3 Spiritual Rituals for When Life Feels Out of Control

3 Spiritual Rituals for When Life Feels Out of Control


When ideas or illusions about what we can and cannot control in our lives are shattered, try these spiritual rituals to bring some light into moments of darkness.

A Serenity Ritual for Powerlessness

Growing up, my mother always said the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Although neither of us is religious, it always comforted me, especially in times when I felt like life was spiraling out of control. In this ritual, I borrow from that prayer and adapt it to a magical practice.


  • A small item that represents you (e.g., a piece of jewelry or a photograph of yourself)
  • 5 stones from outside or 5 crystals of your choice (smoky quartz works well for clarity of mind and cleansing). They should be cleansed with water or smoke. (Read more in "Caring for Your Crystals.")

Sit at a clean, neat space—perhaps at your altar or at a desk near a window. Place the item that represents you in front of you. Focus on what is troubling you and causing you to lose a sense of control or balance. Focus on what you can change. Focus on what you cannot change.

Slowly, place each stone around the photograph or item. This act grounds you to the earth, reminding you that time will reveal all—whether in your favor or not. Say:

I am serene in knowing what I can create, what I cannot, and where the shadow falls between.

Leave the stones out for as long as you need to, contemplating your serenity and the wisdom that comes with acceptance.

A Ritual for Sending Supportive Love to Someone Facing Hardship

When someone you know could use a dose of love and support, it can be difficult to know just how to do that. Words can sound like empty platitudes, while saying nothing can feel just as wrong. You can let them know you love and support them, but this ritual acts as a sort of signal boost—helping the people or person know that you care.


  • Rose quartz (or other symbol of love)
  • Candle
  • Picture of the person/ people or a paper with their names

Hold your rose quartz in one hand. Light your candle and lay the picture or paper with the name of the person alongside it. Think about their face, their essence, and their words, and meditate on what you think they must be feeling. Are they sad? Have they experienced a trauma? Think about those feelings and empathize with their situation. Imagine your love and compassion filling the quartz—and when you feel like you’ve sufficiently filled the crystal, place it on the paper or photograph. Hold your hand atop the crystal, feeling the energy build between you, the crystal, and the person you’re sending love to.

Snuff out the candle only when you’re confident you’ve sent the message.

Keep the photograph or piece of paper with the person’s name on your bedside table, underneath the crystal, for the next three days.

A Mermaid Ritual to Promote Going with the Flow

If you’re the kind of person who always seeks a sense of control or if you simply have a hard time letting go—whether it’s during projects at work or just making downtime for yourself at home—this mermaid ritual can help.

The mermaid, an enduring symbol, is the ocean’s representative—mysterious and fluid, ruled by the changing tides. In this ritual, the ocean’s powers and the archetype of the mermaid will help you let loose.


  • A warm bath
  • Your favorite essential oil or bath salts
  • Moonlight

Disconnect from all technology so you won’t feel the need to respond to anyone. Draw a bath. Sprinkle in some essential oils, bath salts, or some table salt (saltwater is one way of making sea magic). Meditate on how the ocean changes, daily and hourly. Think about how those tides might inspire your life. Maybe you wouldn’t be so stuck on one idea or one single path if you felt more comfortable adapting to high tide, low tide, or stormy seas.

[Read: "7 Essential Oils for Anxiety."]

There’s a beautiful Sanskrit phrase, “Om namo narayani,” which translates to “I surrender to the divine.” Sanskrit is a beautiful language, but if you’d prefer to paraphrase, you might say, “I trust the universe to do what is best for me.”

Speak this to yourself as you sink into the warm, glorious water. Become a mermaid—thank the water for showing you how freeing it is to move fluidly, to change forms, to give in to the tide.

When you get out of the water, find the moon, if you can. Dry off in its light (outside or at a window) while thinking about how it controls the ocean. Remember that there are some elements that you cannot entirely control.

From Light Magic for Dark Times: More than 100 Spells, Rituals, and Practices for Coping in a Crisis by Lisa Marie Basile, published by Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group. Learn more at

Extra Lunar Lesson: "A Full Moon Ritual for Release."

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