A favorite activity for this time of year is choosing a word for the year. We each have a different way to choose but what they all have in common is the intention. You choose a word you intend to live by; a word you plan to infuse into all you do; a word you can learn from and grow with.
But what do you do once you have your word? How do you help it to make the greatest impact?
One way of deepening the experience of your word is to honor it with a commitment ceremony – to set aside time with the intention of dedicating yourself to your word, commiting yourself to it. This short ritual can take as little as 15-20 minutes or act as a container for several days of reflection.
A Ritual for Connecting More Deeply with Your Word
What You’ll Need:
- 12 tea lights (in fire safe holders)
- 1 taper
- 1 central candle (preferably bigger than the others) to symbolize Spirit
- 1 fire safe plate
- 2 strips of paper and a pen/markers
This ritual is designed to be done in one of two ways depending on the amount of space you have:
For large spaces set up the 12 tea lights up around a floor space big enough for you to sit inside, with the central candle, plate, lighter and paper/pens in the center.
For more limited space (like a desk or coffee table) set up the central candle with the 12 tea lights close around it. A serving tray can be a handy piece of equipment to do this on, if you happen to have one handy. Set the rest of your materials nearby.
What To Do:
(please read through all directions before beginning)
Light your central candle – the source of all your other light. If you feel called to, invoke The Divine by calling, out loud or in your heart, whatever name works for you.
Light the taper from the central candle. Using the taper begin lighting tea lights, moving clockwise around the circle.
Take your time!
Imagine as you light each one that you are moving through the months of the year. Draw a picture in your mind of each month – of what the weather holds for you where you live, of what life events come like your birthday and other family celebrations. Move gently through potentially stressful or painful anniversaries and times of the year. Visualize the holidays as well as the activities that you enjoy as you pass through the months of your year.
Note: if you are doing this in a large space, step to the outside of the circle of candles as you light them. Once they are all lit I invite you to imagine yourself stepping into your new year!
Once your year is fully alight, spend time either finding your word or, if you already have it, sit meditatively with it.
Weave your word through the months of your year. In your mind’s eye imagine it winding its way throughout the days and weeks ahead of you. Play with how it might show up. Invite it in. Deeply. Intimately.
Once you’ve spent time with your word take out the two strips of paper and your pens. Write your word on each piece of paper, embellishing and decorating it as you feel called to do. Remember – simple is fine, too.
One strip is yours to keep – a reminder of your commitment to your word.
The other is for Spirit. With care, light the strip of paper letting it burn to ash on the fire safe plate. As the smoke drifts up you may want to share the belief of many cultures who felt that the smoke made its way upwards, carrying with it your prayers, your hopes and dreams for living this intention for the year.
As the flames take your offering recognize that not every part of your word is yours. Commiting to your word means doing all you can to recognize it and its lessons in your life. And it means releasing a part of it to That Which Is Bigger so that it can come back to you.
The act of making a burnt offering of your word symbolizes your willingness to do all you can, but also to let go so that it may be given back to you.
End your circle with gratitude, expressing out loud or in your heart, your thankfulness for the year, for this time and for your connection with Spirit. Extinguish your candles and transition gently and mindfully back into regular life.
What word will you offer up in 2014?
Speaking into the circle (even a virtual one) can have a magical effect!
Will you share?