The Importance Of Ceremony & Ritual In The Modern World
For this piece, we take a look at the evolution and importance of the role of ceremony and ritual in today’s society, guest written by two of the most significant ceremonial leaders in the UK: J Julia and Dainei Tracy.
This long-form is a look at the history, evolution and significance of practices from those who have deep experience within them.
The Ancient World
The ancient peoples of Earth lived very differently to how most of us live today. Not only did they live in a closer relationship with one another in family communities or clans, but they lived in close relationship with the natural world; in communion with it, in reverence to it, witnessing, learning, moving and abiding by its natural ebb and flow.
The ancients observed Nature and the Natural Laws, and they respected how their environment sustained them, fed them, clothed them, and provided medicines should they become injured or unwell.
They also understood how their use of their energy as individuals and as the collective community, affected their working practices, their personal lives, and the world around them.
This understanding of how energy really works coupled with and their reverence and gratefulness to all that sustained them, gave rise to developing ceremonies and rituals that were carried out at certain times of the year and to honour certain events.
In the Spring, they thanked the Goddess for the renewal of the lands, at Midsummer they gave thanks to the Sun for its energies, in Autumn they gave thanks for the harvest and in Midwinter, on the darkest day, they would honour the ancestors, the Great Mysteries and reflect upon the year that had been as well as looking forward to the coming year ahead and the ‘return of the Sun’.
At these times, there was a collective and very deep communion with the Earth and all Beings upon Her. Other ceremonies and rituals were also developed surrounding community events and practices with the same principle at their core; that Energy Follows Intention and that the community or the individual is responsible for their energy and how it works in the world.
These ancient people had a great sense of self, revering their bloodlines and ancestral history and accumulated knowledge, they acknowledged special gifts and talents within their communities, and they looked after each other.
This accumulated knowledge was held and passed down through the generations in their storytelling and by the holding and in the witnessing of ceremony and ritual. The ancients fully understood the power of their ceremony and rituals and respected it as creative energy – a way of being in a living relationship with the Earth and as a way to converse with the Ancestors and with the unseen Beings who could guide them with specific questions and help bring into reality their needs. They understood how vital it was that this knowledge is passed down so that future generations could live in harmony with all the Realms of Being.
This was a time then when there was little concept of Separateness from one another, from the living world and from the Creator. It was a time of true connectedness and harmony and human Beings were far more balanced in the Triality of willing, feeling and thinking.
The Old World
With the coming of organised religion, communities were either steered away from their Sacred sites, or such sites had churches built upon them. The ancient ceremonial days and practices were replaced with Christian ones, the Nature gods and goddesses were shunned, and the people were coerced into an organised belief and control system based upon the duality of good and evil. There was one patriarchal God that was accessed via a male priest and one place where God was worshipped. Over the course of a few hundred years, the Old Ways of living in Wholeness with the planetary body were abandoned, ridiculed, demonised and all but forgotten.
In our modern age, humans are far less connected Beings and on the whole, living within a consciousness of separation and duality – of just willing and thinking. Humans give their personal power away to external structures and external ideas. There is a great sense of separation from one other, from the world and from Nature and also from ideas of Wholeness and of Divinity. This has resulted in war and suffering and a ravaged and abused planet.
Humans are often lonely, in states of great tension and fear and are often disconnected from their families.
They are unaware of the riches of their bloodline and ancestral memory and do not know how to utilize their innate Gifts or find deeper purpose and meaning in their lives.
Outside of the remaining indigenous communities of the world, human beings seldom take part in any regular form of ancient ceremony or ritual. The closest they come to this may be at a marriage, or funeral or attending a community event. Even these ceremonies have been greatly simplified over the centuries and although some ceremonies remain as customs, for example, Well Dressing, Maypole dancing or Patron Saint parades, these are very few in comparison to what they were even 150 years ago and the deeper meaning that brought these ceremonies into being, have long been forgotten.
The New World
Over the past few decades, growing numbers of humans have experienced the uplifting feeling of being a part of large gatherings that come together to share an experience – be that at a music festival, a protest march, a fund-raiser or other such mass events.
When humans come together with a shared vision, something wonderful can be felt deep within the blood and in the heart’s core. It is times like this, that humans have a glimpse of the possibility of what a group consciousness can be and indeed, can do. There is a glimpse of what it is to no longer live in Separation – Separation being the great grief that all are born into upon incarnation.
