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"The whole world is sacred,

With man, profanely ignorant of the temple

     within which he walks,

Blessed by it nonetheless."

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in a Year of Sacred Ritual.  It was my pleasure to share this journey with you!

Rituals, when done mindfully, are exercises in bringing the sacred down to earth.  Rituals connect us to our history and our ancestors and strengthen the energetic bonds between us.  They provide comfort and stability in a world that's always changing.  They help us align our intentions with our actions.

 

Even something as mundane as washing the dishes can be a sacred practice, if we do it mindfully and with intention.  It takes only a subtle shift - a mindful moment, a deep breath - to turn an ordinary moment into a sacred one.  With the purposeful acknowledgement of something deeper and sacred in everyday life, everything changes.  And it only takes a minute.

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Creating an Altar
CREATING AN ALTAR

Have you ever walked into a church, temple, healing space, yoga studio or other sacred space and felt the subtle shift in energy?  Perhaps you feel more peaceful or centered.  You notice the stillness.  Your heart expands. Things start to become clearer.  What if you could experience that every day in your own home?  How would your life be different if you began each day with clarity and peace?

 

One of the simplest ways to cultivate a relationship with the sacred is to create an altar in your home.  Here's how to do it:

 

     ​1.     Find a place that you can dedicate to sacred work.  Your altar can be the corner of a room, a shelf, a small table, or even the top of a dresser.  What's important is that you claim it as a sacred space and begin to treat it that way.   If you'd like to set a specific intention for your altar (such as personal healing) or design it around a theme (such as the four directions/elements, the chakras, etc.), begin to think about that now. 

     2.     Intentionally and mindfully, clean your altar space.  Remove all clutter and wipe your altar with a damp cloth.  When the space is physically clean, consider burning sage or incense or diffusing an essential oil.  My favorite essential oils for clearing are sage, rosemary, lavender, orange, frankincense, hyssop, spikenard and palo santo.  When you're done, your altar should feel clean and clear.

     3.     Begin gathering sacred items for your altar.  Find items that are personally meaningful to you, make you feel peaceful or bring you joy.  Some suggestions:

  • a prayer rug, scarf, or fabric that looks and feels pleasing

  • pictures of any spiritual masters you feel a connection to (Christ, Buddha, angels, goddesses, etc.)

  • sacred earth items - rocks, seashells, pinecones, seeds

  • crystals or gem stones

  • flowers or plants

  • candles

  • prayer beads

  • poems, sacred books or inspiring words

  • mirror

  • chimes or bells

  • a sand tray to draw in

  • anything that feels sacred to you!

 

Consider designating one area of your altar to honor the earth and the changing seasons.   Here, you can keep seasonal items from nature (i.e., fresh flowers in the summer, leaves in the fall, seeds in the winter, etc.)

     4.     Arrange your altar in a way that feels pleasing and has personal meaning.  Be intentional and mindful as you place each item.

Take your time with this ritual.  Your altar is a reflection of your divine nature.  It should make you feel peaceful and joyful.  It's a place you can come back to anytime you want to reconnect with your sacred self. 

 

The more times you return to your altar, the stronger the energetic connection will become.  Sacred places around the world were made sacred by the devotional practices of the people who visited them.   Acknowledge your altar every day in some way (bow to it, say a prayer or simply touch your sacred items).

CREATING SACRED SPACE

The sacred ritual I'm offering here is an expanded version of my audio meditation Creating Sacred Space.  To make it more personal, I'm asking that you create your own invocations from the wheel outlined below - one for each direction or balance point.


To create your invocations, start from the center of the wheel and move outward, choosing the energies that resonate with you for each of the four balance points.  For example, starting at "East," you might choose "East, Air, Beginnings, and Rising Sun."  Put these words together in an invocation, such as "I call upon light and the element of Air from the East, the direction of the Rising Sun and beginnings,"  or "I call upon light from the East, the element of Air and all its guardians." 

If there are specific animals that speak to you or if you feel a strong connection to certain spiritual masters, please include them in your invocation, such as "I call upon the light of Christ at the East, the element of Air and all its guardians, including the hawk and eagle, butterfly and bumblebee."

Once you have all 4 of your invocations written down, practice creating sacred space as follows:

 

     1.     Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed.  If you have an altar, connect with it in whatever manner feels right to you (light a candle, bow to it, touch your sacred objects, etc.).  This strengthens your connection to your altar and offers a symbol to your subconscious that you're preparing to engage in sacred work.

     2.     Connect with the earth.  Feel the earth beneath you.  Breathe into your heart and imagine a line of light and love travelling from your heart down into the earth, connecting with the great mother and all of her guardians (earth spirits, devas, crystals, etc.). Keep breathing slowly until you feel the earth's sustaining and nurturing energy rising to meet and surround you.


     3.     Say your invocations.  It doesn't matter what direction you begin with or what order you say them in.  I always start with East, and then call in the balancing energy of the West, then South and North.  Find what works for you.  It's nice if you know where the physical directions are, but it's not necessary. After each invocation, pause and feel the energy of that direction/element coming toward you.  Take a moment to greet it and get a sense for what it feels like.  When you have said all 4 invocations, just notice the sense of balance in your body and energetic field. 

     4.    Connect with the sky.  Breathe into your heart and imagine a line of light and love travelling from your heart up into the sky, connecting with the divine father, the angels, guides, guardians, star brothers and sisters, ancestors and ascended masters.  Keep breathing slowly until you feel their loving, protective energy descending to meet and surround you.

     5.    Feel your sacred container surrounding you.  Mother earth supports you from below.  Father sky protects you from above.  All the elements, directions, animals, guides, guardians and angels send you love and support.  Your sacred container is anchored through your heart.  Now is a good time to engage in any spiritual work, journaling or emotional processing.

Guardian Animals of Earth

  • all arctic animals (penguins, polar bear)

  • all cool climate animals (bears, caribou, wolves)

  
Guardian Animals of the Air

  • all birds and flying creatures (hawk, eagle, hummingbird, bats)

  • all flying insects

 
Guardian Animals of Water

  • all fish

  • all water mammals (dolphins, whales)

  • all water insects

  • all crustaceans (crabs, clams)

    
Guardian Animals of Fire

  • all dessert animals and insects (dessert fox, hare, tortoise)

  • African savannah animals (lions, giraffes, elephants)

  • reptiles (rattlesnakes, scorpions)

  • all hot climate animals

Creating Sacred Space
NEW MOON RITUAL

The New Moon is a time for bringing forth something new.  With the Earth blocking the Sun's light, the face of the Moon completely disappears.  Over the next fourteen days, it will slowly be illuminated again, growing with each passing day until the Full Moon.  During this time, we're invited to begin again, to invite something new into our life or to explore a new path.  This path may be external or it may be internal.  It may mean visioning a new direction for your life, taking the first step on a path you've wanted to follow, planting seeds for a long-term dream, or inviting some aspect of yourself to "be seen" more fully.

To conduct your New Moon ritual:

        1.    Prepare a space. 

  • If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items in the manner that feels right to you.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed, and gather a few items to make your ritual special (such as a special rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).

