Rituals to Reconnect with Your Intuition
I was having a conversation with one of my Intuition Circle friends recently, and he brought up an interesting observation. You know how someone shares an observation and your whole being shouts, "That's it!"? He said that he felt disconnected from his practice - not from reading for others or spiritual practice in general - but from his sense of "self," his connectedness to the other (or the one consciousness, or his intuition). Yes! I've felt this, too. Others have mentioned it to me. His example was that he could do readings for others but that he hadn't pulled a single card for himself in at least 6 months. Interesting. So I thought that this month's lesson should include some advice on the use of rituals to reconnect. I hope these suggestions are helpful!
Rituals help ground us. They tether us or even reel us in when we get too floaty or detached. They focus us and help us feel protected and safe. Further, according to Scientific American magazine, "performing rituals with the intention of producing a certain result appears to be sufficient for that result to come true." So not only do rituals make us feel better, they are effective. Our ancestors knew this. But it's also nice when science catches up and confirms it. What makes a ritual effective is the number of steps, the ability to repeat them, and the specific time they are accomplished (if applicable). This is why recommending you meditate, or make space, or focus likely doesn't help. Those activities are too vague or undefined. Instead, let's talk about rituals with specific steps you create and refine. In other words, rituals that work for your lifestyle and resonate with you on a deeper level.
I have to admit, I love fire. Fire is cleansing. It is primal. A favorite fire ritual for me that is most often used to release trauma or emotion, invoke healing energy, or bring abundance. How you use it will depend on the intention you set. This is how you use rituals to reconnect with your intuition (or ancestors, or guides) - by setting the intention as you gather the items and then begin the ritual.
The steps of the Oneida fire ceremony: 1. Prepare by gathering a paper and pen, small square of red cloth, fire-proof bowl or fire pit, cotton string, and tobacco or herbs if you don't have tobacco. 2. Write on the paper the trauma you wish to release, the health issue for which you seek resolution, the desire to strengthen your spiritual connection or intuition, the situation or person you want to forgive or release ties with, etc. 3. Fold the paper very small and place it with tobacco or herbs into the center of the red cloth. 4. Gather the cloth into a small bundle and tie the top together with the string. 5. Place the bundle in the fire-proof bowl (mine has sand in it to contain the heat) or an outdoor fire. 6. Native American tradition states that smoke from the fire brings your prayers to the Creator. As the bundle burns, state your intention to release (or draw to you) the item/situation/desire that you wrote on the paper inside the bundle. Feel the worry/trauma/anger move into the smoke and up into the sky toward the heavens. Let it go (let your prayers/desires be heard).
A candle can also be used to conduct a fire ceremony by burning the paper itself and placing it in a fire-proof bowl. Smoke is also an excellent part of many rituals - burning sage, sweetgrass, or dried herbs are often part of ritual work. This is where you can use the basic steps of the fire ceremony to create your own fire ritual. Do what works for you!
Air Rituals Scent is an important element to add to any ritual work. Think about how many scent memories we each have. I have strong associations with many scents - here are some examples: Lilacs (my mother always brought fresh lilacs into the house in the spring), Lemon (fresh and clean - I wore Love's Fresh Lemon spray mist as a teen so it reminds me or hope and promise, too), pipe smoke (my Grandpa was the sweetest man), and damp forest (earthy, grounded, stillness and peace), to name a few.
Part of the clearing ritual I perform for clients begins with scent. 1. I place a drop of lemon essential oil in my palm and the palm of my client. 2. I thank the overlord of lemon for its contribution to the ritual. (Since an essential oil is a blend of many individual plants, I was taught to give gratitude to the overlord of that species. If you know the source of your herb, give it gratitude as you harvest it and then again when you use it.) 3. We rub our hands together, creating warmth and then inhale from our palms deeply three times. 4. I then open my palms up and release the lemon to the air, sending my intention for the client to be cleared through the ritual process.
This is just one example of how to use scent as part of ritual work. Many of us burn sage or palo santo to clear our space or ourselves. The important thing to remember is to consider the distinct steps you want to include in the ritual and to be clear about your intention throughout the process. As you'll see, we use scent a lot without thinking much about it but by being more deliberate we can make even a simple act into a meaningful (and effective) ritual.