Following the Global Activation of the Light Grid in 2012, human beings across the world felt prompted to begin to connect with like-hearted Souls. There was a powerful urge to come together and be a part of a greater, loving intention with one greater purpose; To begin to remember, re-connect, honour, reinvigorate and return to a deeper living and loving relationship with all life. Many sought out the indigenous Elders of those cultures that had held so preciously, the Old Ways, seeking to bring these ancient ceremonies and rituals back into their communities and to develop a New Way for a New World.
Many indigenous Elders, from all parts of the planet, have come down and come out from their retreats and through their sharing of the ancient Practices, ceremonies, and rituals they are bringing their great Wisdom and teaching to all those who are drawn to learn and to reconnect.
As humans now begin, as a race, to move out of the Old World Consciousness and become a whole world community, we are beginning to have the courage to feel again. This is difficult and often deeply painful because as we begin to really feel each other and ‘feel into’ the living world, we begin to understand how our living in Separation and duality has caused so much destruction and suffering over these past many centuries.
Ceremony and Ritual Today
As we all move into the New World Consciousness and return to the loving Guardianship of the planet and all life, ceremony and ritual can help us become focused, work with our own unique Gifts and become very clear how we can work with our own energy in the world.
It helps us access and form our own very personal relationship with all life and grows our ability towards personal responsibility with aim and purpose.
We can work very effectively with ceremony and ritual on our own, in small groups with like-hearted intention or in greater collectives.
We do not even have to be at some great ceremonial site to carry our ceremony and ritual, we can do it on our own ‘patch’, in our homes or our gardens or out in our favourite place within Nature or at a site that needs our help. Nor do we need any special paraphernalia; all we need is our own selves and our clear intention.
Each and every one of us is now realising that we must take our own responsibility to change the human Way and its impact in this world.
This requires us to make a new arrangement with Reality; a decision to live from the inside out and to allow ourselves to have enough time and spaciousness so that the innate Gifts (that each and every one of us was born with) has room to step forward and operate in the world. It takes courage to make the decision to live from our hearts and our true feelings rather than live by the external laws and the conditioning of centuries which has kept us all in Separation. But, by adopting regular ceremonial practice, we can become strong and clear, in effect, growing our own support energy as we all transition into a new way of be-ing in the world.
Ceremony on our own
To get us started with our new arrangement with Reality, upon rising each day we can carry out a simple ceremony to aid our own selves.
Stand upright or place yourself in such a position that your spine is straight. Put your feet on the floor or visualise them standing flat on a cube of solid gold of about a metre square. Allow yourselves to feel and connect to the solid grounded-ness.
Then, in your Mind’s Eye, visualize a powerful line of golden energy that from the centre of the Earth’s Core, up through your spine and up through the centre of your heart, up through the top of your head and that then stretches to Infinity in the centre of the Cosmos. This immediately centres you very powerfully in ‘this here and now’.
Then make your declaration to the Cosmos.
“I am [your name]. I am here in this present. I am choosing to align myself with Wholeness and connectedness to All. I am choosing to live more and more consciously in this world. I thank this body for giving me a home for my consciousness.
I thank this world for giving me everything I need to sustain this body. I allow the real me, the authentic me and my Creator-given Gifts to step forward into the World for the betterment of myself and in loving Service to All”
As you hold this Ceremony of Self each day, you will develop it and refine it. You will become more grounded, more focused and more aligned with your True Being and True Nature and because of Universal Law, which is, ‘Energy Follows Intention’, you can be assured that your directed energy and intention will mean that everything that you need in order for your authentic self to be brought forward into this world, will very quickly begin to manifest in your life.
Once we have begun to develop this relationship with ourselves and realise that we are not a separate entity from everything that is around us and once we begin to connect with our innate Gifts, we can go out into the world and have far deeper exchanges.
Ceremony on our own ‘patch’
Each and every one of us can go to a place that our heart leads us to and carry out a ceremony.
We can sit quietly and ‘feel into’ the land, gently seeking out what requires our attention. We can develop our own ceremony with these places; a personal relationship where we Gift, with loving intention our heartfelt prayers, remembering the power of the Word. We can practically take charge of an area; removing objects that have no place there, contacting local authorities should there be a need to. In this, through our ceremony, we begin to take back our natural Guardianship of this world from the Sovereignty of Self.
As we carry out this work and as we develop our own authentic selves, we also develop the area in which we practice. As humans, we can begin to witness once again the power of our energy and the huge potential for creativity in this world. As we gain confidence and understanding of our ‘own patch’, we can then join or create a working project in our community.
