Prayer, like prayer flags, takes practice. In the beginning, my prayer was more structured, and the prayer flags I made needed to be 'fancy'. As I evolved spiritually, I began to see that I could pray anywhere and any time. There is something in it for me when I take the steps to create an altar, setting on it specific items, working with seasonal colors and lighting candles. I like fire.
Since joining swapbot groups that exchanged prayer flags, I've started hanging them in my backyard between two trees. I can see them from the studio, and I brush one of my hands across them when I go outdoors. These have come to me from all over the world and have been made with a variety of intentions.
'Rules' are that fabric is cut 12" x 6", and then folded over 3" in back to make a channel to hang on a rope. Ends are left to fray in the breezes and when they come apart or fall, legend says the prayers are answered. I started including ties so the rope would not need to come down each time. I also was making one to send and one to keep each month so my rope of prayer flags had some color and content. Its taken off in swapbot and am now a participant in more than a couple of groups who exchange them.
Its giving me a chance to focus my intentions and send them out into the universe. May is all about the blooming of flowers, and about the celebration of our creativity, whether or not we are Mothers. Creating a prayer flag starts with the intention and selection of fabrics. Prayer flags are activated in wind by the element of Air.
Its a relatively new prayer form for me because I am usually inspired and guided by fire, either in candles or my fireplace. Fire-directed prayer has always been hot and fast and passionate. I've always believed that a person could join in on candle-magick-prayers by envisioning the flame and seeing the wick. Air-directed prayer requires patience. Winds here in Tehachapi are often quite fierce and I am learning to appreciate the color of the flags and the movement that happens.
Its a new way to visualize prayers being answered. Candles burn down quickly where the fraying and fading of these flags takes more visual time. Also, the flags can be personal for the person receiving them and energetically directed to the entire world. As of yet, I have not found a way to make them for a specific reason and want to think about that.
In the past, I have purchased prayer flags either individually or on a rope to hang as a group. These are Goddess flags printed for the phases of the Moon. However, now I see that buying prayer isn't the same. Its easy, and it may be pretty, but like prayer, its gotta be personal or its not as real.
Folks in these swaps get it and know that the simplicity of the art comes through. Would a recipient of a plain prayer flag get the impact of its energy? I am not sure I get it yet and need to keep working with it as an art form and as a prayer form.