“As creators, we have the ability to turn the mundane into the magical...by way of ritual.” - Anonymous
As a mental health provider, the idea of a ritual and a habit are often used interchangeably. If one thinks about ritual vs habit, what feelings are evoked from each? For most of us, the concept of ritual entices a feeling of mystery, magic and perhaps a mental snapshot of a ceremony or spiritual gathering. Over the centuries, ritual has been used in different contexts such as religious, cultural and secular, just to name a few.
Conversely, a habit may invoke a feeling of routine, or something that is done out of convention. This may look like brushing ones’ teeth, biting your fingernails or driving the same way to work every day. Both ritual and habit can invoke change, however, the ritual normally involves a greater element of intention, symbolism, mindfulness and the engagement of the senses. It is not done blindly and mindlessly. Meaning is the key difference.
Utilizing Ritual for Change
Invoking change in ones’ life is normally geared towards taking power back rather than coming from a place of helplessness or being a “bystander” in our day to day life. It can give a sense of purpose and meaning to a world in which we are routinely “going through the motions” in a subconscious state of mind. The intention that is needed for ritual gives a sense of ownership, empowerment and a clear path. One of the misnomers about ritual is that it has to involve an elaborate and long drawn out process which is complicated and difficult. As creators, we all have the power within ourselves to invoke change through ritual, it does not have to be done by someone else. Something as simple as writing down an intention and lighting a candle can be a ritual.
Use What You Know
Although many rituals involve timing (moon phases/astrological alignments), tools, the elements, herbs and candles, one does not have to be “studied” for years to begin to work with ritual. Intention, many times, is the most powerful catalyst for ritual work. Using “what you know” such as what colors may invoke certain feelings (for example, yellow = happiness, red = love) as well as what you may already just have around the house including tea lights, paper and a pencil and regular playing cards to represent numbers and court cards. You can make up your own rituals utilizing what you have or for little or no cost. Getting creative is a must! Creating your own alphabet with symbols and writing out your rituals so that only you know what is documented can add an air of mystery to your rituals. Additionally, finding things in nature can be more powerful than buying certain tools or materials that may be needed.
Sample Rituals for Change
Ritual for Self-Confidence/Empowerment:
Take a small piece of paper and write the word: STRENGTH. Place the paper under a glass of water in a clear glass and place it on a windowsill in the light of a full moon. In the morning, take the glass and drink the water while concentrating on how this new self-confidence will manifest in your life. At the end of the day for a week, write down one thing that you did during that day that exemplifies your newfound power.
Ritual for Manifesting Abundance in Your Life
Take a deck of cards and pull out the eight of spades. Place this under a green candle (candle should be in a holder). Burn the green candle down all the way. Take your card and fold it placing it in your wallet/purse. This can be done on a new moon. Write down for a week one thing that you are doing on a daily basis to promote abundance in your life.
Remember... you are the creator of your life's direction. Utilize your power in an intentional and creative way to manifest change. You are only limited by your own beliefs about yourself and your own ability to manifest a desired outcome. Blessings on bringing magic into your life!