Before you get all pissy with me, I’m not talking about the American flag.
I have had the same Tibetan prayer flags hanging in the trees outside my She Shed for several years now. They have done their fair share of sending prayers out through all kinds of crazy Colorado weather. They are kind of like the US Postal Service whose motto is “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Actually, that’s a myth – the US Postal service doesn’t have a motto, never has.
It is time to retire them (the prayer flags, not the US Postal service).
If you look up what Tibetan Prayer flags are created for you’ll find this: “Prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread good will and compassion into all pervading space.” I love that – we can hang our prayers and intentions for humankind in the trees and watch the wind carry them out into the world.
Tibetan prayer flags start out brightly colored and then fade with use. Each color signifies an element — and the flags are always arranged in a specific order, from left to right: blue, white, red, green, yellow. Blue represents the sky, white air, red fire, green water, and yellow earth. All five colors together signify balance.
The best days to hang them are Mondays or Fridays. However, when they are hung at auspicious moments, the benefit is said to expand. This is especially true when you hang them on the day of a full moon or a new moon. It seemed to me that with the pandemic and the new moon hitting at the same time, that this would be a good time to hang up some new prayer flags and get their intentions out into the universe ASAP.
But what to do with the old ones? They have sent out so many prayers – it seemed wrong to just throw them in the recycle bin. I googled it. Like the American flag, you never let them touch the ground because they are sacred. You burn them to honor the compassionate intentions for all beings with which these flags were made.
So I will burn them and in the same way that the prayer flags’ mantras, prayers, and symbols went out on the wind toward every part of the globe over the last several years, the ashes from my burned flags will float on the wind and return to the earth in a final release of blessings. It seems like this is a good time to do it.
May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be safe. May you be at peace.