In honor of the super full moon tonight I am sharing a simple ceremony that we do at my house every month.
What is the purpose of spiritual ceremonies and prayers? Are they just meaningless gestures and words, repeated without thought? Do they serve a purpose for those who have left behind the traditional organized religions in favor of a more spiritual one -on -one relationship with God or the Universal Life Energy?
In order to understand the importance that rituals, ceremonies, and prayers play in our spiritual growth it is important to understand the benefits of practicing them in the proper way. If you are not practicing them with emotional energy then they are just words and movements. So a simple background in energy is necessary first:
The Universe is made up of energy. Every physical thing is energy, condensed and formed into everything we see in this world. Beyond what our limited human senses can perceive, the energy of the Universe permeates and interconnects everything. Whenever you feel an emotion it is emitted out as energy from you. This emotional energy forms connections to other energy beings (humans, animals, etc) Think of them as strings. The more emotions you have for someone, the more energetic strings of attachment you have connecting you to each other.
The Universal Life Energy, or all the energy of this Universe combined is what most people call God. The bigger the energy system, the more consciousness it has. God is made up of everything, so it is the Alpha and Omega, omnipotent, and omnipresent~ the beginning and the end, knowing all things and everywhere at the same time.
Now, let's go back to the importance of ceremonies and prayers. Basically, ritualistic words and actions help us to focus on our intent and to elicit an emotional response in alignment with our intent. Intent without emotion is powerless. Prayers without emotion are just words, and ceremonies without emotion are just gestures. The feelings behind the rituals are what drives the results. Think of the prayers as vehicles and emotions as gas. The vehicle has the potential to get you where you want to go, your intent is the destination, but without gas it is just a plan that never gets put into action.
The proper use of ceremonies, then, is to help us to engage our attention and focus on our intent, and to aid us in evoking the emotional energy to drive the intent to fruition. I have found that designing my own prayers and rituals has brought them more personal meaning and enabled me to really get into the mood. The following is a full moon ceremony that I perform with friends every month. Feel free to customize it as you make it your own.
Full Moon Ceremony
RELEASE: The first part is lighting a small outdoor fire at sunset. This ritual involves releasing anything that no longer serves you, emotionally or physically. Some examples would be releasing resentments, anger, emotional pain, unhealthy habits, etc. Each person holds a stick and concentrates on what they wish to release, imagining all the negative emotions and actions going into the stick. Then the sticks are thrown into the fire. As the stick burns, each person brings up as much feeling as possible evoking the emotional release of whatever was ailing them. The feeling of being free of this negative emotion is what is required. It is an act of letting go of the pain and filling the hole with the loving energy of wholeness.
RESPECTS: Then we take time to pay our respects those who have passed, honor the Universal Energy Force for feeling our prayers, and sending white light loving energy out into those we love and then extend out into the world. You can use a prayer something like this:
Oh God, we thank you, and feel gratitude in our hearts for this opportunity to experience this life. (Silent moments of intense loving emotion sent to God)
So let it be...
We send our loving thoughts and loving energy to those who have passed from our lives, and our gratitude for our time spent with them. (Silent moments of intense loving emotion sent to them)
So let it be...
Tonight, specifically, I would like to concentrate and send love to ______. I honor their past presence in my life and am grateful for the experience. (Silent moments of intense loving emotion toward this person.)
So let it be....
Let our loving energy extend out into the world. (Silent moments of intense loving emotion sent to the world.)
REFLECTIONS: Then we take a few minutes to watch the full moon and reflect on our past or present, to find life lessons, and to come to a feeling of gratitude for all that we have experienced. It is advisable to be very specific in this exercise, as trying to reflect on too much may dull the intensity of the emotion.
Suggestions to contemplate:
- your childhood relationship with your Mother, Father, or a sibling.
- Your relationship with an ex-love
- your current relationship with one specific person.
- How a specific event affected you and the lessons you can now see because you experienced it
- A current situation of concern- forming an intent of a loving outcome for all.
REAFFIRMING INTENT: Then we each light an incense stick, while silently repeating our intent for the future. Again it is advisable to work on a specific intent to evoke the intensity of emotion. Think of the end result of your intent. Imagine you are living there now, and how it feels to be living this past dream. Imagine it like you remembering it as strong as a vivid memory. Feel the emotion of your creation as long as possible. As the smoke rises from the incense stick, let it be a representation of your emotional intent rising up to fruition. So let it be...
GRATITUDE: Simple prayer: God we are grateful for Life, Love, and this opportunity to come together as a group and commune with Universal Life and each other. (A few moments of intense feeling and silence) Amen
Then we have group discussion and enjoy each others company.
Be happy, my friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon