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 Two: And Now You Wait…

Ceremony and Ritual

M

iracles, wait

We are continuing our week-long teaching on Creating Ceremony. Now we turn to Lesson Two – let’s do this!

Have you ever had the experience of creating a ceremony, casting a spell or laying down an enchantment only to discover that despite your best efforts, attention to detail, and hardcore organization the work falls flat on its face?

Maybe it doesn’t deliver the goal you were hoping for. Maybe it doesn’t result in anything at all. Or maybe it concludes in a tangled web of unintended consequences that have you hiding your head under a pillow.

No doubt you have had this experience. I talk to folks every day who go through this, and I have experienced it myself. It is super common. I call it a ceremony slip. (As if your ceremony slips on a banana peel. Oops!)

Ceremony slip is also easily avoidable because usually, this occurs for one simple reason: we aren’t willing to wait and pay attention.

Here you are. At this point, you have already learned to banish (and maybe had a good cry along the way). You are ready to get started formally on creating a ceremony for a specific need or purpose, a need or desire to change within and without.

Now, most books and teachings will tell you that the next step is to state your purpose, make your prayer, and/or write your petition. Declare your intention!

But, in my experience and in my own learnings that is NOT the next step. That is what results in dead, flat, ceremonies that don’t change a thing.

For truly effective ceremonies that don’t fall flat, the next step is actually to wait and watch.

What I’m talking about here is active waiting, not passive, twiddle-your-thumbs waiting. Through your banishing, you have opened the door and cleared the way. Now you need to take the time to see who and what presents itself to you.

You are looking and listening for communiques from the Otherworld and your Holy Helpers (that’s the name I use to describe spirit allies, guardians, and guides). By looking and listening with care, you are entering into deep communion.

This communion can show up in a huge variety of ways. Some of the experiences reported to me include:

  • Dreams
  • Seemingly random coincidences that are strangely connected
  • Finding specific talismans or omens during my daily business
  • Communications from Ancestors and my beloved Dead
  • Friends reaching out with an essential piece of information
  • Opportunities that just magically show up
  • Direct vision and communication with specific Holy Helpers
  • Employing divination to gain clarity and refinement

Listening, watching and waiting is the part of the creation process that takes the most time. It may take one day or several. The process may take two weeks before you have the information you need to move ahead. Sometimes it takes longer. Some ceremonies are weeks, months, or years in the making.

Because waiting actively is the part of ceremony making that takes the most time, waiting is also the part that people tend to skip over. Traditional societies understood that planning and creating a significant ceremony will take multiple days, weeks, or years. It is a process that cannot be rushed, controlled, or plotted out directly on the calendar.

Those creating and participating in a ceremony understand that after initial banishing work, they need to find a way to enter into communion with the what we call the Otherworld. At that point, we are out of ordinary time and in that space of time-out-of-mind that C.S. Lewis describes so beautifully.

Cinderella’s version of this is waiting for the Fairy Godmother to come. She doesn’t know what is going to happen. She doesn’t know that *anything* will happen. But she has banished, and now she waits. In many versions of the tale she grows closer to the natural world at this time, often the first step in communion with the Otherworld. She does not state her desires until after the Fairy Godmother has arrived.

This is crucial because once you have stated your goal or desire, once you have made your petition, the ceremony is in full swing. Before you have struck any matches, made any songs, or done any magic, the ceremony is hot and going because your request, your desire, your prayer has been made.

The question upon which success now turns is…was it made correctly? Did you ask for what you really want? Did you petition for what you actually need?

When we wait and commune with the Otherworld we find that we often receive critical pieces of information and insights that allow us to refine our desires, goals, and intentions, so that our ceremony really does address what we need it to address. Succeeding in this, we can avoid those awful ceremony slips, and the change we create is actually the change we want.

So go ahead and let yourself wait…Fairy Godmothers show up on their own schedule, but they do show up!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces: How to Dream Deep

Divination and Dreams

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ne of the areas that Pisces is especially attuned to is sleep and dreams. In fact, Pisces is the sign of the bedroom so any bedroom spiritual cleansing, magic making, or protection ceremonies are highly effective at this time.

When Mercury is retrograde in Pisces it is a great time to take stock of your bedroom, remove anything that doesn’t belong there, add whatever you want to add and give the entire room a good cleaning. Change, clean, or buy a new set of sheets, pillowcases, and/or a comforter for your bed. This is a great time to buy a new mattress or flip the mattress over as well. Dress your mattress, sheets, and pillowcases with your preferred oils, sprays, perfumes, or sachet powders.

A lot of these little practical acts will also speak to your dream life. When I talk to my clients and students one of the areas with the Sacred Arts that they most want to explore is their dreams. Every night we each have 5- 7 dreams and rarely do we remember 2 or 3 dreams much less 5 or 7. If you have been yearning to go deeper into your dreams then this retrograde period is one of the best times to do a bedtime/sleep ritual review and set yourself up for success.

Begin by looking at your current bedtime and sleep habits. Not what you wish they were but what they actually are.

– Do you go to bed at about the same time every night or does it vary? (Studies show that going to bed and getting up in the morning at about the same time everyday lead to better sleep and better sleep leads to better dreams).

– What is the ambient light situation in your bedroom? Do you need more darkness? (Light pollution has all kinds of negative health effects). If you feel there is too much light in your bedroom and you don’t want to go in for window treatments try a sleep mask.

– What activities do you engage in right before you go to bed? Are you working on your laptop? Watching t.v.? Snuggled down with a good book? A good rule of thumb for deeper sleep and deeper dreams is to turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before you hit the sheets. Hint: this is a great time to REplace your smartphone alarm clock with an actual alarm clock.

– Do you have a bedtime ritual to signal to your physical body and your Holy Helpers that it is sleep time now? This can be anything – the traditional goodnight prayer is one example. You might want to light a special dream candle, cense your bedroom with an aromatic smoke or spritz the sheets with a relaxing linen spray. Personally, I like taking a few drops of this flower essence and rubbing this cream into my hands and my feet.

Cultivate Calmness, or engage in another stillness practice before sleep.

– If something is weighing on your mind and heart, try writing it down before you go to bed. You can write it as a question that you are seeking insight on or just write a couple of lines about it – you may end up dreaming the solution to the quandary!

– Keep a notebook and pencil by your bedside table for jotting down the dreams (or impressions) that you remember upon waking.

– Make dream discussions part of your daily routine. There are social media groups and forums dedicated to dream discussion and analysis that you can make use of, you can keep an ongoing journal of your findings, talk about dreams with your family members (this is one of the easiest ways to introduce children to the Sacred Arts) or discuss your dreams with a friend! One of my favorite books about dreaming is this one – it looks at the role dreams play in African American culture – a culture where dreams are still tended, nurtured, and taken seriously – as they are in so many parts of the world even today.

These are some useful starting points and as you go through this review you may discover other elements that come into play for you. Pay attention to your findings and then implement whatever needs to be acted upon. May you sleep deep and dream sweet!
And…if you want to truly optimize your Mercury RX experience do the Mercury RX Survival Kit – it opened for registration today.

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Blessed be the dreams we listen to.

Daily Blessings

Blessed be the dreams we listen to.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

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magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.