The use of gourds by cultures around the world predates the use of pottery and baskets. Gourds come from plants in the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae). They make natural containers, and have been used for more than ten thousand years in all aspects of food and water storage and preparation. Additionally, drums, flutes, rattles and many other instruments have been fashioned from gourds.
Gourds have also played an important ceremonial role in various cultures, often being ornately decorated. It was believed that good spirits were transported to the earth through gourds and that they captured evil spirits.
I received my healing gourd as a gift when I was going through cancer treatments. The purpose of a healing gourd is to absorb and heal all the negative emotions you might otherwise bring into your body. This practice is in alignment with the Ancients’ beliefs that gourds attract the positive and absorb the negative.
Here’s how to use a healing gourd in your life. First, write down all your negative emotions. Since this is for your eyes only, be honest and specific. Next, take the paper (tear it up if you wish) and put it into the gourd. With this action, you have given all your fears, doubts and anxieties to the healing gourd to be transmuted. The healing gourd will transform your negative emotions into something wonderful in your life – a beautiful flower, an incredible sunset, an unexpected kindness or even a miracle.
Take a deep breath as you come to know that the burden of those emotions is no longer yours to carry. As your healing gourd fills up, empty its contents and burn the papers on any full moon. The full moon is a time for releasing or purging things that no longer serve us.
Use your healing gourd as often as you like or anytime you experience negative thoughts or emotions. I’m in a group of women called Mystic Souls. We meet on the new and full moon for support, growth and friendship. We have a healing gourd available at our meetings and surprisingly, it fills up rather quickly. We then have a small ceremony on the full moon to burn its contents.
Finding a healing gourd isn’t easy. About two years ago, I went searching for one as a gift. I had a difficult time finding one that was suitable for use as a healing gourd. I tried to contact the person who made mine, but was unsuccessful. I looked on the Internet, in stores and at street fairs. I found plenty of gourds, but they were decorated as birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, or didn’t have a large enough opening at the top. The few suitable gourds I found on the Internet were true works of art and the price reflected it! Finally, I was on vacation in Oregon and I found several at a small street fair. They were reasonably priced and very attractive.
If you can’t find a gourd, you can simply use a box. I know several people who have decorated lovely boxes and use them in the same manner as a healing gourd. While the gourd has a history of beliefs and tradition, I think you can accomplish the same thing using a different container. I always believe intention is everything. Although I love the symbolism of the gourd, if you cannot find one, use a container that appeals to you. The important thing is to release negative energy, letting go of anything that no longer serves a purpose in your life.