Rite & Ritual: Creating a Container for Transformation

The winding roads of winter led me through a soul’s dark night.

Having emerged, I feel much like a sprout rising through warm, fertile ground into sunlight. Spring ushers in renewal and a fresh cycle in my life.

During the long, harsh winter—when a princess crossed the threshold marking her transition into queen—the land was cold and dark. Harsh winds brought with them sweeping change, feelings of isolation, unexpected loss and emotional purging. With that came the opportunity to feel into my depths and reclaim myself.

At cycle’s end, pain finally shattered into tiny, dissolving pieces—and light broke through. Within myself I had discovered an invincible spring.

I awoke from the night recognizing that I was somehow different. A shift had occurred and the trappings of winter no longer held their appeal. Naked in my room, it felt necessary to externally reflect this change. Simple choices now seemed extra-ordinarily important at twilight on this new dawn.  As I laid to rest my grieving persona, black-grey attire, and board-straight hair of the former season, I prepared for a spring day.

Pulling a yellow shirt from my closet, I dabbed on a hint of rose pink lip balm and haphazardly tied my hair up with a print sash.

Walking outside to feel the warmth, I stood barefoot in the grass. Cooing doves and mating birds played in treetops all around me. Nature danced in celebration of spring’s arrival—and I felt right in sync.

The sights and sounds of abundant-life had indeed returned.

While watching the natural world perform spring rituals, the wild-woman within me knew that I too must acknowledge my entrance into a new place and time. Feeling my inner spirit’s call to mark this passage, I was moved to use symbolic ritual.

As Old As Time

Rite and ritual have been used to acknowledge human-transformation since the beginning of time. Serving to give meaning to the natural cycles of life, rituals are a way that we acknowledge a division between the sacred and profane.

Ceremonial or determined modes of action, rituals can serve to celebrate or summon the expression of special, extraordinary, idealistic, supernatural, transcendent or otherwise spiritually significant occurrences or passages.

Rituals can take the form of repetitive actions performed over time, or as a single symbolic act. The inspiration for a ritual can be to reenact a spiritually significant event, celebrate a personal transition, acknowledge a leap in consciousness, or hold powerful intent to bring about positive change.

Rituals create a container for life experiences which are initiated, recognized or felt before they are seen. These container-walls provide a defined place for the happenings of personal growth.

The Making of a Ritual

The most powerful rite, ritual or ceremonial action is one that emerges from an organic impulse within and involves personal feelings, beliefs, and symbolic meaning. This kind of act or practice is born from the essence of our own truth and experience.

In addition, there are common characteristics of ritual which can be used to create these personal spiritual-containers in our own life.

As a vehicle for change and transformation, rituals will generally:

–>Involve the senses: By engaging all of the senses through creative use of natural elements, images, colors, movements, sounds and meaningful objects from our journey we can bypass our conscious-thinking-mind and connect with our unconscious-intuitive-knowing.

–>Set apart certain experiences as meaningful: Offering our time, sincerity and thoughtfulness are ways that we mark something as important and worthy of respect. Performing a series of actions which have been appointed this type of meaning can bring about feelings of well-being and certainty as well as invoke the inspiration needed for committed-action toward lofty-goals and habit-change.

–>Appoint a specific time as sacrosanct: A potent power of ritual is its ability to set off certain times as sacred and outside of the mundane. Rituals have potential to transport you to a timeless place. Serving to remove you from the ordinary-flow of life, they can place you in sacred-time when roles and statuses held day-to-day are temporarily suspended. It is outside the realm of ordinary-time-space that rituals hold their magic and power.

–>Appoint a physical space as sacred: Stepping into a dedicated space created by ritual, we can leave the clamoring of the external world behind and engage in a series of activities that nourish mind, body and spirit. Entering this space can assist us in accessing deeper levels of consciousness and to facilitate a rapid reconnection with the higher ideals that fuel us.

