When was the last time you participated in a ritual. Perhaps never. Perhaps more than you think. I am being reacquainted with ritual and am finding it very nourishing.
Growing up in the Catholic Church, I found it rich with ritual. Whether it be communion or ashes on Ash Wednesday, most Christian churches …in fact, most religions of the world…have their rituals.
“The religions most familiar to westerners, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have their fair share of unusual rituals, too: simulating the eating of flesh and the drinking of blood (Communion), performing surgical procedures on infants and children (Bris, Khitān), and attempting to restore sight and hearing solely by touch or prayer (Faith Healing),” are examples of rituals, writes the Web site BootsNall.
I recently read the book by Russell FourEagles, “The Making of a Healer: Teachings of My Oneida Grandmother.” This book fascinated me because he was born in the area where I grew up (in Oconto, Wisconsin near the Oneida reservation) and because of the beautiful rituals his people performed. I am a big believer in energy work, in fact I am a Reiki practitioner and have known countless people healed or relieved of pain by Reiki sessions. Russell also calls his work as a Medicine Man energy work and he attributes all healing to God or the Creator. He heals people of everything from anxiety to cancer and you do not need to be a “believer” to reap the reward but you probably will be afterward.
Recently, I had the unique experience of participating in a Fire (Forgiveness) Ceremony at Claire Harrison’s home. The detailed description is attached to this email from a presentation put on by Claire, or you can buy the book on Amazon and support Russell’s work. During the ceremony, or ritual, you write down your prayers for forgiveness on a sheet of paper then wrap it up with some tobacco, that has been prayed over, in a red cloth tied with a purple ribbon. Once secure and with prayer you burn the package in some burning embers not a full flamed fire. The burning signifies your prayers going to the Creator. After which you may have a wide range of emotions from relief to sorrow, happiness to elation.
This ritual can be done once or more often. Some people do it annually others during the Full Moon for example. I found it powerful and meaningful especially after reading the book.
What rituals do your practice in your life? What rituals are you open to trying? If you only try one from a historical or sociological perspective, I hope you find it meaningful and insightful as you deal with life challenges.