Someone once asked me:
Why do you do rituals? 

Let’s start with the definition of ritual, I selected two from Webster’s Dictionary:
A ceremonial act or action.
An act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner.

From the Taoist Master Kris Deva North:
Ritual is the human being in his most profound state.
He also said:
Only through ritual can we understand what can only be talked about.

Rituals are conscious acts with deliberate intention. 
It can take hours or just a few minutes, this is to say that can be elaborated or as simple as it can be, (like just lighting a candle, doing a simple altar, or decorating a whole space and having a big altar full of things).

The difference between Ritual & Ceremony?
From my experience, you can do a ritual by itself, but a ceremony includes a more elaborate ritual, following a structure which can include various actions, and therefore taking more time, although you can also have short or long ceremonies.

Rituals have been around as long as humans.

People tend to associate them merely with religion, in the East as in India, Bali, and Thailand you can see them as an integral part of an individual daily life, but from the Middle East to the West, the religious rituals and ceremonies go on, according to their culture and belief, but the interesting thing is, you can find the elements of fire and water in all of them.

But before this institutional religion existed, rituals and ceremonies were performed by the Pagans, Celtics, and Druids, actually, if you observe, you can see from where the Christian religion rituals were adopted.

These Ancient cultures and civilizations, and we are talking also about the Shamans from all over the world from America to Australia, from Central Asia to Africa, Priestesses (and Priests) Lineages from the time when the Goddess was worshipped, they follow the perfect rhythms of nature, of Mother Earth Wheel of the Year:

Following the journey of the sun, everybody is familiar with low and high peaks through the Winter and Summer Solstices and the equally light and dark with the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, but between these, we have another four important points in the Wheel of the Year with their symbologies of the ascending or descending of the light, and the different harvests throughout the seasons (Imbolc, Lammas, Beltane, Samhain).
We have prehistoric sites, like Stonehenge in England, that were built to worship the high energetical times of the year associated with the sunlight.

Also following the phases of the moon and its effect, until today the Moon Calendar is still followed by ancient cultures. The Hindus have festivals throughout the moon peaks (dark/new and full), the Taoist/Chinese New Year always starts on a new moon between the end of January and February, and the second biggest festival Mid-Autumn to honour the Moon Goddess is always on the full moon.

Nowadays Scientific Research confirms:

The body’s Internal Biological Rhythms follow the cues received from nature. 
Moon cycles, the length of the day and night, the seasonal temperatures, and any other natural events in our environment determine how our body follows and synchronizes its internal biological rhythms.
This explains the power of ritual during these times!
I get to know about incredible manifestation stories, after the rituals we do all year round in the Jade Circle®. (Live and Online workshops equally!).

Ritual and the Elements:

As mentioned above the fire and water used in different cultures, after all, are the Elements that can create and can destroy, representing the opposing forces of yang and yin.
We also have the Earth, Wood (Plant Life) and Metal (which could be akin to the air element for other traditions).
Through ritual, you can deepen your connection with the Elements, their qualities and their power. You can also harness the Elements within, as they connect with the main organs that sustain your life; both are enlivened experiences.

Rituals are versatile, what is important is a clear intention, belief and devotion. 
Rituals can be done in or with the body, in the mind (through visualisation), with both; on the self, on someone else; on space, on land, on a place of worshipping.

Rituals for all and everything!

The Priestess (Priest), Medicine Woman/Man, Shaman, You!! Actually runs in our DNA…
Yes, everyone can do it!

You have rituals for birth, death, and rebirth; to let go, to purify, to manifest.
All bring empowering and overall the deepest connection within and the external forces above, below, the Universe beyond the visible, the Tao, the Goddess, the God, whatever translates into Divine for the individual and their faith. But nevertheless is something that can be for special occasions, but as well part of your everyday life, or indeed both!

Women’s Rituals for so many moons!…

OMGoddess, I can write a whole article just about this.
We, women, have intricate moon rituals, we have blood rituals (with our menstrual blood), sexual, the ‘art of bedchamber’ (tantric) rituals, initiation of womanhood stages, rites of passage through the maiden (the first bleed), pregnancy and childbirth, the crown (menopause or I call it Second Spring), fertility rituals for ourselves and the land!… And the list goes on.
Overall they are a great way to honour the sacred feminine, the Great Mother Earth, our planet.

Self-Rituals Everyday and Everywhere.

For self-love, beauty, self-healing and nurturing routine, for example:

In the Jade Egg Holistic Practice we have the breast massage (fundamental for hormonal balanced), a smile (or an inner smile to your body) affirming your qualities; a movement or a few of Kuan Yin Qigong; when I put my creams, oil in my face and body I recite affirmations towards my health and beauty.

Even a ritual bath filled with what you need at the moment (from essential oils to rose petals, and whatever feels right, can be integrated if not in your daily life, in the new and full moon, an idea;)

For self-awareness and intuition:
Taking a card every day from an oracle, or picking a crystal, or a rune, whatever you feel connected to.

If you find yourself in a special place in nature, connecting and breathing with the Earth and the trees, and the river, the lake, the sea, and the sun and the moon.

If you find yourself on the beach on a holiday or living nearby, purify yourself in the sea. I’m definitely missing my annual camping in Hawaii, it is my daily medicine and one of my favourite self-rituals. But I close my eyes and I’m there, this can happen when you anchor such a good feeling in your whole being.

Besides my answer to the initial question was developed with all the above, I summarise:

I do rituals because it supports my connection with the Divine within and outer manifestation, support me in clear intent and alignment with my purpose. Also, I can add that it sharpens my psychic gifts, triggers a beautiful way to express my creativity, enhances healing and the manifestation of goals and dreams, and last but not least, to trust my Divine Guidance and the feminine mystery.

But a very simple answer can just be:
It makes me feel good, and that’s enough for me!

How did this happen?
Through my ancestors’ grandmother and great-grandmother, both inspiring Medicine Women, I could say I grew up with it. But not really, or I just assimilated at an early adult age, and through my travels, having the pleasure of being in shamanic lodges on all continents, embracing with gratitude the opportunities to learn ancient rituals from women of different cultures across the world, I put it all together and decided that you can make each act sacred in your life, through these conscious actions.

Then more than a decade ago, in a new year’s resolution, I wrote:
‘Do more rituals’.

I can say that in the last years, I shared almost all the high energy peaks through the Taoist, Moon and Solar (Pagan) Calendar in the Jade Temple, and experiencing this in sisterhood, it’s beyond wonderful!

So I ask you, what Ritual means for you?

It is something you would like to develop deeper and join us in the journey through the Elements and the Seasons with the Online Circles. All Circles have a ritual, ones quite elaborate, others quite simple!

Also through the Kuan Yin Qigong and all the other feminine embodiment practices we do, the ritual happens in your body temple! We have an Online 7-week course and one week Summer Teacher Training Retreat in Portugal.

Last but not least all the weekend workshops of the Jade Egg Holistic Practice Training in person and online have rituals and ceremonies.

© Anamarta