It is important to begin any ceremony by opening sacred space. When open, sacred space creates an envelope in the shape of an octahedron (8-sided, 6-pointed) around the ceremony.
The most common way to do this is to call on the cardinal directions: South, West, North and East. With each direction, invite in natural elements that represent that direction. Examples might be: summer, fall, winter, and spring; mountain, desert, ocean, and jungle; or animals, such as serpents, bobcats, buffalo, and eagles.
Next, invite the earth below you and the sky above you to complete the octahedron. Within this container everyone is protected and anything is possible.
At the end of a ceremony it is important to close sacred space by thanking and releasing the directions and other energies that were called in to create sacred space.
PRAYER FOR OPENING SACRED SPACE
winds of the South,
Wrap your coils of light around us,
Teach us to shed the past the way you shed your skin,
To walk softly on the Earth.
Teach us the Beauty Way.
To the winds of the West,
Protect our medicine space.
Teach us the way of peace, to live impeccably
Show us the way beyond death.
To the winds of the North,
Hummingbird, Grandmothers, and Grandfathers, Ancient Ones
Come and warm your hands by our fires
Whisper to us in the wind.
We honor you who have come before us,
And you who will come after us, our children’s children.
To the winds of the East,
Great eagle, condor
Come to us from the place of the rising Sun.
Keep us under your wing.
Show us the mountains we only dare to dream of.
Teach us to fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit.
We’ve gathered to honor all of your children.
The Stone People, the Plant People.
The four-legged, the two-legged, the creepy crawlers,
The finned, the furred, and the winged ones.
All our relations.
Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, to the Star Nations.
Great Spirit, you who are known by a thousand names
And you who are the unnamable One.
Thank you for bringing us together
And allowing us to sing the Song of Life.
from Shaman, Healer, Sage by Alberto Villoldo