My last blog post was about creating an altar and setting sacred space to honor the unseen energies, creativity, and presence. For this post, I’d like to share my reflections about the importance of ceremony. Ceremonies offer a way to connect with spirit, make prayers, and offer healing intentions. They can be done alone or in community. Ceremonies often have a particular focus, such as healing and honoring the elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), a specific piece of land, personal transformation, well ancestors, or seasonal cycles.
I enjoyed family ceremonies as a child. One special example was when my parents created a ceremony for my brother, sister, and I when we each turned 9 to celebrate our coming of age. We chose cherished yet outgrown toys to give away as a symbolic gesture of growing older. My mom sewed a special pouch embroidered with our spirit animal, and my dad wrote a beautiful letter acknowledging our growth and encouraging us to lean on spirit, our animal totem, and our inner wisdom for the years to come.
Since then, I’ve continued to integrate ceremonies throughout my life, as they provide a deep sense of connection and reverence for our external and internal cycles. I was taught by various spiritual and herbal teachers to create ceremony by focusing on an intention, lighting a candle or a fire, calling in my guides, well ancestors, directions, plant allies, and setting a protected container. I speak my intentions, both for my personal journey and for the wider world, and make an offering. I often sing, dance, drum, or chant, and close with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Some Earth-based times to create ceremony are on the full and new moon, and the Solstices and Equinoxes. Winter Solstice is on December 21st, and is a time to honor friends and family, give gifts, renew our personal journey, and to reflect. I love the quiet that Winter Solstice offers, and I enjoy stretching my ceremony throughout the day. A few ideas to integrate into your special Winter Solstice ceremony are making an imaginative collage for 2023, journaling about and giving gratitudes for 2022, using candlelight instead of electric lights, and having a bonfire. Opening and closing the day with a walk in nature, greeting the deep evergreens, is also a lovely Winter Solstice activity.
If you would like to enjoy a community ceremony, come gather with me for a moon ceremony! The new moon offers space to set intentions and honor the shadow, and the full moon inspires letting go of what doesn’t serve and honoring the guiding light. I would love to see you!