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Sunday, February 5, 2017

10 Reasons Why You Should be Making Prayer Ties

The sacrament tobacco is used cross-culturally as a unifying thread of communication between humans and the spiritual powers. Offering tobacco smoke or a pinch of dry tobacco carries our prayers to the "Loom of Creation," thereby reweaving the pattern of existence in accordance with those prayers. Prayer ties are spiritual offerings created by wrapping tobacco into a cloth while praying and focusing on your intention -- what you desire or expect to accomplish. They should be thought of as a physical manifestation of your prayer.

A prayer tie is made with a small (about 2") square of 100% cotton cloth and it is usually tied with 100% cotton string. The cotton cloth is usually red, but can be of any color, depending on the circumstances, which tradition you are following, or what your intuition tells you. To make a prayer tie, begin by smudging yourself and your materials. After smudging, take a pinch of tobacco and focus on your intention while holding it. Next, place the pinch of tobacco at the center of the cloth. Gently bundle the tobacco into the cloth, and then loop the string around the bundle and pull tightly. If you are making more than one prayer tie, space them evenly on the string. I usually make a tobacco tie for each of the six directions -- East, South, West, North, Above and Below.

Making a small sacred bundle to hold the tobacco makes it easier to carry on your person, to make an offering of to another person, and to hold onto for longer periods of time. As with any sacred object, treat your prayer ties with the honor and respect they deserve. Upon completion, prayer tie offerings might be left hanging in a tree, buried in the ground, left on a mountain top, added to your sacred space, or offered to grandfather fire. When prayer ties are ritually burned, they open a path of communication between the human world and the spirit world. Here are 10 good reasons for making prayer ties:

1. For personal protection. Everyone should make personal prayer ties and then carry them at all times for protection from negativity. I carry my prayer ties in a small leather pouch that I wear around my neck.

2. To protect your home from negative or unwanted energies. You should hang a string of prayer ties over each door to your home. I also hang a strand of ties over the main east-facing window of my home.

3. As a way to honor and safeguard sacred objects. I always store a string of prayer ties in with items like my sacred pipe and shamanic drum.

4. When someone is ill. Making prayer ties is a good way to pray for friends and loved ones who are sick or injured. 

5. To prepare for ceremony. The making of prayer ties is a wonderful way to prepare for ceremonies such as sweat lodge, vision quest, or whenever there is a sacred fire.

6. When someone has died. Creating prayer ties is a good way to pray for the safe passage of newly deceased souls. Unfortunately, many of the psychopomp myths and rituals that once helped prepare people for this final rite of passage have become lost or forgotten. When people are unprepared to face death, they often need additional assistance crossing over into the spirit world.

7. As a sign of friendship. Gifting someone with a prayer tie is a great way to show how much you value their friendship.

8. When you are seeking advice or information from someone. Giving a tobacco tie to someone who has helped you is a good way to show your appreciation for what they have done for you.

9. As an offering of gratitude to Mother Earth. Foster a reciprocal relationship of meaning to the Earth. Take time to honor and respect the reciprocal cycle of give and take, for Mother Earth provides everything we need to live and flourish.

10. Anytime you feel called to pray to the Creator. Regular prayer is a cornerstone of spiritual practice. Over time, frequent prayers help to dissolve our mind and through them we gain access to Divine consciousness. Praying brings us Divine help, reduces our ego, grants us forgiveness of mistakes, and much more.

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