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Bonus #5 Ritual Healing Guide (1)

Ritual Healing-What It Is, And What You Can Do With
What Is A Ritual?
First, let us examine a definition of what rituals are and how we
use them.
Rituals are ceremonies, or a series of actions that are
purposefully taken in different forms to symbolize something.
Rituals are personal acts that have a transpersonal element.
We seek guidance, connection, healing, power, or inspiration
from a source deeper or higher than that of our conscious
minds. Rituals work through multiple levels.
What the ritual symbolizes is something more important than
the actual ritual. Rituals represent or express ideas, beliefs,
and thoughts about any particular subject or issue. Rituals
give a purpose and connect us to something greater than
ourselves. We may hold or participate in rituals as we seek
to reach a goal or particular outcome. Rituals can help us as
participants, reach a sense of clarity, peace of mind, sense
of calmness, or another goal. We may also be seeking a
connection to others through different types of relations.
Still, some simple rituals are not meant to reach such serious
enlightenments, conclusions, or results as other rituals.
Rituals-formal and informal-large and small, are often
practiced without us even realizing we are involved. Rituals
and mini-rituals are often conducted frequently even on a
daily basis. Many of us have a specific routine in the
morning, at lunchtime, during exercise, or when preparing
to go out for an evening. These routines are actually small
rituals that we perform. Wearing a specific sweater at
Christmas, or a particular piece of jewelry on New Year’s Eve
may also be considered rituals. Other common rituals
include birthday parties and weddings. As we grow in body,
mind, and spirit, our rituals accumulate throughout our lives.
We derive rituals from our backgrounds and as we grow to
be adults we develop our own. Our rituals are derived from,
but certainly not limited to, our sex, ethnicity, religion,
family, culture, or other elements.
The Science Behind Rituals
A series of investigations by psychologists have revealed
interesting new results that are not surprising. Their research
demonstrates that rituals can have a causal impact on
people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Other
experiments by psychologists, into grief and ritual, showed
that people who engaged in a ritual after the death of a
loved one or loss of a close relationship, felt less grief about
the loss.
Rituals, such as birthday parties, weddings, funerals, coming
of age parties, and other celebrations are an important way
we gather together with our friends and loved ones. Today
rituals have become more secular and materialistic than they
once were, but essentially the desire behind them is the
same. We want to connect, celebrate, and be happy with life
and all the joy that comes with it. Increasingly ancient rituals
are returning and finding a place in modern society: rituals
such as blessing way ceremonies for mothers before they
birth their child, or rituals for girls as they enter womanhood
and start menstruating.
Today there are camps and outdoor activities for men and
boys as they become men, Women’s Healing Circles, Full
Moon circles, Earth Healing Circles, and so many more ritual
gatherings that are evolving as we acknowledge our primal
need and desire to be together in sacred ways that are
healing and transformational for us. Yoga is actually a
deeply sacred practice, and preparation for higher
connection and communion with the Divine. However, for
most people, it starts off as exercise but quite soon
becomes something sacred that nourishes the spirit as well
as the physical. These rituals are grounded as they are
today, but still a spiritual experience.
What is Ritual Healing?
Ritual healing is a very broad term. It is all-encompassing used
to treat physical, mental, and emotional problems. Ritual
healing can include ceremonies, parties, materials,
memorabilia, one to many people, and can be held virtually
anywhere in any format.
If you don’t know by now, you must realize that the conscious
mind is only a part of who we are or how we think. Rituals offer
us options to go beyond the abilities of our conscious minds to
cleanse, nourish, and heal our spirit and soul. Ritual healing
uses rituals to help us heal from different types of pain and
difficulties we experience. Healing rituals exist to support, and
comfort us during these times. Healing rituals help us find
comfort and teach us how to cope when we are falling apart.
Healing rituals can take us closer to the source of our pain,
where we can begin to understand and see things more
clearly. Then we can begin the healing process. During these
painful and difficult times, healing rituals can help us find our
inner strength. On the less dramatic side, daily healing rituals
are a good way to help us cope and deal with daily challenges.
