By Michelle McLemore
First published in Crazy Wisdom Weekly 2020
We stood in line outside fidgeting in the brisk wind. One by one, the fire keeper smudged our bodies and we entered walking counter-clockwise, completing a full circuit around the center altar before sitting. As most of us were new to attending a woman’s circle, we had to be taught how to correctly enter, how to exit, how to dress, and how to participate. And as I would learn from Grandmother Sasa (Record keeper and Keeper of the Eastern gate) entrances are different if a man leads the circle, so one must learn and remember. If any of us assumed each of these rituals were simply tradition, we would’ve missed the much deeper event unfolding with each subtle action.
Spiritual ceremony is not a mere event as in a graduation or a coronation. It is not a show of behavior like performing. Even the New Testament clearly discourages actions for the sake of appearance: “And when you pray, be not as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward.” (New Heart English Bible, Matt. 6:5). In the 3D world, esteem in others’ eyes is all that such performance will garner.
However, Matthew 6:6 continues to clarify a needed basic ritual: “…when you pray, enter into your inner chamber, and having shut your door, pray….” (Matt. 6:6). Regardless of religion or faith background, spiritual ritual provides a pattern for focus. Whether you isolate yourself physically, or learn to turn into an inner heart chamber, practiced ritual becomes your Way through and beyond.
Through the physical action and energy intention of a pattern we gain a proper approach—a coming to–in a manner compatible to sacred spaces and tasks. It prepares us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, and in doin so, heightens our frequency, increases heart space, and helps facilitate communion with one’s higher self, as well as (at times) Divinity.
To do something with ceremony is to do it with honor, gratitude, respect, reverence, awe, and sometimes humble humor. Until the last few months, for many, there was a tendency to rush about, filling wakefulness with completed tasks. In doing so, the quality of said events, small and large, may have been less quality than they could have been—less spiritual than they could have been. It only takes a few moments—a few seconds extra to add intention to the actions. And this conscious focus into your daily life can keep you more connected for a more continuous, peaceful flow.
So how to begin? Consider that which is already a part of your daily life—a logical part to enhance.
Many homes and businesses across the world still today maintain personal altars. Yet, for many westerners, the dining or kitchen table is the household heart center. It is the one, consistent place people gather to socialize, ponder, pray, and eat.
Consider how you might prepare the table for the coming week. What does the family have coming up in regards to events or challenges? As you clear the table from excess papers and odds and ends, incorporate ceremony by breathing love, gratitude, hope, and fortitude into the cleaning and careful selection of fresh flowers, trinkets, candles, and perhaps an appropriate cloth as a center piece. Keep the decoration and symbols simple, but appropriate for inspiring needed energy. Each person who sees it will be drawn in for a private breath in this protected space.
For centuries, preparing one’s food is another way people have incorporated ceremony into their daily lives. If you are harvesting from a garden, you may give a pinch of tobacco to the earth and ask for permission and guidance on what is ready and healthy for you to eat. Consider every participant, and influence, which has led the food item to your hand: planters, rain, soil, harvesters, the animal, the crop, the store handlers. In today’s world the chain from conception to our table may be elaborate and each influenced the process and end product—hence, each had an influence that will pass to you.
When your plate is prepared and you are about to partake, pause for a few seconds of ceremony. Raise your hands, palms down, to hover over your beverage and bounty. Bring your awareness to gratitude for the abundance, not want, regardless of the amount. Consciously intend the energy from your hand chakras to heighten the frequency of the meal so that it may be the highest blessing to the body. Then, of course, dig in with expectation of joy.
Though it is common to complain about a lack of time, the preparation of our spirit takes only a few moments and it is worth it. Ceremony may be added into many small parts of the day such as greetings, meditation, and preparing to begin your work. I learned by wearing long skirts, women harness earth energy. Walking in a set direction, builds the feminine energy within the circle through which we united. Deepening in ceremony, you enhance the commune-ability for sacred learning. It is a gift enabling you to love deeper, laugh truer, heal with higher frequency, wonder with heightened awe, and walk humbled with Spirit.