What I hope each of you take time to consider before any ritual, ceremony, and act of transformation:
What are the outer changes?
What are the inner changes?
Whether the ceremony is one that you have created, one that is quite old, one that is part of a community effort or one that is performed in solitude, these two questions hold, and, once answered, ensure that your participation within the ceremony is clear and direct.
In order to answer the first question you must recognize the stated goals of the ceremony. Is this a rite of gratitude and feasting that seeks to give thanks and honor? Is it a ceremony designed to increase personal wealth or power? Is it a prayer repeated at the same time each day to bring about a long awaited pregnancy or the return of a lover? What state are you hoping to change and how are you hoping to change it? You can also include commentary on what information will let you know that the sought after changes are in progress – or not.
The second question is much less considered and more important than the first – what are in the inner changes that must occur in order for the outer changes to be possible? Do you need to move from a state of focus on a project or effort into a state of reflection on what has been accomplished and gratitude for those accomplishments? If you are seeking personal wealth then taking the time to inventory what inner feelings, thoughts, and sensations either support or work against your goal is at least as much worth your time as gathering the right ceremonial supplies. What inner beliefs or ideas do you have about power that might keep you from having the best possible relationship to that power? In the case of a desired pregnancy or the return of a lover what needs to change within you to best support either outcome.
Transformation never happens on just the outer level. Often we get exactly what we need and more than we had though to ask for. Choose to be ready for results within as well as without.
A final question that can be asked after either of the first two is this: what practical actions can I take to support these changes? And then of course, once you have identified several such actions – take them.