Rituals: The Magic of Life

The sacred is not in heaven or far away. It is all around us, and small human rituals can connect us to its presence. And of course, the greatest challenge (and Gift!) is to see the sacred in each other. 

  • Alma Luz Villanueuva - Mexican-American Poet


This month, I am doing a Manifestation Ceremony during July’s new moon, and it could not be more poignant or laden with emotion—specifically hope and fear. I am asking for the courage to move forward with confidence in 2020 and the strength to peacefully accept the things I cannot control, which appears to be quite a lot at this moment. 

It was nothing short of astonishing to watch the Black Lives Matter movement catapult into action, this time with widespread support and global outrage at the unjust killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Sadly, there has been little reprieve on the streets. Breonna Taylor’s killers have still not been brought to justice, and still, yet Rayshard Brooks lost his life for a minor offense at the hands of law enforcement, causing new riots in Atlanta. All three of their names deserve a place in this month’s column. I also know there are many more

We cannot deny that the world is angry and scared, the frustration has spilled out into the streets in the form of protests demanding radical social change. The riots and violent uprisings were undoubtedly flamed by the social inequalities that have been exposed as the coronavirus pandemic’s deadly path wreaked havoc through the communities that have been historically disenfranchised: African Americans, immigrant communities, the elderly and society’s most vulnerable health-wise.

The destruction brought on by the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge nearly every aspect of our lives, and the most difficult change for many is the sudden loss of the ability to socialize and physically be with our community. The severe measures that restrict social interaction essentially take away what we desperately need most right now – each other. 

How can we have meaningful interactions when we are so limited in social mobility? Look around you, who do you spend a lot of time with? Nearly every culture has created rituals and ceremonies throughout history: wedding, birthdays and graduations are memories that bond us to others in a way other ordinary unintentional interaction cannot.  Pick a partner, a small group of family or friends that can safely participate in the following rituals and ask if they can commit to doing so on a regular basis. 

Building Meaningful Connections with Rituals

“Ceremonies are an expression of culture -mechanisms which express and generate love, forge and declare the bond between individuals, and establish and identify community.”

Again, the point of these specific rituals are meant to inspire gratitude for the people who actually have the chance to be around, so for once, a couple of these are done with others. You might feel skeptical, but believing is seeing, and not the other way around. You must believe in something you cannot see, touch or feel for manifestation magic to start to work. Here are some easy rituals that you can share with others to build the collective momentum of releasing the old and manifesting the new. 

Asking for Strength


We might simply need to ask for the courage to keep going at this time, not only for ourselves but also to help friends and family who are also experiencing grief or hardship. 

If you feel that the events of the last few months have drained your vitality and the best version of your “self”, then try this ceremony to manifest strength. Decide on a place that is sacred and empowering and make a plan go there physically if you can do it safely. Stand in a circle or face one another and be completely still and then raise your arms to the infinite skies above you for at least 2-3 minutes, breathing, feeling gratitude and imagining strength being sent down from above through your arms and into your heart. With joy say:


“We are always sheltered and safe anywhere underneath these skies.”


Releasing Fear


Fear is a constant message that we must contend with far too much during these times, but we don’t need to hang on to the fear we read and see every day; it simply is toxic for us. Limit your intake of news to five minutes a day; if something major happens, you will likely hear about it. 


It is better to do this ritual in a backyard or private space. Before arriving, have everyone write down on paper, everything they are afraid might happen, even if the fears might seem unlikely or unreasonable and have them bring ceremonial knives. It may be a cake knife with a pretty design on the handle for example or an average pocket knife. Find some ribbon or string for everyone to tie onto the knives, making three knots to start the ritual.


In a safe place outside, make a fire and throw the papers in together and hold hands as the smoke rises, silently watching the papers burn up until they become dust. Take the knives and take turns gesturing the act of cutting through the smoke with the ceremonial knife. Believe in your own power in this moment. This is a ritual that is useful for relieving stress.


At the end, each of you can say "I release these fears- they no longer have power over me."


Healing Chaos


Many of us are functioning in the middle of perpetual chaos right now, so how can we stay centered?


This ceremony is actually done alone and might take a little preparation and a small field trip. Find a body of water, it can be standing on a bridge above a creek, sitting by a river, small stream or small pond. Gather some small pebbles in a cup until you have a good amount. Allow yourself the time it will take to do this as slowly as you can, and if you get distracted by thoughts, gently coax yourself back to your center by assuring your mind that you will handle the urgent matter later. Tell yourself: “This is my moment to feel calm.”

Gently throw each pebble into the water and watch the ripples as they form, noticing the sounds, colors and the smells around you. Repeat until all the pebbles are gone.

Set aside time for a tea ritual, especially if you can share it with someone. This powerful act of slowing down brings realizations and discoveries one sip at a time.  Rituals are ways to personally create something we all need: a secret sanctuary.

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