable shrine by using similar colors, symbolism, etc. so that what happens at the travel shrine will resound and connect with the dedicated shrine.

I have a small cotton pouch that always hangs around my neck. It contains (among a few secret things hehehe!) tiny images made in clay of the Divine Mother & Divine Father (Goddess & God). I love being able to hold it, feel it against my heart, touch it, interact with it and just know it’s there. Whenever I am eating on the run, I always imagine them receiving and blessing the meal in a more tangible way. During almost every session I do with a client, one hand is on my pouch-shrine 🙂

I hope this article inspires you to explore the power and potency of creating sacred space. Next week I will be writing about cleansing physical space using ancient and modern techniques such as smudging, prayers, symbols, washes and so on..stay tuned!

Peace & Blessings,

Joshua Williams