We practice ceremony and ritual every day of our lives.
So much of this is unconscious, which leads me to question if we can truly call it ceremony and ritual?
There’s an inherent sacredness and intention that comes to light when we become aware and conscious of the ritual in our lives. Without awareness, we are caught between two worlds: the world of patterns (unconscious and conscious) and the world of sacred ritual (awakened and intentional).
Transform daily patterns into sacred rituals
Do you have a non-negotiable part of your daily routine? Maybe you have your coffee / tea / lemon water / smoothie first thing in the morning. Maybe, before you take in any food in the morning, you snuggle with your kids or pets, meditate, go to the gym, or go for a walk.
There’s a pattern in how we prepare for our day.
Some people never leave the house without making their bed. Others choose their clothes the night before. Some shower in the morning, and others in the evening. There are even patterns in the order in which you wash your hair and body, during your shower or bath. We all have patterns in how we begin and end our days and these affect how the day flows as a whole. We all have this patterning, whether we are aware of it or not. Some are more conscious and aware of these patterns, they may say “Oh, I have to do this, otherwise I’m off for the whole day.”
When there is greater awareness around these patterns and habits, there’s more recognition of their inherent value and meaning.
For the person who might say, “That quiet time first thing in the morning before everyone else is up is my quiet time to just Be,” there’s a huge amount of meaning and value there. Even the connection to coffee itself can feel sacred - it gives both a physiological and psycho-emotional feeling in the body; it's a sense of comfort, or perhaps a source of resilience.
Yes, we can have dependencies - certainly when our patterns become too strong around certain behaviours or habits. But, if you bring it back to a lens that our ancestors perhaps would have seen through, the honouring of this morning coffee, for example, could extend to the sacredness of the cacao plant, and the brain stimulation and nourishment to the nervous system that it could provide, and the spiritual qualities of that plant.
Though we may not be aware of it, there is a deeper connection to this ritual of having that morning coffee available to us. It can be tapped into and co-created with shifting our awareness and intention. One we can choose to tap into, or not.
What rituals do you practice now?
I invite you to pause and reflect on your day to day life. Make a list of all the rituals that you practice, or your daily patterns and ask yourself:
What is the meaning behind doing it that specific way?
What does it give me?
What does it offer me emotionally or psychologically?
Often, we do these things because they help us feel better. Somehow, we feel more organized, we feel more at ease, we feel more confident, we feel more freedom, or more connection in a moment. These are really important.
The power of intention in daily life
Our ancestors were much more deeply connected to conscious ceremony and ritual in their daily lives.
The difference between an unconscious pattern and a ritual is the awareness and the intention on a conscious level.
A ritual or ceremony is infused with sacredness and awareness at every step. There is also an acknowledgement of the sacredness of everything we use or connect with to create that ceremony or ritual.
Back to our morning coffee example.
We would first acknowledge the innate wisdom and worth and value or every aspect of the coffee plant itself - growth from a seed in the soil, to its harvest by the growers; the richness of the earth it which it was grown, to its transport to us. Some might even connect to it from a place of gratitude, respect, and acknowledgement of an interconnectedness of everything.
So, you could say you have your morning coffee because otherwise you feel stressed and anxious. But, if you peel back that pattern and sit with it, it can actually transform into something that is much more sacred for you. It already has inherent value, regardless of your judgement of what that value is. We have to be careful of our judgements and assumptions these can steal the sacredness from our lives.
This comes back to mindset, beliefs, and perceptions. There are patterns there too.
Which feels juicer, more filled with the essence of life, in technicolor?
It's just “a damn coffee," OR “the moment I smell the aroma I am lifted to a place of comfort. I adore the flavour when I add my cream before the sugar, then the first hot fresh sip nourishes me inside and out."
Create space for ceremony
Wise Women Weekend is partly about how we, as women, can return to our inner wisdom.
It's an opportunity to bring awareness to how we may be blocking this and how we can create space for it in our lives. Connecting to ourselves through ceremony and ritual can reconnect us to the sacredness of life. This includes connecting with the elements of the earth, which are, in essence, part of our being and part of everything that we do symbolically.
Through symbolism and sacredness, we can raise our heart consciousness, our connection to our own lives, and become co-creators and active participants in our lives - as opposed to feeling like life is just happening to us.
Ritual and ceremony have a place in even the smallest of actions
You might place a stone or pinecone you found on a walk somewhere in your home, and the ritual may be to look at that and remember the beauty of the forest. Or it may remind your of the love you feel for someone special in your life, because that is who you were thinking of while you were walking. The repeated gaze at the stone, and the inner connection of the heart, is a ritual.
You might have a ritual of using your favourite mug or bowl and sitting in a certain spot at your table, because it gives you a certain feeling. This may begin as a conscious choice, but over time that choice might become a little more subdued, more habitual, until it becomes an unconscious pattern.
I invite you to reconnect to that sacredness, the ritualistic impulses that we all have inherent in us!
It's important to recognize these patterns and bring them to conscious awareness. There are helpful patterns and unhelpful patterns - and there can be a binary polarity here, but in that juicy space in between, there exists a transformative quality.
When we bring sacredness, gratitude, intention and awareness to what we're thinking, what we're feeling, what we're doing, what we're intending, we can actually transform something that's been unhelpful into something that creates momentum towards something more helpful; something that we want and are choosing instead of something we don't want and feel controlled by.
Create space to feel your inner power
This reminds us of the power within us already - the potency within us.
To create space for this power, we need to take the time to step away from our distracted lives, and spend a day, an hour, a weekend, connecting more with nature, to our inner landscape, with other people who are looking to raise their heart consciousness and shift their mindset.
We need to take time to PLAY, NOURISH the spiritual aspects of ourselves, and EXPLORE some of the practices that have an innate connection to our ancestral roots. We need space for CREATIVITY, to MOVE OUR BODIES and FEEL our own POWER.
Regardless of whether you know your ancestry or not, we all came from cultures and communities that were deeply in touch with the rhythms and cycles of the earth.
Space to renew our respect for and understanding of how the elements of the earthly realm - fire, wind, water, air, ether - has always been essential to our survival and evolution. Earth elements have been both literal and symbolic parts of the ascension journey in human life throughout history and herstory.
My invitation to you is to JOIN ME at the Wise Women retreat at Windhorse coming up in October.
And if that doesn't happen for you, what about a week spent connecting and exploring in this way, with a group of women in May 2020 on the West Coast of Ireland?
Create rituals that nourish you
You do not have to be a practicing shaman, or follow a specific spiritual lineage, or be part of a known Indigenous bloodline to cultivate, nourish, and be nourished by practices of ritual and ceremony.
It's not “Voodoo” or “black magic." Unfortunately, these attitudes grew through our history of industrialization and Christianization of our culture. So much has happened in our history that changed the ideology, the language, and the perception of our more basic human practices, including rituals and ceremonies.
Everyone and anyone can create their own ritual or ceremony, if there is sacredness, reverence, respect, heart intention, and awareness of what you're doing.
I invite you to explore this in your day to day life and send me a message, send me an email, send me a note, make a comment here on the blog.
Is there a ritual or ceremonial practice for you in your day to day life, that has more value and meaning to you that you realized? How could you make it more sacred?
I also want to hear from you if you already recognize the sacredness of what you're doing!
And send along any questions that you have. As always, my heart intention is for sharing to be nourishing and inspiring for you, to raise our heart consciousness that remembers the interconnectedness and sacredness of all life.
Mother, daughter, sister, friend, therapist, teacher, coach, healer, traveler, yogi, dancer, music lover, lover of nature, student of life, spiritual adventurer, seeker of truth, joy and peace...