Updated: Mar 31, 2022
The Only Constant Is Change
Nature thrives in a state of constant fluctuation. There are seasons, moon cycles, changing tides, natural disasters and continuous cycles of death and rebirth. Humans operate the same way. Though women may fluctuate more with their menstrual cycles, all humans are always changing and evolving. We are affected by the seasons, the moon's cycles and there are also continuous little births and deaths within our body.
For example, according to Ayurveda, everything we digest is processed through the seven Dhatus or physical layers of the body. The nutrients from the food we eat are then metabolized and give energy, lubrication and support to our cells and tissues of the body. Then every 35 days the nutrients are full absorbed or excreted from the body. Whether we are aware of it or not, we exist in a constant state of change.
“Consciously performing our rituals (tiny or complex) reminds us of the fact that everything in life in a constant pattern of transformation and is profoundly sacred." - Richard Freeman & May Taylor, When Love Comes to Light
Rituals and Sacrifice - Intention, Manifestation, Surrender
Rituals not only remind us of the constant change in life, but they make us conscious of our intentions and help us manifest our desires. Utilizing the power of ritual during astrological events like new and full moons, equinoxes and the change of astrological seasons can help us align with the energy present in the macrocosm and help orient ourselves in our microcosm. However, it is helpful to reference guides for what type of ritual our if even a ritual is effective for the occurring event. For instance, for eclipses a ritual is not recommend because there is a block of light which will hinder the manifestation. Therefore, simply meditating or quiet introspection is better suited.
"Rituals create a steady state, a stable ground from which to take action, and as such they still the mind." Richard Freeman & May Taylor, When Love Comes to Light
Another important aspect of ritual is sacrifice and surrender. Within the Indian tradition yajna which is "sacrificial worship", "devotion" or "selfless offerings made through ritual" is an essential part of rituals and is a necessary act in achieving liberation. According to this philosophy it is important to understand that balance between the magnetic force of the mind, attachment and letting go. When searching to manifest something in life we cannot forget that the separate self is just can illusion and that we are truly divine beings living a human experience. Therefore, when we perform selfless acts in ritual, like physical offerings to deities, planets, or the elements, we are reminded of our true nature which is interconnected to the natural and divine world.
Another healthy way to show sacrifice to is commit to your daily practice (sadhana) everyday. Showing up to our mats, taking the time to meditate, and be conscious of our thoughts and actions are ways to sacrifice those choices that come from a place of ego or attachment. If we can make our daily routines ritualistic in the way we consciously and intently perform them, we can commit to daily sacrifice of choices we know are not for our highest good and instead align ourselves with our highest truth.
On the flip side, ritual and sacrifice can also be a slippery slope. At what means we are we willing to sacrifice ourselves? We hear of extreme sacrifices of terrorists blowing themselves up in a crowded place and killing innocent people, and the determination to succeed in life and following the motto, "no pain no gain". Yogic philosophy asks us to think about the intention in our sacrifice and if it is fueled by our attachment to the fruit of our actions or if it is made through unconditional love? When we can give ourselves selflessly to another or to the universe that energy is reciprocated in the endless exchange of energy and flow of abundant love. You will always be supported in this flow for true sacrifice is love.
One could also argue that every action in life requires sacrifice. In every choice we make we sacrifice a different choice. Every moment we are confronted with choices and there are endless options to choose. So why do we choose the choices we make? Are they unconscious or intentional, are they made from ego or out of love, from fear or from trust? Performing rituals helps to wake us up to our intentions and cultivate discriminating awareness to help our daily choices be made from a place of love and mindfulness.
Make the Mundane Magical
Another secret to rituals is keeping them revered and not making them routine. When we perform a ritual, we are creating a scared space to communicate with the divine. If we take out the magic of making a ritual sacred, then it loses its power. Even our daily routines can become magical if we perform them with intention and mindfulness.
When making our morning coffee/tea we can make it with love and consciousness and take the time to enjoy it, filling our minds and body with the energy and focus we need for the day ahead.
In this fast-paced modern life rituals are a beautiful way to pause and give thanks to the present moment. Rituals help us to see the beauty that surrounds us and that lies within us. And rituals remind us that we are not separate but are instead a channel for the divine to be expressed. So put on your witches' hat and start manifesting!
How to Perform an Intention Setting Ritual
Pick a Place - Find a comfortable, quiet space you can feel safe to rest in and turn within.
Get in the Zone - Enter the ritual cleansed by either taking a bath, washing your face or brushing your teeth. Take a moment to ground yourself into the moment and bring your full awareness to the intention of the ritual. Set up an altar or arrange crystals, candles or burn sage incense to set the mood of what you are calling in.
Engage Your Mind - Begin the ritual by meditating. Following your chosen form of meditation (mantra, mindfulness, guided). Meditate for at least 10minutes and begin to ponder your intention, bringing to mind the feeling, vision, and details of your intention.
Set Your Intention - After meditating on your intention, write down your intention and repeat it to yourself several times. For example if you are calling in abundance your intention could be, "I exist in the flow of abundance". Then journal anything that came up for your during the meditation. Journaling is a great exercise for self-discovery and building personal growth.
Reflect and Give Thanks - Reflect on how it feels to visualize and create this intention. Continue to repeat your intention to yourself and whenever you are feeling doubt, reminding yourself of your intention to keep your focus. Finally, give thanks to nature, the universe or whichever higher power you would like to give thanks to for the opportunity to practice this ritual at this moment in time.
Love & Light,