Spiritual Tool Series - Candle Lighting Ceremony - Ritual Tool #1
Gathering spiritual tools for your personal and spiritual empowerment practices
In my book, Finding Home Breaking Free from Limits, I talk about the benefits of having a toolbox full of spiritual tools available to fit every human need. As time goes on, the spiritual practitioner will find that certain tools fit them perfectly and they begin to use them daily, or at least consistently to fit specific areas of focus. Other tools may not resonate as loudly with our unique spiritual personalities, so even though they are good to have around, they may not get used very often.
A spiritual tool is anything we can rely on to help us in many areas of our lives, but especially in the area of spiritual empowerment. Keep in mind that a tool is an assist; it is not the “way”, or even the path itself that we may be seeking, but certainly our spiritual tools can enhance and assist us on our journeys. We may choose to have tools that we use to help us in such areas as:
· · Comfort and Peace
· · Healing
· · Re-energizing
· · Deeper Understanding and Wisdom
· · Growth and Awakening
· · Relaxation
You will find that in using your tools to support your spiritual empowerment, that other areas of your life will also be improved, such as:
· · Improved Relationships
· · Stress Relief
· · Expanded Experiences
· · Better Sleep and Enhanced Energy
· · Improved Focus
This article series will explore various spiritual tools to add to your spiritual toolbox. Going forward in the series, bear with me as we repeat this introductory information prior to each new tools introduction for those that join us later. Remember, any one of the tools can be a tremendous support, but only if we can “feel” an interest in the tool and see a practical way to integrate the tool into our lives for any need we might have. I encourage you to try many of these tools and you will clearly begin to notice which ones are a good fit for you.
Using Rituals in Your Spiritual Toolbox
A ritual is an established pattern, repetitive behavior or a formal act usually associated with a ceremonial or religious protocol. But we use ritual in our lives daily to provide us a sense of grounding and comfort, like in the way that we brush our teeth, fold laundry or read the morning paper.
Rituals are very effective to promote specific feelings. For instance, every morning you probably have a very established sequence of events that you follow to prepare for you day. If for some reason, you are not able to follow this sequence, you may feel off centered or agitated. So, your morning ritual may provide you with feelings of preparedness, renewal, energy, or calmness. Establishing new rituals into our daily habits can help us focus on specific areas in our lives where we would like to see growth, specifically for this article, related to spiritual empowerment. Ritual is a tool to help us to connect to something that is larger than ourselves.
While we are working toward a deeper and richer spiritual life and focusing our lives in the direction of personal and spiritual wellness, rituals are tremendously useful. A ritual can be used in the following ways as we work towards a specific intention in our spiritual or general wellness:
· · Ritual to establish a sense of awareness
· · Ritual to promote a specific feeling/emotion/quality or focus
· · Ritual to honor and revere
· · Ritual to give meaning to something
· · Ritual to develop new serving behaviors or to release non-serving behaviors
· Ritual to create a rite of passage
A few quick examples of how you might apply a ritual into your spiritual practices are:
· Prayer – If you are already doing some form a prayer, you may want to consider adding to this practice or revising it to feel a deeper connection to Universal Love during your ritual. If you are happy with your prayer practice, by all means, keep what works for you. But if you are performing rote prayer, you might want to consider adding a physical element to the prayer, like bended knee, or a few affirmations before or after your prayer to open yourself up to deeper experiences during prayer.
· There are many tiny rituals you can incorporate into your daily routines that may help promote many uplifting meanings for you. For example, this is a ritual I do and it has helped create a major shift in my thinking and habits throughout the day. Every time I wash my hands, as I am allowing the water to run over the hands, I wash away the past and pull myself into the calming and renewing action I am doing. I silently declare “Now”, and snap my mind into the present moment. This has been an instrumental spiritual tool for me. This tool originated from Eckhart Tolle during the Oprah’s web cast discussing his book, A New Earth, Awakening to you Life’s Purpose.
· Every morning when you awake, before your feet hit the ground, say to yourself, “Good Morning! Thank you! Today is filled with blessings.” To help you incorporate this ritual into your daily thinking, place a 3x5 index card with your preferred mantra printed on it onto your nightstand. First thing in the morning, when you see it your card, repeat your preferred mantra. Soon, you will be saying it without any conscious effort and you will wake up with a fresh, highly blessed state of mind. What a great way to begin your day! Full of gratitude and intention for a day full of blessing.
· As an exercise to rejuvenate and refresh yourself anytime, but particularly in the morning and before bed, perform a ritual of deep breathing and releasing. Stand up straight and tall. Take a deep healing breath and while you are inhaling, extend your arms wide, sweeping them up as if to collect all the loving energy being offered. Then as you exhale slowly, release your arms down, like you were holding a ball in your hands, and imagine all the collected healing energy sinking down into your body. It may help to picture this loving energy as a color or as white smoke. As you exhale, feel the releasing of all tension and past cares of the day. Release any bad feelings collected in your mind and body. Totally relax during this process feeling your body grow soft and buoyant. Repeat this ritual several times, taking very deep breaths. Super refreshing and calming.
