A ritual is anything that is done with intention. It can be formulaic or intuitive, elaborate or simple, personal or shared. Whether it’s ritualizing your morning coffee or gathering in community to honor the solstice, a unique frequency comes alive, instilling whispers of the sacred within us. Throughout history, ritual has been at the heart of humanity. The desire to engage in ritual is primal and instinctual. When we answer the call to connect with something beyond the mundane, we generate access to infinite space.
Engaging in a ritual-full life is like practicing mindfulness and meditation. We set our intentions, work towards being present, observe and receive the process, and let go of the outcome. It steeps us in true process, inviting us to go deeper into our soul’s calling. It sets us free of being fixated on what’s not working or what we don’t have. It tethers us to our daily happenings while inviting us to dance with the divine.
The mission is to pour presence, faith, and love into what you do daily. What you feed grows. What you nourish will flourish. Trust that each day is a new beginning. And when you forget, and fall off the path, let it be a time to reset, inquire, and reflect. Immerse yourself in what you love most. Let your life become a living ritual—this is the healing balm of our modern times.
[Read: “Remedying a Community Through Ritual With Mara Branscombe.”]
I was raised in a nonreligious, conservative, middle-class home in a small town. Luckily, my parents received National Geographic monthly. I could often be found deep inside every new issue, in awe of what moved people to pray, honor nature, and be in community together. Double my luck, every summer our family of six would move to our humble lakeside cabin for two months. And this is where I fell madly in love with all things in the natural world—including the moon.
My earliest childhood memories are of the glowing orb in the sky. There was something so deeply compelling about the moon’s reflection over the lake. The way it would appear then disappear, and the myriad of shapes and colors it would magically generate. I can still smell those endless summer nights. The final snapshot of the moon’s shimmer dancing over the lake before it vanished into the starry night sky. The cricket song, the coyote howl, the steady, meditative hum of the cicada bugs. I have come to understand such memories now as living rituals in themselves.
At 16, I was invited to my best friend’s mom’s pagan-inspired women’s group for a full moon fire ceremony. This first experience with ritual will be forever etched in my memory as a pivotal turning point in life. I had always been intrigued by the spiritual practices and rituals of other cultures. And yet, up to this point, I had no exposure to anything other than weddings, funerals, and a couple of visits to the church.
Under the full moon’s luminosity, with the fire ablaze, I felt a kindred embrace by the women present in the circle. Sacred space was called forward, herbal offerings were given to the fire. I had an out-of-body experience where I became very tall and could see the whole circle of women from a bird’s-eye view; there was a synergy of light woven between each woman. The fire, moon, and trees emitted a riveting weave of energy as hot as the fire before me. And in this micro flash of a moment, I heard a clear message from within—“welcome home, this is your work.”
I was formally initiated by these women in a movement called Sisters of the Shields. They saved me from being lost in a downward spiral of people-pleasing, addictions, and giving my power away to fit in. Awakening to a ritualistic life not only affirmed my affinity towards nature and spirituality, but it allowed me to step into guiding myself and others.
[Read: “Form a Goddess Circle, Find Your Sacred Self.”]
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that small, daily rituals are like life mirrors I can hold up to reflect what no longer serves me and receive what is most compelling.
When we can consciously embrace our healthy habits and imbibe them with intention towards the good, we ritualize them. Be it sitting in silent contemplation with our morning coffee, taking a walk in the park to clear our mind, enjoying a creative pursuit, or articulating our gratitudes, ritual lets us build our capacity for mind-body harmony and find joy inside the weave of our daily life.