Get the Gifts-Rewire the Holidays!
How can celebrations and holidays become healing to our body, mind, emotions, and spirit that contribute to changing our reality? And call to our highest selves and spiritual awakening process? We all might find difficulty in practicing meaningless rituals that no longer represents our values, seem crass, lack relevance, and relationship to our inner beings…
It isn’t enough to continue to participate, or ignore all ceremonies and holidays, or grouch about them without replacement of something more meaningful. Our mind, body, emotions, and spirit revel in deviations from our everyday lives, and the sensory and social elements of ceremony.
Here’s what is covered in this blog
- What has been lost in the holidays we now have and why
- Why ceremonies and celebrations are meaningful to us as social beings
- The elements of ceremony and celebration that speak to our souls and are essential moments for healing and connection
- How you can create a meaningful ceremony dedicated to this time of transformation to rewire your experience
- Plus, the special music and songs that carry a two-part ceremony for you to use alone, with others, to pass on and to share.
To mark these holidays in new ways, as we go through this time of transformation, we are inventing, replacing, creating and re-membering meaningful ways that bring the light and love into our lives for ourselves and others.
What Has Been Lost in the Holidays and Ceremonies We Now Have and Why
Holidays…Many people have lost the value of them because they are no longer meaningful and often result in apathy towards gathering. The loss of meaning empties the interest and commercialization engenders a vacuous experience. Holidays that lack the connection to our inner selves and meaning become simply hollow. Some holidays that are supposed to be celebrations seem distorted so the meaning fades. We lost reverence for the ceremony!
Another element of the holidays can seem frantic. Franticness of trying to fit an already full life with more things to accomplish to get to the holiday. And the expectation of fitting in spending more adds to franticness too.
Why Ceremonies and Celebrations are Meaningful to Us as Social Beings
Ceremonies speak to our known five senses through the visual changes we create in a setting, as we wear different clothing and prepare for wearing the clothing, and with particular objects that show up in the ceremony (more on this later), through the ambiance of the lighting and colors, with special odors connected to the ceremony whether burning wood, or smoke from a fire or incense, and the smell of special foods. Our auditory senses are inspired and uplifted through special music, sometimes in group songs singing with others (which is known to elevate our awareness and feeling of inspiration), seeing others who join, and in our inner sense of what the rituals of the ceremony mean.
Besides these elements, a holiday composed of ceremony is a celebration and something to look forward to, an out-of-the-ordinary, daily-life event. When we create ceremony and celebrations they reside in our memories because we do not normally remember the mundane and ordinary of day-to-day life, but the moments out of time that stand out.
The Elements of Ceremony and Celebration that Speak to our Souls and are Essential Moments for Healing and Connection
When the ceremony speaks to us and requires our authentic selves to be present, we are showing up, connecting with ourselves and/or sharing with others in willingness to participate, with the positive energy of interest, enthusiasm, and sometimes even delight and curiosity. Transformational ceremonies and celebrations connect us to our truth as we take the time to prepare and go through the process being fully in the now and contribute to changing our reality.
- What are key methods for going into the season when everyone is frantic or celebrating in ways that seem no longer valid?
- What does transforming the holidays look like when we want to change our values?
- What are essential elements of celebration that are meaningful, and can be done alone or with a group that deeply speak to us?
A significant method for making new meaningful memories is with a ceremony that calls to us to speak our truth, share joy and happiness, enlightens our spirit, gives us something to look forward to and remember. And rituals that can be repeated, again a year later.
As integral movements occur through the year, ceremonies are also our lives woven through the movement of the Earth and sky, nature, and the greater planetary movements of the heavens and the calendar in which we are a witness and a part. When we consider ceremony keeps us in the cycles of Earth, from year to year, and decade to decade, even childhood through adulthood, they speak to the grandeur of our souls, the deeper parts of our unconscious that allow us to flourish and mark time as we share these memories and events at any age.
Why Using Ceremonies are Important Moments for Healing
Holidays and ceremony can be special times that give a break and specialness, a change, a festivity, a vital part of the human experience. These events can connect us to the deeper parts of ourselves in relation to the cycles of the Earth and our role in life from year to year.
We are Hard Wired for Joining in Ceremony
When we facilitate for ourselves or share ceremony with others that are set up with positive intention and love there is a healing element. The setting, intention, and actions that go into creating ceremony call us to our higher selves, and willingness to be present, opening our hearts. All participants are engaged in ways that honor the person and their journey through all the steps of the ceremony. Each person is asked to show up and do something whether it is to witness, walk a path, share a statement or song, read, meditate, light a candle, hold hands with others, stand in a circle, share food, or something else. Everyone’s presence is important.
In older times, community was defined by an affiliation with a religious group, small village, or tribe. In this time of transformation community gatherings with friends and family and new people are ways we are establishing new more vital ways that give us significance and meaning.