–>Appoint symbolic meaning: Rituals often involve “sacred” articles. Such symbolic items are acknowledged as agents of meaning and utility. Personal symbols and metaphors that emerge during transitional passage often become enduring reminders of peace and wellbeing.

The Power and Function of a Spiritual Container

Rituals help us to balance the work of our outer and inner lives. In our physical reality naturally there is a great deal of focus and acknowledgment given to external experience—that which can be seen and measured. However much of life’s journey is made up of intangible, interior experiences.

The big, wamma-jamma, awe-inspiring moments in life often involve personal growth, moments of transcendence, cycles of death and rebirth, and metaphysical passages into new levels of existence.

As important and palpable as these beyond-ordinary moments can feel, it is easy to disregard or discount them along the way. They become crowded out by the external sights, sounds and demands of life. For this reason, rites and rituals can serve an important function.

Here are five powers of ritual:

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: Rituals acknowledge personal shifts by taking action to honor a great change under gone. A rite-of-passage is often a major turning point in life which helps us connect the mysterious dots and see patterns and cycles which might otherwise appear to be random happenings in our life.

2. DEFINE: Pinnacle shifts on our journey can be so transformative that they serve to divide our life into ‘before and after’. Defining phases in our life can be a powerful way to facilitate life transitions. Often, the personal growth triggered by major life events such as these occur silently as inner-experiences and take place in isolated ways. Private ritual then can help to define an accurate demarcation point in our consciousness experiences.

3. SOLIDIFIES: Ritual marks something as official. It provides some formality or mental permanence and creates a solid “container” within which important processes can happen.

4. ANCHORS: When we make a big deal out of meaningful shifts and transitions, we anchor them into our life in a way which holds us in remembrance and accountability to the growth and change. Without this, these big-time life transitions can be easily lost or forgotten, and possibly even lose their meaning.

5. AUTOMATES: The repetition of sacred patterns or actions can automatically trigger the flow of what is needed for a particular manifestation, expression, creation, or embodiment. Through conditioning, ritualistic acts can assist us in rapidly accessing deeper levels of consciousness and bring about shifts in mindset and mood.

Honoring My Passage & Celebrating the Return of Light

As for me, I have created a number of simple but significant ritual acts to mark this period of positive change.

As a reflection of the immense self-love that I recently realized for the first time—not intellectualized ideas of self-love, but rather a sincere love and desire to cherish myself as God loves me—I now view my body with a newfound respect. Body and beauty rituals have become a natural expression of this new level of understanding of my divine feminine vessel. Purposeful practices involving essential oils, rose water, sea salt, skin brushing, hydrotherapy and physical purification have become high-vibe practices to honor and care for my beloved body.

Symbolic items of meaning and utility have also been central for me in marking my arrival into this new place. The act of using specific colors, objects and stones with certain properties has provided both self-expression and remembrance of my passage. The practice of adorning my body, and infusing my environment, with the energy and substance of these inspirational pieces is a practical and effective way to anchor these energies of change in my day-to-day.

Starting my day with a daily practice involving several things including reciting a meaningful mantra, “I am completely comfortable with the integration of my life” has created a powerful demarcation point for me. Serving as a reminder, these are also the words I drop into my experience when I begin feeling frustrated or get lost in a day. Seeing the matrix of wholeness that makes up my life, I no longer feel the need to maintain division between this part and that, which creates a great deal more flow and time for all good things.

A sacred-writing-ceremony was an important way for me to acknowledge, and not indulge the impulse to minimize, this new life cycle. By writing about the transition, I located my clarity, owned my experience, and admitted that it was a real shift in my life.

Additionally I am in the process of creating two sacred spaces: a wild-flower garden in my back yard where I can “bury” things (the act of planting new seeds in the ground and the symbolic nature of the wild flowers is significant) and an altar in my studio (a small, sacred place for personal reflection, gratitude, and prayer where meaningful totems, inspiring texts, and all that invokes harmony and flow for me can be easily accessed).

