I love ceremony. Ceremony is the weaving together of so many things that we don’t get enough of in our everyday lives. When done well, it brings together elements of creativity, spirituality, intentionality, openness and honesty. It connects us more deeply to ourselves, to others, to the present moment and to some deep memory within us of the significance of our humanness and our connection to the beyond-human world. Ceremony nourishes us in a way deeply known yet deeply forgotten. It is an art and practice of re-connection, and one which I think the world sorely needs.
According to Wikipedia: “A ceremony is a unified ritualistic event with a purpose, usually consisting of a number of artistic components, performed on a special occasion.” This is a good, rough, working definition. I particularly like the “ritualistic event”, as this adds some sense of the sacredness of the occasion, and “artistic component” as I love bringing inventiveness and specificity to each ceremony I create. A couple more pieces I would add are intention and creating a container. Having a clear intention is what gives ceremony its power, and the container is what holds it, separating it out from the rest of your day, and even, to some degree, separating it from ordinary reality and time. For me, ceremony is often an alterative experience, bringing me to a different level of consciousness and fully into the present moment. It also carries a feeling of the sacred, like things have more meaning and carry a greater weight when engaged with in this way. There is a power here to being witnessed and tuning into one’s intentions that is not present in most other types of interactions and experiences.
One of my favorite uses of ceremony is as a marker of time and pivot points in life. Seasonal ceremonies keep us in tune with the flow of the year, attuning us to the energy of our environment and helping us take pause for reflection and redirection. Marking transition points in life, be they big or small, is also a very beneficial practice, allowing us the space to actually honor and experience our experiences. Ceremony supports us in doing this in a very intentional way, while offering lots of room for adaptation, creativity and personalization.
In addition to more formal ceremonies, I like to incorporate bits of the ceremonial and ritualistic into my everyday life. By doing so, I infuse my day-to-day with greater meaning, and a feeling of the sacred. These small acts add intentionality, calm and presence, while invoking feelings of awe, gratitude and wonder. They also support a connection with, and reminder of, the spiritual, energetic and intuitive realms. Ritualistic practices can be as simple as going outside and greeting the sun each morning, smudging the house, or pulling an oracle card. Bathing, dressing, drinking a cup of tea or coffee, lighting a candle or connecting with nature also offers the opportunity for ritualistic or ceremonial practice in everyday life.
Ceremony, though far from common today, has been an integral part of life in nearly all cultures. There is a reason why. Whether small or large, used to build community, ask for blessing, celebrate a milestone or bring meaning into the day-to-day, ceremony tunes us into our interconnections, realigning us with our own wisdom and the significance of our existence. This is powerful medicine in these times, and good nourishment for the soul.
Hi! My name is Ashley and I'm a transformational healer, writer and artist. Here you will find articles on a variety of topics related to health and healing, conscious living and self-growth. Hope you enjoy!