Ritual is an act of devotion, an invitation to the universe to activate our healing. Usually associated with religious and spiritual traditions and rituals empower us as we release and renew. Rituals help us navigate through life and boost our healimn with spiritual collaboration. When we seek Divine help, we purify through ritual.
Rituals often use objects of nature to link us to the natural world; one of the most familiar is ritualistic incense. In the Catholic Church the priest waves it toward the congregation for purification them. In Judaism as the Sabbath officially ends with the Havdallah ritual, which includes lighting an incense imbued with cloves which congregants inhale, a metaphor for retaiing the sweetness of the Sabbath during the mundane week. Indigenous Americans smudge, whisking a burning cedar and sage wand over the body with the smoke..
The element integral to many purification rituals is water, a conductor and purifier. Water is regarded both spiritually and scientifically as the source of all life whether one subscribes to the biblical account of creation or the scientific timeline of evolution. In fact, scientists have discovered that every living creature from the fish to the human being has DNA traced back which parallels the Genesis chronology of creationism identifying the origin of all life as the sea. The Koran reveals, “We made from water every living thing’”. We baptize by water anald purify by water to enter holy presence. In both Judaism and Islam ritual washing or bathing is required for purification and spiritual cleansing in both life and in death. The Native American tradition the sweat lodge ceremony depends equally upon water, as the water poured onto the burning rocks creates the steam to cleanse and detoxify participants .
We can draw upon these traditional cleansing and releasing rituals to fit our personal needs. One example is the Rosh Hashanah tashlich (“to cast”) ceremony during which Jews write sins on a small piece of paper and ritualistically release it into a body of water . We can transfer this to any personal context in our lives to rid ourselves of lingering guilt, sorrow, anger, and fear. The act of writing helps the physical release, and taking our scripted woes to the sea, the river, the lake connects us to higher energies that will support the process. We can also be very practical and flushing it down the toilet or usethe element of fire to burn the paper and watch the smoke dissipate into the universe. Wherever we need healing, sometimes after a divorce or major illness, these methods will be effective.
We can use the earth’s energies by burying their words or artifacts such as photographs and other objects in the earth means of transmutation and purification. Or we can reach beyond the earth to invoke celestial energies for healing. Harnessing the energy the moon is common practice; we can clear crystals ritually by soaking them overnight in moonlight .
Ritualizing our daily experiences, that is, making sacred experiences out of our fears, regrets, desires, and hopes, striving for wholeness lets us partner with the Divine, strengthening our process. We raise our vibration when we ritualize it.
As we enter the season of shorter days and longer nights, we engage in many light –centered rituals from the Halloween lanterns to the Festival of of Light( Hanukkah) to Christmas commemoration ushered in through the beacon of the Star of Bethlehem. We move from harvesting to gifting, an appropriate time to gift ourselves with solitary rituals that promote our continued ascension. Think about giving yourself the gift of renewal through ritual. Find one that speaks to you, one from a tradition not your own, or create one that is born in your heart. This is the energy that moves us forward.
Lisa Shaw is an animal commnicator, spiritual counselor, and professor who lives in Ft. Lauderale Illumination: Life Lessons from our Animal Companions, is available on Amazon.