Exercises for Health and Spiritual Well Being

There are many forms of taking care of your spirit and healing using Chumash traditions. Song and dance, making prayer ties, creating a music instrument and gathering medicinal plants are a few that everybody grew up knowing in a traditional community. These are the basic tools to “staying on track”, or whatever we are calling it these days, “balance” or whatnot – a community relies on the health and productivity of it’s members and people were taught how to get and stay well. These are the simple things that were common knowledge that everybody did everyday, like brushing our teeth.

Song and Dance

A selection of Chumash stories and songs is available here.

Chumash Prayer Ties

Chumash Prayer ties is an exercise of prayer, meditation, patience and surrender and involves a commitment to one’s self. It is a test. It begins by committing to something – drinking mugwart tea for four nights in a row before bedtime, using one white sage leaf per day in your water bottle and committing to gathering the plants and materials to complete your exercise are examples.

Chumash Prayer Ties Meditation Tools

Making Prayer Ties

This exercise is a cycle, you begin and complete something and it releases blocks in your energy so something good can happen, so you can do something good or better, become a tool for goodness. This starts with intention, your commitment and praying for your spirit, healing and growth. A dry white sage leaf burning in a Pacific clam shell represents that someone’s spirit is being prayed for.

Tying Chumash Prayer Ties

Start with light cloth and cut into approximately 2-inch x 2-inch squares, you will need 365 of these, plus your age. However you go about it, you want to tie and have (365 + your_age) strung together. You will need to gather or acquire medicinal tobacco, or local tobacco to your geographic area. If necessary, any kind of tobacco can be used. A ‘pinch’ of tobacco rolled around between your fingertips goes into one of your 2″ x 2″ cloth squares, twist it and you tie a square knot, right over left then left over right. Make 365 + your_age of these.

Your Energy Goes Into This

Taking time out of your day to sit down and calmly make some prayer ties is the routine part of the exercise, tying the knots is not easy and the test is quickly realized. The goal is to do this well and as with any meditation, that comes with practice. Sit calmly, breathing through your nose with a positive posture and maybe the corners of your mouth turned up with relaxed brows and feel the fabric, it can’t be forced or overcome with strength, it’s patience and calmness that are the strength in this.

Completing This Exercise

These will end up on a string with the ends tied together. You wind up with a very long wreath of your prayer ties. This will be burned in a ceremonial fire or an intentional fire that you make to burn your prayer ties in a safe and special to you place. Have a stoked up fire that will consume all of your prayer ties and place them into the fire.