Initiation: 1. the action of admitting someone into a secret or obscure society or group, typically with a ritual. 2. the action of beginning something.
Ritual: 1. a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. A series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.
Everything starts somewhere. For some, the word initiation or ritual brings along the connotation of something dark, secretive, hidden, and maybe scary. But for others, the words may bring up feelings of freedom. Of exploration and adventure. Of the beginning of something exciting, like an awakening. The word ritual has been coming up for me lately in different ways. This past Sunday I learned a ritual that is one of the last steps to becoming a Reiki Master Teacher. Something that has been passed down through the lineage of Reiki Masters before me, that brings with it not only the honor of becoming a master but also the recognition that this two year journey has been successful. Not only have I learned what Reiki can do for me, but that I’m meant to use my own light, my own gravitational pull, to buoy those around me through their own lives in the truest way possible. I’ve talked to so many people about what this journey has done for me, and I’m grateful that it’s only the beginning.
Last week I went to a cacao ceremony with sound healing and Reiki at The Venus Moon in Glendora, NJ. My friends - this was a very big deal for me. Not the topic or the plans for the night, but that I felt called to do this on my own. My anxiety manifests in ways that make me shy and quiet in new situations. If you read that and have no idea how that’s possible, it’s because through other experiences in my life I’ve learned how to squash that, put on a brave face, and talk to strangers.
My 9-5 requires that I “fake it until I make it.”
So, I’ve learned to fake being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. To try something new I usually need a friend by my side, or at least someone that I know already, so that I don’t feel so awkward. When I walked into the venue for the night I was nervous. What if I did something weird? What if I sneezed? What if I needed to use the bathroom? What if I was the only one there? What if, what if, what if? I realize that all of this is completely in my own head and that it’s illogical. It still happens and I’m a work in progress (aren’t we all?). I set up my yoga mat and then wandered around looking at some amazing crystals. If you’re a crystal lover, you HAVE GOT TO CHECK THIS PLACE OUT. Seriously, I can’t wait to go back. The selection is outstanding and the owner is one of the kindest, most generous people you will ever meet. I wound up chatting with another attendee and then Krissy, the owner of Venus Moon, pulled me a tarot card. The Ace of Wands. The message this gave was that I was on the right track, that something was coming, but that it wasn’t fully formed yet. Hm. I think I may have heard that somewhere before. Oh yeah! In almost every card-pull I’ve done the last couple of months! (Thank you universe. I’ve been listening!)
We then went into the cacao ceremony and sound healing portion of the evening, and each individual had some Reiki shared with them. So many things came up for me during this. It was like all of my creative juices were pulled to the forefront, and ideas kept zipping into my brain. I even wrote this blog post while lying there! If you say to yourself “I don’t know how sound can provide healing,” I would respond with “I don’t know either, but it’s fantastic!” If you’re still skeptical, just think about one of your favorite songs. It probably evokes emotions in you, which could be from the words stated, the background beats that get you moving, or the melody that just sticks in your brain and you find yourself singing it under your breath all day long. Music/sound has a way of speaking to us - our minds and our bodies. There are probably a million rabbit holes on Google that you could fall down researching this. I am no expert in the area of sound healing or the research behind any of this but there's a link at the bottom of this to help you learn more.
The morning after the event I pulled this card from one of my oracle decks.
Let me rephrase. I shuffled and this card SHOT OUT of the deck onto the floor.
There it was; rituals again. It got my wheels turning thinking about all of the daily, weekly, monthly rituals that we all do but probably don’t give enough attention or honor to. Most people could probably easily call to mind a religious or spiritual ritual that they partake in but we often overlook the small, mundane rituals throughout our days. A morning cup of coffee while contemplating our day, taking a deep breath and grounding yourself before a big meeting/presentation/conversation, a prayer or affirmation you use, a workout/health practice you participate in. I read something recently that said “Rituals have power because people believe in them. Actions that are repeated again and again with a certain intention will produce emotions and expectations within a person that can be quite powerful.” In reflecting on this, we - the participants in these rituals, have the control over how they impact or affect us. We have the ability to make the decision to write them off as nonsense/not helpful/not aligned or to view them as sacred/valuable/altering. We each get to make the choice to prescribe to a ritual and decide if it moves us. Isn’t that an amazing freedom to have? This choice to incorporate and explore, determining what supports each of us and feels right.
We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe. The way is through daily ritual, and is an affair of the individual and the household, a ritual of dawn and noon and sunset, the ritual of the kindling fire and pouring water, the ritual of the first breath, and the last.
I'm still contemplating all of these messages and the rituals I'm incorporating into my daily life, trying things on for size, staying open, and enjoying the adventure as I learn SO MANY new things. A favorite is a daily card pull from an oracle deck, or my own affirmation card deck that I designed (coming soon!). It gives me something to think about or reassurance that I'm on the right path.
I'm hoping this post helps you to reflect on the rituals that you have in your own life - did you make a conscious decision to participate in those or incorporate them into your life? If not, and they no longer feel like they’re working, supporting you, or are aligned with your current path I hope you take from this the affirmation that it is ok to look elsewhere. To hold those rituals or habits close or to look for new ones. To set aside the expectations of others and find for yourself the things that work, that intrigue you, that make you feel heard/inspired/motivated.
If you’re unsure of how to get unstuck or how to make some changes for yourself, let me know. I would love to recommend some resources or talk about how I can be of assistance through Reiki or my other super power - just listening.
Things to check out from this blog post!
Interested in looking at a way to connect with Lucia, the sound healer I had the immense pleasure of meeting and being impacted by? Check her out at http://thevibrationalhealinginstitute.com/. INCREDIBLE. SERIOUSLY.
The Venus Moon - https://www.facebook.com/thevenusmoon Crystals, phenomenal workshops and events, connection and community. A rare gem, truly.
Heart-opening Reiki and cacao were provided by Sophia from https://www.facebook.com/OPMYOGA , One Positive Mind: Yoga & Wellness Center.