The idea of introducing daily rituals into your life may be inspiring, however you might wondering where to start.
Many of us move through life on auto-pilot. Our routines are habitual. One habit after another form the structure of our day.
Those habits might be starting the day with coffee, always stopping at a certain petrol station for fuel, biting your nails while your waiting in line somewhere, washing the dishes straight after dinner. Habits can be both wholesome and sabotaging. Ultimately, they are just a pattern of actions that we systematically play out each day, without much thought.
A ritual on the other hand, for me, has three key qualities... presence, intention and reverence. We can infuse any one of our daily actions with three qualities and transform it from something that we do mindlessly into an action that deepens our relationship with ourselves and life.
Scroll down to discover how...
Today, Indigenous people are still deeply connected to rituals as an inherent part of their daily lives. This connection brings a sacredness and power to even the most ‘mundane’ aspects of existence and it imbues basic tasks with love and connection.
I’ve experienced this while sitting in circle with Aboriginal elders, singing as the women prepared food together. The coming together in song and community brought a reverence and intimacy that made the chopping of the vegetables a complete joy. The simple ritual of food preparation became a celebration, an opportunity to be with each other and enjoy the abundance of life.
Another memory of the power of ritual I have is sitting on the land in circle, in the Andes preparing a Despacho (sacred offering) with shamans.
Being out on the land in this way, remembering Pachamama (mother earth) and all she gifts us with; water, air, food, life itself, felt so right and so good to have the opportunity to express my gratitude in a tangible way.
Other potent memories of ritual include the sacred devotional offerings I’ve been taught to perform by my teachers (and ancestors) in India, water purifications in Indonesia, bamboo tattoo ceremonies in Thailand, just to name a few.
I love the invitation to offer symbolic items that honour the Divine, or the rituals of purification, dance, and chant, that are outwardly different, but inwardly the same, across the planet.
These are really special rituals I’ve been blessed to take part in, but you don’t need to travel to the world and other sacred places, to perform rituals.
Certainly, Indigenous Elders bring extra power to the rituals they perform, as they are part of an unbroken lineage of spiritual connection and ritual, and any opportunity to learn from Indigenous wisdom keepers is very precious.
Whether ancient or modern, for many indigenous cultures rituals are a vital part of their everyday life. A key to the journey of expanding consciousness and connection to the land and the Great Spirit.
You and I can imbue our own lives with greater potency, peace, and joy, through embracing some simple daily rituals.
In essence, a ritual is about bringing sacredness into your life, and about honouring something greater than you and I.
It is about honouring the mystery, and the bringer of life in all things, from the flowers to the trees, to the birds, the tiny caterpillar glistening on a fresh leaf, or the waking sun, the wonder of ebbing tides and the moonlight.
There is a divine force that moves through all things, like a river, enlivening all of life. It is the same force that moves the plant to flower, the wolf to howl, or lights up a baby’s face.
As we become more aware of this higher force moving in our lives and express our gratitude for it, it expands and colours daily life with radiance and light that connects us to all living things.
Ritual is the passageway of the soul into the Infinite. – Algernon Blackwood
The Science behind Rituals
Associate Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Scientist, Christine Legare has studied rituals for many years and has discovered there are a few key ways in which people trust rituals.
What makes a ritual feel effective, is the same from ancient Egypt to modern-day Brazil. Christine says that rituals reflect how our minds work. “We don’t actually know how most things work,” she says, “so we do a lot of imitating.”
According to Legare, in a chaotic world, rituals offer us the illusion of control over what we want to happen.
A series of investigations by psychologists have revealed interesting new results that are not surprising.
Their research demonstrates that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Other experiments by psychologists, into grief and ritual, showed that people who engaged in a ritual after the death of a loved one or loss of a close relationship felt less grief about the loss.
Rituals, like birthday celebrations, weddings, funerals, coming of age parties, are an important way we gather together with our communities and loved ones.
Today rituals have become more secular and materialistic, but essentially the desire behind them is the same, to connect, celebrate, and be grateful for life and its expression.
Increasingly ancient rituals are returning and finding a place in modern society: rituals such as blessing way ceremonies for mothers before they birth their child or rituals for girls as they enter womanhood and start menstruating.
Today there are camps or outdoor activities for men and boys, Women’s Healing Circles, Full Moon circles, Earth Healing Circles, and so many more beautiful ritual gatherings that are evolving as we acknowledge our primal need and desire to be together in sacred ways that are healing and transformational for us.
Rituals are one of the ways in which humans put their live into perspective. Whether it be Puram, Advent or drawing down the moon. Ritual calls together the shades and specters in peoples lives, sorts them out and puts them to rest. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Simple Rituals to Practice
There are some very basic rituals you can add to your life that will greatly enhance and transform your outlook, and over time, your life. Vedic wisdom says that thoughts lead to actions, your actions become habits and your habits determine your character, and ultimately your character determines your destiny.
As the late Wayne Dyer said:
You do not attract what you want, you attract what you are.
Rituals put us in contact with the forces moving the universe, that energy that is within all life.
We are said to have about 25,000 mornings as an adult.
How will you start your day?
Will you start with sacredness, with a ritual that sets your day as an amazing opportunity to be alive and connect with other people and animals, an opportunity to express your creativity and enjoy this beautiful planet, or will you drag yourself out of bed going: “Oh God, another day of work!”
Starting your day with a simple five-minute ritual can change the way you experience life over time.
I start each day with a ritual of sipping cacao, placing my hands on my heart and giving thanks for life, and the opportunity to be alive and to enjoy all the beauty of this world. I connect to elements within me, around me. My breath, my body, my emotions, my thoughts.
