What is a ritual?
If we look up the definition, the Oxford Dictionary tells us a ritual is “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.” To me, a ritual is not necessarily a religious thing, although religions have perfected the art of ritual. I feel a ritual is anytime we keep our actions sacred in order to support an intention. When we act in a way that matters to us, and the actions and thoughts we engage in align with our goal or feelings- it is ritual.
Rituals can be deeply spiritual or normal everyday activities depending on your point of view. You may wake up, grab a mug, walk to your coffee pot, take a deep breath and pour your coffee. You collect yourself as you sip that coffee. With each gulp, you find yourself more and more present and ready for the day. If this sounds familiar, know you engage in a morning centering ritual. Although it may not be backed by much conscious intention, the actions you naturally repeat every day influence the way you feel. They impact your “energy”.
This ritual is instinct lead, it is an energy intention. Take note on the days you can’t complete this ritual as you normally do, and you will better understand the influence it does have on you. This isn’t something your mind has to dictate. Ritual is not just words or actions; the majority of what makes rituals effective is the energy that supports these things we do.
Rituals can be beneficial for everyone! While I believe they fall into the “magical practices” category, I also believe that there is magic in all we do.
“There is magic in all we do.“
Those who engage in physical sports or contests likely have a way they like to prepare; something they do that gets their mind ready for competition. This is an example of managing our energy and aligning it with our physical being. This is magic in a practical application most people can embrace. Think of rituals like us aligning our physical self with our energy so that we can be prepared for whatever it is we want to face. Taking the time to be mindful and intentional when we want to achieve something or apply changes in our real lives, is the first step towards success. I feel that this is something to keep solemn and sacred. We are worth that effort. Just as that athlete has their own way to prepare, and no two are ever exactly the same, there is no wrong way to conduct a ritual. At least, not one you create yourself.
Mindfulness is the key to ritual
Rituals can be complex, or they can be simple, this all depends on what feels right to the individual. If we want to see how we can incorporate a more intentional way of being into our lives, all we need to do is be more mindful. As you go about your day, take notice of the things you might already be doing that fall into the unconscious ritual category. Then take note of the areas you wish to apply change to in your life. As you begin to introduce change to achieve your intentions, gather all of your being and really focus your energy on your goal. Be more intentional with your actions.
Love, money, healing, and happiness are typically the things people ask for when engaging in ritual work. While it is good to identify the areas you want to improve, it is imperative to have an actual specific plan. Nothing will just improve because you want it to. We must take some action. If money is what you want, ask yourself what actions you are taking to help you acquire more financial success. Can you be doing more? Apply changes where you can, and as you engage in these actions during your day; know you are doing them because they will draw money to you, and not just because it is something on your to-do list.
I personally hate entering receipts for my business. I am a business of one so I must take the time and do it. When I do, I grumble and complain and feel I am wasting my time. There are so many things I could be doing instead. It is an important part of a successful business though. The thing is, when I align my energy with annoyance, I am not aligning myself with success. If instead, I sit down, take a breath and tell myself that what I am about to do is a key part of facilitating success for my business, I start with a different energy. As I do the tedious work, I think of all of the success my business has seen and envision all of the future success it will have. In doing this, I align myself with that energy. I turned my dreaded to-do list into an intention-based ritual.
While this may not be as exciting to some as candle or crystal magic, our thoughts/intentions matter all of the time – not just when we are feeling extra magical. Instead of feeling as irritated or annoyed, I leave the task feeling more optimistic. This matters because once finished, I won’t be spending any time in recovery. I won’t be needing to raise my frequency, or shift my mindset, and I won’t be trying to make up for lost time because I know what I just did had value. This may not sound all that magical, but remember, how we feel influences how we act. This is where ritual holds some of its greatest power – from my perspective anyway.
The energy we are putting into the universe holds power ALL the time.
If we want to apply change and make the most out of what we have to work with, then every moment that is dedicated to our intention should become some level of ritual.
If we dedicate time and really bring our focus and energy to our goals, we will find that we achieve more of what we wish than if we just say we want something and wait for it to find us. This is the foundation of the art of ritual.