  • Light a candle.


        2.    Perform a cleansing ritual. 

  • Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space (good choices are sage, rosemary, lavender, orange, frankincense, hyssop, spikenard and palo santo). 

  • Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.  Some of my favorite choices for high vibrational music include Ashana, Jonathan Goldman and Deuter. 

  • Consider taking a ritual bath beforehand and dressing in white.

        3.    Create sacred space.  Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Father and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.

                If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point.  If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and the element of Air at the East, the direction of springtime and the rising sun, and all of the East's guardians and protectors.

  • I call upon light and Fire at the South, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun, and all of the South's guardians and protectors.

  • I call upon light and Water at the West, the direction of fall and the setting sun, and all of the West's guardians and protectors. 

  • I call upon light and Earth at the North, the direction of winter and midnight, and all of the North's guardians and protectors.  

        4.    Speak your intentions.  Connect with the Moon by sending a line of light from your heart up to the Moon.  Recite a poem or prayer and acknowledge why you've come (such as "I come today to honor all life, and to open myself to new possibilities for growth, love, laughter, abundance and happiness, for the highest good of all concerned.")   Write down a specific intention for something you’d like to create in your life or some new experience you’d like to have.  (See below for a New Moon oracle spread, if you’d like some guidance.)  Place your hand on your heart and speak aloud your personal intention.  Place your intention on your altar or somewhere you'll see it often.

        5.    If you'd like, perform a symbolic act.  For example, if your intention is to attract more love into your life, place two stones such as a rose quartz and an amethyst into a pouch to symbolize love and coming together in relationship.  If your intention is to make room for something new by letting go of something, write down what you'd like to let go of and burn the paper. 

        6.    Offer thanks.  Thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, the Moon, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone."

New Moon Ritual
Midwinter/Candlemas Ritual
MID-WINTER / CANDLEMAS RITUAL

You will need five candles for this sacred ritual, including one special one to represent the "return of the light." 

    1.    Prepare your space.  If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items in the manner that feels right to you.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed.  

    2.    Perform a cleansing ritual.  Prepare yourself and clean your space by doing one or more of the following: 

  • Wash your hands or take a bath/shower.  Consider dressing in white.

  • Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space (good choices are sage, rosemary, lavender, orange, frankincense, hyssop, spikenard and palo santo).

  • Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.


    3.     Gather snow and ice.  If there’s snow on the ground where you live, go outside and gather some snow into a bowl.  If there’s no snow, you can use ice cubes from your freezer. Place the bowl upon your altar or in your sacred space.

    4.    Create sacred space.  Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Father and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.  If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, light one of your four candles.  If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and the element of air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun, and all of its guardians and protectors.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun, and all of its guardians and protectors,

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun, and all of its guardians and protectors. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight, and all of its guardians and protectors.  


    5.     Honor the return of the light.  Center yourself in your heart and speak the following intention aloud or quietly to yourself:  “I come today to release the darkness and to honor the return of the light within me and the world.”  Light your special candle and place it beside the bowl of snow or ice.  Say, "By lighting this candle, I welcome and receive the light."  Sit quietly as the snow melts.  This is a great time to ask for guidance, meditate or set a personal intention.  

    6.    Offer thanks.  When the snow or ice has melted, thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish all candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone."

MAKING SPACE FOR SOMETHING NEW

        1.    Gather items to release.   Choose a drawer, cabinet, closet or room that feels cluttered or in need of cleaning.  Bring a box or a bag for items you no longer need, that no longer suit you, or that aren't in alignment vibrationally with what you want to create in your life.  Go through each of the items in your space and decide if you’re ready to let it go.  Use the following questions to help you decide:   “Have I used this in the last six months?  Does this bring me joy?  Is it in alignment with who I am now and what I want to create in my life?”  If the answer is no, consider placing the item in your box or bag.

        2.    Release each item.  As you place each item in your box or bag, take a moment to honor its service and all that it brought to your life.  Honor the earth for providing the natural resources used in creating it.  Thank the people who invested their time and energy in making it.  By honoring them and their work, you complete the energetic circle.  For example, if you’re releasing a cotton shirt you no longer wear or that no longer fits, take a moment to honor the earth for providing the cotton, as well as the people who gathered the cotton, weaved the material, sewed the garment or tended to the factory machines where it was made.  Honor the truck driver or delivery person who delivered it to the store where you purchased it, as well as the sales clerk or cashier.  If the shirt was a gift, quietly thank the person who thought of you when they purchased it.  In this way, you acknowledge the interconnected nature of everything.  With your appreciation, you bless and release the item, as well as everyone who was connected to you through it.  

        3.    Sort your items and send them on their journey.   Consider whether the items you’ve gathered might serve another.  If you’re releasing clothing, shoes, linens or towels, consider a donation box or a shelter.  For toys and household items, many thrift stores are happy to take your donations and pass them on to others in need.  If the item is broken or damaged, assess whether it can be recycled for a different purpose by a local artist.  Many animal shelters can make use of even torn or stained towels or pillows to warm the kennels of their adoptees.  Sort your items accordingly.  Enjoy delivering your items to their new homes.  Your willingness to release what no longer serves you is a gift to someone else.  If an item can't be recycled or reused, honor the fact that its life cycle has ended and return it to the earth.  

        4.    Enjoy the space you’ve created for something new.  Return to the drawer, cabinet, closet or room you chose to clean.  Notice the difference in how it feels.  Feel the physical space this ritual has created in your environment.  Acknowledge also the space you’ve created in your internal environment with your willingness to let go. 

        5.    Bless your space.  Clean and bless your space by burning sage or diffusing essential oils, playing high vibrational music, striking a crystal bowl or bells, or toning with your voice.

Making Space for Something New
CHINESE NEW YEAR / LUNAR NEW YEAR

One of the ways the lunar New Year is celebrated in China is with the exchange of red envelopes.  Red envelopes are given to loved ones, friends and colleagues as a way to wish them well in the coming year.  Although the envelopes contain money, the true gift is the red envelope itself, as the color red is a symbol of energy, happiness and good luck.

The lunar New Year is also a wonderful time to set intentions.  For this ritual, you’ll be setting intentions for the year and “gifting” them to yourself.

      1.    Gather colored paper to make envelopes.  Every color has its own energetic vibration.  Although red envelopes are used in the traditional celebration of Chinese New Year, for this ritual, you can use whatever color envelope you like.  Use the chart below to help you determine which color is in closest resonance with what you’d like to create in your life in the coming year.

 

    2.    Write down your wishes/affirmations.  On a plain, white piece of paper, write down the qualities or experiences you’d like to manifest in your life.  Try to focus on the essence of what you’d like to create rather than the details.  You can do this by distilling your affirmation down to a single word or two (such as “peace” or “more love”).  If you’d like to increase the energy of a specific chakra, write down the energy you’d like to increase (such as “vitality” or “ability to speak my truth”).  Cut out your affirmations, so that each one is on a separate piece of paper, approximately 3x2 inches in size, or the size of a gift card.

