If there’s anything I learned last year from my shamanic and plant medicine work, it’s that everything can be processed, celebrated, loved, and released in a ceremony. We don’t realize how often we use ceremonies to integrate and honor pieces of ourselves and others in everyday life. Ceremonies create the conscious space we need for healing.
Since the end of 2017, I’ve been holding my own intentional ceremonies for weekly, sometimes daily nurturing and growth. It’s strengthened my connection to myself, others, and Source. It’s anchored me and reminded me of my heart and my purpose.
The following is a ceremony for the New Year that you can try out now or later this month. Its purpose is to bring release while cultivating connection and planting loving intentions for the coming year. I recommend reading through this entire post before getting started so that you’re aware of what you’ll need and how things will flow. :)
We’re currently in the waning phase of the moon cycle, which is about release and letting go, so perhaps you can keep that in mind as you move through this ceremony. On the other hand, January 5th is the New Moon, which is more about bringing in new energy and intentions, so you might wish to wait until the 5th to try this ceremony. Working with the moon cycle during ceremonial/spell work helps us energetically support our process and outcomes.
This ceremony can be done for one or two people, or with a group- whatever your needs are at this time! Feel free to contact me with any questions if you’re looking to accommodate a larger gathering.
We begin by casting a circle of sacred space. This space can be as small or as large as you wish. You can walk in a circle or walk the perimeter of your room. It is taught to start in the direction of East (associated with beginnings, the sunrise) and then walk to the South, the West, and then the North, acknowledging the spirits in each direction, and then acknowledging the spirits of the Earth, the Sky, and the power of the Heart and/or the magic within. If you’re already familiar with this process, you can proceed with it, OR simply follow your intuition and walk in a way that calls you. :)
It helps to cast a space with clearing, healing herbs. Garden sage, sweetgrass, cedar, and juniper are common and excellent options. It’s best to grow the herbs yourself, or source these from a local or sustainable outlet. See what’s in your area, or buy online at places like Taos Herb or Mountain Rose Herbs .
As you cast the circle and smudge the air, you can set the intention of bringing in healing. You may call upon the Universe to assist you in your healing, or perhaps ancestors to whom you’ve felt connected. It’s also thoughtful to thank the herb itself for assisting you and sharing its healing properties with you.
After you feel the circle has created a sense of calm protection, it’s time to set up your altar in the center. Your altar is for YOU, so it is best to look inside and see what your heart wishes to include in this space. Some ideas are crystals you’ve been working with, your favorite flowers, candles, oils, incense, statues of deities, archetypes, photos, notes, letters… any sacred objects that speak to you. You can additionally consider placing an offering for your Spirit Guides at the altar as a form of thanks. Also have a journal, writing utensil, tarot cards, and perhaps an instrument nearby if you wish to bring an instrument into the musical section of this ceremony.
Once I have my altar set up, I also like to clear myself with the aforementioned herbs, organic, botanical mists (Lotuswei is a great source for these), and/or Florida Water. I start at my crown chakra and move down my body, connecting with and clearing each chakra (energy center). When I’ve reached the root chakra, I circle the herbs around my body three times and then take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out, with my hands open, and facing forward. This is my particular way of contributing to further clearing and grounding within. Feel it out and see if there’s a way of clearing your bodily/auric energy that connects with you!
Now it’s time for seated meditation. Sit upright in silence with the eyes closed, or come down into Child’s Pose on the floor. Begin to elongate the breath, feeling it in the belly. Bring the attention to the body and feel each area of the body. Stay in this silence for at least a few minutes, or longer if it feels right.
You can focus on the breath, on the feeling of the body as a whole, and then if you wish to go deeper, you may bring in prayer. You may pray to your ancestors, or Spirit Guides, you may pray to deities, your Highest Self, or the Earth. A prayer I find helpful for this particular ceremony is:
On this New Year, please tell me what I need to know, and show me what I need to see. Please offer this wisdom for the Highest Good for all. Thank you.
Sit with these words, repeat them, feel into them, and see what arises. If nothing comes to you, that’s okay. This is about beginning to create the space for intentional prayer and higher wisdom. It can take time to do this if you haven’t been practicing, and there’s no shame in that. <3
Words, colors, or images may come to you. Hold these with care and try to receive them without analyzing or judging.
When you feel ready, inhale fully, exhale and return to a seated position if you were in Child’s Pose. Bring the hands to the heart and give thanks for this moment of reflection and its teachings.
