What Is Ceremony?
At its simplest, ceremony is about creating a sacred experience by deliberately stepping out of our ordinary lives to witness, honor, celebrate, or transform.
While events like weddings, baptisms, rites of passage, and funerals might be the most familiar ceremonies, we aren’t limited to specific traditions, religions or locations. Ceremony may happen in designated sacred spaces such as a church, temple, or fire circle. We can also create our own sacred space anywhere that we choose. Though ceremony is most often used to mark a major life event, we are here to remind you that it can also become a regular practice.
Entering Sacred Space with Intention
We can engage in ceremony any time, anywhere. The only critical ingredient is our intent – our strong desire to leave the everyday and enter an extraordinary time and space, a sacred space.
Our intention empowers us to engage in this perceptual shift. With any ceremony, we ask ourselves, “What is our intention for this experience?” It could be that we would like to ask for guidance. We may have something we need to let go. We may want to send well wishes to a loved one. Or we might feel full of gratitude and want to express this from our heart. We connect with this desire and allow it to guide our experience.
As we enter this sacred space, magic occurs – not the magic wand kind but the beautiful mysterious one:
- We witness and reflect on the wonder of life, moment to moment.
- We move into a heightened state of consciousness, engaging all aspects of ourselves, from the physical to the energetic.
- We connect with Spirit (or God, the Universe, energy or any other way we refer to the unseen force that’s larger than ourselves), deepening this connection every time we do ceremony
- We enter a state of readiness for transformation to occur
The Heart of the Ceremony: Transformation
The heart of the ceremony is where transformation takes place. Based on our intent and connection with Spirit, we may:
- Release that which no longer serves us (beliefs, relationships, or patterns)
- Renew an aspect of ourselves (e.g., our playfulness) or of a relationship with others (e.g., rekindle romance) or with some aspect of our larger world (e.g., our connection to nature).
- Reflect on and profoundly connect with the mysteries, creation, and wonder of life, entering a state of deep gratitude.
- Reshape our identity, such as going from single to married or becoming an adult.
When we connect with Spirit and set a strong, clear intention, many changes are possible. This transformation can be dramatic, as in traditional rites of passage ceremonies where youth go through a series of trials to enter adulthood. It can also be more subtle, one step on a larger journey – or a shift in thinking that reframes much more. We may not even realize the full impact until much later.
Different in Our Return
When the ceremony ends, we return to our everyday selves and to our roles in our communities. We are different, however, because of our experience. We carry the knowledge and the change in perception inside ourselves. We can continue to nurture this new way of being and stay connected, rather than falling back into old patterns and ways. It is up to us.
“Participating in ceremony helps us bring our being into alignment with the natural flow and rhythm of life.”
– Steven Farmer
When we regularly engage in ceremony, we begin to see everything as sacred. We nurture an appreciation for the present moment and for our life and all life around us. We feel how interconnected we are and recognize our commonalities with others. Ceremony helps us to be at peace in a world that is constantly changing, whether we want it to or not.
Perhaps most importantly, the shift in perception that comes from connecting with Spirit enables us to co-create a new reality, one that represents a healed and fulfilled state. We can do this for ourselves, but we can also aid in creating a healed and fulfilled reality for other people, society, and the planet.
Banner photo by Natalia KW.