Candle in the hand
You are preparing to do a ritual, maybe for the New Moon, Solstice, or to invoke a special goddess. You sit with Spirit, asking to know what is wanted of you. You set your intentions, visualize and assemble all the items you need to make the altar – the appropriate colored cloth, candles, incense, statues, offerings of the elements. You choose or write a chant or song, and plan each detail of the ritual. You gather your smudge supplies and your regalia. Before the ritual you carefully prepare yourself, perhaps with a ritual bath and sacred oils, to step forward as Priestess of your Circle. You take time to center, to be sure you are aligned with Spirit and the intention of your ritual. You invoke your Guides to be with you to serve the Circle, the Goddess, and this ceremony to the best you are able. When it is time to begin, you gather the Circle together, call in the Directions, and enter into the realms of ceremony. After everyone goes home, the altar is taken down, the candle drippings cleaned up, and you are finally alone again, you give your thanks to Spirit for the inspiration, guidance, and for being able to safely hold space for all the participants. You go to bed with that wonderful feeling of having done something beautiful, powerful, and transformational.
And then, in the morning, you hit the snooze alarm three times, finally get up and realize you are going to be late, rush around getting ready to go to work, grab some coffee and head out the door. The traffic irritates you and you find your patience waning. You arrive at work frustrated and jump right in to the pile of tasks awaiting you. You might wake up to a family member demanding help on a task they could easily do themselves. Maybe you get your tea and settle in to your email or morning news on the TV. About half way through the morning you think, “what happened to that Priestess from last night? Where did she go?”
We seem to forget that we are the Priestess of Our Own Life and the ceremony goes on 24×7. This most powerful of all rituals is constantly in need of intention, awareness, preparation, celebration, and Divine Guidance. Like all rituals, we have created altars to support our life: we may have a Directions altar or one for our personal guides. We might remember to sit and draw a Tarot or Oracle card for inspiration, to pray or smudge the house at least a few times a week. These altars seem to be the ones we are more able to bring conscious awareness to.
But what about the other altars all over our homes that we are not consciously working? There is the altar of the refrigerator door, the bedroom floor where we have casually tossed a variety of offerings, and the altar of Facebook, which seems capable of overpowering all others. Have we forgotten our songs of praise and instead chant a litany of complaints and excuses? Do we keep an altar of our past mistakes? Are we immersed in mindless routines, forgetting to be aware of our actions or intention?
How do we find balance with “real life” and “priestess life?” We must stop separating and integrate the two. We are the Priestess of Our Own Life and ritual is what holds us on that path. We all have obligations to meet; work, family and relationship challenges, friends to keep up with, chores to do. Life as Our Ritual requires attention, intention, action, invocation of higher wisdom, gratitude, offerings, and time to clean up the candle drippings of our messy, complicated lives.
Take time to visualize what you need and want in your life in the present time. Do you need a forgiveness altar? Is it time to invoke a deity to help you clear out what is dead and no longer serving you? Visualize, purify, make an altar that you actually will work and pay attention to. Take down the ones whose energy has gone flat. Write sticky notes, make a vision board, smudge often, sing, chant, dance and pray. Practice being aware of how you are moving through your day. Priestessing our life ritual is a lot like correcting our posture; we have to be aware we are slumping, have sat for three hours without a break, and we need to move. Are you gulping your food? Be aware and stop and chew slowly, bless it, thank the beings who gave away so you can have it. Bless your body – however it is today – listen to your words, feel your heart.
Life is a process we learn as we go along. We are never perfect, never finished, but we can refine our life with presence of mind, an open heart, and conscious ritual. Blessed be!
Kathryn Ravenwood is a Priestess for the Water, a ceremonialist, shamanic guide, and teacher, author and reader of Tarot. She has studied the Mysteries for over 40 years and offers personal consultation for spiritual growth. Find more information at http://www.kathrynravenwood.com.