(Jose Stevens is the author of How To Pray The Shaman’s Way: Ancient Techniques For Extraordinary Results, Hierophant Publishing, 2021.)
Aside from eating, sleeping, and the basic activities of survival there is perhaps no more universal human activity than the act of prayer. In fact, in many cases it precedes survival activities or occupies a position of equal importance. Here in this brief article we focus on a way of prayer that is inspired by the Toltecs, a people of the Americas with an awareness and philosophy on par with the Hindus, the Egyptians, and other highly advanced civilizations in world history.
Officially the Toltec is a name given to a group of many tribes who lived in Central Mexico around the tenth through twelve century CE. To be accurate the Toltecs inherited a huge body of knowledge from the many tribes who came before them and unofficially their name often refers to all the peoples over thousands of years who contributed to their knowledge. It is believed that the ancient Toltecs also taught the Maya and this is why their calendars are so similar.
The name Toltec means measure, as in the measurements of the Universe, because they were so interested in the stars and planets, the orbits of the heavenly bodies and how these movements influenced life on earth. This caused them to notice and record repeated cycles and to be able to predict events on earth based on their observations. To better accomplish this, they developed numerous calendars for all aspects of their lives from planting to understanding the meaning of their birth dates, to interpreting their dreams. They developed many complex practices to harmonize with the cosmos and thus influence their own health, life paths, and predictive dreams. These practices included many prayers that petitioned the moon, the sun, the stars and the planets, the heavens, the underworlds, and the elements to remove their burdens and help them bring in what they needed. Their prayers were often phrased like affirmations and were active practices associated with intricate mathematics.
Through their long count calendar, the Toltecs were able to track exceptionally long time-frames and predict times of stress, times of change, and the kinds of changes expected. They created a system for tracking the changes in the sun cycles and calculated that every 6,625 years the sun would enter a new phase and with this shift many events could be predicted. They labeled these sun phases with numbers and predicted that we would be shifting from the fifth sun in the sequence we are in to the sixth sun between 1991 and 2026 with a specific date, December 21, 2021 as the exact handoff so to speak. According to the Toltecs, when these shifts take place there can be many hardships and also opportunities that can be taken advantage of. Knowing this and knowing how to pray for the right results was considered a great advantage over ignorance of these events.
From the book “How to Pray the Shaman’s Way” here are some key Toltec understandings about the purpose of prayers that reflect their overall philosophy:
Prayer is a powerful and yet subtle reminder of who we are, extensions of spirit. Through the act of praying we discover the great intelligence of the universe flowing through us, providing us with inner wisdom, knowing with certainty, and accurate perception. Prayer opens our intuitive abilities, our ability to see with a much broader scope, and leads us to understand that the answers to our difficulties and our questions concerning life lie within. Prayer allows us to accurately see who we truly are, reflections of the creator in a co-creating relationship with Spirit.
When we pray we make ourselves vulnerable, petitioning for answers to our deep questions, for support in overcoming our challenges, help when we are in need, courage when we are in doubt, nurturing when we are in pain. In so doing we discover that the act of praying itself is the answer, the support, courage, and nurturing we seek and we find we are empowered.
Prayers are seeds that go out into the fertile world to spring into new life, fresh possibilities, blossoming like flowers aspects of ourselves that manifest into positive and extraordinary outcomes. To pray is to plant a colorful garden of flowers of great beauty and fragrance. Unless there are seeds to grow, there is no garden. We are the supplier of the seeds. That is our mission and purpose. This is how we honor Spirit.
Prayer comes from the open heart filled with possibilities, not the skeptical mind. When it does come from the heart, it has the capacity to heal in powerful ways. Therefore, prayer itself is a potent medicine, a medicine that can transform, remove heavy energies and negativity, making all things new.
Prayer is a gift and serves to support and nurture those prayed for. Because all things are connected in the web of life, all prayer serves to nourish everyone and not just the individual prayed for. A prayer for one is a prayer for all including ourselves. Whenever we pray for others we pray for ourselves because we are all one.
Prayers have a strong connection to the ancestral spirits because although we may not be aware of them, they are always guiding us and therefore have a say and an impact on our prayers. In other words, the ancestors pray with us when we pray. In this way prayers can be enormously powerful because they are not sourced in us alone but may be sourced in thousands of our allies, perhaps more.
Prayers are like bowls containing our energy, keeping it from spilling and leaking away, wasting it in self-destructive thoughts and actions. They are the containers that allow us to gather our energies and focus them on powerful positive manifestations that then allows the universe to support us in mysterious, surprising, and unique ways that lead us outside the traps and fears of our limited perception.
Prayers of gratitude reinforce and celebrate the vibrancy of life. Because all true prayers do this, all prayers ultimately are prayers of gratitude even though they may not mention the word. Prayers focus our attention and remind us to appreciate the spirit in everything around us, all the powerful help that supports us all the time.
At heart, prayers are fertilized ideas that seek the sunlight, the water, and the fertilizer of Spirit to grow into new realities. Prayers represent our curiosity about building something new, our expectation that our dreams will come true. Therefore, prayers reveal our trust, our faith that beyond our limited vision there are unimaginable possibilities waiting to surprise us in unexpected ways.