Common rituals like yoga and meditation help us achieve a
sense of peace during difficult times, so that we may begin to
heal ourselves. If practiced on a regular basis, these healing
rituals can help us learn to calm ourselves when a difficult time
is approaching.
Ritual healing is used by religious and spiritual groups, during
mystical-type ceremonies, and also more practical people to
help the healing process. Our western culture is slow to
develop cultural-wide healing rituals compared to the rest of
the world.
Healing Rituals Around the World
Throughout parts of Africa, indigenous people use drums to
perform ritual healing. Shamans drum in certain rhythms to
bring about meditative states. The theory is that an individual
can enter the spirit world once overcome by the meditative
state. It is believed that once the spiritual world is reached,
individuals can seek wisdom especially about healing and then
make great progress through their journey of healing.
Argentina, Europe and The United States
Activated Charcoal is used to heal general stomach issues,
food poisoning, and indigestion. Activated charcoal is
included in The World Health Organization’s list of essential
medicines for basic care. It has been used as an antidote to
poison for centuries.
Drumming is also used in Australia. Aboriginal medicine men
also use particular drumming rhythms to gain the same type of
insight into dreams just as the shaman in Africa. However,
unlike the shamans, the medicine men believe that the dreams
themselves are the mediums for messages. Medicine men also
use crystals to help the healing process, and also to gain
insight into dreams they had.
Throughout Asia, many healing practices exist. One thing in
common is that Asian cultures all recognize the importance of
meditation. A few different ways of meditation throughout the
countries include Qigong, Tai chi, tea drinking, and sitting
For instance, Japanese tea ceremonies are one of the most
popular rituals. The ritual is known to have several healing
benefits, physical and mental. Now modern science recognizes
the nutritional benefits of tea.
Canada and The United States
Sage smudging is used for energy clearing, protection, and
purification. It heals the home and the air after an argument,
moving into a new home, beginning something new, and
heals and protects your spiritual well-being. This is originally
a Native American ritual.
Open a window or door and light the sage so it creates a
thick smoke. Then offer the sage to the four directions
asking for a blessing or protection. Next fan the smoke over
yourself or the space you wish to clear, drawing out all the
negative energy. Be sure you end your smudging ritual at
the door or window inviting all negative energy you just
cleared to leave.
Caribbean, Coastal Mexico, South America, and West
There are common ideals of healing traditions throughout this
part of the world. Due to the abundance of fresh fruit available
in these parts of the world, rituals to heal the body are able to
be carried out frequently.
Meditation is also recognized and practiced throughout this
part of the world. Mayans were known for rituals that
awakened senses in the body. These ritual traditions are still
practiced today.
In the Amazon, shamans call upon the spirits of native plants
during healing rituals. This is a well-respected method that has
helped maintain and restore human health for centuries. These
indigenous people who live in the rainforests believe that
showing respect for each plant and taking care of them is
directly related to the healing journey.
China, Egypt and Vietnam
Fire Cupping Therapy is used in these areas to heal
allergies, cold, inflammation, muscle tension, and also for
respiratory issues. Cupping is an Eastern medicine form of
healing. The practitioner lights a piece of cotton and places
it inside a small glass container to remove all the oxygen.
The container is applied to your bare skin, where suction is
created as the air cools.
Egypt, Morocco and Turkey
Hammam is used in these countries for purification,
relaxation, skin exfoliation, and even socialization. Islamic
hammams, (sometimes called Turkish baths), are known for
religious purification rituals. A traditional hammam has three
connected rooms. There is one large room with windows
and a slab of marble with running water, then two other
rooms, one warm and one cool. They are separated into
men's and women's rooms. First, you get a full body
exfoliation. In the second room you are washed-hair and
body and have tea and relax in the third room.
In Hawaii, healers and holy men (called kahunas) use native
practices that help heal an individual’s physical and mental
being. For example, the native Lomilomi massage is a native
healing ritual. It has long, stroking movements which
stimulates and drains lymphatic glands, while easing sore
muscles. Not only is it a physical healing ritual, but it helps
relax and heal the mind, soul, and spirit.
