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March 5, 2021

The Beauty of Ritual:

Aloha everyone! Today I am going to talk about ritual and how it can help us to connect to ourselves, others, and with the natural and spiritual world. Ritual is important to working out things like illness, grief, and emotion, and can help cultivate connection with our communities and and bring us back to our natural world.

What is ritual? Ritual, unlike ceremony, is something that we do not have control over. When we engage in ritual we must do it with an open heart and shut off our logical minds. This is hard for a lot of us Westerners to do because we are so used to thinking that we have control over our lives. Ritual reminds us that we do not and that this notion does not have to be frightening. In fact, it helps to enlighten our lives by bringing us more clarity and meaning. Ritual can be done anywhere, but nature is the best place to have it if it is available to you. If not, that is perfectly fine too! Ritual can be done alone, but it is also great to do with a group. Many of us love our individuality; however this can sometimes make us feel alone and isolated with our problems and emotions. When ritual is done with a supportive community, it can help others to move through their pain (physical and mental) as well as their fears with the feeling that they are loved and supported by others.

How to conduct ritual? Ritual starts when you begin thinking about it and planning! While I was planning mine, I silently chanted the mantra “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti” throughout the process and thought about bringing peace and unity to the ocean and to humanity and the earth. My intention for my ritual was to focus on the ocean as well as the water element which signifies peace and unity. This brings me to another important aspect of ritual. The intention! It is important to remember why you are doing ritual in the first place. It is good for everyone to agree on the intention and to be aware of it while moving through the ritual. Sometimes we can get lost in our fears and rational minds and it is necessary to bring our awareness back to why it all started in the first place.

Find a place in nature or wherever you and others feel comfortable to engage. Start by making an altar out of anything from the natural world: leaves, twigs, shells, flowers, etc. Make it beautiful! I put flowers on mine and also brought a candle and some sage to cleanse the area and the energies around and within us. Perhaps make a circle with with natural objects you have collected or have everyone stand in a circle. It is important that everyone engages in ritual and feels seen and heard as well as respected. You could bring an object to give back to mother earth, light a candle for your ancestors, or say a mantra/poem to honor and spirits or species you would like. It is important again not to think so much but to feel!

Again, I am not an expert. I am just learning as we all are on our journeys. You can follow any of these suggestions or form your own path: honoring your intuition and what is being asked of you. Ritual can help to ground us in what is important in our lives. It can help us to show respect for our ancestors, the natural world, and the spirits that are around us.

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