Ceremony in greater groups and networks
It may be that there is a larger group or cause that you feel drawn to work within your community or perhaps there is something that you have discovered in your personal ceremonial work that seems too big for you alone to ‘take on’.
Ceremony can have many forms but fundamentally it is about the Intention, the Word and the Action.
If there is a greater cause, you can begin by getting clear about what it is you want to bring about and then seek out other like-hearted beings. However specific or unusual the cause, there is always someone to connect with.
Again, the energy of your intention is key. Say out loud, your intention during your morning ceremony. The Universal Law will bring you into contact with like-hearted beings. Once you have gathered together and created your working group or joined an existing group, you can discover each other’s gifts and talents, make your plans, and then carry out your ideas. And it is important to permit yourself to get excited about working with your Heart Energy in partnership with others who share a Vision of a cared-for and respected community because this is the New Way for the New World.
Whether on your own, working on our own patch or in larger groups, what is important, is that you are consistent in your Practice and that you carry out your Ceremony each and every day or at least, as often as is possible, remembering and honouring All life, including your own, as Sacred. What is important is that we all discover and cultivate within us a very conscious and personal relationship with the Earth and all life upon Her and that we develop this, not just keeping it our minds as something to do ‘one day’ but to really feel it in our bodies and get out into the world and to respond to Her, now. What is important, is that we truly feel. This allows us to wake up and to align our physical self with the vibratory field, the living energy, that is our Mother Earth – and this is very beautiful.
Ceremony is good for us because it helps us to create the space to work from our hearts, listen to our hearts and follow the Heart Path and to become interconnected with the Whole and truly feel our interconnectedness with all Life and with all the Realms of Being, both in Loving Service and in the development of our own Selves. In truth, there is no separation, only Oneness and really feeling this for ourselves leads us into Bliss
Ceremony and ritual is good for the planet because as we move out of Separation into Oneness, joining together with like-hearted Souls we can form strong, cohesive working groups that have clear intentions and who recognise and utilize each other’s innate Gifts, working together with a collective vision to bring about change within our communities. And this is very powerful because it sends out ‘ripples’ of energy into other communities giving them the inspiration to follow.
The key for ceremony and ritual in this, the New World, is to keep it simple and to keep it very clear. We can be assured in the knowledge that absolutely everything, including us, is in a process. We can also discard the old ideas of ‘size equals importance’ – such concepts are of the Old Way and the old conditioning. The Truth is, that even the smallest effort made by us as an individual is just as potent as the biggest effort – what is important is that it is consistent, and the intention is renewed and remembered. That we keep our gaze upon our Vision, knowing that we are supported by the Universal Law which is:
Energy Follows Thought – Energy Follows True Intention
May you follow your True Heart’s calling and in this find your Bliss in loving Service and Guardianship of this dear world.
Bright Blessings and Deep Peace
J Julia October 2020
All work is copyright © jjulia for 2020
From Dainei Tracy
Ceremony and ritual often evolve from the practical things we do in daily life, around surviving, eating and being in each other’s company. We have learned that if we ritualise them even more then they have the potential to deepen a sense of connection and unity in society, families and groups. But making something special does not particularly make it sacred (even in a religious sense) and it is important to discern the intention behind all our ceremonies and rituals, home-grown and imported.
At this time in our story, we are a melting pot of different ceremonies and spiritual practices from various traditions and cultures, and these are creating the potential for a universal spirituality where previously, perhaps, there has been only the different religions, (mainstream or not).
And what is truly sacred has often been lost in performance and artifice and the pursuit of anything that will soothe humanity’s sense of lack, humanities underlying trauma. The real connection to the miraculous root of life itself is severed by this unconscious trauma, and we are further away than ever from our spiritual presence. As instead, we are all continuing to be conditioned to worship consumerism of all kinds, temporarily feeding our false hunger, and encouraged to evolve our ceremonies and rituals to reflect and empower only this.
So our ceremonies have the potential to become coercive machines serving patriarchal and hierarchical structures, based on merely helping those systems (and the individuals that actually profit from them) stay in power over time. These are the systems with their own ceremonies and rituals, that have steadily become so destructive of the natural world, creating unprecedented amounts of waste and pollution, and taking the place of more holistic ways of living.
This is the shadow side of ceremony. We repeat accepted rituals over and over, ceasing to question their actual intention. And what the feeling and energy of that intention is, that is actually present, and being acted through. And this shadow can easily be seen when it is challenged, who becomes uncomfortable? Who has not practised their own enquiry into this bottom-line intention? The punishment to the individual who does challenge is abandonment (imprisonment, legal punishment, perhaps even death in some systems) and being ostracised, no longer a member of the group whose ceremonies/rituals has been questioned.