I open to an intention of heartfelt presence, attunement and call in grace - that profound, mysterious life force that guides and supports me.
With that energy flowing I welcome the day and beam some love and healing energy out into the world.
This is both a gift of self-care and also my way of giving back.
And it connects me to all of life everywhere.
There are many simple healing rituals you can do that can keep you healthy and balanced, it’s a matter of finding or creating something that works for you.
I have created a Ritual Toolbox which offers a range of practices that you can experiment with, weave together and lean into for inspiration when it comes to creating a nourishing rhythm of morning ritual in your life. You can check it out here >
Being in nature is one of the most blessed resources we have.
I love to sit in nature and reflect.
To listen, to be with myself, on the ground, at one with all of life.
Watching the wind move through the leaves, or the first rays of light shoot forth into the sky, sitting under the stars, walking the bush paths on the mountain (Pukewhakataratara) where I live, or being beside a river in the rain forest, is deeply restorative.
Nature helps us reset. By bringing in regular mindful times in nature you can truly transform your life.
Just sitting, being and listening in nature can bring forth insights, understanding and answers.
Problems are solved and life resets itself, the pieces naturally falling into place.
Many of us live in cities, void of nature. For this reason it is all the more essential for us to create the space to connect with life outdoors.
You don't have to venture far.
You may only be able to look out of a window.
Whatever you can do to connect with the natural environment each and every day will have benefits.
Creating a sacred space in your home is one of the most beautiful and health-giving rituals you can do.
Creating some sort of an altar where you can place images of loved ones, teachers (wisdom keepers), elements of nature, crystals, or whatever you are inspired by or that connects you to Source, instantly elevates your space to something more sacred.
Sitting at your altar (sacred space) and feeling gratitude, or meditating, is a great way to connect to your heart and to all of life.
Temples and sacred places around the planet were made sacred by the devotional practices and rituals that took place within them.
Your home and your body can become temples if you treat your space with reverence.
You can sanctify the space in your home through conscious cleaning and space clearing.
Regular smudging or use of sound, sacred music and chants, and burning incense can keep your home a sacred space that will nourish and support you.
Rituals are habits that support you during challenging times. A regular ritual, such as a meditation or conscious movement practice, brings the inner resilience and pathways of neural calm so that you are resourced when you are faced with potential derailment from life’s road trains.
We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. – Elizabeth Gilbert
Rituals bring relief when everything is falling to pieces. Having a daily sacred practice of some sort holds you together when things fall apart. Because relationships do break up, jobs end, friendships have bumpy bits, people die, illness hits, and the unexpected happens. And it’s at these times, that we need an inner resilience, something that can help us navigate the foggy territory of human suffering.
While yes, sometimes we need to fall apart, it is helpful to have something to fall into, a cushion that will break your fall and support you to eventually get back up again.
Some of the best rituals that will help you develop this inner strength, peace, focus, calm and somatic, grounded serenity, are Conscious Dance like Open Floor, Meditation or guided visualisation, nature-based shamanic practices (like cacao or herbal tea ceremonies), and self-inquiry.
This is far from a comprehensive list but it is a great place to start. You will find resources for all of these kinds of rituals in my Ritual Toolbox - an all in one collection of videos and audio tracks that you can use to connect to stillness, movement, sound and answers within.
There are many sacred chants in ancient seed languages, or light languages of power, such as Sanskrit or Egyptian, which carry more potency as they are closer to the source.
Words can divide and words can be a pathway to divinity.
Sacred chants alter your physicality and your surroundings.
Many years ago in India I began chanting as a mediative practice. I found it much easier than some of the Buddhist meditations where the focus is to quiet the mind, the sound itself cleared the way.
From there I discovered women's chant, earth chants, 'hippy chants' as my parents perceived it. I would chant while I was cooking, cleaning and driving.
The repetition anchored them into my consciousness and became a go-to practice in moments where I was feeling frustrated or challenged. For example, when I noticed my patience waning driving in traffic or when my cat was really unwell and I felt helpless to her cause, chanting supported me to stay present and maintain essence of lightness in my being.
You can also chant a powerful mantra internally as a way of purifying an atmosphere when you are in a difficult or potentially explosive situation, such as conflict.
To be honest, you can chant anything, any words that you repeat over and over to yourself to help ease your mind. “I am peace.” "I am love". "I release control".
Give it go now...
Keys to Creating Rituals
Make it a daily commitment.
Do something you enjoy.
Be kind to yourself if you forget or don’t do your ritual.
There are so many rituals to choose from. The best is to create your own ritual that suits you and your life and your spiritual beliefs.
I will come back to the three key qualities that help me to transform my habits into rituals.
It really can be that simple!
If you are ready to transform the mundane into magic and create a sacred space for yourself then I invite you to check out my Ritual Toolbox.
It includes a library of pick and mix practices that you can weave together to meet yourSelf, just as you are:
practices to help you find stillness
movement explorations to help release and re-energise
sound healing to both listen to and sing along with
and a whole section to support you in attuning to your own inner guidance
If that is not enough then I have added a few extras…
A conversation to discover how to hold space for your own sacred practice
A guide to creating sacred space (including 3 of my favourite essential oils for setting a ritual mood).
A writing exploration to help you get a new perspective on your fears.
At the moment it is on offer at an introductory price and it won't stay this low for long... so be sure to make the most of this opportunity >
Wherever you are, however you are, you can begin Ritualising your life RIGHT NOW!
Get started! You are the only one holding yourself back from living the magic!