Honey is also popular and has long been recognized for its
topical healing properties. Not only used in Hawaii, but also
used in numerous healing rituals throughout ancient Greece
and Rome.
Ayurveda, originating in India, is one of the most well-known
types of medical practices practiced today. Ayurveda is so
plentiful that the rituals are be immeasurable. More people
than ever are seeking the system of Ayurveda and the timeless
practice of yoga. Modern studies of the healing qualities of
harmonic sound also have resulted in the production of
soothing Eastern and other soundtracks for various traditions
of massage as well as the use of Tibetan singing bowls during
massage and energy treatments.
Also, gemstones are used to balance emotions and realign
energy patterns. This therapy is not unique to India. Greek,
Egyptian and Judaic societies also used gemstones. Indians
believe that gemstones emit specific vibrations that promote
India, Israel and Thailand
Feeding the poor daily is used for spiritual well-being and to
heal one’s spirit. Feeding the poor every day is often a
religious practice associated with self-purification and selfimprovement. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism all
embrace this practice in various ways.
Jamu is used for Alzheimer's, arthritis, cancer fighting
properties, inflammatory issues. Jamu's history has been
traced back to the Indonesian island of Java. Influenced by
Ayurveda, this mixture of herbal medicine is made from
flowers, seeds, bark, leaves, roots, and honey with turmeric
and ginger due to their antioxidant benefits and sold hot.
Native Americans
Native Americans are well-known for their rituals. Native
Americans have always looked to their environment for
healing. They have found the potential of different plants and
other items around them and turned them into valuable
In addition to herbal remedies tribes used other ways to purify,
cleanse, and continue the body. Some tribes used sweat
lodges for this purpose. A sweat lodge is a dark and heated
enclosure where a sick individual might be given an herbal
remedy, smoke or rub themselves with sacred plants. Also, a
healer might use healing practices to drive away angry spirits
and invoke the healing powers of others.
Other healing rituals involved whole communities. Participants
would sing, dance, paint their bodies, and even sometimes use
mind-altering substances to persuade the spirits to heal the
sick person.
Another practice is called burden baskets. Small, woven
baskets are used as physical receptacles for worries, concerns
and mental burdens. Native Americans would symbolically
place their cares and burdens in the basket. The therapist
would then remove the basket from the room and empty it.
Each native would then enjoy the maximum healing benefit
from their therapy.
Releasing of Souls is practiced in Thailand as a way of
healing the spirit as well as a type of spiritual merit of sorts.
This Thai custom is rooted by way of Buddhism. During the
dry season in the rice fields, as the wet areas would dry out,
fish, turtles, and other aquatic animals would become
trapped. To spare the creature's life and protect the food
supply, the animals would be carried to the nearest river and
released. In Thailand today, people still purchase fish or
other animals and release them back into the river, saving
their lives. People who do this are making a vow not to eat
that kind of animal the rest of his or her life.
Ritual Healing for Grief
Our most vulnerable and difficult times in our lives is when
we experience a loss. There are many types of loss. This may
be the death of a friend or family member, getting a
divorce, losing a job, a child getting married or going off to
college (or leaving “the nest” in another way), retiring, a
friend moving away, etc. During our times of loss, we need
to grieve, and during these times we need healing rituals
more than ever.
Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to like things to stay
the same. Even if we embrace change, we often have
difficulties with it as it occurs, even if the change is positive.
Of course, the death of a loved one is never considered a
positive change. Depending on the relationship we have
with the person who has died, we experience different levels
of pain from unbearable to measurable that we may be able
to begin dealing with. Eventually we end up with two
choices. We can accept the change and begin to heal, or we
can just shrivel up and die. We must realize that grief is
normal, and it is part of the overall human experience.
Research has shown that rituals have an impact on our
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Other experiments
regarding the relationships between healing rituals and grief
showed that people who engaged in a ritual after the death of
a loved one or loss of a close relationship, felt less grief about
the loss. In western culture, there are a limited number of
cultural-wide healing rituals specifically for grieving. The
only common rituals are funerals, wakes, and memorial
services. Aside from these, there is nothing. Also, these
rituals are only one-time ceremonies, and not repeated to
continue the healing process.