The role of the modern ceremony then is to investigate and question and uncover our true personal intention. Celebrate the courage and integrity of the individual making whatever sacred action it is. So that modern ceremony starts from the ground, the individual, and thereby the planet, up. Rather than from whoever is at ‘higher’ levels in the old structural hierarchy, down. There are no intermediaries to spirituality, we must evolve ceremony to reflect our personal responsibility for the systems we lend our energy to.
We have to watch for that point within when the spiritually connective transformational potential of ceremony is swallowed up by vague overarching intentions that seek to annexe energy to preserve the old ignorant structures. Particularly the ones that are damaging the planet and using the vulnerable as slaves to its machine.
These socially accepted intentions are obviously the rampant materialism and worship of profit (strengthening our sickness of the sense of lack which is the world trauma). But quieter, less obvious ones, are the old systems that use the indoctrination of humans by patriarchal societies. Whereby the vulnerable and the lesser are demonised and coerced into holding the shadow, this world trauma, of the more powerful. Because this actually holds the whole world’s spiritual energy to ransom. This is what is creating this crisis in consciousness that we are at the turning point of. What will we do? What can we do? How can we, as individuals, use our own energy for sacred activism, which is the best purpose for ritual and ceremony, in these end times for the natural world? How can we direct the energy of our smaller rituals of daily life to reconnect with the sacred instead of feeding the consumerism based agenda?
We have the individual choice, we have access to the wisdom parts of all the traditions, we have, many of us, the understanding to support each other in this. We have the beginnings of what feels right as regards all lifeforms.
But what is it in the existing hierarchical, power-driven, profit structures that ridicule and belittles the importance of the most vulnerable, delicate ecosystems, indigenous communities and people who work with the land, and people who are not trapped in the false dream of accruing riches?
What force is this? That activism to protect the natural world is seen as unnatural? And submitting to the fear-based political and commercial hierarchies is seen as normal?
This is the force of our own unexamined cultural trauma from repeated acts of inhumanity to each other and other life forms, repressed and denied, throughout the human story.
If what is truly sacred and important, respect for all life, compassion for each other, and awareness of wider intentions, is allowed and encouraged to flourish from the ground up, from the individual, and smaller local communities, then the destruction of our planet would stop and the true spiritual transformation would take over.
Real ceremony is the choice of what we do with our energy and intention moment to moment. It starts with us as individuals, in full consciousness of the interconnectedness of all life and being compassionately directed by our own evolving wisdom.
Questions and Answers
What can I as an individual do in ceremony to become more connected?
J Julia answers:
As humans we all now have the opportunity to feel deeply again and the safest way to feel deeply, is to be in Nature.
We can sit in ceremony with say, an agreeable Tree Being and feel Her. We can feel her strong trunk full of water and nutrients. We can feel her branches stretching outward and upward with the air around them. We can feel the strong roots in the cool earth. We can feel the protective bark and the fluttering leaves.
Then we can go deeper and ‘further’;
We can feel the rays of the Sun touching the leaves and bringing both energy and Solar ‘codings’ into the body of the tree. We can feel the water within the body of the tree ‘receiving these ‘codings’ and carrying them out into the roots and then out into the earth and the world beyond.
And then we can travel and time;
We can travel back and see the tree as a seed, sending its first root into the soil and unfurling its first leaf to the Sun – we can feel all the potential and knowingness of this seed. And then we can travel forward, and see the tree as an ancient Being, huge and golden. We can see it as the Tree of Life, connected to All that there is . And we can become one with it and share with it our heart’s love and our deep gratitude for all of its hard work of loving Service in this world.
We can carry out such ceremony with any agreeable Natural Being, always remembering to ask permission beforehand and giving our loving thanks and Blessing afterwards.
In this way, we can grow a very deep and loving appreciation and relationship with all Beings on our ‘patch’ around us and as we do so, move into Oneness with it and Service towards it.
Dainei Tracy answers:
Whenever you remember, in the course of your day and when you are about to make an action, notice the intention behind that action. Notice who or what it serves. Notice who or what it feeds. And if you are still making the action, see if you can make it from that part of you that is connected to your spiritual flow so that you experience that flow more and more. Then your actions will reflect this more and more.
What can I do in ceremony for my local natural environment?
