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Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles,

Many within the sacred arts community turn to ritual and ceremony whenever difficulties are experienced. We also work with ritual and ceremony in other contexts as well – to mark seasons and important days or festivals for our holy ones, to celebrate successes and victories, to simply give thanks and gratitude.  In all cases, we ask ourselves what kind of magic and miracle-making, what kind of ritual or ceremony, might adequately address the situation?

Not one thing is wrong with this approach, and I firmly believe that marking our difficulties and our successes with ritual is a wise thing to do. But we often miss one initial step that, although small, is of great use. It is the step of directing our magic making, our ritual intention, inward first.

Let’s use a concrete example to illustrate this point. Say that I have a relationship with someone I care deeply about, but the connection has been on the fritz lately. We cross words with one another, rub each other the wrong way, and offend each other with each attempt to “make it better”.  I could decide to do some work to sweeten the relationship, so that we might be kinder to each other. Perhaps I create a sugar jar or I light a devotional candle for this purpose. Well and good. But before assembling my material magica, before thinking about what petition I want to write and what prayers I would like to say, I need to do one thing first. We are watching a lot of Star Wars in my house right now, so I am going to borrow the phrase from George Lucas – I need to search my heart.

Perhaps in this specific situation I have a long history of jealousy around this person.  Maybe I feel like they always get the breaks while I am always stuck with hard work. Maybe I really love them, but I – in some small or not so small way – resent them. Can I perform a ritual or ceremony to create peace and harmony in the relationship without dealing with those feelings of jealousy and resentment? Sure. Will the work be effective? It might be effective – but only for awhile and to a certain extent. Will the work have long lasting and deep results if I have not dealt with my own internal state first? Not a chance.

I often tell my students and clients to do some serious soul-searching and “get their soul house in order”. It is an idea I encountered in the writings of Confucius, whose claim is that before one goes about telling others how to order their homes, one should make sure that their own home is in order. Or, as that old saying goes, when you point a finger there are three fingers pointing back at you. It is easy and tempting to reserve our ritual and ceremonies, and really all of our sacred arts practices, for dealing with external situations only. In the Miracle Tree Sessions we work with this concept throughout the year and the magic that is made as a result has much greater depth and staying power. What would happen if we actually directed some of our concentration and devotion towards our own internal state of affairs? More clarity, deeper wisdom, and much less wasted time.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to write a petition

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles,

Petition is a fancy word for prayer; and in the sacred arts we do a lot of prayer making. When someone commissions ritual work or orders a devotional candle one of my first questions is: what is your petition? What I have found over the years is that people often have a strong idea of what they want but they don’t know how to state it simply and with ease.

In my experience the most effective prayers are simple words, straight from the heart, and sharply focused on one single intention. That is the petition you want to write, that is the prayer you want to make. Here is one way to create it:

Ask:

  • What is the ONE most important thing to me about this situation/person/relationship/project/idea/dream?
  • What is my biggest fear around this situation/person/relationship/project/idea/dream?
  • What quality do I need to cultivate in myself to meet that fear head on?

Then, work with the following structure:

Dear/Blessed/Beloved (insert name of Deity, Cosmic Force, Nature, or Universe), my intention is that I (answer to the first question).

I recognize that I am afraid of (answer to the second question), and I ask/request/pray/believe that I will grow in (answer to the third question) so that my intention has, is, and will be fulfilled in the best possible/deepest/wisest/most beautiful way.

Amen/Thank you/So it is/It is done

 

For instance, say that I have decided to do a ritual around getting a new job. I will answer the above questions like so:

  • The most important thing to me about the new job is that it fills my need for meaningful, lucrative work.
  • My biggest fear is that I will not get the job.
  • I need to cultivate the quality of courage.

Blessed Creator, my intention is that I obtain a lucrative new job that fills my need for meaningful work.
I recognize that I am afraid of not getting that job, and I believe that I will grow in courage so that my intention has, is, and will be fulfilled in the best possible way.

And so it is, was, and ever shall be.

 

That’s it! Easy, clean, and clear. Now go forth and petition your heart out!

What is the best petition you ever wrote/best prayer you ever said?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.