    3.    Create your envelopes.  Prepare one or more envelopes out of colored paper for your affirmations.  You can use the attached template as a guide.  Slide your affirmations into your envelope(s) and close the flap.  Decide whether you’d like to seal your envelope or leave it open.  

 

   4.    Receive the gift.  By setting an intention and aligning with what you want to create, you’ve put a powerful process in motion.  Take a minute to receive what you’ve asked for.  In Chinese tradition, red envelopes are received with both hands.  Hold your envelope(s) with both hands, and imagine what it would feel like to have your affirmation manifest in your life.  Allow yourself to feel the positive emotions it would give you.  In this way, you align your emotional body with your intentions, making it easier for your affirmations to manifest.  Place your envelope(s) on your altar or somewhere else you’ll see them often.

Lunar New Year

HEART CLEARING RITUAL

Most people hold a lot of pain in their hearts.  The idea of looking at it, even with the intention to clear it, can seem overwhelming.  Please take your time with this ritual.  I’ve found it works best if you narrow your focus to a single event, relationship or experience that felt painful to you.  Start with something that isn't too charged or overwhelming.  This can be something as simple as an argument you had with someone.  Conduct the entire ritual around this experience.  See if you can remember what it felt like at the time and what decisions you made in response to the experience.  Journaling helps.  Repeat the ritual multiple times - over weeks, months or even years.  Be sure to allow enough time to integrate the work you've done.  Each time you do it, you'll release more of the pain that has lived in your heart, increasing your capacity for forgiveness, love and joy.  Above all, be kind to yourself.

You don't need to forgive or absolve anyone to do this ritual.  This ritual is about fully accepting your experiences so that you can gain the gifts and move past them.  As you explore your emotions, you may discover and choose to release your feelings of judgement or blame.  You may naturally come to a place of forgiveness in time, but the main purpose of this ritual is to free and empower you.  Having a free and clear heart is your right. 

      1.    Create Sacred Space.  Prepare your space and perform a cleansing ritual.  (For suggestions on creating sacred space, see Creating An Altar, Creating Sacred Space or New Moon Ritual.)
 
      2.    Set your intention.  Light a candle and set an intention for clearing your heart of anything that no longer serves you.
 
       3.    Explore your heart.  You may want to do this part ahead of time, over a few days or even weeks.  Spend some time thinking about all the people you've invited into your heart over the years.  Write down the places you've lived and the people you've been in relationship with. Think about the times in your life when your heart was hurt.  List all of the people or experiences that caused you to shut down.  Write down the times you felt betrayed, abandoned or rejected, doubted yourself, or lost faith in someone you loved.  If this feels overwhelming, consider working with a single relationship or experience.  Write down all the ways in which the relationship or experience challenged you to stay in your heart, believe in yourself or trust. 
 
      4.    Fill a bowl with salt water.  Salt is very effective for neutralizing and cleansing.  Ask the water to wash away the residue of these experiences, so that your heart can open again, and you can be free to love and be loved.  Place the bowl in front of you.
 
      5.    Release into the water.  Read each item on your list, releasing it into the water by naming it (such as "I release my first boyfriend Michael" or "I release the time my father walked out on us.")  Try to identify the negative view or feeling you internalized from the relationship, situation or experience.  Think of the specific way in which your heart shut down in response to that person or experience.  Feel the emotions the situation evoked within you and set your intention to release those, too.  Release it all from your heart by feeling it and naming it (such as "I release the doubt I've carried as a result of his rejection of me").  Take your time.  Use your breath to help you release the emotions you've held in your body.
 
      6.    Symbolically release the list you made.  After you've released each item on your list, it's time to let these old stories go by symbolically destroying the list in any way that feels right to you.  Some suggestions:

  • rip it up and throw it away,

  • burn it,

  • put it in the bowl of water and let the water blur the ink until you can no longer read it,

  • bury it in the earth or in a pot of soil so it can nourish something new.


      7.    Clear your heart with light.  Imagine rose, white, gold or green light filling your heart.  Allow the light to open, heal, strengthen, and purify your heart.  If you have a heart chakra stone (such as rose quartz, jade, emerald or green aventurine), hold it in your left hand and place your right hand on your heart.  Take a few deep breaths, drawing the stone's healing energy into your heart chakra.  When you’re done, place both hands on your heart and take a few slow, deep breaths.  Feel the space you've created.  From now on, your heart will be able to more freely love and accept love, to experience joy, to feel supported and receive all the good that life has to offer.
 
      8.    Clean your space.  Blow out your candle.  Burn some sage or diffuse essential oils to clear your space.  If you'd like, take a bath, with some salt and/or essential oils.

Heart Clearing Ritual
FULL MOON RITUAL

The Full Moon is a time of culmination.  Whatever seeds were planted in your subconscious at the time of the New Moon may now become clear to you.   On the night of the Full Moon, it’s easier to see and understand the shadowed landscape of your subconscious.  It’s an opportunity to make sense of things, like taking a flashlight into a closet to see what’s on the shelves.

At the Full Moon, the Sun and Moon sit opposite each other in the sky, occupying opposing signs.  Under this influence, we’re asked to integrate energies that may seem like oil and water (like being independent while being in a relationship, or having who you are on the inside match who you are on the outside).

In the two weeks following a Full Moon, you’ll be busy weaving what you’ve been working on into your daily life.  Full Moons offer a great opportunity to take stock, acknowledge, seek wholeness and decide on practical steps for integrating what you’ve learned or discovered about yourself.

To conduct your Full Moon ritual:

     1.   Prepare a space. 

  • If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items in the manner that feels right to you.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed, and gather a few items to make your ritual special (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).

  • Light a candle.

 

     2.  Perform a cleansing ritual. 

  • Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space (good choices are sage, rosemary, lavender, orange, frankincense, hyssop, spikenard and palo santo). 

  • Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice. 

  • Consider taking a ritual bath beforehand and dressing in white.

 

    3.    Create sacred space.  Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Father and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.

           If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and the element of Air at the East, the direction of springtime and the rising sun, and all of the East's guardians and protectors.

  • I call upon light and Fire at the South, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun, and all of the South's guardians and protectors.

  • I call upon light and Water at the West, the direction of fall and the setting sun, and all of the West's guardians and protectors. 

  • I call upon light and Earth at the North, the direction of winter and midnight, and all of the North's guardians and protectors.  

  

    4.   Speak your intentions.  Recite a poem, prayer or acknowledge why you've come (such as "I come today to gather gifts, to witness, and to commit to integrating what I’ve learned in order to become more whole.  I do this for myself and for the highest good of all concerned.")  Connect with the moon by sending a line of light from your heart up to the moon.

    5.  Gather your wisdom.  Spend some time looking back at the last few weeks of your life.  Journal or meditate on what has changed and what you’ve learned.  (See below for an example of a Full Moon oracle spread to guide you.)

