The Value of Rituals and Ceremonies

For thousands of years, human cultures have celebrated their lives with various rituals and ceremonies. Since we began pursuing “rational thought” and moving away from the spiritual limitations of most religions, we have also reduced the spiritual practices which often include rituals. Our modern North American culture has replaced these time honored practices with poor modern substitutes. Sure we have wedding ceremonies and graduation ceremonies but these are often built in to our consumer driven economies. Just ask how much a wedding can cost these days… Our modern rituals look more like our visits to the drive throughs fast food restaurants or worshipping in line as we wait or our morning coffees.

We often forget to celebrate the memories and wisdom of our ancestors. Sure we have funerals or memorial services, but how many of us light a candle on the anniversary of our beloved family or friends who have found their way through their final life transition. When I participate in a Native American Medicine Wheel ceremony or a Solstice ritual, I realize the value of these traditions yet these feel unfamiliar to me. There are reasons that our ancestors celebrated the changing of the seasons and honor the four directions and four elements. We can still benefit from pausing in our lives to honor Mother Earth, the Universe, and the Ancient people and cultures who walked the planet before us (in this incarnation.)

Rituals and Ceremonies can cause us to stop and remember our heritage. Instead of being inconvenient or expensive packaged products like weddings and funerals have become, we might consider more natural and heartfelt honoring which are born of simplicity with deep authentic emotional expressions. And, no, special food at your Super Bowl party does not count as the heartfelt offering of which I speak.

Perhaps you can create unique ceremonies or rituals for your children or family and friends. Find a local Labyrinth and slow walk a Zen Meditation as you find your way to the center and then back out into our world. Maybe you do not even require a Labyrinth but can follow a trail or beach to a special spot and build a rock cairn to ground yourself in Earth energy and presence. Any visit into natural settings can become a ritual to honor life and spiritually engage to find a “Re-Enchantment of the Cosmos.” If treading a path outdoors is too much, consider lighting a candle. Calm your mind and honor your spirit as you gently breathe and gaze into the dancing natural light. Be as our ancestors sitting around a fire to share stories and wisdoms learned from our elders. (Yes, even if you have to turn off your technology for a few minutes…)

Create the rituals and ceremonies that find form from deep inside you and honor these expressions. Know appreciation and gratitude for all the miracles of life which have brought you to this present moment. Smile with Joy as you find the warmth in your heart as you bless our ancestors. One day, some culture in our future will look back to honor the lives we have lived and the spirit we have demonstrated, AND possibly the wisdom we leave for them to know. Walk respectfully and model for our children the love and honor we have for our ancestors…

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

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