Making the Willow offerings is a traditional part of the sacred Sweat Lodge ceremony and the Fasting ceremony.
The meaning behind it is to bring or weave in to the offerings, while making them, all your thoughts, intentions and prayers, all you want to ask your ancestors and spirits to help you with. The offerings represent your prayers. They stay with you in the Sweat Lodge during the ceremony. They stay with you in your tipi/lodge during your fasting time and absorb all your further prayers and thoughts.
After the ceremony you can hang them on the trees and leave them to connect with the spirits...
you can burn them so the smoke will go right to the sky and connect your prayers with spirits and ancestors…
or you can let them go to the river to find their own way...
Living in London doesn’t give us an opportunity to attend the ceremonies as often as we would like.
When I was going through a difficult and challenging time years ago, one of my teachers advised me to make some offering just where I was – in London. She assured me that it will work, and my prayers will still be answered even without attending the whole ceremony. She said “It will be your own ceremony”.
I did it, and it worked! All my prayers were answered when the time was right. It also helped me to be patient and calm while waiting. I have made more offerings since.
I am so grateful that while living in London I am still able to follow these beautiful teachings and happy to share my experience and knowledge of making Willow offerings with you.
It is also very fortunate for me to have a lovely neighbour who offered to share some of the willow from her allotment.
Before cutting the willow you need to put a pinch of tobacco to the bottom of the tree, into the ground from which the tree grows. By doing this, we connect to the spirit of the willow. That would be the time to ask the spirit for its permission to cut some of its brunches.
We take the willows life in order to give a new life to ourselves, a new beginning. The best we can do for this exchange is to pray and express our gratitude for taking the life. The willow which we cut is a gift. This tree gives its own life for us to make our offerings so our prayers will be answered.
Don’t cut more than you need. After peeling off the brunches some of the leaves and the bark will be dried and used in a mix with pipe tobacco, some of it will be burned. The smoke will connect with the willow spirit in the sky. This is another form of expressing our gratitude to the willow for taking its life.
Please don’t throw any leaves or bark - from the willow which you cut - to the bin.
You will arrive at my place at 10-30 am. Martin and I will drive you to the allotment at 10-45. Mary will be waiting for us there at 11 am.
We will offer some tobacco to the willow, and then cut some of its brunches to make our offerings.
Before lunch we will peel our willow and cut them in 40 little sticks.
1 pm – Shared Lunch
After lunch we will tie the sticks together making it one offering. While doing it, we will concentrate on what this offering is for. If you have more than one issue to pray for, you can make more offerings.
It is good to be clear, when you come in the morning, on what you will be making your offering, so you will cut enough willows.
After that we will seal the edges of our offerings with red paint (which comes from earth and will be mixed with some bear grease).
We’ll be having a roast chicken dinner with plenty of vegetables for vegetarians.
Pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual which connects physical and spiritual worlds, link between the earth and sky. Smoking the pipe connects us all together. It connects our spirits with all the spirits of the people who smoked this pipe before. It brings together our prayers and offerings with our ancestor and spirits. I will mix all our tobacco together for smoking the pipe. It will be a perfect finish of the day.
There are a few ways of what you can do with your offerings afterwards. You will find out about it on the day.
-- lunch to share
-- a small (25g) pouch of pipe tobacco: a little pinch of tobacco will go to the willow tree before cutting it; the rest of tobacco you will offer to me along with your offerings in the beginning of the pipe ceremony; you will have to say then what this tobacco intend for
Place to meet
My address is 65A Park Hall Road, N2 9PY
East Finchley, North London
Please do not be late!
We will be leaving my house promptly at 10-45 am
We ask you for a suggested contribution of £50 for spending the day with us.
We leave it up to you to decide what you would like to give us in exchange.
You are very welcome to give us more if you feel it is worth it, and if you feel that that suggested amount is still too much, please leave what you feel is right.
Please put the money into the Bear box.
Photos made by Martin Robbins, Olga Sampson and Terry Forrest
Please join us on Saturday, 25th or Sunday, 26th November, 2017 in East Finchley, North London for an exciting afternoon in the tradition of the Cree First Nation Natives. It will be five years in November since we started to organise these circles in London.
