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July 16, 2019 5 min read

WHAT IS A RITUAL?

A ritual is simply a practice or routine; it's a “ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order” or “a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.”

The idea of rituals may invoke a wide range of thoughts from religious to spiritual; however, rituals can be totally secular and have been proven to have real benefits, “even simple rituals can be extremely effective. Rituals appear to benefit even people who claim not to believe that rituals work.” (Source: Scientific American).

WHY DO RITUALS WORK?

There’s power in positive thinking: rituals are a great way to practice positive thinking and declare your intentions. The beauty of rituals is you can make them whatever you want and they can serve many different purposes.

Rituals can be as simple as your morning routine: jump out of bed with a smile, start coffee, go on a morning walk, do yoga or stretch, meditate and enjoy a cup of coffee before starting your day. You can implement productivity rituals like taking 5 minutes each morning to make a checklist of the 3 most important items you’re going to focus on that day or setting aside time to work on your most important project before opening your inbox each morning.

You can create your own ritual ceremonies to:

  • express gratitude
  • grieve the loss of loved ones
  • set goals and intentions
  • set affirmations
  • manifest what you want
  • focus on what’s important
  • release and let go of what which no longer serves you

“Self-created ceremonies give meaning and order to our personal lives…Rituals are tools that give us the freedom to take responsibility for the direction and purpose of our lives…Rituals provide us with a sense of renewal. They offer us a time-out from our everyday routine, habitual existence. Metaphorically, rituals are oases, a time to rest, replenish, and restore ourselves on our long and winding path through life. Rituals help us to reevaluate our journey thus far and to reaffirm that the path we are traveling is the right one for us.” (Source: Psychology Today).

“Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.” Source: Scientific American). “When we set aside the quality time and claim the psychic space for ceremony, when we assume the authority to do so, we are able to transform our perceptions, our perspectives, our experiences, and in the process, our reality.” (Source: Huffington Post).

CANDLE RITUALS

Candles are a powerful tool and have been used for rituals dating back as far as the Paleolithic era; but like all things, you have to believe in the power of the candle for it to work for you. With candle rituals, the same idea applies as making a wish before you blow out the candles on a birthday cake; except instead of hoping for your wish will come true, you’re declaring your intent.

Burning a candle is a natural way to connect to something deeper. As a fire element, the flame represents the source of our creation and your inner light. It can be used to connect to our higher consciousness and heighten our spiritual awareness.

Before we jump into the actual ritual, please note that these steps are suggestions not rules. You can reshape rituals however it suits you and your beliefs. Always feel free to add or remove any steps to any ritual you come across to truly make it yours: that just makes it more you, more authentic. And there’s power in authenticity!

Here’s an outline you can use to create your own candle ritual. You can also perform candle rituals during different moon phases for added emphasis: the new moon is a powerful time to set intentions and plant new seeds of what you desire, the full moon is a powerful time to purge and release what’s getting in your way and holding you back.

What You Need:

  • candle(s)
  • match or lighter
  • fire-safe area or container (fireplace, fire pit, empty planter, metal/ceramic bowl, empty sink, etc.)
  • small pieces of paper (small notebooks work great for this; if you don’t have one, tear sheets of paper into 4 pieces)
  • writing utensil
  • sage or palo santo (optional)
  • soft background music (optional)

Candle Ritual Steps:

  1. Cleansing
    • Find a space where you can be alone and safely light small pieces of paper on fire
    • Sit in a comfortable chair or position on the floor
    • Smudge the ritual area by burning sage or palo santo (optional)
    • Light the candle(s)
    • Take a deep inhale and focus on the candlelight: allow its light to fill the space and fill you
    • As you exhale, close your eyes and visualize white light surrounding you and protecting you
    • Invite your spirit guides, guardian angels, the universe and/or higher power to be with you throughout the ceremony (optional)
    1. Set Your Intention
      • Close your eyes and take a few deep grounding breaths
      • Continue breathing and take some time to focus your thoughts on the purpose of your ceremony: what specifically are you calling in, sending out or releasing?
      • When you’re ready, take a few more deep grounding breaths and open your eyes
      1. Ceremony
        • On each piece of paper, write down one thing you are calling in, sending out or releasing.

          For example:
          • If you’re calling in a new job, write down specific things that you’re looking for in a job.
          • If you’re expressing gratitude, write down specific things you’re grateful for.
          • If you’re releasing self-judgement, write down specific habits you’re letting go of.

        • When you're done writing, read what you wrote on each piece of paper out loud stating it as your intention, then burn it using the flame from the candle, lighter or matches.)

          Using the above examples, you may say something like:
          • “I’m manifesting a new job that allows me to grow my business-to-business sales skills, gives me the flexibility to travel at least three times a year, and pays me of base salary of at least $50,000 with great benefits.”
          • “I’m so grateful for my friends who helped me move. With their help, I was able to move everything on Saturday which gave me all day Sunday to unpack and get settled before going back to work on Monday.”
          • “I’m letting go of my negative self-talk, my need to compare myself to others and all worry about what others think of me. These things are not serving me or my higher self and I release them."
        • Repeat this until all you've burned all your pieces of paper
        1. Closing
          • Take a few deep cleansing breaths and reflect on how you feel
          • Thank yourself for taking this time
          • Thank your guides, angels, the universe and/or higher power for being with you (optional)
          • Blow out the candle(s) to close the ritual
          • After a ritual, journaling is a great way to reflect on your experience. You could also create a vision board.

          We’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on rituals! Please comment below.

          SOURCES
          Huffington Post: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rituals_b_3294412
          Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-rituals-work/
          Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-flux/201508/11-ways-rituals-help-us-celebrate-our-lives


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