Wanting to mark the significance of our student’s journey through yoga teacher training, Leigh Evans and I created beautiful graduation ceremonies, with rose petals, foot baths, healing work, sweet mantras and a laying of a long stem rose across the chest of our graduates. The allusion to a funeral harked the bittersweet moment of celebration and an ending of a period in time. Reminiscent of savasana, the final relaxation at the end of a yoga class, translated as corpse pose, these rituals held beauty, significance and a moment outside of ordinary time that stoked my fire of desire to learn more about ceremony and ritual.
Blessed and mentored by a women’s ritual group from Montclair, NJ, I started celebrating earth holidays and moon cycles with a small group of women or with those on retreat and even solo. The Woman’s Wheel of Life (Davis and Leonard), is an excellent resource guide for creating rituals and has helped me feel empowered to write my own prayers for aspects of the ritual.
To go beyond relative time, create sacred space and alter awareness is ritual. Full of beauty and stimulating to the sense, ritual uses the six senses (mind being the 6th) to captivate attention, so magic can be witnessed. Rituals can be used to mark significant periods in time, like the full moon, the passageway to motherhood, a death or birth, releasing of old ways that no longer serve, anything can be honored by a ritual. They are like momentary pieces of art that remind us of the beauty and magic in the world.
Here are the seven elements to create your own ritual. First we call in the directions. Second the space and each individual are purified by smudging. The intention is stated out loud. Energy is then raised, by chanting, dancing, drumming or meditating together. Then the body of the ritual is performed, energy is grounded and the circle is open. Afterwards, there can be time for sharing or journaling and food and drink can be enjoyed.
Call in the 7 Directions. South, West, North, East, Earth, Heaven’s, Heart.
Here is the version I use. I would encourage you to study each direction
and write your own prayers, ones that are meaningful to you. When I lead rituals
I print out a copy from the link above and cut them into strips. I then give 1 directions
to each person in the group to read.
2. Purification. Smudging. Its important to clear away worry, stress or harmful energy
that we bring with us to the ritual. White sage is purifying. Holy water, moon water or
crystal charged water, a gong, bell or tibetan bowl could also be used for purification.
3. State Intention. This is the reason why the group or individual has gathered and what
the desired outcome or benefit will be from the ritual.
4. Raise the Energy. This can be done through, chanting, drumming, dancing, meditating
in silence together, your imagination is the limit.
5. The Body of the Ritual. For a new mother, this may be sharing birth stories, braiding
her hair and massaging her feet. For a death it may be the crafting of memories into a
shroud. For life transition it may be tossing the old into the fire or river and releasing
the new to the unknown.
6. Ground the Energy. After the body of the ritual is complete, it’s important to
come back to the earthly plane, in which we operate our day to day. We can touch
the earth, come into childs pose, sit quietly on the ground. Feel our feet on the earth.
Place a drop of vetiver essential oil on Kidney 1 point on the soles of the feet.
7. Close Sacred Space. May the circle be open but never unbroken. The 7 directions can
be honored and thanked here.
After a ritual it is wonderful to have a little time to share, for each person to describe their experience. Food and drink to celebrate!!
I’d love to hear what you create: email@example.com