Creating meaningful times to come together in new (and ancient) ceremonies that catalyze our intuition, the sacred, and symbolism links us to the deeper part of who we are. These new and ancient ceremonies advance our consciousness by re-invigorating our link with the cycles of life, the people, nature, land around us, and Earth. The process of participation in sacred ceremony invites us into the numinous and deeper spaciousness of creation that has been and will be the energy medicine of our souls.
How You can Create a Meaningful Ceremony Dedicated to this Time of Transformation
Two Combined Ceremonies for You
The following is a description of one sacred ceremony with two components, which includes ritual, special songs and music, connected to the activity of the ceremony, ancient in nature, that you can do alone or with others. The two parts are the Give Away and the Circle of Light (the free links to these song/chants are at the bottom of this blog). These two components are composed of spiritual presence, healing practices that engage all senses, using the sacred circle, deepening our inner relationship, and ancient wisdom. The ceremony is suitable for children and adults and requires only a few items to put together for the person who wishes to facilitate for themselves or to join with others.
- Chose a time and place where you can hold the ceremony. The ceremony can be done in the day or the night, however, I prefer to do this ceremony in the dark because of the ambiance. If you have a fireplace that is perfect or an outside fire. If you don’t have either of these options, bring a large cast iron pot to the meeting place and matches. Provide good ventilation indoors. Ask everyone to turn their cell phones off until the ceremony is complete.
- Decide if you will share food afterwards. If you are sharing food, ask others to bring a dish unless you are going to host.
- Have a white taper candle for each person they can hold in the location you will be meeting. Set this up in advance with matches.
- Everyone gets a piece of paper and a pen before moving to the actual location for the ceremony. Each person is asked to write down on the paper what they want to let go of. They can write as much as they want. No one will read what has been written. Each person carries their paper to the designated location when you call everyone to gather at the fire or large cast iron vessel.
- Call everyone to gather in a circle. Have each person one at a time burn their paper. While they are stepping forward, and while their paper burns, everyone will sing the song included at the end, called ‘The Give Away’. Everyone needs to sing because this is sharing and supporting each person during their release of the paper and watching it burn, just as each person will wish to be supported. When the first person is finished, each person around the circle will step forward, one by one, and do the same process while the singing continues. The facilitator also burns their paper when it is their turn which is last.
- When everyone has burned their paper, each person is given their candle. Tell each person to say their intention out loud or silently when their candle is lite. (The following can be read to the group by the facilitator.
It is helpful to encourage intentions to be visualized, connected to feelings, and to write down three action steps towards the intention. An example, “I intend to be healthy”. Visualizing and feeling healthy and happy. Three actions steps are visualizing daily walking, visualizing getting good sleep, visualizing eating portions of healthy food intake. Write these down after the ceremony is over). The facilitator lights each candle one by one. Once all the candles are lit here are the directions for the second part
- Go around the circle one by one. Each person will speak out loud. Everyone focuses on the person who is speaking and does not speak until their turn.
- (Step 1) If the group is new to this kind of process, the facilitator needs to go first to demonstrate how to do the exercise. Each person says one thing they are grateful for about the world, including sky, water, Earth. They say, ‘I am grateful for________________(fill in the blank).
- (Step 2) Start again around the circle. Each person says one thing they are grateful for about any other person alive or dead. They say, ‘I am grateful for________________(say the person’s name and who they are if it isn’t apparent).
- (Step 3) Start again around the circle. Each person says one thing they are grateful for about themselves. They say, ‘I am grateful for my _______” (growth, curiosity, being good at math, for overcoming something-anything they want to put in there).
- Thank everyone for sharing.
Close the circle with the Circle of Light Song (available at the end of this blog). Have everyone sing.
More about The Circle of Light Song and its Meaning.
The Circle of Light Ceremony involves all the beings we can think of and beyond, it is inclusive of all; rocks, land, oceans, sky, and beyond what many people consider living. The Circle of Light is also acknowledging the presence of life within our solar system, galaxy, Universe, and Multiverse. As we extend this consideration we are a part of the system but not the center of the system. In the Circle of Light, we are acknowledging our presence, our role in being here, our relationship with all life in the most expansive way we can each consider, and within ourselves.
As we open ourselves to this concept of being in the Circle of Light we welcome the presence of others around the world, other people who do not look like us, other animals and creatures in jungles, remote areas, of the rivers, streams, mists, oceans, rain, all waters, the air and wind atmospheres, layers of Earth, and the deep Earth, to the smallest tiniest creature and the largest, largest creature, to all the elements fire, water, earth, air and ether through our open heart. (You may read the above two paragraphs to the group before you sing the Circle of Light song).
You are invited into the Circle of Light-a great circle of beings who have taken on the agreement to speak the truth in love, not endanger others, to do their best, willing to open their hearts, grow and evolve, live their truth as beings who are part of the transformation of this time. The Circle of Light is a joyous place of gathering.
What Times of Year is the Give Away and Circle of Light Ceremony Done?
Often at the end of the year, on the Solstice, a birthday, or at other times.