Examples of Grief Healing Rituals
Here are some examples of personal healing rituals that
might be used after a after a loss. Also, eventually creating
your own healing rituals can help you work through times
when you need to deal with your own grief.
Planning an activity around the loved one’s birthday or
on an anniversary.
Carrying something special that reminds you of your
loved one that you can take out and hold when you
feel the need
Preparing and eating a special meal in honor of your
loved one
Creating a scrapbook filled with photographs, notes,
and cards or tangible items representing your
Lighting a candle any time to represent your loved
one’s spirit
Watching her or his favorite movie
Planting a tree or sponsoring something in your loved
one’s name
Spending time listening to your loved one’s favorite
Creating a music mix that reminds you of that person
Making a donation to a charity that he or she
Creating Your Own Grief Ritual
Beyond those rituals mentioned above, there are things you
can do to help yourself begin the healing process. One of
the most helpful things is to develop your own healing
rituals. Here are some tips to get started:
First, it is important to decide on a way to create and
identify a definitive beginning and end of the ritual.
Examples might be:
• Lighting a special candle or incense used only for your
• Make a verbal proclamation announcing the beginning
and the end
• Singing a particular song or specific chant
• Ring bell or beat a drum
When you mark the beginning and the end, you will have an
easier time entering a different state of mind and
consciousness to promote healing.
What Should You Do to Get Started?
Take deep breaths to center your mind and body. Next,
allow whatever comes. This may be crying or shouting.
Express whatever you feel. If all you can do during the ritual
is cry, that is okay. This healing ritual is for your benefit. This
is your time to express your grief however you need to. You
can plan one of the activities mentioned above, or you can
set the time aside to do nothing. You may want to
“communicate” with your loved one. You can talk aloud,
write him or her a letter, scream, chant, or just meditate.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Another approach you may consider is to invite others to your
ritual. You could develop a group healing ritual for support
from others who care about you. Also, you might create a
healing ritual for a group who are all grieving the same loss.
If you invite others to join you, you could ask each person to
be prepared to share a memory or item to celebrate the
loved one.
Don’t Stop Healing
Your healing rituals can be practiced as long and as often as
you want. This is your grief and your time to help yourself
begin to heal. You don’t have to practice just one ritual at a
time. You can have several each day if that is what it takes
for you to continue going forward. Your healing progress
may eventually allow you to have these rituals less
frequently. However, as you begin healing you may still find
that you need the rituals just as much as in the beginning.
That is okay. Still making other changes to your rituals may
mean that your personal process through grief is
progressing, and your rituals are helping you move away
from chaos and pain toward wholeness and happiness.
Healing Weakness
When we feel like life has beaten us down, we live what
seems to be a weakened version of ourselves. We think we
have failed too many times. We have trouble holding on to a
clear picture of our life. We cannot remember or visualize
our life purposes and our most important intentions. If you
feel as though you are living a weakened version of yourself,
enact a ceremony to strengthen yourself. Find or create a
symbol of strength. What do you think of when you think of
strength? Then figure out something small that is tangible to
represent strength. You can carry it keeping it in your pocket
or wearing it as jewelry thinking “I am strong” as you
remember its presence. Remind yourself to live powerfully.
Healing Fear
Get two small pillows, blankets, rugs, or anything that you
can think of to place side by side on the floor. If you don’t
have two of the same items, they don’t have to be identical.
Place the items about six inches apart. Stand at the edge of
one of the objects facing the second one. Imagine that you
are standing at the edge of a cliff, top of a building, or some
other high place with a large drop in between you and the
second object. Feel the depth of that gorge and how
terrifying it would be to fall that far down in between. But as
deep and as terrifying as that gorge is, it only takes a small
step to cross it. Take that small step across to the second
object. Think to yourself that many of your fears are like this
after you have arrived safely on the other side. A given fear
may run deep and may have run deep for years. Performing
this ritual can help remind you that there is no real danger
any longer, that you can step right over it by using this
ceremonial bridge. This ritual, like many others, is one that
you can come back to as many times as you want to heal
your existing fears and conquer new ones.
