Return to Ritual - My Personal Journey
I’ve spent most of my life trying to find a space where I belong, where I could truly connect to source/spirit/MYSELF. I attended a Christian high school and watched all my close friends’ baptisms. I had a deep desire to be baptised myself because it signified a dedication to a belief and was one of the only ceremonies I’d ever witnessed. My desire to connect and make a genuine commitment was so great that I gave up many lunchtimes for bible study. I was 15 and choosing extra studies over lunchbreak with my friends. I was committed to finding the connection for me. Ultimately I never found what I was seeking in those classes and I never was baptised. The belief system that I was taught to learn, rather than feel, never resonated with me, I never felt that connection and I intuitively knew it was not for me.
In my late teens I became fascinated with world religions and in particular the rituals that each offered. i had so many books on spirituality and religions and I felt particularly drawn to all the different rituals and ceremonies. I loved that these actions had significance and I realised that rituals was what I felt was missing from my life and sadly, from the culture I grew up in. While most rituals were beautiful to me, I truly connected with nature based religions and I was particularly drawn to Wicca. I studied and practiced different aspects as a solitary for a couple of years and in my early 20's I apprenticed with an Italian Witch. This is where I was introduced to Ritual and Ceremony with others. Honouring the seasons rather than the calendar felt like truth to me and I was so drawn to the magical properties of each item used in ritual. However at some point practicing this way slipped out of my life, yet I still held on to many of the teachings and ritual aspects and so much embodied knowledge.
In my mid 20’s I reached a crisis point in my life. I was depressed, anxious, dependent on anti-depressants and I knew I had to do something to get my life back from the big, black, isolated hole I was in. I knew I needed a drastic change. I quit my jobs and enrolled in a 3 month Yoga and Ashram Life program. Every day for three months I practiced Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Nada Yoga, Yoga Nidra, meditated several times each day and attended Havan once a week.
Havan is a fire ritual and my favourite part of Ashram life. I loved being taught how the ritual begins with the intention of setting up the space. Collecting, splitting and setting the kindling for the fire in pyramid form in the fire pit, laying out the items corresponding to each of the four elements, making it beautifual with flowers. Mixing the dried herbs to be offered into the flames and melting the ghee with infused intention to pour on the fire. We would sit around the fire pit chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra 108 times as we offered up anything we wanted to release into the fire for transformation and healing for our own selves as well as for the collective. I loved Havan. I loved the chanting, the action of offering up what no longer served me and I loved that I had found a place where I could share ritual with others in this way. Once I completed my program I only returned to the Ashram several times before moving and again ritual slipped out of my life.
Several years later I miscarried. My partner and I were devastated. We had lost our baby and there was nothing tangible that I could grab hold of and mourn my loss. There was only ever the love and grief that I felt and a couple of ultrasound photos to show that our baby had existed. I was already a mother but I no longer had my baby. It was then that I once again returned to ritual. My partner and I held our own private ceremony in our backyard one evening where we offered up our grief, loss, pain, tears, confusion for release and healing. I had never been more grateful for ritual, the fact that we could honour our baby’s short existence and our loss was a significant step in my own healing.
One year later, we welcomed our gorgeous girl into the world. It was a couple years later that I sat in Circle with Jane Hardwicke Collings and I felt all the wisdom of cycles re-awaken in my body. Cycles of seasons, wheel of the year, menstrual cycle, life cycle, the moon, the cycle of day into night and back around. Nothing constant except the ebb and flow of all things. And these cycles, they are all maps, these inner and outer cycles, maps containing incredible wisdom for a way of living and a deep connection to nature and to self. As within, so without...
Today, at 4 years old, our daughter told my partner and I that we were going to do a ritual to celebrate the fact that she had started her transition into primary school. She set up the space, got out my drum, asked for candles and sage and I was blown away. It was then that it really hit me, how much ritual was a part of my life, so much so that I had intuitively raised my girl understanding how powerful ritual could be and she reached for it, in her celebration, at 4 years old, she reached for ritual.
My journey back to ritual, back to the ancient wisdom within, my intuition that I had forgotten, had taken me years to remember but came so naturally to my daughter. I truly hope that she always remembers and stays connected with her personal power.
From rituals of transforming loss to rituals of celebrating life stages, I feel our culture is in need of more acknowledgment of each and every significant life event.
If you desire a deeper connection to your innate inner power, would like a ritual created for you or are interested in upcoming women's circles and ritual offerings, then be sure to sign up or feel free to connect with me HERE .
With love & gratitude,