Bringing Ritual Back

Rituals can create a container for the process of transformation. Creating and performing meaningful rituals also serves to give meaning to the natural cycles of life.

Rituals can take the form of repetitive actions performed over time, or as a single symbolic act. The inspiration for a ritual can be to reenact, celebrate, acknowledge, summon, or hold powerful-intent.

In our age of constant-change and instant-everything, we have moved away from rituals. We are too busy, there is no time. And in cynical moments, the idea of change and transformation can become common and belittled.

However when we discount our big shifts by thinking that maybe it’s not really a big deal or that everyone is doing it, it diminishes self-confidence and our personal will to follow through.

The energy of spring is known to bring about abundance and fresh insight. Cycles of change, growth, expansion, and visions-of-a-new-way-forward are supported by the season and may be more easily accessed. A catalyst for the energies of resurrection, regeneration, and old things morphing into new–you may find inspiration for ritual now in your own life.

Whether you want to get a tattoo or shave your head; start a fire and burn something that represents what you are shedding; perform the act of blessing a space with sage and prayer to prepare it for a daily sacred practice; sign up for yoga; redecorate your home with items of meaning; insert a purposeful color into your environment; or host a rebirth party and invite all your friends—honoring a personal shift, or performing determined modes of action that cultivate an elevated state of existence, can have a profound effect on your daily life.

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Clearing the Runway—Making Space for Your Spring Growth Spurt

Each year around this time my personal plans fly out of the window as I am carried away by an intense process much bigger than me.

A sensitive who is very in-tune with planetary energies and alignments, the equinox period always seems to be particularly potent.  Bathed in light and pulsating with potential—the seeds that I have been nurturing since the fall push forth demanding expression.

This creative tension ushers in my own personal apocalypse:  the revealing of things previously unknown.

Without fail, the blazing light of the vernal equinox has brought a keen awareness into my sphere of existence.  After many days of x-ray vision, intuitive downloads and super-sensing I reached a saturation point.  It was time to assimilate and act on that which was made known.  My spring purification process had begun.

Reason for the Season

The obvious outward expression of renewal, seen in nature at spring-time, mirrors our personal inward experience of rebirth.  Indeed, the new shoots bursting from the ground have nothing on the explosion of transformation churning on the inward plane.

Yet as the body vibrates and quivers with new energies, it also demands stillness.  A careful balance of opposing forces— the active and strong energy of full bloom and the quiet energy of dreaming and germinating—collide resulting in new manifestations.

Spring, ushered in by the wamma-jamma equinox, is a time of movement after hibernation.  As nature moves out of the cold and dark winter, the pulse of life quickens, the earth warms, and blossoms unwind as they reach for the sun.

Ancient Ayurveda, also known as the Science of Life, focuses on living in tune with nature and recognizes the intimate relationship between the individual and the environment.  Ayurveda teaches that seasonal changes have a profound affect on our well-being.

There are many ways that we can adapt our lifestyle to stay balanced in each season.  Spring presents an opportunity to perform the time-honored ritual of cleansing.

The idea of spring cleaning is much more significant than just cleaning out the back of closets and wiping down the tip-top of shelves.  A metaphysical cleansing is the essence of spring cleaning.  When cleansing is done with an alchemical intention that addresses each level of being (mind, body, spirit, emotions, and environment) we are clearing our runway for take-off to a whole new level.

Transitioning into spring can be greatly facilitated by creating sukha, a Sanskrit word which means good space.  Creating sukha is especially important when you’re trying to wring out the excess winter energies which are dense and moist.

Not taking care to consciously create sukha can result in the restricted flow of energy which then creates dukkha or bad space.  General well-being and happiness emerge from sukha, while misery and confusion emerge from the distorted flow of dukkha.

Me, Myself & Flow

My version of spring cleaning revolves around frequency cleansing.   Since we experience the energy of life primarily through our mind and body, then a metaphysical spring cleaning will naturally include the physical aspects of our life as well.