Healing Chaos
Many of us operate under constant chaos. We hurry along
all day from place to place like a tornado, going to work,
dropping off and picking up kids, cooking dinner, doing
laundry, paying bills, etc. It seems impossible to stay calm
and centered during this time. Each day take some time to
heal yourself from the chaos. Get a snow globe, or if you
can’t get one make one (you can find directions for
homemade snow globes on the internet-very easy
construction). Shake up the snow globe. Take a deep
breath, and then begin to watch the flakes fall and settle. As
you are watching this, think about how settled you are
becoming or how calm you are. If that doesn’t suit you, pick
your own phrase that you can say, even out loud if you wish,
that calms you. You can perform this ritual as often as you
Healing Regrets
Everybody is filled with regrets. All of us regret missed
opportunities, wasted time, broken relationships, angry
words, and other things we all wish we could go back and
change. Not only the times we failed ourselves, but also
when we failed others or at least their expectations. The
regret healing ritual is very powerful and one of the easiest
rituals to perform. However, it is a healing ritual that can be
very freeing to the soul. Get a piece of paper. Write down
one regret on that paper. Fold or crinkle up the paper in
your hand, and then rip the paper to shreds. Toss the shreds
in the air while saying or thinking that you are through with
that regret. Obviously, this is another ceremony you will
want to repeat many times. The most effective is to write
down one regret per piece of paper.
Healing Sadness
Sadness can be a simple or more complicated emotion.
Sometimes sadness also has hopelessness or another
emotion along with it, but it is still sadness. When this is the
case, we need to try to separate the emotions and heal each
of them contributing to the sadness. For example, if you feel
hopeless too, try to heal the hopelessness. Take yourself for
a “hope walk” or light some candles and meditate praying
for hope. When we are sad, hopelessness often comes
along with it. Other feelings that often come along with
sadness are anger, worry, and boredom. When these such
emotions go together most of the time, you may end up
with chronic sadness. You can have rituals for each of these
emotions separately, including sadness, and deal with each
of them as they come.
Healing Rituals on Behalf of Others
Healing rituals can be done on behalf of others. An ill family
member or friend does not have to be present for you to do
this ritual.
In many traditions, it is customary to at least ask permission
before conducting a healing ritual. However, it is often
acceptable to assume you have implied permission. Simply
put, if you believe in good faith that the individual would want
you to perform a ritual to help them heal, you can probably go
ahead and do so without specifically asking for their approval.
One exception is that if the person has a terminal illness he or
she may not want to live longer. They may just want to die and
end the pain. However, someone who is ill but not terminal
may want an end to their pain, but not have to die to get
there. They may just want to enjoy a faster healing process.
Deities Associated With Healing
There are specific deities associated with ritual healing. Feel
free to incorporate them in your ritual.
Celtic: Airmed, Brighid, Maponus, Sirona
Greek: Artemis, Apollo, Aesclepius, Hygaiea, Panacaea
Norse: Eir
Roman: Bona Dea, Febris, Vejovis
Egyptian: Heka, Isis
Yoruba: Aja, Babalu Aye
You May Want to Include Some of These Other
Following Items In Your Ritual:
representing people in the ritual, participants and
loved one
maybe tealight or votive, and different colors to
represent different participants
small type that you can have very near you
other candles that may represent deities
Healing incense
well-known healing varieties
allspice, apple, lemon, cinnamon
Blankets and Pillows
Help comfort the loved one if he or she is present
Comforting for the participants, especially during
longer rituals
Pictures of your loved one, even if they are still
alive and present at ritual
Music your loved one enjoys or enjoyed
Cards, letters, or notes that you or other
participants exchanged with loved one
Example Short General Healing Ritual
There are many options how to assembly everybody. You
might begin by having everybody sitting in a circle. If the loved
one is alive and present, you might have him or her sit or stand
in the middle of the circle. You could also begin by sitting in a
“squared circle,” (a circle with four points typically used in
Pagan rituals).
