It’s getting hotter and the days are getting longer. Memorial Day has come and gone, so it must be summer. While most of us look forward to summer vacations, June, July and August also provide great months for creating and performing any number of fun, interesting and spiritual rituals.
Don’t let the fact that you haven’t ever performed a ritual stop you. And if you have performed rituals previously, summer’s a great time to come up with creative new ways to take them to a deeper spiritual level.
So, why is summertime the perfect time for rituals making and performing? Because the warm and bright mornings beckon to us to come out with the chirping of the birds and celebrate the rising of the sun, the blooming of the flowers, the beauty of the natural world around us. The equally warm and late evenings allow us time after our daily chores or work to light a candle or a fire and to join in the crickets’ song and to look up at the heavens and feel our connection to the universe and to God.
Yes, the weather and the length of the days give us amply opportunity to take a few minutes or a few hours to create and perform whatever rituals we like. Here are four examples of rituals you can try this summer.
1. Greeting the dawn: Begin getting up earlier in the morning, going outside and greeting the day with a ritual. You might want to have a tea ceremony. Or go into your garden and sit and meditate. Then cut some flowers and bring them inside with you. Place them on an altar, light a candle and offer up an intention for the day. Or simply go outside right after you awaken, stretch to the sun, touch your toes (or the ground, if you can) and then turn around stopping to acknowledge each of the four directions. Before you go back inside, recite aloud a list of things for which you feel grateful.
2. Four Elements Release Ritual: Go to the beach (or a lake) and have a bonfire. Before you light the fire, offer an intention that you are creating this fire for the purpose of releasing the old habits, patterns, issues whatever you no longer want or need from your life. Then, on a piece of paper, write down all the things you want to release (debt, eating disorders, health problems, bad jobs, etc.). Fold up the paper and before placing it in the fire, say, “I now release these to the Universe or God. Something better is now coming to me for the highest good of all concerned.” Take a moment to look at the smoke rising from the fire. Say aloud, “This smoke is now cleansing me of those things I do not want and raising my desires to a place where they will be made manifest.” Now take some breadcrumbs or pieces of bread and go though this same list while throwing them into the ocean one by one. Be sure to recite the intention before you begin and the affirmation when you are finished. Last, find enough rocks to represent each of the things you want to release, go through the same basic process as before but this time bury each rock in a shallow hole you dig in the sand. When you have released your unwanted issues to the four elements, simply say, “So be it, so it is.”
3. Offering up Gratitude: Before you go to bed, go outside and sit somewhere where you can see the stars. Light a candle, and while staring at it’s brightness in the dark of the night, feel appreciation for the light it offers. As you fix your gaze on the flame, begin reciting all the things you are grateful for that occurred during the day. Imagine them rising with the flame, reaching upwards, as if your gratitude is being handed off to the darkness by the tip of the flame. When you are done, look up at the stars. (It’s easiest to actually lie down.) Gaze at the stars and try to feel what it is like to be on a planet the Earth hurtling through space. Try to get the feeling of this planet being such a small part of the greater Universe. Feel grateful for being a part of that larger whole and for the forces of nature or God that keep your planet safe, and, therefore, you safe. Feel awe and wonder for the vastness of this place you call home. Then, offer up a prayer of gratitude, or petition.
4. Planting Ritual: Each time you place a plant in a pot or in the ground, or throw some seeds into the earth, imagine that you are planting a seed of change as well. If there is a particular change you desire, voice your intention to create that change as you plant the seed. Then, every day, talk to your seed (seedling, plant) about that change and how you plan on creating it. Speak of the steps you have taken or plan to take that day. Be sure to nurture the plant with water and fertilizer and generally to care for the plant in the same way that you are nurturing and caring for your change.