Ritual: The Elements of Creating Ceremony
The handout I share when I am teaching ritual and ceremony is an outline, and a sort of shopping list. I have learned from many expert teachers who know how to make a ritual rock. So this is a distillation of what I learned and what came from within or through me. It is meant to be passed on in the context of a class, yet I felt was useful to a greater audience. If you would like me to help you craft a ceremony or to facilitate a special ritual for you, I am available through Mimosa several times a week to consult. (I am interchanging the words ceremony and ritual in this brief article.)
There are lots of choices on this crib sheet. What is selected and how it varies is a matter of the type of ritual, the audience, size of location and whether it is a solitary, small group or large group ritual. (And yes, even solitary rituals have an audience: the non-humans we invite.) A wedding, a child blessing and a memorial service are ceremonies. There are seasonal rituals, ceremonies honoring beloved ones, initiations and other rites of passage — and many more. Yet they all follow the same pattern for me.
Ritual is ceremonial and custom. When something called a ritual is codified, stagnant, I think it becomes more of a rigid practice than it is a true ritual or ceremony at all. Yet, many true new ceremony weavings can contain elements of regular practice and share traditions for their type. A wedding includes vows. A memorial includes memories shared. A seasonal ritual works with elements of time, location and is generally communal. It is a paradox.
The esoteric elements of ceremony are generally experienced and handed down orally. It is also important to note that a spiritual daily, weekly, monthly practice is not ritual or ceremony. It may follow a similar form yet the intention is much different. The intention is to improve the quality of your spiritual life. Rituals also do that, yet the intentions are much more narrowly focused and reap transformational benefits of a different type. Improving on something that anchors, nurtures and sustains is a practice. Ceremonies are one of a kind, even mixed with some traditional or repeatable elements as a part of the whole. And of course you can use some things from your spiritual practice in ritual or ceremony. Especially when you share practices with kindred.
The lines blurry some, and I wanted to be specific in language to distinguish the two. Not all people who can facilitate ritual have a regular practice, though it may be rare. Not all people who have a regular practice can, or choose not to, do ritual and ceremony.
Essential Elements of Ritual and Ceremony
Intention: It’s best to focus on one, or two at the most. State your intention clearly.
- Create sacred space
- Focus energy
- Focus on talisman
- Repeat affirmations
- Read a poem
- Listen to a song
- Invoke or Evoke, Aspect
- Guided meditation
- Visualize, speak and will
- Become magically active; raise energy
- Like waves
- Like a peak
- Sharing from the heart
- Guided Visualization
- Charging objects
- Direct energy
- Use Feri Flame
- Will and visualization
- Shout it out
- Blow it out
- Stop drumming
- Crystal bowl
- Open sacred space, ground and center
- Touch the Earth
- Guided visualization
- Tree and Root
- Devoke, Hail and Fare Thee Well
- Give thanks
- Open Circle
* State intention(s) clearly upfront.
* Use as many sensory elements as possible.
* Preparation of space and tools is simply a pre-ceremony task, after Intention and adding or changing after outline is complete.
* The first rituals were Sacred Theater to connect with / honor the ancestors and mark important individual and communal life events.
By Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA
The whole person and all of their experiences interact and influence well-being (mind, body, spirit, energy, environment, social, sexual, occupational, etc.). The old holistic paradigm of just mind/body/spirit does not adequately represent the whole person. True holistic healing addresses EVERY aspect of being human. True “wholistic” whole person care. Addressing a person on all levels of their being can maximize health and wellness. Each dimension is equally important. If one area of our life is off balance, it can lead to dis-ease and disharmony. An important (and often neglected) part of holistic wellness is self-care. Self-care is basically “taking care of yourself.” It can involve many things like eating well, exercising, getting good sleep, setting aside alone time, getting a massage, getting your hair and nails done, and doing things you enjoy. We are all busy and finding the time to take proper care of ourselves can be hard. We often put others first and make excuses for our own well-being. But if you don’t nurture yourself, it won’t be long before your battery is drained and you are exhausted, sick, stressed out, and running on empty. Regular self-care is mandatory. Spring is almost here — a time of rejuvenation and renewal. So it’s the perfect time to splurge on ourselves a little bit, have a self-date, and create a home spa day!
