Why is ceremony so important in this day and age? It seems as though many people are looking for ways to find more peace and equanimity in their lives. One of the most effective ways we at Kula have found to achieve that sense of inner peace is through ceremony. Ceremony meets us on the physical, mental and spiritual levels, and it is through this holistic, intentional experience, that we can come to connect more deeply with ourselves and our communities.
Ceremony can be done alone with just you and your spirit guides, or can be done with others. Offering a ceremony with others can create a sense of tribe, home, family, community…a Kula! In this way, ceremonies can be a way for communities to physically come together to share in a collective intention.
In order to feel the benefits of our tribe, we first have to find our tribe. Like looking for a life partner, when we are looking for our tribe, we are often seeking to meet others with the same types of interests, beliefs or energetic vibrations. Finding others with similar attributes is a way to bring like minded/like spirited people together. Ceremony can be a ritual or a practice. Chanting, creative exploration, surrender, creation and manifestation can all be powerful tribal experiences. When done regularly, there is a sense of honor and connectedness with that which we are ritualizing. Ceremony will deepen our remembering. It can serve as a coming back into re-membership of our global family.
What kind of feelings we have after participating in a ceremony can depend on the type of ceremony and the intention behind it. The intention is the backbone that guides the direction and energy of the ceremony.
The mind is capable of affecting great change in our lives. In ceremony, we have tools such as intentions, to shape and sculpt the mind to create thought patterns that are beneficial for manifesting what we want, or for releasing patterns that no longer serve us. For example, if you no longer want to be hung up on your ex boyfriend, it can hard to just decide to instantly change your feelings and beliefs in order to drop the attachment. However, if you hold a ceremony with the intention to put energy into a stone symbolizing the relationship and then throw that stone into the ocean, you are able to experience letting go at the material level. The practice of a transformational ritual of this nature offers the mind a tool or a physical representation that it can relate to in order to help grasp an esoteric concept such as letting go of attachment. With great intention and energy behind the ceremony, we help our minds fully buy into the concept that the transformation is complete. The first time may not be as powerful and effective, but if we invest time and energy into ceremony and perform these types of rituals regularly, the affect at the mind level can support an outcome which has a force that can be felt and experienced as real.
There are many kinds of ceremony. We think of them most commonly in terms of healing, transformational or celebratory. It can include creating an altar, pilgrimages to sacred sites, offerings to the fire, water or land, songs to ancestors, etc. All ceremonies require a level of consciousness as we walk gently upon the earth as healing practitioners in this modern age.
Ceremony allows us to honor the wisdom that is innately within, giving ourselves the time and creative space to bridge the material realm with the spiritual realm like shamans do. Through ceremony, we establish portals or gateways to access the consciousness of our ancestors. A shamanic practitioner opens the veils between the worlds and steps into another dimension or non-ordinary reality in order to pull threads from the invisible world and weave a new fabric of substance that can be made manifest in the material world. The new fabric is brought to the ordinary reality to replace an old fabric that is dissolving. In the action of performing ceremony, shamans are working in partnership with the elements, ancestral beings and other helping spirits in order to create a harmonious reality that will support an individual, a community or all of life!
You don’t have to be a shaman to hold a ceremony. We all have the ability to access the spirit realm and enact ceremony. The primary ingredients are a clear, guiding intention, a willingness and belief in our ability to shift energy and a humble and receptive spirit. A ceremony will usually bring us more in touch with our true nature. It is very common that individuals leave a ceremony feeling more peaceful, more connected, more in touch with themselves, others and with Spirit. This is why it is with great honor that we at Kula love to create space for ceremony in our yoga teacher trainings and retreats. We hope you will have the opportunity to create your own ceremonies or join us for one of our offerings to connect more deeply…body mind and spirit. Aho!