An ancient knowing and longing lives within us all.
We hold the whispers of generations past in our bones, the blood of those who lived before us gently pumps through our veins.
And for so many of us, we feel a call to re-member, and recreate an authentic human existence.
There is a reason we feel often at peace when we sit in circle with others; why it brings a smile to our face to listen to an elder tell us stories by a hearthfire.
As we step into the new year, this is also often a time where we are deeply reflecting. What is it that we still want to carry with us? What is it we might want to let go of?
Where can we be more intentional? Where can we soften?
What do I truly value?
How do I want to spend precious time?
“What you long for points you in the direction of belonging.”
- Becca Piastrelli, Root and Ritual: Timeless Ways to Connect to Land, Lineage, Community, and the Self
Something that we may be feeling drawn to incorporating into our life is ritual. This is something that has, since the dawn of time, has been deeply woven into what makes us human. Ritual was at the center of our community gatherings, our connection to the seasons, the foundations of our culture, and the gateways of initiation into important chapters of our lives.
In essence, ritual connects us to our most ancient parts of ourself.
As we welcome the onset of another cycle around the sun, we invite you to reflect on where ritual shows up in your life. Is this something that is deeply embedded in your day to day, or is this something you hope to cultivate more in the new year? If so – read on for some great ways to do this!
Ritual as Medicine
As pointed out in the article titled “Rituals have been crucial for humans throughout history and we still need them,” ritual is something integral for us as a species – even arguing that, “without rituals, and the traditions in which they become embedded, it is unlikely humanity would have advanced to its current state of cultural and technological development. We wouldn’t have been able to continually gather and share information, maintain bonds over extensive geographical areas, or make it through difficult periods.”
While we can certainly assume that humans participating in ritual goes back even farther, the earliest evidence we have of ritual is associated with the burial of a neanderthal woman by her community in Israel 130,000 years ago!
Not only is it something deeply historic to us, it is also believed that ritual is important for our social fabric. Often, ritual was something that was conducted as a way to address challenges our communities were confronted with. Examples include conducting ritual to ensure an abundant harvest, rights of passage, birth and the portal of tending new life, holding space and honoring grief associated with death of those we love, or even resolving conflict between communities.
Nature, and particularly plant allies, have also been a long-standing important element of ritual for us. Rituals were often conducted in alignment with certain phases of the moon or seasonal transitions and how they aligned with communal needs or initiations. Plants were used in a multitude of ways during ritual. Examples include being used as sacred smoke to help move intentions or clear unwanted energy, consuming herbal blends for consciousness-shifting our shamanic journeying, to help ground participants and bring them into sacred space, or even as divination.
It’s always so beautiful to witness how the plants have always been there with us!
Rituals for the New Year
The special thing about rituals is that they can be shared in community or with loved ones, or can be deeply personal. They can also be extravagant, or simple – it’s really up to you and how you may choose to use them!
We thought it would be fun to share a few small rituals you can do to deepen your connection and relationships to herbal allies in the new year!
New Year Herbal Hearth Cleansing: We spend so much time in our homes and they are our sanctuaries. Therefore, energetic hygiene is incredibly important to help us feel balanced and grounded. Calling upon the energy of herbs to support you in clearing unwanted energy from your home is a beautiful way to work with them. You can make this a ritual by infusing your intention into the practice, wearing attire that feels aligned, lighting candles, or perhaps even aligning with the new moon to banish unwanted negative energy, or the full moon to help release energy or feelings of stagnation you may be holding onto.
Herbal Floor Wash: An herbal floor wash is essentially an infusion of herbs you make in water and use to cleanse the floors in your home. While you can certainly use herbs that have antimicrobial properties, a floor wash is more of an energetic practice. Move in a counterclockwise direction to help clear energy, or clockwise to help amplify energy.
Herbal Smoke Cleansing: Herbal smoke is a great way to help carry your intentions through the home. Using herbs such as juniper, pine, or cedar can help to feel aligned with the winter season!
Ritual Tea: Something as mundane as sipping on tea can be a beautiful way to incorporate some ritual, especially for those of us who live fast-paced lives. Perhaps you can assign a special mug that has meaning for you for your morning tea, or you can speak inventions into your tea for the day as you stir it. Bring your tea into meditation, or as you watch the sun rise. There are so many ways to make a cup of tea special!
Ritual Bath: If you have something coming up in your life such as an important job interview, perhaps you can conduct a ritual bath the night before. Perhaps you incorporate herbs that align with the power of self love such as rose and damiana into your bath, and as you soak, visualize yourself achieving your goal. Ask the herbs to open your throat chakra so that you may speak your truth clearly, and call upon them to elevate your self confidence!
Seeds of Intention: Gather seeds that you intend to plant in the new year, whether in a garden, windowsill, or even in a small pot. Place them in a bowl in a safe and special place of your home. Write down your intentions and what you hope to nourish this year and tend to. Place the bowl on top of your written intentions and allow the seeds to absorb this energy until they are ready to plant. As you plant them, thank the seeds for carrying your intentions and allowing them to sprout in the year ahead.
We hope you all have had a wonderful end to your year and a beautiful holiday season. As a new year lies ahead, we express our deepest gratitude to this community and for your continual support of Golden Poppy Apothecary. We wish you all health and abundance in the months to come!