Creating Ceremony Lesson Five: Wrap It Up, Tie It Off

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles,

When is the ceremony that transforms Cinderella’s life over? Is it once she is gowned and crowned and off to the ball with her fancy shoes? Lots of readers would say yes. The Fairy Godmother arrives, the magic happens, and the rest is up to the prince and Cinderella herself.

But it is not so. The ceremony that transforms Cinderella’s life is not over until she and the prince are actually reunited. THAT is the life-changing event that her ceremony has set out to accomplish. But in order for that to occur and for the ceremony to conclude there is one more thing that has to happen: the lost slipper has to be reunited with its owner.

This speaks directly to the final step in creating ceremonies that are so easy to miss that it is rarely even talked about or taught. This step is the concluding and tying off of the ceremony which includes the ritual disposal of any remains from the ceremonial work that needs to be disposed of.

The tale of Cinderella gives us a clear sense of this because when Cinderella drops her slipper she has left a piece of her ceremony behind and nothing can be resolved until it is recovered and put back into place.

Once the action of the ceremony has taken place there is going to be clean up. In traditional societies when ceremonies are being performed on a large scale, we find that there are roles designated to various individuals so that the people performing the main action of the ceremony are not the same people who are on the clean-up crew. But within our own lives, it is often the case that we are fulfilling multiple roles during our own ceremonies and so making sure that clean up occurs is our responsibility.

I cannot stress this enough. You may well be tired and drained after putting so much energy into creating a ceremony, but if you do not do the required clean up it is very possible that your efforts will be for naught.

Look at the space that you have been working in. What ceremonial remains need to be taken care of? Is there extra candle wax, ash, bits of paper, shells, or feathers, that need to be attended to? Perhaps extra ingredients that were not needed need to be put back into their canisters and on their shelves. Maybe a piece of clothing or ritual tool that has been knocked out of place needs to be returned to its original setting.

In my own work, I call this the wrapping up and tying off phase. It refers to the way that I make prayer bundles and mojo bags, my final steps are to wrap them up in my hands and then tie them off with a firm knot – that is the signal to me that the work and the ceremony are truly finished.

There are many ritual disposal techniques you can call on at this point. The one rule of thumb that I truly think should always be followed is this: DO NOT THROW CEREMONIAL REMAINS AWAY IN THE TRASH. An old teacher of mine told me once that when you throw such things in the trash you are basically saying to the Otherworld that your work and your efforts have been trash. Don’t do that!!! Instead, follow these guidelines:

  • Recycle whatever can be recycled.
  • Consider burying biodegradable objects into the ground at the base of a healthy, living tree.
  • Consider burning things like candle wax or extra herbs and then burying the ashes or scattering them depending on what you are working on and what the goal of the ceremony is.
  • Rule of thumb: for ceremonies where you are arranging things to flourish and thrive, dispose of remains near you. For ceremonies where you are arranging for things to disperse or diminish, dispose of remains away from you and in a manner that allows them to scatter.

After you have ritually disposed of the remains from your ceremony it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labors – literally! It is time to feast! You can do this by yourself or with others – you can go out to a fancy restaurant or stay in and enjoy a meal that you cooked (ideally before the ceremony began). It is up to you but the traditional way to conclude ceremonial work is to break bread, eat your fill, drink plenty of water, and pay attention to your dreams.

After all, you have made magic and its effects will be reverberating long after your ceremony has ended.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Creating Ceremony Lesson Four: Just Kick the Ball

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, action

When I was in my mid-twenties I learned how to play soccer. My best friend’s husband had a field and put together an adult league and recruited both of us to come and play. My husband had played the sport throughout school but I have never so much as kicked a soccer ball – to say I was out of my depth is a huge understatement.

After the first game, my bestie’s husband pulled us aside and grabbed a ball.

“Girls,” he said, “You can just kick the ball straight out, you don’t have to run a little circle around the ball and then kick it.”

We were indignant! We were ticked off! We were…running circles around the ball instead of just kicking it.

Years later, watching my son learn to play soccer, I saw that he did the same thing – run a circle around the ball instead of just kicking the darn thing. As it happens, this is a pretty common beginner’s mistake.

The exact same thing happens sometimes when we create ceremonies. We may go through the beginning steps with exacting care…or we may try to rush through some of them. We may think about what our lives will be like after the ceremony has done its transformative work and get lost in detailed fantasies, but in all of that running around we sometimes forget to…just kick the ball.

In our case, that means deciding and then doing the action of the ceremony. There are so many different possibilities to choose from that it is easy to get lost, but this is one of the reasons why we do the preliminary work that we do.

That preliminary work – banishing, communing, and petitioning – prepares us for this next step and gives us a lot of information that will help us decide what the action of the ceremony is going to be if we don’t already know.

In the story of Cinderella, magic is everywhere you turn. Pumpkins turning into carriages and fancy gowns were brought to us by the Disney film, but before that, it was a barefooted scullery maid who received the simple gift of new shoes. The original story was mistranslated, and the shoes were said to be made of glass but actually, they were warm fur-lined boots. (I know, this totally changes your vision of the Cinder girl, doesn’t it? Me too!) Cinderella is literally given the ability to walk in a different pair of shoes – and therefore carve out a different path for herself than the one she has found herself on.

So what action is going to be the center of your ceremony?

Look over your notes up to this point. You will find themes and ideas that you keep circling back to again and again.

Maybe you are working on cleansing and healing a situation and a spiritual bath is the major action of your ceremony. Perhaps you need to turn a sour situation into one that is sweeter and the making of a sugar jar is the central action of the ceremony. It is also possible that you need to nail something down, light something up, bring in more money, heal a broken heart, or make a special dedication – all of these desires have magical acts that go with them.

Pick you an action(s), decide when you are going to do them, gather the necessary materials, maybe put on a pair of fur-lined boots and then get ready to kick that ball.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.