Finally, prayer is the antidote to fear, the self-perpetuating cancerous parasite that seeks to endlessly repeat damaging ancestral patterns and to falsely try to protect us from imagined dangers and attacks. Since fear replicates and extends itself endlessly like a thorny vine, prayer is a vital and core tool to evaporate it in its tracks and restore our freedom once again.
Here are some examples of Toltec praying to various allies for help and support written in the classic style by the author:
1) Beautiful humming bird flying to my left.
You are a friend to the flowers and you serve us with your presence in our lives.
You fly backward, upside down, straight up, and in every direction.
You can do that which no other bird can do.
Your feathers reflect the light of the sun.
You travel great distances although you are so physically tiny.
But your courage is enormous and your power great.
I blow you the breath of my good dreams, my good thoughts, my good feelings, my good actions.
I honor you and ask you to teach me and show me the ways of magic, the ways of all possibilities.
Open the way for me to do that which I thought was impossible for me before.
To do that which others thought was impossible for me.
Through your example everything is possible.
2) Beautiful sun of the evening sunset.
I call upon you. I call you, I call you. I call you.
I offer you all my troubles, all my fears of abandonment.
All my fears of being unable.
I give you my illnesses.
I give you my sadness.
I give you the hate and polarization in the world.
I give you all the war, poverty, and suffering.
I give you my hunger.
I give you my discouragement.
I give you my difficult relationships.
I accept your taking all these offerings from my heart.
I ask you to clear my fears completely.
All the heavy energies weighing down my heart.
And in exchange for my offerings I ask you to fill me with your power, your light to fill my coffers, to make my heart glow, to supply me with a huge reserve of energy so that I may be a force of good in the world.
To be a good healer, a good teacher, and good nurturer,
I suck your light into my body. Into my energy field all around me. Filling up all the gaps, all the spaces, all the places of such great potential that I have not used.
I am filling up with your light.
I am filling up with your radiance.
I am filling up with your gold.
I continue to suck in your power through my mouth, drinking in your power,
Drinking in the gold of your light to fill.
3) I call upon the deep blue-black energy, the black lady of the night.
I ask you to go inside the gaps between my thoughts allowing new thoughts to be born, so that I can solve everything from within.
Help me to command my body to automatically resist any virus, heal any injury.
Bring me balance, destroy every illness from within.
Help me to adapt to create new ways to heal.
Help me to replace what was outside with an internal path of liberation. Dreaming a new dream.
I am seeing and perceiving that my past is rearranging itself now.
Flowers surround me, beauty fills my way.
I am calling upon my allies to accompany me always on this new path of healing.
4) Below me I see a mountain of sharp flint knives. I am going to fly over it.
I am flying on the back of a great black eagle over the mountain.
Now instead of flint knives beneath me there are millions of flowers, beauty all around me.
My way is easier now, filled with color and light.
The monster that was eating my heart is gone.
The doubts and the fears are gone now.
The fears are evaporating.
The difficult black winds of the north are leaving.
The painful legacy of my ancestors is going away.
The red winds of the west are cleaning them out, freeing me and opening my way.
The gentle rains are falling on the earth all around me bringing fertility and flowers to the environment.
All is beautiful.
All is light.
5) I see the new sixth sun and the fire of knowledge melting the frozen winds, melting the ice within me.
With the help of these allies I am moving my body where it has been frozen.
I am seeing myself running on a path of flower petals, like a warrior with the power to travel on my own path of greatest destiny.
I am seeing a great river of fresh water with millions of flowers floating in it.
This river is entering my body, becoming the new blood that flows through my veins, making up my blood, cleaning my liver, curing all my health problems.
My new blood is my medicine with great power to heal.
My medicine is my blood.
I am surrounded by flowers and flowers are inside of me flowing through my veins carrying my new power.
I now carry in me the power of the medicine, the lineage of my new blood.
6) I see beauty all around me, flowers, color, beautiful shapes and forms.
Butterflies and humming birds are flitting all around me.
I am climbing onto the back of a jaguar and heading for my greatest destiny in this life, my highest and most beautiful flowering as a human being.
I am making friends with the jaguar and treating it with care and respect.
I am discovering love for myself as I ride to my destiny on the back of my Jaguar.
Thank you, Jaguar.
7) Flowers, sunlight, and wise fire.
I call upon you to support and help me transform myself in a good way.
I am seeing you beautiful flowers and great beauty surrounding me and interpenetrating me and my energy field.
All my words now become flowers and my thoughts become flowers sailing out from my head and heart.
Flower thoughts and flower words, freeing me from all the darkness.
I am visualizing the sun shining on me and within me filling up the places that had darkness.
Let the wise fire light the path of my highest destiny of complete peace for this lifetime.
No more flint knives, no more arrows in my heart.
The power of my blood is awakening, surrounded by flowers, filled with color and light.
Using these prayers as a template, if you wish you can create your own prayers in the Toltec style and discover a richness, a depth, and a refreshing way to speak with Spirit. The prayer style of speaking from the present tense, as if everything is already in play, suggests a powerful style that those familiar with affirmations, experience as effective, quickly bringing about changes both desired and needed. Their use of colorful imagery stimulates the imagination and creates rich landscapes so important in supporting the emotional foundation of strong prayers. The Toltecs teach us that rather than being dour or overly pious, prayers can be fun, playful, and creative. Why not?