Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ceremonies and Rituals

December is a time of ceremonies, or so we're told (by the Catholic church.) I was not raised overly religious although we have always upheld the traditional holidays: Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), Navidad (Christmas Day), and Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day). This year, though, I was not tuned in to the Christmas spirit.

After the semester was over, I promptly left the country to spend a glorious week in the Jamaican hills where I basked in waterfalls and sang songs while cooking meals with friends. Upon my arrival back in the States, I was surprised to see the green garlands hanging all over the terminal - I had completely forgotten that Christmas was near. But, the reminder was short-lived; the next day, I embarked on a 4-day kayaking journey through the Everglades backcounty. Let's just say that was definitely an adventure to remember...

While we were out in the wilderness, we celebrated the winter solstice, which happened to fall on the new moon. I realize that many people do not follow the moon's journey around our planet, but it is one that I have grown increasingly attuned to. For the past few years, my girlfriends and I have celebrated the new moon every month. This is a time to set intentions and plant seeds that will grow throughout the next month. Even farmers knew this a long time ago, when planting was closely tuned to the lunar calendar.

So, as we do every month, we made a fire and greeted the directions. We gave thanks to the elements for being with us always. Then, with the help of the sacred tobacco, we spoke our prayers and intentions for the coming moon cycle. Because this night was also the solstice, the longest night of the year, we set intentions for the next season to come.

By the time Christmas Eve and New Years rolled around, I felt somewhat unmoved by the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the holidays. They provided me an opportunity to spend quality time with my family and friends, time which is always to be cherished. But whereas before I may have struggled to find meaning in these holidays, this year I didn't have to.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: find the sacred in your life, and celebrate it. If your holidays and rituals don't speak to your soul, then make up new ones. You're allowed. I used to yearn for a spiritual community, and I am forever grateful to have found one that respects the Earth and all beings that make their lives here.

Tonight is a full moon and I hope that you harness that wild energy, wherever you may be.