Since aromatherapy is a holistic method that treats the entire person and is the art and science of using essential oils, for psychological, spiritual, and physical well-being, a holistic spa day would not be complete without aromatherapy! Below are some ideas for a day of rejuvenation and my favorite aromatherapy recipes for some pampering and relaxation. So enjoy, relax, unwind, and de-stress!
- If you have children, ask friends of family for help taking care of them so you can have a day to yourself (asking for help is an important part of self-care)
- Sleep in late
- Stay in your pajamas all day
- Eat breakfast in bed
- Turn off your cell phone and computer
- Do something you really enjoy but have not done in a while…paint, read a book or magazine, etc
- Take a nap
- Pamper yourself…..
Now on to the spa recipes!
Tropical Vacation Bath Soak:
Add 10 drops jasmine essential oil and 10 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to cup of coconut milk and mix well. Add to hot bath then get in and soak! Consider playing some soft music and lighting some candles to set the mood.
Brown Sugar Body Scrub:
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons honey
½ ounce Sweet Almond or other carrier oil of your choice
10 drops Vanilla Absolute essential oil
5 drops Sandalwood essential oil
Using a metal spoon, stir together sugar, oatmeal, honey, and oil in a glass or ceramic bowl. Drop in the essential oils and stir until thoroughly mixed. In the bath, massage the sugar body scrub into your skin using gentle circular motions and then rinse, towel dry and moisturize.
Aromatherapy Body Butter:
(Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups whipped butter)
1 cup organic raw shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond oil
60 drops total of essential oils (You can use whatever oils you wish)
Melt shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Stir in almond oil and essential oils. Place oil mixture in freezer or outside to chill. Wait until oils start to partially solidify then whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved. Place in clean, glass jar and enjoy!
Aromatherapy Face Cleanser:
1/3 cup Lavender hydrosol
1/3 cup Rose hydrosol (rose water)
1/3 cup Geranium hydrosol
2 tablespoons Vegetable Glycerin
8 drops Lavender essential oil
1 drop Geranium essential oil
3 drops Chamomile essential oil
4 drops Rose essential oil
Pour all the ingredients into a clean, sterile 8oz dark glass or PET plastic bottle. Shake well. To use, dampen your skin with warm water, then gently massage cleanser into your skin. Rinse, pat dry and moisturize.
Oily skin: (1 TBSP green clay, 1 drop rosemary, 1 drop lavender)
Dry skin: (2 TBSP mashed avocado, 1 drop roman chamomile, 1 drop rose)
Normal skin: (1 TBSP oatmeal, 1 drop geranium)
Mix above ingredients well and moisten with green tea or water. Apply to your face and leave on for 10 minutes. Then wash face well and moisturize.
½ ounce jojoba oil
3 drops carrot seed essential oil
3 drop Roman chamomile essential oil
3 drops rose otto essential oil
Blend together ingredients in a glass bottle or container. Wash face and hands thoroughly before use. Massage liberally into the face and neck, concentrating on dry patches.
Want Our Free DIY Aromatherapy Spa Recipes?
Interested in learning more about aromatherapy and herbs? Join Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach for ‘Holistic Healing with Herbs,’ a 6-month certification program starting April 14, 2018 in West, Bend, WI: https://mindsoulandself.com/herb_classes_wisconsin_illinois/
About: Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA is a Spiritual Counselor, Holistic Health Consultant, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, Master Gardener, and Reiki Master Teacher with a PhD in Health Psychology. Her business, Mind, Soul, and Self LLC is based out of Wisconsin. For more info on Dr. Christina and her upcoming Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, or Natural Perfume classes or to schedule an individual reading or appointment, please visit mindsoulandself.com. Many Blessings and Be Well!