There is no catch-all for what ritual looks like. I define ritual as an action, ceremony or visualization that uses the language of the unconscious (symbolism) to facilitate growth or movement. Ritual both utilizes, and strengthens our connection to our own intuition by creating a space to interact.
If we imagine intuition as water: ritual practice is the process of combing through our daily routine, our emotional landscape, relationships, and spaces, to find every surface & nook that is the right shape to hold that solution. We build ourselves approachable and numerous reservoirs... to sip, touch, dip into, when we need to connect to our instinctual nature*
Certainly, "ritual" can refer to a complex series of actions dictated by tradition... and/also ritual can be any action that holds meaning, performed with intention and investment. A ritual might be a daily gesture of self-acceptance incorporated into your face-washing routine; imagining a walk through a wood and journaling about that visualization; watering your plants with your own spit mixed in; cooking recipes that make you feel close to a parent who has passed... What matters most is that the ritual feels meaningful to the person performing it.
My hope (and my experience) is that by fostering a continuous dialogue with our interior, we have a tremendous ability to move energy, encourage growth, lean into physical and emotional health, stay present through difficulties and pain, stay present through joy and pleasure, make decisions, connect to others with more honesty, & deepen our capacity to show up for our community & our world.
*"instinctual nature" is a term I learned from the writing Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Reading her work was an integral turning point on my path toward inner work...
SO, what exactly does it mean to come in for a Ritual Practice session? Sessions are...
...take place at my studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, or over the phone. If you do not live in NYC, or find it more comfortable to work from your own safe space, it is absolutely possible to do this work and have a strong connection over the phone.
...come in two "sizes" Large Kernel (60min) or Small Kernel (40min)
...can be occasional, regular, or one-time experiences. the space I'm providing is for you to use when and if you need support.
...have the soft goal of developing a plan for a ritual, or series of rituals, specific to you and your needs.Through discussion, we'll locate some spaces in your life that already exist and are waiting to hold ritual, and define some symbolic actions, tiny ceremonies, shrines, routines for you to experiment with.
...are collaborative in nature (rather than prescriptive.) We each have a valuable library of experience that we bring to the table. My role varies person to person, but I am always trying to spot and afirm your instincts about what works for you. If you are someone who has a robust ritual, healing or magic practice, you may need a supportive container to do your own brainstorming, rather than "guidance." If you are someone who would like to become more comfortable with magic, our session may be a little more instructional in order to coax out that part of you that is desiring to find its tools.
...Usually we will not be doing the ritual together during the session. We plan something for you to perform privately, following the session or on a specific date.
Some of the tools that I bring from my own practice:
Tarot // I use tarot for guidance, and to develop my relationship to symbolism, imagery and archetypes.
Spells and Witchcraft practices // words, fruit, food, burying, burning or washing symbolic objects, baths, working with herbs externally...
Sigil Making // in this case I'm not talking about sigils as tattoos, but more as a drawing practice.
Visualization // there are a couple forms of creative visualization or meditation that I use. These can be incredibly helpful when a ritual requires utmost privacy, or an environment that isn't available to me (i.e. in a visualization it is possible to reach out to certain animals that would be dangerous to confront in real life; or perhaps a ritual that I desire requires a stream in the woods and I'm not able to get to the woods, I might substitute an herbal bath with a visualization of the woods)
Ancestors, spirits and guides // I am not a medium, but I am happy to share the way that I personally connect to these realms.
**One important note is that ritual practice is not therapy or counseling. It is important for me to be clear that I am a practicing witch and artist, not a therapist, herbalist or doctor. I don't say that to devalue my own knowledge - I say that to clarify what it is I actually have to offer.
It can be scary and difficult to journey into ourselves and our unconscious. If you are concerned about your emotional safety, please share that with me, and let's discuss beforehand what measures you need to take in order to enter into this practice with support close at hand. It is absolutely my priority that everyone be safe and held by appropriate structures so that this work can be grounding, rather than destabilizing.