 

    6.   Integration and commitment.  Think about how you might be able to integrate this wisdom into your life. Try to identify one small, practical step you can take or one thing you can change to honor what the Full Moon has shown you.  Imagine what it would feel like if you took this step.  This should feel empowering, but also a little challenging.  Be gentle with yourself.  Find the balance.  When you feel clear, place your hand upon your heart and make a solemn promise to yourself to take that step.  Write down your intention and place it on your altar or somewhere else you’ll see it often.

   7.   Offer thanks.  Thank the elements and the directions, the earth, the moon, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone."

Full Moon Ritual
Rebirthing-Spring Equinox

REBIRTHING

SPRING EQUINOX RITUAL

NOTE:  Although this ritual is designed to honor the uprising energies of rebirth and resurrection at the Spring Equinox, it can also be used as a tool to process transitions of any kind, at any time of the year.  If you’re experiencing loss or a major life transition, this ritual can help you fully let go and surrender, so that you can open to the rebirth that is always inherent in death, loss or transition.


     1.   Gather symbols of rebirth and spring.  Collect a few items that symbolically represent spring or rebirth (fresh flowers, a potted plant, a budding branch, seeds, colored eggs, a picture of a butterfly, etc.).

     2.   Prepare a space. 

  • If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed.  Gather a few items to make your ritual space special (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).  Arrange the items you gathered to represent spring and rebirth upon your altar or in your ritual space.  Click here for instructions on Creating an Altar.

  • Light a candle.

     3.   Perform a cleansing ritual. 

  • Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space. 

  • Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice. 

     4.   Create a sacred container.  Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the Earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Masculine and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.

 

            If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun.

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight.  

           Feel how your heart sits in the center of everything.  Everything meets in your heart.

     5.   Speak your intentions.  Acknowledge why you’ve come (such as “I come today to honor the passing of one season to the next, to release what no longer serves me and to open to a new life”).  Ask your guides, ancestors, guardians and angels to assist and support you in this time of rebirth and resurrection. 

 

     6.   Symbolic Death and Rebirth.  We experience death each night when we go to sleep.  In sleep, we rest and recover from the challenges of the day, letting go completely for a time and then reawakening to a new day.  There is nothing to fear.  Death is a quiet, peaceful place where we rest for a moment before beginning again.

            Symbolically release and surrender your old life and open to the new life that awaits you (some examples of how to do this are listed in the tables below, but please honor your own process and find what works for you).  Be sure to pause and sit quietly in between the release of the old and the opening to the new to honor the symbolic death taking place. 

     7.   Ground into the Earth.  Many of us weren’t properly grounded into the Earth when we were born.  As a result, many of us have lived in a life-long state of disconnection from the Earth’s comforting presence and wisdom.

           Ground yourself now, as a newly born soul, by placing your hand upon your heart and taking three deep, slow breaths.  Imagine a cord of light extending up from your heart through the top of your head into the sky and the heavenly realms from where you’ve come.  Imagine another cord of light extending down from your heart into the center of the Earth.  Imagine roots growing down from your feet into the soil.  See the roots wrapping around rocks or traveling along underground riverbeds.  Feel the energy of the Earth pulsing up through those roots.  Commit yourself now to living in harmony with the Earth.  In doing so, you gain complete access to the Earth’s wisdom and stabilizing energy.  You are always connected.  Vow to honor her wisdom.

      8.   Extend gratitude and close your ritual.  Thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone.”

Seed Programming and Planting

PROGRAMMING SEEDS FOR HEALTH

As planting season is drawing near, I wanted to share some of Anastasia's wisdom for programming and planting seeds.  If you haven't heard of her, Anastasia is the woman described in Vladimir Megre's series, The Ringing Cedars.  Megre met Anastasia in the woods of Siberia, and was so intrigued by her, he decided to chronicle her wisdom regarding living in harmony with nature.

Anastasia says that within each seed there's an enormous amount of information, and that seeds know exactly how and when to grow, how to make use of the subtle energies, and what fruit to bring forth.  The fruit itself is designed to sustain us and can counteract any disease.  To do so, the seed must first gain an understanding of the individual and his or her condition, so that it can create a healing response as it grows.  To communicate this information to seeds, she instructs:

            1.        Before planting, place the seeds into your mouth and hold them under your tongue for at least nine minutes.  Information about you, including any illness or disease you’re experiencing, will be transmitted to the seeds through your saliva.

            2.        Stand barefoot on the place where you will later plant the seeds and hold the seeds between your palms for thirty seconds.  Information, especially regarding toxins in your body, will be transmitted to the soil through your feet.

            3.        Raise the seeds to your mouth and lightly blow on them, warming them with your breath.  This will communicate everything else the seeds need to know about you. 

            4.        Hold the seeds, with your palms open, presenting them to the heavens.  This will help the seeds determine the exact time they should awaken to make the best use of celestial energies.

            5.        Use your fingers and bare toes to soften the soil.  Plant the seeds in the ground, but don't water them for three days, or you'll wash the saliva off.  The seeds should be planted on a day that's appropriate to the type of plants they are, using the principles of lunar gardening.  (Please see my blog post about Lunar Gardening for more information.)  If you're not sure about moon phase timing, err on the side of planting too soon, as you won't be watering for three days.

            6.        Communicate and meditate with the plants at least once while they're growing, preferably more.  Meditate and touch the plants during a full moon.  Walk around the garden barefoot from time to time.

            7.        Eat the fruit within three days of harvesting.


Anastasia suggests that plants grown in this way are capable of curing disease, slowing the aging process, increasing mental abilities and bringing a sense of inner peace to the person who planted them.  By infusing your garden with information about you, the plants grow to create the most effective healing medicine.  Additionally, she says that it doesn't matter what you plant, but that every garden should have at least one sunflower, two square meters of cereal grains like rye or wheat, and an island of wild growing herbs to keep things balanced.  

Although I don't yet have personal experience with this ritual, I believe all of life is relational, and the practices Anastasia shares are deeply relational.  In my work, I've seen many relational "contracts."  These contracts are always loving in nature, even if they don't appear that way on the personality level.  There's always an even exchange of energy over the lifetime of the contract.

I think what Anastasia is describing is a specific relational contract that can exist between you and your garden.  As you care for your garden, it's caring for you in return.  As you communicate and lovingly tend to its needs, it lovingly communicates and tends to yours, completing the circle.
 

Beltane

BELTANE / MAY DAY RITUAL

Beltane or May Day (celebrated April 30th-May 1st) is an ancient festival celebrating the coming together of divine masculine and divine feminine energies.  In the lore of earth-based traditions, the God and the Goddess – who’ve been kept apart during the cold winter months - are finally reunited in a passionate embrace.  Agricultural societies celebrated Beltane and the return of the sun with bonfires, dancing, and merrymaking.  It was a day to ask for abundance in the coming season and to celebrate earthly love.  In Ancient Rome, the holiday was known as the Festival of Flora – a five day celebration of the Roman goddess of flowers, vegetation and fertility.  It was celebrated with competitive games, theatrical performances and pleasure-seeking of all kinds.

