What is a ritual?
We all practice them daily. But really don’t equate the word "ritual" with our daily patterns and habits. Basically, rituals have evolved out of patterns that have given results.
We all like predictable results – I like it when I move through the pattern of making my coffee. Yup, this is a morning ritual for me! I complete the pattern so as to have, not only a tasty cup of coffee, but also feel the grounding of the pattern, as I move through it. Turning on the coffee maker, measuring the water, smelling the coffee grounds as I place them in the strainer, and all the other small workings of making a coffee – this pattern moves me into the world of being conscious and awake for my day. Of course, the second part of the ritual involves the drinking of the coffee in a quiet space and breaking my fast with a warm caffeinated liquid. When this pattern/ritual is not completed in the normal order, I often feel that my day is off kilter. It’s a magical spell of sealing my presence in my day.
Everyone has rituals that they complete throughout their day to help them. It’s unconscious, but it happens because the patterns work in a way that gives us predictable results and moving through those patterns makes us feel that we have controlled something and created what we want.
Other rituals include doing things at the end of the week that close out that space of time and give us a sense of completion. Many people take the last day of the week to clean their house, or wash the clothes that have accumulated. Some gather with friends and share food and libations. And others take the time to sleep and rest. For the most part, these are weekly rituals that don’t have a sense of sacredness, but that does not make them less magical. They are needed and loved – for the most part, although I don’t especially love the cleaning part – I’d like a maid to come and complete that ritual for me! But I do try to take the extra moment to add my conscious thought and prayer to the act of cleaning. Blessing the broom or the cloth that is dusting away the debris of the week and moving the energy of the room to a less chaotic state. Making the bed up with clean linens and consciously smoothing the sheets so that they cradle me and keep me safe and warm while I sleep. It's the little extra consciousness that adds the magic of sacred to the tasks.
Make each task into a magical moment…
So where does ritual become sacred? All rituals can be made sacred in some respect. The ones we place more conscious thought on in order to achieve our desired results make them sacred. These aren’t daily rituals. When I consciously set a space for classes or for session work, I go through a series of actions and thoughts in order to build energy up – both in myself and in the space in which I am working in. This extra energy that I am calling in to help me and my participants in the task of learning and healing. This, for me becomes a sacred ritual.
When I add the conscious thought to the tasks I am completing, I am making a pattern into a sacred ritual.
What about the sacred ritual of meditation? Some people don’t think of meditation as sacred, but it is – it’s a time for me to get quiet and listen to the voice of my soul and connect with the Divine. The ritual begins for me when I find my space, the place where I will sit and contemplate, clear out any extra stuff that will distract me, add things that will make me feel comfortable and safe. As I move through these tasks, I am adding the conscious thought of the desired results that I want. I bring in candles – to add scent and soft light, and as I light them, I take the moment to ask that they bring in their energy to the meditation. I bring in crystals or rearrange the ones that are already there, and ask that they also bring their energy and consciousness to the meditation. Once all is set in place, and I settle myself down – then I can feel the energies that surround me and help me in my meditation.
The sacred comes in when you
add conscious energy to the actions.
There are many forms of ritual – and each can be made sacred by adding in your prayers. You can add additional elements such as candles, herbs and crystals to emphasis the sense of energy building that comes with sacred ritual. Or you can use the things that are already there by acknowledging them and asking them to add their energy to your desired outcome.
For the most part, I create my rituals – daily or sacred – by myself. But there are times when I am working with others and we incorporate the patterns that we have by blending together the processes we have used to gather our conscious thoughts and create a special ritual. Each person adds their consciousness to the actions and to the desired results.
I am always open to learning new ways to add energy to my rituals. Leave me a comment below and share some of your ritual practices and how they add a special sparkle to your day.
At the September Mystic Mornings and Mystical Evenings class, I will be teaching a class on Ritual and explain how to create a sacred circle in your space. Check it out on Facebook: Mystic Mornings & Mystical Evenings