Many of us are familiar with taking long, steamy baths to release stress or relax after a hard day. But do you have a specific ritual? Perhaps you prefer a scented bath bomb or light candles or sprinkle scented oil in your bath. When I complete a house blessing or clearing, I advise my clients to take a shower or bath, including washing their hair, to complete the ritual process.
Here are some steps to a bathing ritual for you to try:
1. Prepare by gathering essential oils, dried herbs, fine ground sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or Epsom salt, and aromatics such as sage, incense, or palo santo. crystals of your choice, candles (optional: use colored or scented candles depending on your bath’s purpose.), and a glass of water. 2. Fill your bath with warm water. 3. Cleanse your bathing space with sage, incense, or palo santo. If you cannot use smoke, consider making a mist using white sage or cedarwood essential oil and grain alcohol. I use this mist whenever I need to clear a space that has smoke detectors or when individuals have sensitivity to smoke. 4. Activate your bathwater with salt or herbs (dried bay leaves are a great choice for clearing). 5. Add essential oil(s) depending on the intention you are setting. 6. Optional: Place crystals and candles around your bathtub. Choose crystals that mirror your intention and candles of the color or scent of the desired outcome, if you have them available. 7. Have drinking water and herbal tea handy (clearing energy can be aided by increasing water intake). 8. Use visualization when you release the water after the bath to envision all of the negative energy flowing down the drain, leaving your energy renewed and refreshed.
Most of these steps can also be done in a shower if you don't have a bathtub or a lot of alone time for a long bath. Use or make a salt rub in that case.
Earth rituals are second on my list of favorite rituals because they can be so simple and yet, also very effective. What makes something as simple as walking a ritual? As in the other examples, developing a set of steps to the ritual, setting an intention, and repeating it as often as needed.
Here are some ideas to use to develop some earth rituals:
1. Try walking with intention. With each step, repeat a mantra that is aligned with your intent.
2. Walk barefoot. Stop and feel the soil, sand, or grass and visualize its energy flowing into you. Or, visualize your feet putting down roots and grounding your physical being to Mother Earth.
3. Walk a labyrinth. A labyrinth is an ancient earth ritual. Here's a site to locate and get information on using labyrinths: https://labyrinthlocator.com/
4. Play in the sand. Seriously, you can use sand or even clay as a mindfulness exercise or earth ritual. When I perform marriage ceremonies, clients often decide to do a Sand Unity Ritual, where both partners (and also their children if they're blending families) pour sand from smaller containers into one large container, while I read to them the verses about sand grains being poured together, the grains of sand never to be separated from that moment on. Can you connect with your spiritual self this way? Of course! In fact, I live near the beach, so I definitely will do this ritual myself, using one container to represent my physical body and the other my spiritual self. Creativity is key!
5. Perform a Tree Ceremony. Find a large or favorite tree. Set your intention. Place your strong hand on the tree, sending all negative energy (or worry, or feeling of disconnectedness) into the tree. Visualize it traveling up the tree and out through the branches and leaves out into the sky and up to the Creator or the heavens. Remove your hand and place your other hand on the tree. Visualize clear, bright, sparkling energy representing answers to your intention or prayers flowing into the leaves, branches, and down the tree trunk into your hand. Feel the energy shift - feel it fill your body, every cell as you repeat the intention once more. Remove your hand and thank the tree for its help. If you have some, sprinkle tobacco or dried herbs at the base of the tree as a gesture of gratitude.
I hope I've given you some ways to use rituals to reconnect with your spirit, your intuition, your ancestors and guides. We are in challenging times and it is not surprising that we have been experiencing major disruptions to our energy fields. Our psyche finds a way to cope - it shields us from the onslaught but often at the risk of cutting off or blunting our spiritual connection. Unfortunately, many of us don't have a friend that we feel comfortable talking about our intuitive abilities or spiritual beliefs and that isolates us even further. I'm hoping that through ritual, perhaps each of us can regain our connectedness or at the very least, feel grounded and a bit more peaceful.
Let me know your thoughts!
Gino & Norton (2013). Why Rituals Work. Scientific American. Available online: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-rituals-work/
FourEagles, R. (2016). The Oneida Fire Ceremony. The Theosophical Society. Available online: https://www.theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/3953-the-oneida-fire-ceremony