There are millions of particles and energy waves passing through our bodies without us noticing them and everything we encounter has to go somewhere.   Much of  what we experience gets lodged or leaves a residue at some level of our being.  Cleansing before our spring growth spurt (rapid manifestation period) is essential.

During my metaphysical purification process, I noticed that each awareness that I had corresponded with a place in my body, and that each place in my body had an external component within my physical environment.

As I began following the energy, breathing into the feelings bit by bit, and finding the strength to address it all—I noticed that I would be led to an action in my outer world that I needed to take, something that I had to do, or an area in my physical environment that was stagnant, chaotic or dirty.

Whether it was a tough physical reality that needed to be faced and accepted, a very important phone call I was putting off making, a critical appointment I was afraid to go to, or a cluttered corner or dirty room in my home—the inner road map for purification would continually lead through cycles of deep awareness, intense resistance, and then to a required action on the outer plane.

After the assimilation of each a-ha moment, I began to feel strong waves of resistance.  This resistance, I realized, was the core energy and original error, which caused the block in the first place.

The resistance was present at each point:  upon feeling the energy of awareness, while looking at what I had been avoiding, and when taking an action that I feared or disliked.  It was a heavy and fear-filled energy that rolled through my system like a bowling ball.  Despite this, I continued to lift veils, breathe into the next level, and discover new road blocks on my runway that needed to be cleared as I toggled between an inner and outer cleansing process.

While moving through the internal purification and external actions, I noticed that I was discharging large amounts of stagnant energy which required me to stop regularly.  Sitting on the grass or using my earthing mat helped to facilitate release.   Additionally, in order to move the incredible amounts of energy through my system I found acupuncture, massage, yoga and reflexology to be essential.

While I created sukha, I became cognizant that this process was launching me into life at a new place of vibrational residence; it involved:

>Cleansing:  a natural clearing of my environment, mind, body, emotions, and spirit which was challenging to keep up with

>Changing Seasons:  shifting from a hibernative, introverted mode to a more active, extroverted mode with a call to assert myself with vigilance in all areas of my life

>Biological Upgrades:  healing and rejuvenation at the cellular level including the repair of DNA and the evolution of my physicality

>Cleaning the Hard Drive:  wiping the neural and energetic pathways and circuits clean so that they are ready for new information and signals

>Divine Feminine:  a powerful and new connection with the feminine energy that gives birth to and nourishes forms as related to the female aspect of God and associated with Earth, nurturing, love, and sensuality

>Initiation:  a ritual period whereby a new level of frequency was activated

>Unification:  preparing the mind and body for active participation of unity consciousness by experiencing myself as a single cell in the body of humanity

>Balance:  establishing a delicate balance between yin and yang, masculine and feminine, action and rest, and doing and being

Inside-Out Spring Cleaning Check List

To move beyond any feelings of being sluggish, stuck, or having low energy after a long and challenging winter consider a process of clarifying, purifying and letting go this season.

Conducting a spring metaphysical cleaning can be done by examining the check list below.  We can’t heal what we cannot see and feel.  On the other hand when we can see it and feel it, we can heal it.

For each category select three lower frequencies that you want to cleanse and let go of, and three higher frequencies that you want to add in and cultivate.  Of course, this purification will be a deep inward process and will require you to take these concepts off of the page and into your life as guided by your inner spirit.  Start here to begin clearing your runway:

Spiritual

>Release:  examining old religious beliefs that need reinterpretation, notions rooted in spiritual fluff that actually slow down spiritual evolution, wounded healer and ascension stories, ideas of right and wrong, rigid beliefs that keep you from new ways of living and being, resistance, intolerance, outdated spiritual practices that are no longer relevant

>Integrate:  channels that allow for expansion, updated spiritual practices, centering, grounding, time for contemplation, connecting with inner spirit daily

