Once I feel satisfied with this task, I bring any burning incense, palo santo, or herbs I might be using with me (notice in this picture it's in a small jar of clear crystals), I put a few drops of my favorite aromatherapy scent on my diffuser stone, and I sit down. I cleanse any crystals I am wearing with smoke or sound, cleanse the coins I will use for my I Ching, and then I cast the coins for my daily I Ching reading. The reading becomes the point of focus for my meditation that follows. I sit with my hands in Gassho (a Reiki meditation technique), reflect on the 5 principles of Reiki, and then hold a stone (sometimes - this morning I used a smoky quartz with rutile Vogel wand) in my receiving hand while I place my giving hand on my heart chakra to channel Reiki energy to it. Then, when I feel peaceful and centered, I meditate on my I Ching message, visualize things I choose for my life, spend some time on gratitude, and eventually open my eyes and start my day. The whole process takes about 30 to 60 minutes, which is why it's a Sunday morning ritual. But it's an important one to me, and it sends me into the week to come feeling balanced, peaceful, and in a centered place where I can move forward with a spiritual focus.
On weekdays, ritual is still part of my mornings. First thing every morning I (feed my dogs - always feed the dogs) cast my coins and reflect on my I Ching message, reflect on the five principles of Reiki, sometimes do crystal work, meditate, visualize, and reflect before I start my day. When it feels appropriate, I may cleanse any crystals that have been working hard for me, as well. I have a night-time ritual, too. I quiet my mind, reflect on the principles of Reiki, reflect on gratitude, maybe toss in some visualization if I think I can do it without falling asleep, and I always end the day requesting the universe, "Tell me what I need to know" so any information that isn't coming in consciously can enter as I dream.
Participating in rituals gives me a quiet semi-private (as private as it can be with dogs and cats everywhere) moment in which to center and focus on what is truly important to me, and it helps me set intentions for each day so I can walk through them as gently, compassionately, purposefully, and equanimously as possible.
Rituals can be simple or they can be involved. I've developed most of mine intuitively over the years, seeking what makes me feel connected and full. When I feel I need something a little different, I pay attention to what my spirit urges and toss that in. My rituals are ever evolving as I grow and change. And I encourage you to develop your own rituals as well. They don't have to be involved - just a minute or two of focus can help you re-center. So if you feel called to do try something, whether it's burning an herb, chanting a mantra, doing chakra work, or meditating with a crystal, welcome that and make it part of your life. Listen always to the calling of your soul. Take the time to tune in and allow what your higher self has to tell you. Ritual makes this possible and provides a space where the Divine part of you always knows it can connect to help you move forward on your life's path.