A very great deal! Your attentiveness, intention and true heart feeling, given in even a simple ceremony at say a body of neglected water, a place of intense building works, to a damaged tree or even at the site of an accident, will change the ‘frequency’ of that site and can restore calmness, promote healing, raise the overall vibration and create ‘gateways’ of light so that other helpful Beings can also Work more effectively there. Consistent ceremony held at such a site can bring about very great change, allowing other humans to ‘see’ and feel into the need of the site and will magnetise to it, those energies and persons needed to bring about restorative change.
It is vital now that we do not diminish ourselves, that we give up ideas that we are ‘just one small person and that our energy can do little’ – this is Old World thinking. Our energy is incredibly potent and creative; we can literally bring about seeming miracles if we have consistent, clear intention.
Dainei Tracy answers:
Find a neglected natural area near you where people have disrespected the environment by dumping rubbish (the material symptom of the shadow of world trauma) and make it your mission to clear away what is directly related to the profit-driven intentions of that false reality. This could be a very small roadside area or base of a tree in a town. Size does not matter. Gather it together, be careful to allow insects to escape, lay your hands over the pile and absorb that shadow, that negativity, that ignorance because you are an individual spiritual channel. You can give that energy back to that natural area with your own intentional energy, which is your medicine, cleansed by you and reinstated with back to its own sacred nature. Do this no matter how many times it takes if it is a regular dumping ground. Get others to join you and make it a big deal if you have to.
I feel triggered by ritual and ceremony, what can I do?
J Julia answers:
Ceremony does not have to be a Hollywood production.
It can be very gentle and very intimate and this is why beginning by working in Personal ceremony can be very beneficial. If attending a ceremonial group, we need not be required to do anything other than witness it in the first instance -we need not participate in anything until it feels right for us. It may be that we are a Being that needs to develop our own Way and our own ceremony which may, in fact, be something deeply personal and very beautiful.
To begin with, this may be gently laying down in Nature and telling Her your Story, quietly singing to Her or just touching Her with gentle and grateful hands. What is important is that we are consistent in our Work and that the Work is heart-led.
Dainei Tracy answers:
Mostly, when we are triggered it is because we have been conditioned to ignore the message behind why our triggers happen. We’ve been conditioned to not question the true intention of the events that happen around us and to us. So a trigger is an opportunity to look deeply into the energy behind these things.
It means we are sensitive to our inner selves and a part of reality that is not often exposed. We have an opportunity to look at how the ceremony is disempowering us personally and stealing our energy and discern where this has happened in our lives before (including past lives) and from that point, we will be able to notice the true intention of the ceremony that is causing the trigger. It may very well be that extra support is helpful, depending on what is brought up in us by this enquiry. Childhood trauma is our own place to start to heal.
J Julia is a Water Seer and Oracle, Sculptor, Speaker and Consultant, Spiritual Mentor and Keeper of the Deepen Tradition, based in West Sussex, England. She combines shamanism and the inherited teachings of her lineage in order to build bridges of communication between this world and the Other Realms of Being. She is a passionate advocate in the empowerment of individuals to reclaim their loving Guardianship of the Natural world and as the founder of Sacred Waters of Sussex, she works with communities to gently clear, clean and restore ancient water sites and reinstate ancient ceremonial practices.
Contact at: www.deeppeacementoring.com
And Facebook: Sacred Waters of Sussex
Dainei Tracy is a pioneer of the mind, heart and spirit and an independent way-finder of the hidden realms. Rejecting traditional education as soon as she had the choice, she is self-educated in her passion of liberation from any indoctrination, which is her ongoing practice. Not finding anything in the 3rd-dimensional reality that reflected her inner states as a child, she created her own disciplines and programs of living from an early age, exploring areas out of the body, learning about interconnecting energy fields. Which led on to creating primal and somatic practices to heal her inherited pain body and the ancestral internalised cruelty. All to support herself in the evolving consciousness of lifetimes. Avoiding traditional diagnosis and medication for her astral, psychic, and spiritual emergency experiences in her late teens, she learned how to deal with her reality independently.
Dainei shares practices from Yoga, Zen and Trauma psychotherapeutics chosen for their supportive qualities to help you be your real inner self. The one that lies under the conditioning, fear and suffering engendered by the systems we live within. The one that is the change that is needed now, today, that puts wisdom at its heart and compassion as its fuel.
Contact at: www.greatpeace.co.uk
Alex created Otherness in 2018.
Coming from a background working in communications and events, she wants to build a community of trust, a place where everyone, now matter their backgrounds or how they identify, can explore alternative wellbeing.