Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Today I would like to offer a beautiful purification ritual. This is a ritual process that I was introduced to in Indonesia. It is a rich and beautiful way of being in a meditative practice that involves very gentle movement and chanting. Together we will invoke purification through the vibration of sound, the stillness within the posture of the spine, and through the gentle repetitious movement of the hand. It is divine.
I absolutely love this ritual, it's one I do quite often and I couple it with an absolutely profound Sanskrit chant the Gayatri Mantra. There are a few things that can help to enrich the experience, you don't actually need anything to do this process, but there are a few things that you may like to include.
When I was introduced to this ritual practice in Indonesia, we were gifted a little bowl of rice. It is symbolic in a number of ways and the primary one, you may know, is that rice absorbs more than twice its body weight in water. So naturally, it has very absorbent qualities. When we're using rice in this purification ritual it's helping to absorb any negative energy and remove it from the body. It is an easeful way of energetically releasing and hence purifying!
And for me today just for practicality, I have a big candle resting in quite a bigger bowl underneath.
We will harness the energy of the elements, it could be any element, earth, air, water or fire, to take the energy we're releasing to purify it, not just for our being, it's also a purification of the energy we're releasing so we can give it back to mother earth in a purified state. You can work with what is available and easy.
We have fire restrictions here in New Zealand during the summer so I can't go out and just create a bonfire, although that's a beautiful way of doing this and I have done it that way around a beautiful big fire with a whole lot of people all chatting together. Other ways you could incorporate the elements outdoors is to be down by a stream or a river or by the ocean and the release goes into the water.
Otherwise, you can be creative. From a candle to an indoor fire during the winter. You may like to work with Air perhaps using a bowl of smudging herbs, where there's smoke billowing, and you can just be released into the smoke. Or you could keep it really simple and just take this ritual out into nature and release it into the soil, or the garden.
The rice is symbolic of how I was initiated into this ritual, which is part of the Asian culture. You could use whatever you like instead, rocks or any kind of food like legumes or beans or peas or anything really, but it is symbolic of an object that can help to absorb and move through and energetically be let go, and given back to nature. Trusts your instincts and go with what resonates for you.
I also have a number of malas, you may or may not have heard of a mala before. It is a strand of 108 beads that have been counted quite intentionally, and traditionally Sanskrit chants were done 108 times in repetition, in order for them to be in the most empowered state for mind body and soul.
We're not going to go through the chat 108 times today it will take us a little bit too long together, but we'll do enough of it that we get a full sense for that sensation of really dropping in that happens when we repeat movement and sound.
If you've got a mala, bonus! You may like to be slowly counting along with the beads with each repetition of the chant to count as we go or to follow it the full cycle round 108 times.
So these are a few of the things that's that may deepen your experience. If you have none of the above, that is totally fine. What I'm going to invite you to consider is the Gayan Mudra, the mudra where you bring your pointer finger and your thumb together, and just bring the tips together, and release the other fingers. This Mudra (the Gyan Mudra) is a mudra for awakening consciousness, expanding from our small self into our big self spiritual self.. So this Mudra helps to keep a meditative state in the physical body.
The embodied movement that accompanies this ritual is really simple. We're going to repeat the chant over and over again. And if you have your bowl of rice, we're going to take a few bits of rice in our fingertips, and we're going to start right at the base of our chakras, and we're slowly lifting (as we chant) the rice up through the centerline of our body and we're imagining that it's touching in on all of those energy centers drawing out any impurities anything that doesn't need to be there right up to the third eye, and then we're releasing it into our purification element.
We just repeat that over and over as a movement.
The chant itself has a number of words. It is repetitious, the more say it, the more you will pick it up as you go, so I invite you to find your flow with me. Even if it just means doing the movement a few times while you listen to the words as I'm chanting.
The words to the Gayatri Mantra are in bold, the pronunciation is italic below.
OmBhur Bhuvah Suvaha
Bhoor Bhoo-va Su-va-ha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Tat Sa-vee-toor Var-ayn-yam
Bargo Devasya Dhimahi
Bar-go Day-vas-ya Dhee-ma-hee
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Dhee-yo Yo Nah Pra-cho-da-yaat
The words are about revivifying, cleansing, purifying our connection physically, astrally, and cosmically. These words we are quite literally washing clean and opening up to that expansive enlightenment. If you are interested to learn more about this chant and its origins I found this article by the Chopra centre helpful.
All right. So to get started, seat yourself comfortably make sure your spine is erect, press play on the video or audio file, whichever you choose to support you.
If you have read all of this, skip ahead to where the ritual begins...
8:49 mins on the audio file
7:53 mins on video
When you are ready you may like to close down the windows of your eyes.
Start to draw energy and awareness inwards.
And maybe just taking a couple of nice full breaths in together as we arrive.