The circle is a recreation of a Sacred Sweat Lodge Ceremony. It is a unique opportunity for you to experience the ceremony without actually being in a real purpose built Lodge.
The meaning of a ceremony is a purification of the spirit, mind, emotions and the physical body; letting go of unnecessary fears and blocks and allowing the new to come. You will definitely find yourselves rejuvenated and re-energised after the circle, feeling whole and peaceful.
You do not need to have Reiki to come to this circle. It is open to everyone!
Don Beacham is a Native American Indian belonging to the Norway House Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. He has followed Native Spirituality for over 35 years. His Cree name is Wapun Muskwa, which means White Bear. He is a traditional Pipe Carrier, and has earned the right to run Sweat Lodge ceremonies.
Don is also trained counsellor, who enjoys sharing his teachings and years of experience with people who are on their healing journeys. He has worked for many years in a combination of traditional ceremonies, counselling healing circles and drumming, providing a safe and nurturing experience for individuals of various backgrounds and capabilities. Aside from B.C. and Alberta in Canada, Don has conducted sacred traditional ceremonies in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, England, the Netherlands, Germany and France.
Anneli Twan, Don's wife, is of Swedish and Canadian / Native Indian decent. She is the daughter of Wanja Twan, one of the 22 Reiki masters initiated by Hawayo Takata. Anneli learned her First Reiki Degree from Hawayo Takata at the age of 10 and was initiated as a master by her mother in 1984.
For the past 30 years Anneli has travelled with Wanja teaching Reiki and supporting the communities. She carries her motherʼs wisdom and shares Takataʼs teachings.
Anneli is also a Pipe Carrier. She assists her husband Don in Sacred Native ceremonies, and finds that the Native teachings compliment the healing work of Reiki and is happy to share her knowledge and stories with others.
Dates: Saturday, 25th November Sunday, 26th November
Provisional time: 2 pm to 6 pm on both days
Fee: £55 on each day
Location: East Finchley, North London
Venue: Finchley Youth Theatre
Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
To book a place please contact Olga Sampson 0777219298
My dear teacher Wanja Twan was initiated as a Reiki master by Mrs Takata in 1979 in BC, Canada. Her daughter Anneli Twan learned the 1st level Reiki from Mrs. Takata at the age of ten years old, and six years later became a Reiki master. Since, Anneli has taught Reiki in Canada and other countries when travelling with Wanja or by herself. Wanja Twan officially retired in 2009, so Anneli is carrying on the Twan tradition.
Later this year, in November, Anneli Twan is coming to visit us in the UK from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. We are organising two Reiki circles during her visit. This is a great opportunity for the wider Twan lineage to gather together to feel united as a community and to feel the essence of our lineage. It does not matter who is your Reiki master, as long as your lineage goes to Wanja Twan - you are very welcome to join us
Reiki II Circle- **£45
Saturday, 18th November, 2017
2.30 pm - 5.30 pm
Reiki I Circle & Share - £55
Sunday, 19th November, 2017
12 noon - 5 pm (day starts with shared lunch from 12 noon)
Both circles will be held in Battersea, SW11 4QN
**For Reiki II students who wish to attend both Saturday & Sunday - £85
If you have any question about the circles, what to expect, etc. please feel free to call me any time 07772192989
Many people through out the UK in Reiki community will try to gather for this celebration, do some Reiki sharings, have Reiki circles, go for some lovely works in a country side, or just go for a picnic together!
I thought it is a good opportunity for us to meet up also! I would like you to invite you, your friends, neighbors or family members even if they do not have Reiki, and there is a very good reason for that. If you can not come yourself for some reason, please let others know about this event!
We'll start from a welcoming circle, where I invite you to share your experiences with Reiki, tell us what Reiki brought to your life, how Reiki changed you, etc.
I will give everyone who does not have Reiki yet, but interested in Reiki, a 10-15 minutes Reiki taster. I will offer to all my students a Reiki blessing!
Please bring your lunch or some snacks with you and we'll share lunch together.
You will have an opportunity to ask me all your questions.
We could finish the day with a Reiki share, but that will depend on how many people will come. I thought it will be good to finish by 4 PM.
I ask for a £15 contribution please.
Please start to arrive from 10-30 AM so we can start at 11 please!
Let me know if you are coming.