Building a Cairn for Dedication
Cairns are a man made stack of rocks and or soil used for a variety of reasons but in particular and usually a way of dedication and a place to make offerings to a particular Deity or Entity. The building of cairns for various purposes goes back into prehistory in Eurasia, ranging in size from small rock sculptures to substantial man-made hills of stone. In Scandinavia, cairns have been used for centuries as trail and sea marks, among other purposes. In Iceland, cairns were often used as markers along the numerous single-file roads or paths that criss cross the island; many of these ancient cairns are still standing, although the paths have disappeared.
For the purposes of this however we will be talking about small man made cairns and how you can build them for the purpose of dedication.
First things first before we do anything we need to actually find a place to build a cairn for you to use, this should be done somewhere out in nature, somewhere quiet and somewhere it wouldn't be disturbed or tampered with. For those with a garden or piece of land that's not so bad but if you haven't you will need to go out into the world. Forests, mountains, hills are great places but remember to go off the tracks and find a place out of the way, remembering of course to be careful as you do. When you find the perfect spot take a seat and just sit and be with the area, make doubly sure this is the right spot to build your cairn. Do not however perform any cleansing rituals as this could be insulting or ill advised to the deity or entity that resides there. There is no real right way to build a cairn but this is how I would do it.
The next thing to do is to gather stones and rocks from the area, out in nature this is fairly easy to do if you are in your garden or land this might be hard, and you might need to gather rocks from around the area and bring them to your land or garden. You will also need to gather an offering to your entity which you built the cairn for. Good examples could be water from a local river or stream, some sort of food made from things grown on the land, bread for example, if you are following a Norse path, mead is a good choice but make sure it is something the earth can absorb and that bio degrades. Right now its time to build. Make a small mound of earth from the area in your chosen spot, it doesn’t matter if you gather bits of other stuff like twigs and leaves amongst it but make a decent sized sort of circle of dirt, like a mini hill. Take the rocks and begin to place them around the mound of dirt all the way up, stacking them as you go until you are nearly at the top leaving the soil sort of just peeking over the top. The soil will be the work surface where you will place objects and offerings.
You have now built the cairn but you need to dedicate it so for this you need to decide what the cairn is a dedication to. For me It would be Land Wights but it could be any nature based deity or entity you wish to work with. Light a bundle of incense preferably something related to your chosen entity, now land wights like Fruit smelling incense but I like to use Mugwort or Citronella as well and place the bundle atop the cairn. Sit next to your cairn and meditate for a while on who you decided the cairn is for, become peaceful but remain focused and call out to your entity offering a calling or prayer. For example
“I call out to the spirits of this land,
Heil to you Landvaettr
Heil to the guardians of this place
I sit here beside this cairn
Built in your honour
As a dedication and
As a way to offer thanks,
for working with this land
Heil spirits of this land
As you speak this prayer place your offering on top of the cairn, if it is a liquid pour it onto the top of the soil allowing it to soak in, spend some time with the cairn over the next few weeks making dedications in the same way, to build up an understanding with your deity/entity and to learn more about them before performing any major rituals in the area. Once you feel you are on good terms with them, begin your practices but each time you use the land or area make an offering at your cairn as thanks, even if you just go out there to meditate.
Of course in reality you can build the cairn however you like this is just one way to do it there are many different types and variations of stacks but as long as you put the effort in yourself the cairn will be a magickal place for you and you personally…