People from all over the world continue to celebrate Beltane or May Day as the beginning of the season of growth, fertility and abundance.  As the midpoint of spring, Beltane is one of the eight main balancing points on the wheel of the year.  All balancing points offer us a chance to integrate complimentary energies and find a renewed sense of internal balance.  At Beltane, we're invited to rediscover our passion and create a life that's pleasurable and abundant.  

As Beltane is a celebration of creative fire and pleasure, I encourage you to get creative with this ritual and really make it your own.  Get clear about what makes you happy and let your inner spark lead the way.
 
         1.     Prepare a space. 

  • If you have an altar, decorate it with colorful flowers, ribbons or stones, and anything else that makes you feel happy, sensual and alive.   If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable and gather a few items to make your ritual space special and fun (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).  Light a candle.

  • If the weather cooperates, consider conducting your ritual outside.  Set up a tent and string some white lights or build a bonfire.

 
         2.     Perform a cleansing ritual. 

  • If you’re conducting your ritual indoors, burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space and make it smell delicious.  Good choices for Beltane are lilac, narcissus, dogwood and cherry.  If you’re building a bonfire, gather a spring blooming branch for your fire.

  • Consider taking a ritual bath beforehand and dressing in white.

 
         3.    Create sacred space.  Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Father and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.

                 If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and the element of Air at the East, the direction of spring and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and the element of Fire at the South, the direction of summer and the noonday sun.

  • I call upon light and the element of Water at the West, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and the element of Earth at the North, the direction of winter and midnight.  

  
         4.     Speak your intentions.  Recite a poem, prayer or acknowledge why you've come (such as, ​“I/We come today to celebrate love, beauty and the joining together of masculine and feminine energies in harmony.  May the spark ignite!”  (See An Invitation to the Gods of Beltane by Jenya T. Beachy below for a poem that really captures the passion of Beltane.)

         5.     Maypole Celebration.  In ancient cultures, dancing around a maypole decorated in colorful ribbons symbolized the joining together of masculine (maypole) and feminine (ribbons) energies.  Sexuality was sacred, with abundance flowing from the union of complimentary energies. 

  • If weather permits, decorate a tree outside with ribbons and dance around it, alone or with friends.  When you’re done, sit down with your back against the base of the tree.  Place your bare feet on the ground and draw the earth’s energy up through your feet, like sap rising within you.

  • Craft your own sacred symbol of divine masculine and feminine energies coming together.  Gather items from nature, draw or paint, or craft your own maypole using a stick and ribbons, etc.  Place your sacred, sexual symbol on your altar.

 

         6.     Set intentions/Ask for Guidance. 

  • Sit quietly and consider what you’d like to create in your life.  What would your life “in full bloom” look like?  Where could you use some passion or spark?  Where would you welcome abundance?   Claim what you need and ask for it now.  This is honoring your feminine energy

  • After you’ve thought about what you’d like to create in your life, ask for guidance on what concrete steps you can take to create the life you dream about.  Try to identify at least one small thing you can do right now and then do it.  This is honoring your masculine energy.

 

         7.     Offer thanks.  When your ritual feels complete, be sure to thank the elements and the directions, the earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish any candles, and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone.”  Enjoy this beautiful night!

 

 

Wild Lady of the Woods,
She comes, and as she comes, she sings to us in bird language,
The sound of her bright wisdom is hidden in the wild cacophony,
Her voice awakens us to our purpose…
She comes, and as she comes, her scent rises around us,

The perfume of her skin enlivens our blood,
Her warmth awakens us to our passion…
She comes, and as she comes, she gathers us to her,
She claims us and this place,
And we are held, holy, sacred, whole, in a kinship with her, older than time
Wild Lady of the Woods!


Wild Lord of the Woods,

He comes, and as he comes, his breath is hot on the back of our necks,
His wanting is palpable,
Arousing us to attention…
He comes, and as he comes, we feel the touch of his fur against our skin,
We smell his musk,
Unmistakable, animal power…
He comes, and as he comes, he stamps the Earth around us,
To make the circle sacred,
He sounds his call to claim us and this place,
AAAAOOOOOOO!
And we are held, holy, sacred, whole, in a kinship with him, older than time,
Wild Lord of the Woods!

 

 

 

From An Invitation to the Gods of Beltane by Jenya T. Beachy

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dirtheartwitch/2015/04/an-invocation-to-the-gods-of-beltane/

SIMPLE AURA CLEARING RITUAL

This ritual is a simple way to clear your aura.  As it draws energy from your field, it may make you feel tired, so it's best performed at the end of the day. 

    1.   Drink 4-8 ounces of water with 1 tsp of lemon juice.  

    2.   Fill your bathtub with warm water.  To the water, add 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of salt.  (If you don't have a tub or want to perform a shorter version of the ritual, place 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl, bucket or pot large enough to immerse both of your hands or both of your feet.) 

    3.   Set your intention for clearing your field, by either holding the intention in your mind while taking two or three deep breaths, or by saying aloud "I now choose to clear my auric field of any and all unhealthy or unloving energy."

    4.   Sit in the tub (or immerse your feet or hands in the water) for at least ten minutes, breathing slowly.  Try to keep your hands and feet fully immersed.  Imagine all the unhealthy energy in your body and aura traveling out of the palms of your hands and/or the soles of your feet and into the water, where it will be instantly trapped and neutralized by the salt and the baking soda. 

    5.   Drain the tub or empty the bucket, bowl or pot. 

    6.   Drink 4-8 ounces of water with a pinch of sugar or a little honey.  If you feel tired or depleted, consider eating a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit or a green salad. 

Simple Aura Clearin
SUMMER SOLSTICE RITUAL

This ritual helps you open to abundance.  It's a great ritual to conduct with friends or loved ones, as it honors the abundance and joy of a full-life.  If you'd like to conduct your ritual with a group, I've provided additional instructions in red.

     1.    Gather symbols of summer.  Collect a few items that symbolically represent summer and fullness (flowers, fruits or vegetables, rose petals, sand, a picture of the beach, etc.).  Consider gathering wildflowers, seeds, berries and leaves directly from nature.  If you do, be sure to ask each plant before picking any part of it – some may not be ready to be picked; others will be happy to be chosen.  Honor each plant you connect with, feeling gratitude for the abundance of nature.  Each person should bring something to the ritual that they have gathered.

     2.    Prepare a space.   If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed.  Gather a few items to make your ritual space special (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).  Arrange the items you gathered to represent summer and fullness upon your altar or in your ritual space.  Click here for instructions on Creating an Altar.  Light a candle.  Sit in a circle and place the items you've brought in the center.  If you're conducting your ritual outside, consider starting a bonfire to honor the longest day of the year. 

     3.    Perform a cleansing ritual.   Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space.  Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.  Gather lavender sprigs, sage, mint or oak branches to burn in your bonfire. 

     4.    Create a sacred container.  If you're conducting your ritual with a group, one person can guide the group, but everyone should also individually connect with the earth and sky.  For the invocations, one individual can say them, several can share the task, or everyone can say them together.  Each person should also feel how their hearts sit in the center of it all.  You can also connect each of your hearts to each other by imagining sending a line of light into the center of your circle...oftentimes, this happens without any conscious effort.  Hold hands if you like.

            Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the Earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Masculine and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens. 

            If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun.

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight.  

     

           Feel how your heart sits in the center of everything.  Everything meets in your heart.
 
     5.   Speak your intentions.  Acknowledge why you’ve come (such as “I/we come today to honor the passing of one season to the next, to release what no longer serves me/us and to open to the fullness of life”).  Ask your guides, ancestors, guardians and angels to assist and support you in opening to more joy, abundance, health and happiness. 

     6.   Open to Receive the Fullness of Life.  Life on this beautiful planet is abundant.  At no time is that abundance more obvious than in summer.  Flowers are in bloom.  The sun is high in the sky.  Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are busy gathering pollen.  Everything hums with life.  

           If there’s anywhere in your life where you’re feeling lack, now is the time to open to receive.  At the Summer Solstice, masculine, solar energy is at its height.  This is a creative, fire energy that brings to life everything it touches.  At the Summer Solstice, it’s easier to align with abundance than at any other time of the year.  All you have to do is look around you and say “Yes.”

           Write down or speak a positive intention, such as "I choose to experience more love / money / laughter / joy in my life."  Life gives you whatever you focus on, so after setting your intention, breathe in the abundance all around you.  This shifts your vibration from lack to fullness, or from emptiness to gratitude.  By saying “yes” to the abundance you see around you after making a conscious choice to experience more abundance, you're acknowledging the giving nature of the universe.  This shifts your focus away from what you don’t have (which just draws more of the same to you) and brings you into greater vibrational alignment with abundance.  In a group, each person should write down their own individual intention.  Each person can then read their intention aloud, if they like.  Voicing your intention and having it witnessed lends it power.  If your intention is private, you can simply pass or say "Yes" when it's your turn.  All the intentions can then be gathered together and placed in the center of the circle.  


     7.   Be creative.  Doing something creative after setting an intention further aligns you with creative, masculine energy and with the principle of abundance.  Draw or color with bright crayons or markers (be sure to use yellows, reds and oranges to honor solar energy), paint, draw with chalk on the sidewalk, play a drum and dance around a bonfire, sing by candlelight, daydream, build sandcastles at the beach, or create a sacred wheel out of rocks.  If you’ve picked wildflowers, use them in your creative project - create a mandala with flower petals, weave the flowers into a wreath, hang them to dry for potpourri, create a flower essence, or arrange them in a vase.  Whatever activity you choose, it should feel joyfully creative and sacred.  In a group, each person can do their own individual activity, or you can join together for a larger activity (like creating a sacred wheel).

     8.   Extend gratitude and close your ritual.  When you’re ready to close your ceremony, thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles or fire and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone.”

Summer Solstice
Lammas/Mid-Summer

LAMMAS/MID-SUMMER

Lammas marks the midway point of Summer, and is known as the day of first harvest, as many trees and plants are beginning to bear fruit.  Traditionally, this was when the first wheat or grain crop would be harvested.  Early Christians celebrated Lammas by baking bread from this freshly-harvested grain.  The loaves were then laid upon the altar at church to be blessed.  If you'd like to conduct your ritual with a group, I've provided additional instructions in red.

        1.     Gather items.  Gather items to represent the harvest (stalks of grain, ears of corn, sunflowers, fruits and berries, hazel branches, etc.).  If you’d like to create a broom as described later, be sure to gather enough twigs or branches, as well as some ribbon or twine.  Each person should bring something to the ritual that they've gathered.  One person should bring a loaf of freshly-baked bread.  Another can bring some butter or jam, and another something to drink.
 
        2.     Perform a cleansing ritual/prepare your space.  Prepare yourself and clean your space by doing one or more of the following: 

  • Wash your hands or take a bath/shower.  Consider dressing in gold or red to honor the beginning of the season of harvest.

  • Burn sage or diffuse essential oils (good choices for Lammas are sage, calendula, mint, lavender and meadowsweet).

  • Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.


                 If you have an altar, place your items on your altar.  Sit in a circle and place the items you've brought in the center. 

        3.     Create a sacred container.  If you're conducting your ritual with a group, one person can guide the group, but everyone should also individually connect with the earth and sky.  For the invocations, one individual can say them, several can share the task, or everyone can say them together.  Each person should also feel how their hearts sit in the center of it all.  You can also connect each of your hearts to each other by imagining sending a line of light into the center of your circle...oftentimes, this happens without any conscious effort.  Hold hands if you like.

                 Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Father and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.  If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, light one of your four candles.  If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and midday.

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight.  

 
        4.     Speak your intentions.  At Summer Solstice, we opened to abundance.  If you wrote an intention at that time, reflect back upon it now.  See how your intention is beginning to bear fruit.  Acknowledge and give thanks for any gifts that have come your way since that time.

                 If you did not write an intention at that time, you can say a prayer, recite a poem (such as Weaving the Harvest by Katrina Rasbold below), or simply acknowledge now what you’re here to celebrate (such as, ​“I come today to celebrate the season of abundance and the time of harvesting.  I offer thanks for the gift of nature’s bounty.”).  Ask your guides, ancestors, guardians and angels to assist and support you in opening to receive the abundance already present in your life. 

        5.     Symbolically honor the time of harvest.  At Lammas, we gather abundance, give thanks and open to receive.  One way to symbolically honor the harvest and make room for more abundance to flow to you is to create a hand-broom and use it to sweep the area in front of your front door.  To create a hand-broom, harvest twigs or branches and tie them together with some twine or ribbon at one end.  Standing at your door or at a window, use the hand broom to symbolically sweep blessings into your home.  As you sweep, say “I thank the earth for her gifts.  I welcome more to my door.”   If you’re performing your ritual with a group, now is the time to cut the bread, and pass it, along with any butter or jam, around the circle.  Do the same with whatever drink has been supplied.  As each person passes the gifts, you may say to the next person, “I offer you the gifts of the first harvest.”  Enjoy the gifts together.
 
        6.     Offer thanks.  Thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish all candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone."

 

      
 

WEAVING THE HARVEST:  A LAMMAS POEM
Katrina Rasbold
 
We know that every grain and seed
Is a record of ancient time,
A promise of all that’s yet to be
And what I claim as mine.
As the grape shall change to become the wine,
I change in the cauldron of life.
I’ll drink of the wine of enchantment
And learn from the lessons of strife.
Within all forms is locked the path
Of future, present and past.
The Ancient Ones who spin our fates
Lay blessings on us at last.
Having planted once my future goals
They now come to fruition
I spoke aloud and Goddess heard
Giving birth to my ambition
In concert work and concert weave
New patterns to my life
I open heart to greatest good
And banish pain and strife.
On Lammas now I reach to sky
My faith on solid ground
I welcome Harvest to my life
Where blessings shall abound.
By oat and grain and wheat and corn
By Air, Fire, Water, and Earth
By sword and chalice, hoof and horn
The Harvest now is birthed.
 
