The Merriam-Webster definition of Ceremony is: “A formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol or convention.”
We experience Ceremonies in our life in many different ways. Some of the more obvious ways are when we attend a wedding, funeral, graduation and even birthdays. In each of these examples, we are called together to celebrate or honor someone, or even a group of people. But we also participate in smaller ceremonies all throughout our day. When we wake up, we typically go get some coffee, check in on the news or our emails, eat breakfast, get dressed, and begin our day. Some of us even add in some body movement like going for a run, hitting the gym, or doing some yoga. Others may set their intentions for the day, say some prayers, or meditate. This daily routine of waking up and greeting the day is a very potent Ceremony that can play a major role in setting the tone of your whole day.
To me, Ceremony happens whenever make the shift into connecting with my higher self, or step into sacred space. It is opening my awareness to the energies around me and connecting with them to grow and evolve as a person.
When I taught daily yoga classes, I would start each one by lighting some cedar and setting an intention for all of us to focus on. This conscious focus on stepping into sacred space, and calling on my highest level of awareness is the entrance to Ceremony. Whenever I am in that focused place, I am moving in a Ceremonial way, connected to my senses…hearing more deeply, becoming more aware of the smells of the Cedar, the feeling of the air on my skin…everything is more heightened and focused. In my slowing down, I can see/feel/sense more…and…be more present in the moment. Use this act of slowing down to connect with your own ceremonies!
There are two types of callings when it comes to Ceremony:
1. Those that are called to lead others in our community in Ceremonies. This was my calling and through the past decade I participated in numerous initiations, ceremonies, and processes like Sweat Lodges and Quests. This path is a challenging one, and it is important to find a teacher who you trust to help lead you through these initiations in a safe and respectable way.
2. An individual calling to go deeper and connect with the sacredness in our own life. This is the calling most of the people who come to work with me have received! This is the individual path where we are tasked in strengthening our senses…seeing more, hearing more, feeling more. Consciously choosing to do the work needed to evolve from who we were yesterday with more wisdom, knowledge, and grace.
Whatever your calling is, connecting to the nature and the elements around us is a powerful way to build and deepen our connection to the natural world, and the energy that that world offers us! Taking time to slow down and really see, feel, and connect with nature is good medicine for our soul. The important thing to remember is that, it doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate act to be a Ceremony.
Examples of things you can do at home today to make that shift into a Ceremonial practice:
1. Burning incense or lighting a candle
2. Traditional prayer hands at heart (Anjali Mudra)
3. Creating a ceremony or ritual to remember and honor our ancestors
4. Fasting from foods
5. Meditation, Yoga, and Prayer
6. Honoring gratitude (Saying Grace)
7. Using crystals or other sacred objects that we choose to make sacred
Remember to keep your ceremonies simple and direct. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be sacred, and honestly, I have always been taught to keep my ceremonies and prayers simple, direct, and to the point. There is an energy that comes up when we enter into Ceremony, and sometimes if we ramble away with our speaking that energy may move on. This is one of the reasons why it is good to practice being direct when setting intentions and prayers. This will also help our communication with others as well!
Give one of these things a try when you have a chance:
-Wake up at first light and watch the sunrise. Watch the day awaken. This is a powerful and potent time to set intentions, say prayers, and make an offering of sage, cedar, Palo Santo, or tobacco. Another powerful time is watching the day shift through sunset as everything settles down for the day.
-Express gratitude for your food before you eat it. Express thanks to the rains for watering these foods, the sun for giving its energy, the people at your grocery store or farmer’s market who did the work of harvesting your food and bringing it to you! Even expressing gratitude for the tools you used to prepare your food. Gratitude is a powerful, healing energy!
-Watch the nature for 30 minutes…Watch how the robins move and find their worms, notice how the clouds move overhead, or listen to the sound of the wind moving through the trees! I promise you you will be surprised at how many things you may not have noticed before…and once you see them, you will remember them forever!
You’re invited to join me each Tuesday from 5-5:30pm PST (8-8:30pm EST) for my “Tuesday Talks with Greg” on my Facebook page here. I answer your questions in our Facebook LIVE Session each week. I hope to see you there! Below is talk on Ceremony I hosted for you to check out.