Take a few moments to go around the circle one at a time
talking about your loved one. As you talk about the loved one
you and share memorabilia, you can then meditate about what
you really wish for your friend or for your own healing. Once
you have finished, allow the candles to burn out on their own if
Other Signature Healing Rituals
Chanting is known to be used as part of rituals. There are
chants in ancient languages, or light languages of power, for
instance Sanskrit, that are thought to carry more potency as
they are closer to the source. Words can divide and at the
same time be a pathway to divinity. Sacred chants alter your
physicality and your surroundings. There are many chants to
learn and master over time. And over time I started to learn
different chants. Once you master a chant it will come
naturally to your consciousness in times you need to comfort
yourself or others.
Also, mantras don’t have to be external. You can chant
internally to calm yourself when you are in a particularly
explosive or confrontational situational situation. One of the
simplest chants is the mantra of repeating “Om Om” for
several minutes at least. Continue for as long as you need
to. Once you have mastered how and when to chant that
mantra, you can move on to other mantras. You may want to
pick up a book about chanting or look up some other
mantras on the internet.
Water Healing Rituals
Offering Ceremony
The offering ceremony is a very common water healing
ritual. The first step is to bring an offering to the water.
Bring an offering that means something to you; something
natural, such as a stone or a seashell. Regardless of what
type of water you are visiting (river, pond, lake, stream, or
ocean) you should pray and express gratitude for the
healing and abundant flow of the water. You can either
throw your object into the water or dig a hole near the edge
of the water and bury your object. Offer your prayers for the
health of the water and for what healing experience you are
trying to have. Feel your prayers being answered by seeping
into the water and flowing to wherever the watercourse
takes them.
Sacred Water Healing
Your mission here is to heal water that you think has become
polluted. First, you collect rainwater or even melted snow in
a glass jar. Use a quartz crystal. Place it in the jar and allow it
to sit 10 days. During this time, keep it in a place where it
won’t be disturbed. Every day, pray and send your healing
thoughts into the water twice per day, preferably morning
and evening. At the end of the tenth day, carry the jar to a
body of water. If you want, let the crystal flow out of the jar
into the water. If you wish to keep your crystal, place a cloth
over the jar and pour the water through the cloth. As you
pour the water, imagine you are pouring water of
compassion into the watercourse.
This jar of water became healing medicine and will begin to
heal the water. Visualize the blessed water spreading out
like a huge cloud, transforming all the water it mixes with. If
you want to share this with others or get help, then invite
other people. The other people you invite can also bring
glass jars with quartz crystals and say prayers. You can say
them together aloud or separately alone. This could also be
very effective as a healing ritual if the entire community got
together. At the same time, you already have the group
together, you can hold or participate in other healing rituals
for loved ones. The healing power grows when more people
are involved.
Immersion Healing
Find a place where the water seems especially clean and
welcoming. You may do this ritual clothed or not. First, pray
at the edge of the water for your healing. your perfect
vibrations to flow into your blood, your cells, your organs.
Imagine as you are stepping into the water and submerging
yourself, that the water will flow through you as if you are a
net, taking with it all of the impurities that have held back
your health. Immerse yourself up to your neck for as long as
you can. If the water is too cold, staying in only a minute is
fine. In this minute, imagine that your cells have been
transformed. Thank the water for the healing and the
process that has been allowed. Next, wrap yourself in
something warm. Dry yourself and leave an offering
(something natural) at the edge of the water to show your
Remember, we often practice small rituals every day without
realizing it. As for those rituals we want to change our lives,
remember, what the ritual symbolizes is something more
important than the actual ritual itself. In other words, don’t
get too caught up in the tiny details of the ritual (what color
candle, which blanket, pond vs lake, etc.) rather than what
you are trying to accomplish. Rituals give a purpose and
connect us to something greater than ourselves. We may
hold or participate in rituals as we seek to reach a goal or
particular outcome as often as we feel it necessary.