These are just a few examples of how you can incorporate ritual into your daily routines and into your personal and spiritual growth practices. Take note of a few precautions to consider when using ritual to enhance your spiritual practices. Please be careful that you are not putting too much emphasis on the ritual itself. This can be limiting. You don’t want to feel bad about any of the spiritual tools you use, like if you forget to perform your ritual. Feeling bad is never the intention of any spiritual tools, so if you do feel bad about using any of them, please consider the cause so adjustments can be made. Avoid attachment to the ritual in the sense that the ritual itself is what is creating the desired emotion or feeling. The ritual is the “finger pointing to the moon”, not the moon itself.
Ritual #1 – Candle Lighting Ceremonies
I chose candle lighting ceremonies as our first ritual tool because it can be used in so many contexts. Candle lighting has a long, rich history with many religious and ceremonial traditions. Candles symbolically represent peace, hope, healing, light, love, renewal and comfort.
Candles are a multi-billion dollar industry, which goes to show that even though we don’t really need candles anymore (thank goodness for electricity), that candles still maintain a connection to people, usually by bringing a feeling of warmth and comfort to those that use them.
Candles also have a mesmerizing effect, which can help promote a sense of deep reflection, meditation, reverence, insight, or healing. Many say their use of candles brings a feeling of relaxation, calm, and peace into a room.
Lighting a candle or several candles before a meditation or a prayer session can help a person to focus on their intention. During a challenging or stressful time, lighting a candle(s), can redirect focus to the candle lighting ritual and diminish the feeling of anxiety, stress, or concern. Many use a candle lighting ceremony to honor or send blessings to a specific person or even for the world, or as a way to honor and focus on the intention to bless and heal. Candles can be used to create an ambiance of romance and love. Using candles as a ritual can also provide a source of inspiration or rejuvenation.
There are many applications where you can use a candle lighting ritual to support one or many of your spiritual practices. Candles are beautiful and if you desire, they smell fantastic, so you can’t go wrong thinking about the many ways you can incorporate a candle lighting ritual into your day.
Let’s say for example that you have just gone through a major change in your life, like a divorce, new job or moved to a new area. You want to embrace a new sense of renewal and vibrancy within your new environment. There are a couple creative ways you can use a candle lighting ceremony to help enhance and grow your feelings toward this. For example; Place 3 or more candles (or 1 for each feeling/emotion/quality you wish to focus on) in a private, peaceful, and calming place in your home. Every morning or before bed, light your candles and while lighting each candle repeat a specific affirmation about your feeling. For instance, while lighting candle 1, say either silently or out loud, “I honor my infinite newness in life. Every moment is new and full of infinite potential.” Repeat to light all your candles using your favorite powerful affirmations or prayers.
Here is another great candle lighting ceremony that can be used to release non-serving attitudes and behaviors in your life. Maybe you are dealing with a great deal of fear in your life at this moment. Again, placing candles in your special place, think about the fire element and extinguishing properties of fire in this ritual. As you light your candle, either intend or affirm with affirmations your release of a specific habit or behavior that you are now ready to let go of for your spiritual journey. Allow this non-serving feeling to be consumed by the fire of the candle. This could be part of your work to cleanse yourself of an addicting habit, or it could be to support your release for non-serving behaviors such as clinging, control, over-reaction, criticism, or complaining.
My favorite candle lighting ceremony that I perform every night is; when I sit down to enjoy the remainder of my evening after dinner, no matter what my activities are going to be, reading or even watching TV, I light a four candles. After I light each candle, I say an affirmation for each candle. For candle one, I say, “I am peace.” For candle two, I say, “I am joy.” For candle 3, I say, “I am love.” And for the fourth candle, I re-emphasize one of those qualities that I feel the biggest need for support, so I repeat that quality of the fourth candle. There is never a time after I perform this small ritual with my intent to infuse myself with these qualities that I don’t feel refreshed with these qualities. That extra umphh to repeat that one quality I need to embrace more on this day helps to do just that.
Experiment with your candle lighting ceremonies for not only how you can use them in your spiritual practice, but also to have some fun with candle size, color, scent and place of usage. Enjoy this process and the ritual. I hope you find as many valuable ways to use a candle lighting ritual as a part of your spiritual practice as I have. This is a practice I really enjoy and I know has been very beneficial to me in many ways. Plus I just love the look and smell of candles too.
Pleased to meet you!
Joleen Halloran is the author of under the pseudo name of Joleen Bridges. This book represents over 10 years of research and inspiration in personal and spiritual empowerment and provides readers with a pathway to overcome limits and discover authentic divine qualities in their lives and to live a life of unbounded freedom. . Finding Home - Breaking Free from Limits
Additionally Joleen is the owner of ZoomIT Marketing, a social media and internet marketing coaching and training company. Joleen's business background includes extensive experience in project management, leadership, specializing in motivational techniques and corporate culture.
Beyond Joleen's professional life, she is an avid reader and researcher of books and other materials related to her profession, but also to her special passion, which is metaphysical and spirituality topics. You can find out more about Joleen's book at her books website, www.breakingfreefromlimits.com. Additional articles of a spiritual and inspirational nature can be found at the book's website as well. The book is available for purchase at Amazon and at a discounted price directly from the books website.