On Ritual and Ceremony
Ritual and ceremony have been a part of the human experience since the beginning of time. People used to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature. Innately we are a part of nature, and so this rhythm is biologically and intrinsically weaved within our very being. Our cells breathe to the rhythm of the earth and her cycles. I’ve often wondered how it would feel to experiment with retiring for the day when the sun sets and rising for the day when it rises.
Admittedly, I haven’t got around to this experiment yet and naturally find it challenging. Especially since our society just isn’t built around this natural rhythm. We have electrical lights on in our homes and on the streets 24/7 these days and if you co-habit with anyone, or have kiddos running around, it would prove very difficult indeed to hit the hay at 6:30/7. I’m still holding out hope that I’ll get the opportunity one of these days though.
Despite the addictive lure of computers, devices and fast information, we can still honour our own rhythms and cycles by mirroring them with some of the cycles in nature. For example, at the beginning of a new year, we find all kinds of people creating resolutions. Now a resolution with intention behind it? That’s a powerful thing. It is a known practice of many successful athletes, and I’m sure other people successful in their field, to visualize in detail, their desired outcome from start to finish.
Another tactic is actually to visualize it from finish to start and tap into all of the steps that will be required to get you from point A, where you are now, to point B, your desired goal. We need not wait a whole year to set resolutions as the monthly New Moon offers a perfect and potent time for participating in an intention setting ritual of your own. When setting an intention keep in mind that it’s helpful to release something as well in order to create space for that something new.
10 Steps to Create an Intention Setting Ceremony
- Create sacred space. Whether you are outside or in, designate an area for your ritual. You might create a circle with flowers or scarves and an altar in the middle. Adorn the area with anything you like and smudge with sage or palo santo to clear it and set the stage for ceremony.
- Gather your materials. This will include a pen and paper for writing down you intentions, a match or lighter for fire, and any other items that help you connect to spirit or your higher self, the Self who already embodies your intentions. Eg: candles, essential oils, gemstones or crystals, and pictures of statues, saints, deities or ancestors that you connect with.
- Connect. Close your eyes and by bringing your awareness to your body, acknowledge and begin to melt any tension by sending love to those areas and deepening your breath. Ground. Feel you connection to the earth, your seat on the ground. See or sense the moon and her energy. Feel the cool, reflective, qualities of the new moon, ripe with possibility.
- Write it down. Bring awareness to you heart, let your intentions form, and then write them down on a loose piece of paper.
- Surrender. Consider what you might need and are willing to release to draw your intention closer to you. This could be something tangible like watching Netflix one less time a week in order to take a yoga class. Or it could be a quality, an outdated belief, or aspect of self that you have outgrown but has just become a habit like hiding, shame, guilt, perfectionism, or even limiting beliefs and outlooks that you inherited from someone else. Speak those things which you are hereby releasing out loud. Affirm it and ask the Universe and your spiritual Guides and ancestors for assistance with letting it go. Do so with compassion and gratitude for the lessons that it taught you up to this point on your journey.
- Visualize. See in your mind’s eye, your intentions coming to fruition. Don’t hold back here. Anything is possible!
- Send it up. If possible and safe in your sacred space, set the paper with your intentions alight and continue to visualize, affirm and pray those intentions into reality as you watch the smoke rise. It would be powerful to use a mantra here. It can be something simple in your native tongue like:
“I call in this new version of my higher self and release anything in the way for now and for all time.”
Or, choose a mantra of your choice from the ancient Sanskrit or Gurmukhi languages:
Peace: Om Shanthi, shanthi, shanthi
Abundance: Om Hreem Shreem Hara Hara Swaaha
For faith: Shraddha
On gratitude and merging with your Infinite Self: Guru Guru Wahe Guru
On opening to love: Sat Kartar
To walk in your truth: Sat Nam
Bonus: Going forward you can also use your intention as a daily mantra.
“I am successful and abundance/love flows easily to me.”
- Let go of expectation. Absolutely keep your intention strong and clear in your heart and mind. Allow for it to show up in ways that are unexpected. Look at it a little differently than what you imagine. I’ll bet if you look at your life and the goals you have achieved, there will be some that came to fruition but a little differently than you might have imagined 😉
- Journal your experience and any insights you might have received during your intention ceremony.
The end of a year or season, and the full moon are equally potent times for releasing that which no longer serves us or has been preventing us from living our lives in the fullest expression of our joy, talents, and desires. Begin to see where you can incorporate ritual in your everyday life. It can be as brief or as long as you like. Perhaps it’s a midday walk tuning into yourself and your surroundings without your phone. Or lighting a candle and saying a little prayer for focus before you begin your work.
My favourite Ritual:
One of my favourite rituals is to take a bath after a long day of teaching and seeing clients for healing work. To feel the warmth and nurturing that the bath provides me, and then imagine any stale, negative energy or “gunk” leaving. This energy or “gunk” I may be things I have taken on from myself or anyone else, and I wish to leave my body and be released with the water as it travels down the drain.
Remember to take time for your meditation and yoga practice. Or anything else that helps remind you that you are an Infinite being and that your heart’s desires exist because they are in alignment with your Soul. They are guides toward your path of fulfillment and service in this life.
PS: If you missed by Facebook LIVE Intention Setting Ceremony with 889, you can view the replay HERE.