This blog series is dedicated to issues raised by families I work with in my shamanic practice.
One issue, which has intensified during Lockdown, is: how do we spiritually prepare and safeguard a room for a child before they go to sleep at night, meaning how do we calm it and clear it of unwanted energies?
Lockdown has put increased pressure on all children and their families/carers. At the moment children are out of school (meaning that they have lost their social life and easy access to friends – a HUGE loss!), they can take only limited exercise (not play team sports for instance) and last but not least, when parents/carers get stressed (by uncertainties and additional pressures) the children inevitably get stressed too.
Because children have lost their school routine, many families report that the hours have shifted, children are becoming nocturnal (sleep during the day and are up all night), live in their pyjamas (if the adults let them) and they are anxious because everything is on an uncertain footing. When will they return to school? Will it be safe to return to school? Are many children really “asymptomatic super-spreaders” as has been claimed? (Very young children now follow the world news 24/7).
Today we will take a closer look at bedtime and the energetic picture around that. Please note that this blog is written for parents and other carers able to offer children a fairly secure and well-regulated loving environment. For children experiencing more serious issues and circumstances I direct you to appropriate professional services and Project Healing Wise instead.
Let’s start with the basics
It is best for children to have a regular bedtime and their body clock will know this and reinforce this
- Like adults, children need some winding down time: it is better to remove access to all electronics and the internet for the hour before bedtime
- Children sleep better in an uncluttered environment
- It may be tempting to use videos or tablets as a virtual storyteller (or virtual babysitter!) but this cannot replace the human interaction and intimacy of a bedtime story
- Bedtime stories, during Lockdown, can be used to give messages of reassurance. We cannot lie about how serious an issue Covid19 is but we can tell children how much we love them, how it is our job to keep them safe and how seriously we take that responsibility...
- If you have access to a garden or outdoor space it helps to encourage children to blow off steam and be physically tired by bedtime.
Now let’s look at the spiritual and energetic picture
Children are as different in temperament as adults are (obviously they are the adults of the future!) Therefore we cannot issue one prescription that will work for every child.
Here are some variants I have observed, both in my own family and years of work with families:
- Some children are (what we call) highly sensitive (or even psychic) while other children are more robustly anchored in the physical world of everyday reality
- Some children enjoy a fairly secure “early years environment” created by loving carers while other children are exposed to trauma (sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances such as death/illness or natural disasters, Covid19 and Lockdown being a case in point).
- Unfortunately for many children their carers (please note that I don’t say parents because not all children are raised by one or both of their parents) are the very people (for a large variety of reasons) who inflict and pass on trauma and abuse.
- Children who grow up in an environment with abuse/trauma and emotional/physical/psychological violence will not feel secure full stop. They (nearly always) need specialist therapeutic and psycho-spiritual help
- Some children are born with a higher level of innate resilience than others but trauma will affect all children and increase their need for safety, predictability and loving care, (meaning: adults putting the children's needs above their own!)
- Some children are born with shamanic gifts, they are the natural born healers and “shamans” of the future. This already shows up in their energy signature at a young age – and this can attract energies (in both this world and other worlds) they are not yet able to handle. Their carers then need to step in and put certain measures in place to contain and manage the situation (Natural Born Shamans)
- I myself was born with the energy signature of the psychopomp or soul conductor. As a child I did a lot of work in the Other World at night, helping people cross over. I wrote a chapter about this for a book: Deathwalking: Helping Them Cross The Bridge and I will direct you to my guidance give there if you think this scenario is the case with your child)
By the time we put children to bed we are generally tired (or even exhausted, shattered) ourselves. The last thing we need is an even longer sequence of actions to perform at that time, I get that! Yet, if we all want a good night’s sleep, there some actions we do need to perform. If we do them daily, the process will speed up considerably. (Also when we get sound sleep ourselves, we are more able to face the demands of the following day!)
- Ask the child to tidy their bedroom and put toys (and other objects) away. Most children sleep better in a calm environment, stripped of unnecessary stimulants (bright colours, the temptation to get out of bed again, electronics).
- Calm yourself first! Every human being produces a constant stream of thoughts while awake. Do not attempt to prepare and calm your child’s bedroom while mentally creating a checklist of all the tasks you need to catch up on as soon as they are asleep…
- Develop the mental discipline of shelving or deactivating all (your own) worries and concerns (you don’t want those energies swirling around a sleeping child). Visualise a small backpack and put them in there, leave that somewhere well away from the child’s room and return to it at a later time), use your will and imagination (determination!) to think positive thoughts only: soothing, loving thoughts.
- Decide if the child is going to help you or not (will depend on their age, their needs, their interests, their issues and level of sensitivity etc.)
- Walk around and clear the space energetically. Examples of things people use for this are rattles, a feather, smudging, aromatherapy sprays, singing bowls… (You do not need all these paraphernalia or indeed any paraphernalia! You could rattle a box of matches, clap your hands, hum… for ideas join the closed Facebook group Healing Wise – and watch Session #2: Rhythm!)
- Open the windows, even if just for a few minutes (say in winter). Refresh any stagnant air. Set a strong intention for the airflow to remove (take outside) any stagnant or negative energies (e.g. the residue of an argument your child had with a sibling just earlier, not necessarily anything more sinister than that!)
