In the early phases of my training as a devotee of a pagan path; on my way through the years to become an initiated and fully trained autonomous priestess, I was given many rituals. These rituals were very beautiful to me and they helped me to integrate the tools I needed to manage my unruly self.
They were the do-it-yourself kit I can’t imagine I’d have made it to through my life without. I feel certain they actually have saved my life many times.
The principles of ritual are such that what is given (or spontaneously created for that matter) in the formal sense of ritual is for the express purpose of focusing the attention, the desire, and the energy of the Being using them.
I was very surprised to learn, during the advanced stages of my initiation process and at the very end, something I never thought I would hear after years of knuckling down and learning these complexities by heart and to the letter.
Here’s the deep dark secret. You needn’t go through the initiation process I did to get this news.
All ritual is only needful for so long as the important tools inside you, (which every single ritual object, phrase or motion ever in existence is representing), have not yet come to an integrated place within your consciousness.
All the fancy tools, all the ancient phrases, incense, and talk meditations, (all the smoke and mirrors), are only useful and needful until you have within you the capacity and ability to bring your consciousness to the space of being they were intended to assist you to bring yourSELF to. It’s all about the consciousness.
After many years of practice and focus, what once would have required me to spend days in preparation to prepare for a formal ritual, or taken me some time set out every day in intense focus, can now be accomplished with little more than a statement of intent to send me to the proper space within in my consciousness, that magical place of being that manifestation springs from. (Not mentioning here the years spent in hunting out and releasing the false programming, which is important, but that’s another topic.)
I love the talk meditations I used to do to manage my unruliness of mind, of heart, of focus. I once had a meditation hypnosis cassette tape which had on it a litany of ‘just let it go…’ I wore it out, I listened to it so many times. It helped me so very much at that time, I still smile whenever it comes to mind again. What a perfect blessing it was!
That’s pretty much all the meditation tape had to say, and yet it repeated the same phrase over and over in a hypnotic way that eased my anxiety. The repetitions eventually broke through the walls I had created subconsciously, changing that harsh landscape, and through this action allowed me to have the necessary break-through to freedom from obsessive worrying. I honor that the use of this tool served me well at the place I was in at that time.
I wish to honor those who are wherever they are in this journey of mastery. Ritual tools, no matter how they may be presented, in whatever form, content, or context, are important and are milestones in our collective journey through some rough country.
These ritual tools (i.e., all the trappings of ritual, prayer, or affirmations) are so helpful that the labels of ‘magic and miracles’ are put on them. The magic here is not in the motions we perform or the words recited. Though certain objects used in ritual are often used as allies and do have their properties which enhance consciousness, they’re not the magic either. Let’s not confuse the baby with the bathwater here.
The magic, the manifestation, and the co-creating force which drives the results that come from all rituals, regardless of what we call them, resides in our own consciousness. Period. Even though we call upon forces we would consider Celestial or Divine, these will still need to find passage through our consciousness in order to be funneled into this realm.
Allowing the last statement I just made to truly integrate in us will make it clear that it’s only our resistance to this truth that makes such work difficult. Without our resistance to owning, right here and right now, that we are the conduit of our own good intent, in conjunction with the Divine, we won’t require all the trappings anymore. From this ownership stance, we’re capable of, and in alignment with, being the living manifestation of the Divine in motion.
I also would wish to honor those of us who have already made this leg of the master’s journey, in that we’ve integrated these tools in deep enough ways to make such rituals, as a matter of course, as a mandatory daily do, and especially as a guilt-ridden ‘I really ought to’, truly unnecessary.
In my view, this guilt is just another way to keep us separate from our truth. The truth is that we all ready ARE all we need to be in our very structure and form. We’re perfectly formed already, and all this work is just the work we need to do in order to remove what’s in the way of our owning our truth of being.
In contrast to where I started with this journey of using ritual to manage my consciousness, now it’s not necessary for me to show up on time for anything. In the magic realm of consciousness, there are no bounds of time and space. Consciousness goes wherever and whenever I may choose to cast it. I’m not interested in caging it, devaluing its limitlessness or in pounding it on its head to get its attention when I already have this at my beck and call.
My intent, my focus and my desire are so well defined and so well integrated in my awareness, this integration has become who I am and how I can be in any moment I choose it. This comes from long and devoted practice, where this integration has become a part of me so that this process no longer uses up vast amounts of my energy to produce or maintain.The tools have fallen away from me, they’ve become have become integral parts of who I am.
I rarely find I have the need for meditation. The reason for this is very simple really. My life stream itself has become a form of walking, talking, breathing meditation for much of my day just in the normal course of things. It’s who I am, and how I roll.
The use of formal ritual, for me, has taken its rightful place inside my consciousness. The place it holds for me now is one where I find it’s mostly useful in groups, in those times when we meet and wish to bring our consciousness together to a focal point. I may then choose to join in as a supporting member, and I do this primarily in order to give my support to those who feel the need for these tools in order to bring themselves to the moment in their fullness.
To be clear on this, I show up for these group meditations primarily in support of and in a gesture of solidarity with others. I honor those who create group processes in love, but I find that my most powerful work is done with the spontaneous creation coming from my own being.
I would wish that no matter where each of us are in this journey we honor ourselves in this. Many find they have a terrible time paying attention to meditating and I would like to come right out and say this may be because this path of ritual has already been integrated for you beyond the need for you to sit cross-legged in silence, or for that matter practice any other suggested meditative activity.
It’s incredibly useful to use meditation to quiet the mind and to learn the beginning digs of how to manage mental, emotional and intentional focus. However, if you already have this capacity, then I think it’s fair to say you needn’t feel guilty over your reluctance to use those tools which aren’t needful for you in order to access what skills you already have access to without them.
In closing this line of thought I’m sharing here with you, I’d like to set the intent here among us to acknowledge that we each may choose the way that works for us, from whatever place we are in this pathway to mastery. That we may all honor that this may be very different when viewing where someone else is at on this path, and that we release any judgments, no matter how subtle, that we carry over how someone else is getting to where they need to be to do the work we do together.
In the enthusiastic moment of finding something that is useful and that works, it’s so easy to assume that everyone will need this activity, or tool or ritual too!
Though this enthusiasm is a beautiful thing and though it may come from love in the sense of wanting to share the wonder, there is also a subtle form of disrespect in it, in that it assumes we know what others will need to be doing in order to find the ‘right’ and proper space to do our collective work together.
May we also release the self-judgments that say we’re not so holy as someone who is meditating more than we are. All these subtle, or not so subtle, hierarchical notions could be released without worrying that we’ve lost something precious. They’re not in alignment with anything true, in my opinion.
Let’s be good to one another. We’re all here in form with all the heart, the soul, and the good intent which are inherent in our very being. I wish to focus instead on how we may appreciate our wonderful diversity and great beauty. With love…..