We are all connected. We all share the wisdom knowledge passed down generation from generation, since the beginning of times. Today we learn and honour the medicine of the Worry Basket.
Except from Sacred Path Cards: The Discovery of Self Through Native Teachings by Jamie Sams
Native women were never asked to bear a burden heavier than their Burden Basket could handle. When the Burden Basket was not in use, it was hung outside the home for another reason.
To receive permission to enter the Sacred Space of any Native American Home…it was necessary to scratch lightly upon the door. …if there was no answer, entry was not permitted at that time. The family could be eating a meal, having a Family Council, or just wanting some privacy. The decision was always honoured. If permission to enter was granted, the Burden Basket was the reminder to the guest to leave his or her personal complaints or problems in the Burden Basket before entering another person’s Sacred Space. The custom was honoured, or the visitor was barred from entering that dwelling ever again.
As Guardians of the home, the Burden Baskets were a reminder to respect the happiness and privacy of each family’s Sacred Space. …it reminded each visitor of the strength of character needed to set aside personal problems. To enter another’s home with a black cloud of worry or neediness was considered very poor manners. To be in the present moment and be willing to be a welcome guest requires strength of character.”
Modern shamanism has borrowed the concept of the Burden Basket medicine from Native Americans, to help us navigate a reality that is often too demanding, where we lost connection to ourselves and to Mother Earth. Every day we are mentally, and emotionally swept away by people’s opinions, events, and situations that are out of our control. Our mind responds automatically, and we start to worry, and to feel fears of all kinds. This automatic mind process, that majority of us are going through daily, can be re-wired in our brain, and new responses can be created. Changing the way we think, will often result in a change of our reality as well. All we need is the Power of Intention.
The Worry Basket becomes the bridge between the inner reality of our intention and the outside world. This little basket’s role is to hold all your worries and fears as they come up in your life. I usually write my worry on a little piece of paper, add details if I feel like, and close my writing with something like: “…Great Spirit, please take my worry and dissolve it in space. Let me see clearly what steps I need to do to correct the situation.” Then, I carefully fold the paper a few times, and I add it to the Basket. My intention is not to carry the burden of all the worries and fears in my body anymore. If that worry comes back at me, I just re-state my intention that I have created in the beginning, and let the heavy energy of it, flow in the basket again. Repeat as many times as you want, if you have a “sticky” issue. Adding your worries to the Basket does not mean “running away” from your responsibilities. It helps you create Sacred Space in your being, for seeing clearly what needs to be done in a situation that you perceive hostile at this time.
If you are a creative person, hand-making your own Worry Basket could be a fun project. It will also make it a more powerful medicine, as you are investing your time, and your energy imprint. The connection between your mind and your basket will be stronger. In case you cannot make your basket, and you prefer to use something already made, then have a little ceremony to clear the basket you have found, and imprint your intention into it.
Find a quiet time and space, and let all your daily tasks fade away for 10-15 minutes. Bring all your tools close by: the basket, a smudging bundle, a lava stone or any other clearing crystal, and a candle. Light the candle, and smudge yourself whispering the intention of letting go of any kind of energy that does not belong to you. Now is time to smudge your Worry Basket, clean it of the energy imprint of others, and whisper into it your new intention: “…starting today, your task is to hold all my worries and fears, so that I may walk lightly upon this plane of existence. Great Spirit, please seal my intention on this little basket, and show me how I can honour, and work with my medicine.” Listen internally to any guidance you might receive. The guidance I have received while doing my ceremony was: …”the basket needs to be smudged regularly, and all the worries inside should be burned in a small ceremonial fire, when the basket is full and should be emptied.” Now, add your lava stone, or the crystal you have decided to use, to add strength to your intention. Close your ceremony with a few words of gratitude to Great Spirit.
Lava stone, or basalt is basically molten lava that has solidified under intense heat and pressure. Basalt can be any color from grey to black. It is a stone with great clearing properties, being born out of fire. It is useful in dissipating negative energies, anger, promoting stability to ones life.
The Worry Basket is not only a personal medicine, it can also be a family medicine, where it would hold everybody’s issues, fears, and negative emotions. To work together means to get stronger together, as partners, as family, as a community. Worry Basket can also serve as a reminder for your own home guests to let their problems in the basket and honour your own Sacred Space – your home.