- Now call in higher or divine powers in a way that you and your child are comfortable with. For a Christian child, speak a prayer to their Guardian Angel and thank the angel for being on watch (it will reassure the child to hear you do this). Roman Catholic families might call on saints for protection and intercession. For a child in a shamanic family, call on power animals and other spirit allies. For any child (unless your culture forbids communication with ancestors): call in compassionate ancestors and ask them to keep the child safe. Other faiths or spiritual school of thoughts may have devas, deities of protection, winged messengers etc. Please do what is culturally appropriate and please do not foist your own cosmology on any child (if there is a difference! More about that below this set of instructions!)
- Many people feel comfortable asking for the help of a loved one now in spirit (or in Heaven as you prefer). Call on (e.g.) a deceased grandparents and remind the child how their love continues Outside Time, it is not gone after their death. Love transcends Death.
- Thank these beings in advance for keeping your child safe!
- In the morning wake your child up, ask how their night was, if they had interesting dreams and reinforce the message that you will always listen and take action if they need more help, reassurance etc. (Seek professional guidance on this if needed – it may prevent traumas becoming long-running scripts affecting many decades of a child’s life).
- If you are currently working with a shamanic practitioner or other professional, weave in their instructions and perform the actions they suggest where they fit best.
- If your child reports persistent nightmares or night terrors caused by “seeing things in their room”, (some children may explicitly speak of seeing dead people in their bedroom), seek specialist help! Please don't try to deal with that yourself, unless you know what you are doing.
I really need to speak about cross-cultural or cross-cosmological differences for a moment. We live in a global village and due to increased travel, the internet, the emergence of reconfigured families and non-conventional families, many people now face the issue of cultural differences (or even clashing beliefs) even within one household or extended family.
These things are not always easy to navigate but I will try to give some pointers:
Be open-minded and do not get hung-up on the form (outward appearance) of things! If your grandchild is receiving a Christian upbringing and you are not a Christian, understand that ‘Guardian Angel’ is the term one specific religion gives to a powerful spiritual being. No religion or cosmology has the ultimate take on anything (speaking as someone who was raised in (the so called) “The True Faith” as a child, this is a lesson I have learned in life!) Therefore different cosmologies operate different terms for beings, who ultimately transcend such pigeon holes altogether.
You do not help a child by upsetting their primary carer. A Christian child going home (after a sleep-over) and talking about "power animals" is not going to bring harmony to family life and communication between family members or generations. Honour the religion of the child’s parents or primary carers, and within those constraints work your magic as a grandmother, step parent, godfather, family friend or mentor. I once wrote a blog about this for my publisher’s website, which has since had a design overhaul and lost many of its author blogs, so I have just recreated the article here, on my own site: "Keeping magic live with children whose parents don't".
Does it really matter whether a child is watched over by their Guardian Angel, Archangel Michael standing to attention with his light sabre, Baby Jesus or a divine superhero?
Over years of shamanic practice with children I have come to believe that once many people power an energy form (such as Batman, Spiderman or Transformers) it exists and acquires a field of power in the other world. We human beings can draw on and benefit from that power.
From the animist point of view: All That Is has its own indwelling spirit we can contact and communicate with.
The most important thing here is that a child feels safe and held. How exactly that is achieved, actually matters less.
I like the simplicity of this one:
The earth is big and fat and round,
I love the sky, the sea and the ground,
I love the birds and dogs and sheep,
and all the animals that fall asleep,
I love the flowers and rocks and trees,
I love the earth, and it loves me.
#2 Prayer of my own making:
Thank you for today!
For the gifts and blessings this day brought us!
Great beings of light
Powers greater than ourselves
I thank you for watching over (name of child)!
(ALTERNATIVELY if a child speaks the prayer: Thank you for watching over me!)
Tonight and all nights
May (name of child) be cradled
by the love of the ancestors
dreaming future worlds into being
We especially ask
(insert names of loved ones we knew personally who are now in spirit)
(examples) Grandma X, Grandpa Y, Auntie Z etc.
To watch over (name of child)
We ask Mother Earth (or just The Earth)
For steady ground under (name of child’s) feet
For the daily food
For the chance to be alive at this time
On this beautiful planet
And help create the world of the future
Help (name of child) sleep
As love swirls around him/her
While the night
Gives birth to another day
And the Sun returns
So (name of child) can wake up and play!
So may it be!
Some families may believe that deceased family pets wait for them on The Other Side (of the rainbow bridge). Feel free to personalise this prayer as much as you like (or change it completely).
Prayers do not need to observe any rigid form – the most important thing is that they are sincere and spoken from an open heart!
I will close with a funny story from our own family life: in the days our own three children were much younger, I used to say a prayer with them that invoked their Guardian Angels. One day they started drawing pictures of angels with green wings growing carrots and flowers in our garden. When I asked them to explain this, they said: “Oh Mum, we are drawing those GARDEN ANGELS we are always praying to!”
I hope that this blog is of some help at this time of increased challenges and pressure on families, please stay well, open-minded and tolerant!
Links and resources
Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life by Imelda Almqvist, Moon Books, 2016
Deathwalking: Helping Them Cross the Bridge (Shaman Pathways anthology, edited by Laura Perry)
Project Healing Wise: see webpage on this site, dedicated to shamanic outreach work with children