Hello all, long time no blog *adds to resolutions* – it’s good to feel like blogging again
I’m reading an awesome book at the moment: Awakening to the Spirit World – The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman, and it is so inspiring. I’m halfway through and it has changed my practice already, when I’m finished it I’ll do a little review.
One of the chapters I have read is about ceremony and ritual (ceremony loosely defined as a prescribed format in which each participant knows and follows their parts, and ritual as a ceremony – no matter how simple – where the participants can be free to go with the flow and deviate from structure as the energy dictates; by this definition no two rituals will ever be the same) and this is a topic I am comfortable with. I love the structured framework you get from a ceremony, I love the opening and ecstasy that is ritual. So I have to ask myself, when did I lose so much ritual from my life?
You know how it is. You get busy, you get overwhelmed, you have a difficult year (yes, 2010, I’m talking about you) and you forget how important it is to take the time to honour things. You forget how it is to just be. Last year, I reserved only specific time for ceremony and ritual. And, if I’m honest, I was busy right up till it started, and rushing off as soon as it ended to finish some work, deal with some crisis or fall into bed exhausted before another early start. This is not the way I want my life to be. The thing is it was such a difficult year, with so much going on, that I believed the illusion that I didn’t have time to stop and just be – I got caught in the bad dream. Ah well, 2011 is going to be so much the better for waking up from it!
Part of my misconception there was not just that I didn’t have time for a lot of ritual, but that any ritual will take up a lot of time. A ritual doesn’t have to take a couple of hours, it doesn’t even have to take one hour. The book reminded me that simple rituals, with the most basic framework of ceremony, can be really powerful. It also reminded me that we don’t have to wait for some big event to warrant a ritual – anything you want to empower, honour, focus your thoughts on or give thanks for is worthy of ritual.
In the past few weeks I have experienced some beautiful ritual, and with none of the trappings that my Wiccan training has brought me to know and love over the years. My coven’s winter solstice ritual was cancelled due to severe weather, and the ritual was adapted and sent out to us all so we could do it at home alone so we would all still benefit from each other’s energy. The thing is, when I came to do it (and before I started reading this book, actually) I just wanted some simplicity. I cast the simplest of circles, I meditated, and I sat and drank a cup of tea with my Gods. It was lovely.
A few days later, I attended an ayahuasca ceremony, which was mindblowing and I will blog about it next week. By Ingerman and Wesselman’s distinction it was a ritual, not a rigid ceremony, and again it was a far cry from the Wiccan ritual that I am used to. Intuitive and free flowing with the energy of the group, I was freed from the responsibilities of having a prescribed role or any expectations at all in the circle; it was liberating!
Then I started reading this book and the penny really started to drop about how much ritual can be incorporated into my life. I performed a lovely drum journey / ritual to meet the spirit helpers of my cats (I talk about the results in this month’s radio show – did I mention to you guys that I have a radio show now? – you can hear it on Radio Lightworker). It can’t have taken more than 15 minutes, but it created a beautiful space in my home, and was enlightening and satisfying. Last night, I realised that I needed to get a better understanding of one of my spirit teachers. So I did a ritual, right then and there, for the purpose of learning more about him. Some sage, some rattling, a clear intention. Simple. But what I got was so clear – some teachings, some questions answered, and tips for how to create a stronger connection with him in the future. Then some dancing, and close. Fun It was probably still done inside of 15 minutes, yet I got everything I came for, with no rushing.
Now I am working an ‘integration ritual’ into my distant healing work. In my journeys I am given a unique ritual for each individual client, and this ritual allows them to meaningfully connect to the healing in a very conscious way, even though they are in a different city or country to me. They don’t need experience, lots of time or lots of materials for this to happen, just an open heart, a clear intention and a little bit of time and space to just be.
Now I’m looking to honour so many things with a little bit of ritual. Business is so busy – I have the new company www.starfirealchemy.co.uk , the radio show, the ever growing student and client list, more writing opportunities, this time seems to be offering an abundant flow the likes of which I have never seen before. Yes, I am busy. But on Sunday, I will take some time to create and enjoy a ritual of thanksgiving for all this, and to keep that energy flowing. And then, I’ll take some time to just be.