Stripped of religion and magic, ritual is nothing more—and nothing less—than a process of clearing away clutter and obstacles, setting your intent, focusing your will, asking for help, allowing the help, expressing gratitude for assistance, and cleaning up afterward. Sound like something you do every day? You bet!
Step 1 – The Clearing
Do you clean and organize your work area just before beginning a big project? The purpose of ritual cleansing or purification is really no different.
Traditionally you clear your energy field with an aromatherapy bath or shower, and use real resin incenses, or sage, cedar or sweetgrass to clear the space. There are dozens of different methods and explanations for why they work; just choose what works for you!
The point is to clear away physical, mental, emotional and spiritual clutter so that you can focus clearly and powerfully.
Step 2 – The Space
You can journey to find the right space in which to do your ritual, or you can create it.
Any place which feels special to you, which helps you forget everyday anxieties and distractions, is good. Or you can choose a place of natural power, or place that has soaked up prayers, like a church, temple, mosque or synagogue.
Or you can use techniques which have been used for centuries by shamans, religions and magical practitioners to create sacred space. There are usually two elements—“casting the circle” and “invoking the directions.”
Casting the circle is simply declaring the boundaries of the space you plan to use. There are plenty of plain and fancy ways to do this, and some invoke the directions at the same time.
Invoking the directions involves acknowledging, and asking the support and protection of, the forces of the Universe in the form which ancients believed to be basic elements of matter—earth, air, water and fire, which also represent the physical (earth, typically in the North), mental (air, East), emotional (water, West) and spiritual (fire, South) elements of your being. You can, for example, call upon the archangels who are associated with each direction, or spirit animals, or ask your Higher Self, angels and spirit guides to guard each direction of your space.
Step 3 – Focusing and Setting Your Intent
This is where you express, aloud or in your heart, why you are doing this ritual.
Each of the steps you’ve taken up to now have been for the express purpose of helping you focus more powerfully than you can normally. From this point onward, your clear, single-pointed focus is key to the success of your process. As they say in teachings about the Law of Attraction, energy flows where attention goes—and it is the vibration created by your attention that creates your future… and this is, as they say, where the rubber hits the road.
Step 4 – Asking for Help
Now you call upon the larger forces of the universe to support your project. It doesn’t really matter what you believe they are—God or gods and goddesses, your Higher Self, angels, spirit guide—or even that sometimes you’re just hoping they’re there rather than knowing it in your bones.
What matters is that you’ve worked hard to create an environment in which those forces can clearly and powerfully receive your message, your vibratory intent, the resonance of your voice or thoughts, and respond both now and in the future. If you’re going to get goosebumps, this is usually where it happens.
Step 5 – Releasing/Receiving Assistance
This is a crucial step that many people miss. Once you’ve asked for help, no matter what forces you’ve asked to give it, you have to let it go so that it can be manifested.
This means that you stop obsessing, resist the urge to check hourly to see if it’s happened yet, and instead take a deep breath and hand it over—fully—to those you asked for assistance.
Step 6 – Thanks, Grounding and Celebration
Traditional rituals typically wrap up by returning the energy that remains in your sacred space to the earth (grounding), and then thanking and releasing the spiritual presences who’ve assisted, and who’ve kept the space safe and clear, and, finally, celebrating.
So, stash your ritual stuff till next time, unveil that pint (or gallon) of dark chocolate ice cream, or beer and pizza, and indulge yourself and any friends who joined the ritual. Sharing and celebration are the best form of thanks!