The other day I was reminiscing over dinner about my mother. She immigrated to England from Italy and was eternally grateful for the welcome she received and the opportunities that living here gave her. This gratitude expressed itself in a passionate devotion to the Queen. For any of you who are old enough to remember, before we had hundreds of channels and round the clock television, the BBC would close down every night with a ceremonial playing of the National Anthem, and that meant my mother would leap out of her chair and haul us to our feet if we were still out of bed and we would all have to stand, ram rod straight until it ended!
That fond memory set me to thinking about the place of rituals in our modern life. One of the things that I find most fascinating about ancient cultures is the rituals that they observed, especially those rituals that formed around magical ceremonies. Some people might think that ritual plays no part in our modern existence, but that just isn’t true.
A shaman playing a drum might appear to be performing a very different series of actions to a chef sharpening their knives, but if you could look at both at an energetic level, you might see that they are taking a different journey to the same destination. They are both in their own way setting their intention and focusing their attention, moving to an altered state of consciousness that allows them to do something specific, whether its journeying through the underworld or preparing a delicious meal!
Rituals in ancient cultures provided people with a solid sense of who they were and bound them together in a cohesive whole. They were performed in celebration, appreciation or marked rites of passage.
A quick look at your own life will reveal many rituals, some obvious, some not so obvious, that you observe. It might be the ritual of celebrating a birthday, or it might be your morning ritual of taking a shower before your breakfast that sets you up for the day to the point where you feel out of sorts if something diverts you away from it.
The important thing to notice about the rituals you run is the way that you feel at the end of them. Some rituals might lift your spirits the walk you take at lunchtime to clear your head, the moment you take before eating to say a few words of gratitude before you begin your meal. Others might leave you feeling not so good. If your morning ritual runs along the lines of you scrutinising yourself from head to toe in the mirror, pulling yourself apart, running the same loops of negative self talk and then getting dressed, its no real surprise if it leaves you feeling terrible. The good news is you have the opportunity to transform this with a simple change of thinking! You can take your those moments and use them as an opportunity to fill yourself with love and acceptance. Changing simple things can have an astonishingly powerful effect as our internal thoughts impact our day to day reality.
Bear in mind that rituals reinforce who you are and what you do, and as a result who you can be and what you can do. Spend some time today noticing what rituals you run, and consider which ones you want to keep, and which you might want to tweak! You can also transform and change the rituals in your life to empower you. When you have a shower you can visualise your energy being cleansed and make that a time when you send positive thoughts to yourself.
Whenever I light a candle in my home I send blessings and protection to those I love, to the world for peace and for my home to be filled with love. What rituals do you have and what rituals can you change?
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