Before we started an altar cloth was placed in the centre of the room for people to put power objects, which included Mila’s beads and flower water, statues of gods and goddesses, runes and photographs of people’s ancestors. Once the candles were lit we turned out the lights and gathered in a circle around the centre piece.
Once the mood was set Mila began the shamanic ceremony by cleansing the air around each person with a feather laced with flower water, combining her sweeping of the feather with soft chanting. A couple of pagan soc members commented afterward that during this process they heard bird's wings.
Mila called to Deusa Mae, Shaman Alba Maria, the ancestors of the Amazon and spirits of the elements before she started drumming, encouraging us to let go and give voice to any sounds we wanted to utter. The second section involved a group chant in Quecha, the sacred language of the Peruvian Incas to connect with the spirit of the Grandfather Fire and our inner flame to keep our hearts warm: “haya ya maha ya ya maha ya ya hae.” The last part involved listening to the drum song to find inspiration for our intentions for the next week, and when we felt compelled to do so voicing our intent to the circle. This was followed by chanting the words together as a group to bring them to be.
After the ceremony we passed the mead horn, toasting the gods and our ancestors, taking it in turns to speak about our grandparents and great grandparents and giving thanks before making boasts and sharing food.
What struck me the most was the way our traditions blended, the deities and ancestors of Brazil coming to mix with those of our British and Northern European heritage. Toward the end of the drumming ceremony I could feel the energy along with a strong sense of the presence of the ancestors, some of whom had crossed continents to join us on this atmospheric wind blown and rain swept November night.