Rituals allow us to connect with our true selves and welcome the inside out. There is a spiritual function of our psyche that thrives on rituals, as they are a way to process life transitions.
And the good news is that you can ritualize anything: anything that feels important, anything that feels like it will change you or that you need to change. The hallmark of a ritual is that you start as one person and finish a fundamentally different one. In this way, instead of being pulled along by life's circumstances and trying to play catch-up, you sit at the helm of your own personal transformation.
Here are three steps to building a sacred ritual so that no matter what the next phase of life is, you get there in one piece.
1. Determine who you are now, and honor that.
As you consider who you are as you begin your ritual, cultivate gratitude for what has brought you here. Before you officially start your ritual, gather sacred items that are symbolic of the change you wish to make. This can include totems that signify your transition or items that hold personal meaning, like an old photograph. Build upon these with a candle for fiery transformation, a bowl of water for purity, and a cleansing tool, such as sage, incense, or palo santo to clear old, stuck energy. When you've gathered your tools and created your ritual space, you are ready to begin.
2. Begin the ritual and step into the unknown.
During the ritual, you are not who you were before you began, and you are not yet who you will become. Light the candle to signify the start of your ritual and step into your ritual space. At this time, do practices that help to connect you with your transformation, such as meditation, yoga or chanting. (Here's a quick healing breathwork for inspiration.)
Writing is another simple activity that can help you process your change. List your intentions, what needs to shift, and who you will become as a result. You might anoint yourself with water or oil to bless your intentions and seal them in. Sit quietly in contemplation as you feel the internal shift and honor the process. The actual ritual itself has no time duration, so let it go on for as long as it needs to until you feel complete.
3. End the ritual and embrace change.
Change is scary but not when we court it with a ritual. Befriending change through ritual means successfully moving through life and evolving with it. To end your ritual, reverse everything you did to get into it. For example, snuff your candle, empty the water from the vessel, even walk backward out of your sacred space. As you do, take a talisman from the ritual itself, perhaps the piece of paper you wrote on or a crystal from the center of your space. Use this talisman as a reminder of who you are now, and put it somewhere prominent so you can see it daily. Embody and embrace the change you have created for yourself and walk forward with the confidence that you are whole and complete.