 
From Patheos http://www.patheos.com/blogs/energymagic/2015/07/weavingharvest/

Fall Equinox
Autumn Leaves
FALL EQUINOX

The Fall Equinox marks the time of the year when there are equal hours of light and dark.  Nature is in balance.  It’s a time to gather blessings and the gifts of your hard work.  It’s a time to look back on the previous season, to rest and to celebrate.  If you'd like to conduct your ritual with a group, I've provided additional instructions in red.

      1.   Gather symbols of Fall.  Collect a few items that symbolically represent fall (colorful leaves, corn husks, acorns, pumpkins, basket of apples, seeds, dried flowers, etc.).  Each person should bring something to the ritual that they’ve gathered.
 

      2.   Prepare a space. If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed.  Gather a few items to make your ritual space special (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).  Arrange the items you gathered to represent Fall upon your altar or in your ritual space.  Click here for instructions on Creating an Altar.  Light a candle.  Gather in a circle and place the items you've brought in the center.

 

      3.   Perform a cleansing ritual.   Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space.  Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.  Consider taking a bath beforehand and dressing in white, green or gold or let each person wash their hands in a sink or dip their fingers in a bowl of water that can be passed around the circle as a purification ritual.

 

      4.   Create a sacred container.  If you're conducting your ritual with a group, one person can guide the group for this next part, but everyone should also individually connect with the earth and sky.  For the invocations, one individual can say them, several can share the task, or everyone can say them together.  Each person should also feel how their hearts sit in the center of it all.  You can also connect each of your hearts to each other by imagining sending a line of light into the center of your circle...oftentimes, this happens without any conscious effort.  Hold hands if you like.
 

            Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the Earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Masculine and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.

            If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun.

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight.  

 

            Feel how your heart sits in the center of everything.  Breathe deeply.  Everything meets in your heart.

 

      5.   Speak your intentions.  Recite a prayer or poem, or simply acknowledge why you’ve come (such as “I/we come today to honor the passing of one season to the next, to release what no longer serves me/us, and to take the first step on the spiral inward”).  Ask your guides, ancestors, guardians and angels to assist and support you in this time of gathering and letting go. 

 

      6.   Practice gratitude.  The passing of one season to the next reminds us that all things must come to an end.  Warm days will soon give way to cold ones.  Flowers and leaves will die and be reclaimed by the Earth.  Many birds and insects will soon begin migration.  Other creatures will retreat into cozy homes and hiding places for the winter.  It’s a time of letting go, perhaps of mourning, but also a time to celebrate your successes and give thanks for everything the previous season has brought to you.  By acknowledging all you’ve received and giving thanks, you create internal balance.

 

            Take a moment now to reflect on the previous season, whether that be the actual calendar season, the entire year, or a season of your life.  What have you learned?  What are you grateful for?  Spend a few minutes writing down the things you are grateful for (use the form "I am grateful for....because....").  When you’re done, consciously breathe in all the things you feel grateful for.  Let them fill you up and nourish you.  Place your list upon your altar.  In a group, each person should do this on their own in a few minutes of quiet reflection.  You can then go around the circle, having each person read one or more of the things they are grateful for.  Acknowledging what you’re grateful for aloud and having it witnessed by kindred spirits magnifies the energy of gratitude, blessing everyone.

 

      7.   Be creative.  Fall is a perfect time for crafting, and doing something creative alone or within a group is a great way to celebrate abundance and say goodbye to the fun days of summer.  You can draw or color with bright crayons or markers (be sure to use yellows, reds and oranges to welcome the coming season), paint acorns and string them to make necklaces, make a corn husk doll, play a drum and dance, sing, carve apples or pumpkins, bake a pie, press leaves, or create a sacred wheel out of rocks.  Whatever activity you choose, it should feel joyfully creative and sacred.  In a group, each person can do their own individual activity, or you can join together for a larger activity (like creating a sacred wheel).

      8.   Extend gratitude and close your ritual.  Thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone.”

Samhain
Pumpkins
SAMHAIN / ALL HALLOWS' EVE

Samhain or All Hallows’ Eve is one of the cross-quarter days of the year, falling between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice.  Many cultures celebrate it October 31st/November 1st, though others observe the cross-quarter closer to the actual midpoint, around November 7th.  Samhain is a day for acknowledging death as an important part of life, for remembering loved ones and for honoring ancestors.  If you'd like to conduct your ritual with a group, I've provided additional instructions in red.

      1.   Gather symbols of Fall.  Collect a few items that symbolically represent fall and endings (dried leaves, seed pods, corn husks, acorns, dried flowers, bare branches, etc.).  To honor your ancestors, gather photos, heirlooms, or other mementos of deceased family members, friends and pets, along with a few votive candles.  Each person should bring these items to the ritual.
 

      2.   Prepare a space. If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed.  Gather a few items to make your ritual space special (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, candles, crystals, stones, etc.).  Arrange the items you gathered to represent Fall and the photos or mementos of your ancestors upon your altar or in your ritual space.   Click here for instructions on Creating an Altar.   Gather in a circle and place the items you've brought in the center.

 

      3.   Perform a cleansing ritual.   Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space.  Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.  Consider taking a bath beforehand and dressing in white, gold, orange or black.  Have each person wash their hands in a sink before entering the circle, or dip their fingers in a bowl of water with some essential oil that can be passed around the circle, as a purification ritual.

 

      4.   Create a sacred container.  If you're conducting your ritual with a group, one person can guide the group for this next part, but everyone should also individually connect with the earth and sky.  For the invocations, one individual can say them, several can share the task, or everyone can say them together.  Each person should also feel how their hearts sit in the center of it all.  You can also connect each of your hearts to each other by imagining sending a line of light into the center of your circle...oftentimes, this happens without any conscious effort.  Hold hands if you like.
 

            Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine and all the earthly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart down into the Earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Masculine and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens.

            If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun.

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight.  

 

            Feel how your heart sits in the center of everything.  Breathe deeply.  Everything meets in your heart.

 

      5.   Speak your intentions.  Recite a prayer or poem, or simply acknowledge why you’ve come (such as “I/we come today to honor the turning of the wheel, to acknowledge the importance of death as a part of life, to release what no longer serves me/us and to honor those who have gone before me/us”). 

 

      6.   Honoring the Ancestors.  Light candles as you speak the name of each ancestor or loved one you’d like to acknowledge, honoring their memory and wishing them well.  Thank them for being a part of your life.  Ask them to assist and support you in your life, until the day when you will see them again.   Each person may light a candle as they speak the names of their ancestors or loved ones and thank them for being a part of their lives (such as, “Dad, I thank you for all you taught me and for being a part of my life; Grandma Mary, I honor and bless you, thank you for sharing my life,” or “to all my dearly departed ancestors and friends, thank you”).  This may be done aloud, one at a time going around the circle, or everyone can light a candle set before them and silently honor their ancestors in their own way.  Spend a few minutes in silence, listening for any messages your ancestors and loved ones may want to share with you.    