Energetic

>Release:  accumulated debris from trauma, stagnant energy, blockages in chakra and meridian systems (this will be linked to cleaning out corners in home and repairing issues)

>Integrate:  intuiting and feeling into the body and energy system for blockages or restricted flow and consciously allowing energy to move through, using tools such as wooden pillows, an earthing mat, yin yoga props, and massage units to facilitate and restore flow, energy healing, grounding

Mental

>Release:  old and tired victim stories, negative thinking, negative self-talk, obsessing, karmic patterns that you are already aware of but are still repeating, thinking patterns that are not yours but that are part of your code of living which you absorbed from family or life partners, erroneous beliefs about what you are or are not good at, resistance about taking complete responsibility for everything in your life, unworthiness

>Integrate:  saying positive mantras when experiencing habitual thought loops (my favorite:  I now express divine design in my mind, body and soul), inserting positive expectations in place of regularly occurring negative expectations, mindfulness practice, conscious breathing, body scanning, meditation and simple breathing to quiet the mind

Emotional

>Release:  dwelling in sadness, unresolved guilt, unhealed grief, shame connected to anything, excessive highs or lows that cause imbalances and disrupt optimal functioning, relationship drama

>Integrate:  permission to feel the way you feel, crying to release, time and space to be with and feel your emotions including grief, guilt and shame without attaching thoughts, stories or judgments to them, honoring the power of your emotions, acknowledging positive emotions such as joy as it arises, activities that cultivate joy, using positive emotions to aid in conscious creation

Physical

>Release:  addictions, too much or too little of anything, over-eating, sleep deprivation, resistance to exercise, apathy related to the material realm, poor self-care habits, pushing past your natural limits, procrastination, excessive busyness, fake foods, refined foods, and junk food

>Integrate:  taking care of pesky little things about your appearance you’ve let go, scheduling healing or body care appointments, touching areas that have not gotten attention or that hurt, looking at your body naked while examining any areas you have been scared or uncomfortable about, getting medical check-ups for things that have been concerning you, upgrades to your personal care routine, extreme self-care, living foods, whole food vitamins, probiotics, omega-3 supplement, adding in or taking out whatever is needed to establish balance and enhance functioning

People

>Release:  individuals that drain your energy, masks and false ways of being that hide the real you, people pleasing, relationships that bring you distress, co-dependence, and power struggles (list individuals with whom you have power struggles; write down what you would say to them to end the struggle once and for all if you were not afraid of their reaction; keep it in your journal for review or burn it to release)

>Integrate:  making a point to call or visit the ones that you hold guilt for not contacting enough such as parents and siblings, reaching out to meaningful people that you have lost touch with, being direct with love while expressing your truth in every moment, arranging your life to spend more time with the people that bring you joy, igniting new friendships that resonate with who you are now, strong boundaries

Environment

>Release:  blocked corners, stacks of stuff, piles of papers, toxic, inconvenient, or broken items you have not used for a long time and do not actually need, stagnation, dust, dirty spaces, anything that is not useful or beautiful

>Integrate:  rearranging furniture, reordering items to prevent stagnation and dust accumulation, performing a space clearing ceremony in your home, incense, sage, fresh flowers, plants, crystals, salt lamps, fountains, music, creating meditation space, designating one area that is exclusively yours and fill it with the things that you love and that reflect who you are

Examining these areas for imbalances, lower frequencies, resistance, blocks, stagnation, chaos, drama, grime and clutter will enable you to wrap up old energies, create good space, and practice conscious manifestation.

The fertile nature of this spring growth spurt offers ample energies and ease of creation.  The force that is seen and felt at the equinox and throughout the season of spring is sheer creative force.

Things including what direction you are moving in, the blocks in your field and body, your desires, your clarity of intention, and the cleanliness of your runway will all determine whether your spring take-off is easy and comfortable or jarring and tumultuous.

Get your sukha on so you can shift smoothly into your next vibrational lane.