Rituals aren’t just for witches!
We all use rituals in our lives, often without realising that’s what we’re doing.
Your morning cuppa is a ritual. If you have a regular routine you use before you head out of the door, that’s a ritual.
The word has a bad rap though doesn’t it? It’s become associated with sacrifices, and dark practices. When really, a ritual is simply a series of actions.
Routine or Ritual?
How do you feel about the word ‘routine’?
Does it make you feel as though you’re on top of things, or does it give you a feeling of being trapped by monotony?
Like ritual, it’s a strangely emotive word, isn’t it? In my opinion, routine is like Marmite – you love or hate it.
What if you could embrace the, strange but true, fact that routine creates freedom?
It’s that word routine though, right? It’s humdrum, boring, stagnant; not something vibrant and creative… is it?
What if you could feel differently about routine?
What if you could bring a sense of reverence to it?
What if, turning your routines into rituals, could create something so powerful, it could change your whole life?
Would you believe me if I told you it really could?
Tapping Into Your Senses Turns Routine Into Ritual
In Romancing the Soul I talk about how creating a ritual around cooking, helped a dear friend feel better about the experience of cooking for one. If I’d suggested she create a cooking routine, it wouldn’t’ve had the same effect.
When you create your own rituals, you can add in sensory elements that make the process pleasurable for you. When repeated regularly, these sensory prompts create associations in your brain.
If every time you start to cook, you pour yourself a glass of something delicious (it doesn’t have to alcoholic), and take a long, slow sip, savouring it not guzzling it, your brain will recognise this as the prelude to your cooking ritual, and slip into the frame of mind you’ve primed it with.
If you put on some music that helps to get you in the particular mood you want to evoke, the ritual becomes even more embedded in your psyche.
Suddenly, cooking your evening meal becomes something to look forward to, it’s no longer a mind numbing routine, you’ve created a ritual that’s made it a pleasurable, sensory experience.
Using scent is an incredibly powerful sensory prompt, as the olfactory system has a direct route to the emotional memories area of the brain – scent memory associations are one of the most primal aspects of our human existence. You can utilise that to ‘hack your habits’ by regularly including particular scents with your rituals – I’ve created my range of Sensory Alchemë aromatherapy blends to help with that!
There are two things I’ve learnt in the last couple of years that have truly blown my mind:
- Structure creates freedom
- Containers encourage creativity
They sound pretty paradoxical don’t they? How on earth can structure create freedom? Structure is rigid, unyielding, the opposite of freedom, isn’t it? Seemingly not, but I’ll get into more detail about how that works in another post. For now, suspend your disbelief and choose to accept that these two things really are true. That will free you up (haha, see!) to explore how creating rituals creates containers for moments of freedom.
What Areas of Your Life Would Benefit from Creating Rituals?
Grab a notebook or journal and jot down the top 3 areas of your life that you currently struggle with the most.
Think about what exactly makes them hard – is it your attitude? Is it other people? Is it that it’s boring and routine? Really dig into the pain points.
Now sit quietly with your list for a few minutes. Re-imagine those moments as points in your day that are filled with ease, maybe even go so far as to imagine them as joyful! How big of a difference would that make in your life? How would it free you to enjoy your day more?
What little rituals could you create that would make those moments fun, calm, pleasurable or sacred?
What could you do to get any of the other people who might need to be part of those moments, engaged in this process, so that it frees them too?
Let Me Share Another Example
I’ve never been able to sustain a journalling habit. As a child I would start afresh every year, and if I was lucky I’d get to the 2nd of January before giving up.
As an adult I understood the benefits of journalling, but still could never stick with it.
Until 4 years ago.
4 years ago I bought the first journal that worked for me. I created a morning and evening ritual around using it, which quickly became habit. The knock on effects are astounding to me; that daily journalling process has changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
When I analyse why, there are several reasons, but the two that are have really made the difference are:
- The daily ritual – it’s now so ingrained in me that I feel off if I miss a day
- The structure of the journal itself – it isn’t a notebook full of blank pages to be filled, there are structured areas to work within, which often involves getting creative about how I use that small space!
Magic needs parameters to work within. Witches have always known this, they were ahead of the game on the ritual front, but you don’t have to be a witch to find the magic in ritual. As the quote on my home page says:
“Magic is really only the utilization of the entire spectrum of the senses.”
How will you use your senses to create a ritual that will make your life better? I’d love to know.