2016 will go down in the books as an intensely challenging and pivotal year for a great deal of us. If you too are counting down the days to starting over in 2017 with a vow to change and have a better year, let’s reflect on these resolutions and how to make them last. Mentally we need that idea of pressing a magic reset button in hope that we can leave our baggage behind in a four digit number and wash our hands of it. By the end of the year it’s as if our candle has been burned at both ends and we grasp at the belief of starting over at the stroke of midnight.
I have learned through my own ritual work with the moon and seasons that everything is on a cycle and having our own practice to mark the beginning and end of them can help you manifest things you want to attract and release that which no longer serves you. The moon expands, gets full and bright and then retracts until its dark only to start the cycle again. In the fall, the leaves die and fall off of the trees, everything retreats and goes within for Winter and emerges with new life and birth in Spring. We are not immune to these natural cycles. It’s why we focus so much on the New Year! But before we can make room to bring new things into our lives, we must release the old and clear out the clutter. I am going to help you set this intention for release through a simple ritual I have experienced results with.
What comes to mind when you hear the word ritual? For me, I used to think of that movie “The Craft” with dramatic spells read from an old book by candlelight and lightening striking outside the window (You know you played “light as a feather, stiff as a board” with your friends when that movie came out!). But the word and act in itself is much more encompassing than you think. Our daily lives consist of rituals such as waking, drinking coffee or tea, and starting the day a particular way that sets the tone. Even the way we prepare our food can be ritualistic. The very celebration of New Years eve is a ritual. We gather in groups and countdown together, marking the New Year with a kiss and celebration and making as much noise as possible. Ritual is not such a foreign or religious word and can be as informal or formal as you make it. The driving force behind it is really your intention. The power of intention is what feeds the ritual. When we light a candle for someone going through a difficult time, it isn’t this physical act but the focus of intention to send light during a dark time and hold them in thought. We cultivate and create rituals all of the time to give meaning to events or milestones throughout our lives.
This ritual can also be done anytime in January. It doesn’t have to be on the New Year. It is a combination of an effigy ritual I did with Dr. Steven D Farmer (Author of “Sacred Ceremony”) and my own Moon release ceremonies I do for myself every month. You could do this on your own or you could invite your friends and loved ones to participate. There is a little preparation involved but feel free to improvise any of my suggestions. Use whatever materials work best for you and feel right, I encourage you to make it your own! Remember your intention is what matters.
New Year Release Ritual
- A small item from nature. (something that can be burned) Go outside for a walk and see what calls to you and grabs your intention. A flower, stick, leaf or part of a plant. I used some fresh Lavender for mine.
- A strip of paper and a pen. You will be writing what you’re releasing on it so base the size on that. Keep it on the smaller side, especially if you are doing this in doors. I recommend outdoors since there is fire involved.
- A candle and lighter.
- An ashtray or fire safe shell/dish if you can’t do this ritual outside.
- Take the strip of paper and pen and write on it what you want to release from 2016. “I release….” It can be as general or specific as you want. For example “I release my fear and anxiety about the future.” Or “I release my patterns that no longer serve me.” Really sit and visualize what you want to let go of and try and put it into a sentence or two.
- Wrap the strip of paper around the object you got in nature and place it on your nightstand before you go to bed. Before going to bed you are going to ask out loud or to yourself for the energy of what you are releasing to be transferred from the paper to the object.
- If you are able to do the ritual outside, make sure you already have a little space in mind. You don’t need a lot of room, but you will want to dig a hole in the ground a couple inches deep depending on the size of your nature object.
- Light your candle and have your item with the paper still wrapped around it near you. If you are outside, be next to the hole you dug in the earth. If you are doing this inside, make sure your item is small and able to be burned in an ashtray or shell/dish. Have a glass of water nearby just in case.
- Take a moment to think of everything you are grateful for that happened in 2016. Even if you had a bad year, there are always things to be grateful for! If you can’t think of anything right away start with the basics- like having a roof over your head or food to eat, clean water to drink. There is nothing too small. List them out loud, “I am grateful for…” and deeply sit with that gratitude. When we shift our energy to a place of gratitude we notice more things to be grateful for!
- Take your nature object and hold it for a moment. Repeat out loud what it is you are releasing. Close you eyes and imagine your life without this thing being released. Visualize what it would look like, how you would feel and what new and better things would come in and take its place. Stay with this for a few minutes, absorbing that feeling of already being rid of what you are releasing.
- Once you feel ready, hold the object over the candle flame until it catches and put it in the hole in the ground while it burns (or fire safe ashtray). Please use caution! Watch the flame consume the paper and item and feel it release.
- When the flame dies down, start to throw dirt back into the hole. Thanking the earth for taking this burden from you. If you did this indoors, take the ashes and put them outside on to the dirt or in a house plant and do the same.
Again, this is yours to customize so do what you like with it! When I did this ritual, I was in a group of 8 women. We all put our items together into the ground and each took a turn throwing a handful of dirt over it. Once it was fully buried we stomped on the ground and welcomed one another as if we were a new person after releasing these heavy emotions we were holding on to. I am still in touch with all of these women and each one of us feel that what we released really left us that day and has not come back since. The proof and power of ritual!
I would love to hear how your ritual went and answer any questions you may have! Please feel free to share in the comments.
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Brook Albrigo, is a Shamanic Reiki Master. You have heard me speak previously about the very important roles that reiki and the subtle body have played in my own personal healing journey, I have also shared very specific details of healing sessions with Brook. Brook will be joining us here monthly to share more about reiki and the strong influence in which energetics can play in healing, including simple tips to restore balance and promote vitality and wellness.