 

      7.   Honoring death.  All things must come to an end.  Without death, there could be no birth, and the cycle of life would be incomplete.  Yet, we oftentimes resist death, by either refusing to think about it, or worrying ceaselessly about it.  This denies the very nature of life, for life and death are two forces that cannot be separated from each other.  By refusing to think about death, we make it impossible to see life for the treasured miracle that it is.  The life force flows through each of us for only a measured period of time.  It’s precious and fleeting.  Honor this truth, and it will change the way you think about everything and everyone.  Don’t wait for the hand of death to touch you to acknowledge it and the value of life.  This is the most difficult way to honor death.  Live with the reality of death, and your life will be full of magic.  Deny it, and the heaviness of what you’re denying will lie heavily upon you, robbing you of the opportunity to live as if there were no tomorrow.

 

            Take a moment to acknowledge, accept and honor the force of death as a part of your experience.  Death cannot be denied or controlled.  We can only surrender to it, trusting its wisdom, and opening to the unseen world that lies beyond its gate.  Symbolically release and surrender to this immutable force by wrapping yourself in a black sheet, blanket or shawl.  Lay down and close your eyes.  Imagine you’re sinking into the cool, dark Earth.  Breathe slowly and deeply, resting in the peace of complete surrender and release.  In a group, one person can softly beat a drum or tone a bell for a predetermined amount of time, slowing the rhythm down until it comes to a complete stop.  Then sit for a minute in complete silence, practicing surrender.

 

      8.   Extend gratitude and close your ritual.  Thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone.”

Winter Solstice

ALL HALLOWS' EVE / SAMHAIN

Berry Branches

The Winter Solstice is one of the major turning points of the year, marking the beginning of the season of Winter in the northern hemisphere.  Since the Summer Solstice, the days have been growing shorter.  The Winter Solstice marks the longest and darkest day of the year, but also the beginning of the return of the light.  Each day after the Winter Solstice will be slightly longer and each night slightly shorter until we reach the pinnacle once again at the Summer Solstice in June, the longest day of the year.  If you'd like to conduct your ritual with a group, I've provided additional instructions in red.

1.   Gather symbols of winter.  Collect a few items that symbolically represent winter (a bowl of ice cubes, pine cones, bells, mistletoe, gingerbread ornaments, paper snowflakes, candles, etc.).  Consider harvesting a few branches from pine trees, holly bushes or other evergreens.  If you do, be sure to ask each tree or bush before cutting any part of it, and listen with your heart for an answer – some may not be ready; others will be happy to be chosen.  Each person should bring something to the ritual.

2.   Prepare a space.   If you have an altar, greet your altar and honor your sacred items.  If you don't have an altar, find somewhere comfortable where you won't be disturbed.  Gather a few items to make your ritual space special (such as a rug or pillow, items to represent the four elements, crystals, stones, etc.).  Arrange the items you gathered to represent Winter upon your altar or in your ritual space.  Click here for instructions on Creating an Altar.  Light a candle.  Sit in a circle and place the items you've brought in the center.  If you’re conducting your ritual in a space that has a woodstove or fireplace, consider starting a fire to represent the beginning of the return of the light and heat. 

3.   Perform a cleansing ritual.   Burn sage or diffuse essential oils to clean your space.  Play high vibrational music, strike a crystal bowl or bells, or tone with your voice.   Consider taking a bath beforehand and dressing in white, green, red or gold or let each person wash their hands in a sink or dip their fingers in a bowl of water that can be passed around the circle as a purification ritual.


4.   Create a sacred container.  If you're conducting your ritual with a group, one person can guide the group, but everyone should also individually connect with the earth and sky.  For the invocations, one individual can say them, several can share the task, or everyone can say them together.  Each person should also feel how their hearts sit in the center of it all.  You can also connect each of your hearts to each other by imagining sending a line of light into the center of your circle...oftentimes, this happens without any conscious effort.  Hold hands if you like.

      Connect with Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine by sending love from your heart down into the Earth.  Connect with Father Sky and the Divine Masculine and all the heavenly guides and guardians by sending love from your heart up into the sky and the heavens. 

      If you've created your own invocations for calling in balancing energies as discussed in the Creating Sacred Space ritual, speak them now.  As you speak each invocation, consider lighting a candle to honor each balancing point. If you haven't written your own invocations, try these:

  • I call upon light and air at the east, the direction of springtime and the rising sun.

  • I call upon light and fire at the south, the direction of summer and the noon-day sun.

  • I call upon light and water at the west, the direction of fall and the setting sun. 

  • I call upon light and earth at the north, the direction of winter and midnight.  

      Feel how your heart sits in the center of everything.  Everything meets in your heart.
 
5.   Speak your intentions.  Acknowledge why you’ve come (such as “I/we come today to honor the passing of one season to the next, to release what no longer serves me/us, and to enter more deeply into my/our own inward journey(s)”).   Ask your guides, ancestors, guardians and angels to assist and support you in the deep, internal journey that lies ahead. 

6.   Practice stillness.  Winter is a time for rest and reflection.  The natural world slows down.  Animals withdraw to their dens to rest and wait.  Plants die back, retreating into their roots.  It’s a time for slowing down, stillness, and being present with yourself.  Spend a few minutes thinking about how you can create more time and space in your life for resting.  Are there places in your day already where you could stop and simply be still and rest for a few minutes?  If not, figure out how to carve out a few minutes for relaxation and personal reflection.  Give yourself the gift of unstructured time...time where you don’t have to “do” anything, but can simply “be.”  

       There’s a point within you that’s always still.  It’s the place of wisdom and where “the still, quiet voice” of your knowing arises from.  In Winter, the world withdraws into itself, coming back to this still point, like a pause between breaths.  In Winter, we enter the void, which is both empty and full. 

       Honor and connect with that still point within you now by spending a few minutes mindfully breathing.  You can do this practice with your eyes closed in silence or you can choose something for your mind to focus on like a candle flame or a steady drum beat.  Feel how the breath enters your body, expanding your lungs and filling your body with fresh air and energizing prana.  Feel how it leaves your body, taking with it what you no longer need.  Pause for a second in the complete stillness that exists between breaths before breathing again.  This is the void space that is both empty and full. 

       As thoughts come in, simply notice them, and bring your attention back to your breath.  Afterwards, you may want to spend a few minutes journaling about your experience or writing down any guidance that may have arisen from that quiet space.  In a group, consider setting a timer so you all can participate, or have someone play a slow, steady drum for a designated period of time.  Afterward, you may spend a few minutes sharing your experiences, or simply allow your experience to be what it is – a gift to yourself. 

7.   Extend gratitude and close your ritual.  When you’re ready to close your ceremony, thank the elements and the directions, the Earth, your guides, guardians, and ancestors.  Extinguish your candles or fire and end by offering your blessings "for the highest good of everyone.”

8.   Create a solstice wreath or other decoration.  When the ritual is complete, consider using the items you gathered from nature to decorate your home.  Pine or other evergreen branches can be tied together with a ribbon or fixed to a metal ring to create a wreath.   Let these gifts of nature be a daily reminder of the cycle of life....birth, growth, decline, death....as we dive deeply into the void space of Winter. 

WINTER SOLSTICE

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