At this time, to express further gratitude, you can bring music into your space! Music is an amazing, uplifting way to process emotions or experiences and connect to higher wisdom during ceremony. It’s one way to honor our Spirit Guides and ancestors (if that resonates with you). You may wish to sing a song of thanks for all you received in 2018, including the harder moments with lessons that may still be unfolding. Let yourself scan the months of 2018 and sing out loud about whatever comes to mind. It helps to stay in the heart and sing from there. Let it all in, and let it all out! If you wish, you can bring in an instrument such as bells, a seed pod shaker, a singing bowl, or a drum.
If you feel shy or stuck while singing, try repeating the words Thank You and feeling them in the heart.
When you feel finished, take a moment to relax back again and take a few long, deep breaths.
Next, we’ll bring the tarot cards in front of us. We’ll be asking three questions (2019 is the year of THREE!) to help guide us into the new year. These questions are directed to Source, Spirit, the Universe- again, whatever resonates with you. They’re meant to shine a light on the areas we might not fully be open to or aware of.
First, hold the deck in your hands and inhale. As you exhale, send your energy/the breath into the deck. This is simply to move into presence with the cards and connect the cards to your current state of being. You can do this while asking each question and before shuffling the cards if you wish.
First question to ask: What can I let go of in order to expand further in 2019?
>> Shuffle the cards, cut the deck however you wish, pull a card and place it face-up to the left.
Second question: What does my heart most need at this time?
>> Again, shuffle the cards and pull a card, placing it face-up to the right of the last card.
Third question: How can I best support my creative energy this year? (2019 is the year of Creativity, which connects back to the number three.)
>> Shuffle the cards a final time, pull a card, and place the card to the right of the last card.
You now have three cards together, sending messages to your conscious mind to support you during the transition into 2019. Sit with these cards, let them sink in.
Allow yourself to learn from these cards and absorb any lessons or insights. If you feel called, take out your journal and take note of any information you want to hold on to.
The final part of this ceremony is a manifesting exercise. Keep your journal nearby. Sit with a straight back. Begin to elongate the breath again, relaxing any areas of the body that might be tight. Breathe in for four seconds, breathe out for five or six seconds.
When you sense stillness within, pose the question:
What are my deepest longings for 2019?
Sit with the question and see what arises while you continue breathing with a slow, steady breath. Let everything that comes to mind come out and be heard! Take time to write it all down.
Once you feel finished, take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out.
Come down into child’s pose with prayer hands forward (Gurupranam), and mentally or verbally state:
These are my deepest longings. I release all of them in this moment, trusting that what comes this year will be for the Highest Good. I commit to taking time for myself this year to truly listen to my heart, to the calls from the Universe, so that I may know where I’m guided. If or when I lose my connection within, I aim to become reconnected so that I may receive clear guidance once more. I give thanks for this connection and this guidance. Amen/Sat Nam/With Love
Imagine filling your room and house with these words of trust. Send them out across the world and into the cosmos. Breathe in trust, breathe out trust.
Pause here and feel the effects of this surrender, noticing and perhaps letting go of any further resistance that might show up. Relax, relax, relax into the body and heart.
Breathe in. Breathe out and push yourself back up into a seated position.
Take any further notes in your journal if you feel called. You may wish to draw symbols of love and care (flowers, hearts, feathers, waterfalls, animals, whatever!) over your written longings, showing your deepest self that you are listening and you’re ready to receive this year.
(The idea of this exercise is that true manifesting comes from a deep Listening within. I believe that while it can help to have a focused manifesting practice, it is more powerful to be in connection to ourselves and our purpose, and make decisions that are in line with our soul’s game plan. This might be more challenging and it certainly has to be practiced, but the benefits are enormous.)
When you’re finished, give a final thanks, a final prayer, and close your channel and the circle. Some people like to thank the Seven Directions and the Five Elements (or, commonly, four of the Five Elements) during this time. Close in a way that feels true to you. At any point throughout the year, you can return to this ceremony in your meditation, revisiting any part of it for further reflection or healing.
If have questions or would like support, or if you’d like help customizing your own ceremony, please reach out. I’m here. :)
May you receive what you need this year.
May you remember to be kind to your heart, body, and mind.
May you share your kindness with others.
** Thank you to 3HO, Rythmia, Arya Ma, Monique Lang, Kate Bednarski, Betsy Davis, Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, and my Guides for helping me cultivate my shamanic, witchy self. I love you and am grateful for all you share with me. **