Friday, June 08, 2012

Ceremonies and Rituals

I'm now a great believer in ceremonies and rituals.  I design and carry one out nearly every day.  That probably sounds excessive but it works like a witchy charm for me.  I learned about this as part of my recovery.  Most years I attend a women's retreat for women in recovery.  There are many rituals as part of the retreat but the big, important one is on Saturday night.  There's a long guided meditation followed by a ritual and ceremonious burning of a piece of paper on which we've written something we want to let go of.  We are told that when this particular thing comes to mind, remember that we let go of it and gave it to God.  This ceremony has been very effective in helping me let go of things that I was harming myself by holding on to.  Examples:  Resentments, fears, guilt, people who have died, people who are no longer in our lives for various reasons. 

The thing that sticks out in my mind is that rituals and ceremonies imbed in my memory what I've decided.  I suspect that our brains (or at least my brain) is hard wired to use ceremonies and rituals to help us remember and to give energy to our decisions that may be challenging to carry out.  Here's an example of a "generic" ritual I might use to support a decision/change I want to make in my life:  I light a scented candle and put on music that supports me.  I write out my decision in the form of a prayer.  If there's someone or something I want to say goodbye to, I write a goodbye letter.  I ask for guidance and power to carry out my decision and the change.  Somehow these little rituals continue to help me remember and carry out decisions.

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