The importance of Restoring Ritual to Your Daily Life
“Even before you knew of love, you knew of the wind.” –– Rick Bass
As we approach the close of the yearly cycle, a time known to the ancient ones as the mid-winter wind, it is time to add ritual and ceremony back into your life. Our wise ancestors kept prayer vigils during the dark days of December. In the lands of the Americas, Hopi and Zuni, 12 Kachinas would dance to court the sun’s return. Although the seasons are reversed, in Peru the most celebrated festival of the year takes place in June, called the Inti Raymi, a celebration of the Sun God. For many, faith has been tested this year and uprooted by the ferocious brisk swirling winds of change. The worldwide haboob (fast moving dust storm) that has swept the continents in 2017 has formed large sand dunes that create illusionary barriers between good-natured, noble people all over the world. This year has seen greater-than-normal turbulence. Collectively, these inclement winds have been battering us with natural disasters, crumbling political institutions, terrorism, epidemic health crises, and unreliable, conflicting information. As the year comes to a close, it is crucial that we call upon our collective prayers and ceremonies to hold space for the return of light and wonder.
Are you sensing the intense energy of the collective Dark Night of the Soul? As we come to the end of this turbulent year, are you feeling Lost, Lonely, Angry, Out of Balance, Tired, or even Hopeless? If so, you are not alone.
This year has been challenging for most of us. Let’s be honest. It’s difficult to find accurate coordinates in darkness, and even harder when we are being bombarded with chaos wherever we turn. As we approach the Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere, we are reminded that after Darkness there is a Return to Light.
This year there is an urging from the Winds of Spirit to reunite us to the ritualistic wonder of chasing snowflakes with your tongue on a cold winter morning. Adding simple customs to your life will connect you to more joy.
The Return to Wonder involves learning how to live in balance with your environment, and merging with the cycles of nature. One path to this awakening is simply listening to the divine inspiration of wind. For centuries religious institutions were aware that wind was magical and possessed sacred powers. Wind is found in most creation myths worldwide. The Winds of Spirit were there at the beginning of the universe. Myths throughout the continents keep the knowledge alive. In the Finnish, the wind god was an Innocent Wizard named Ilmarinen who turned energy into form, by fanning the magical fire. The Christian Holy Spirit, and Hebrew Ruach are winds of spirit, and the Buddhist state of Nirvana means no-wind. We have always held the key to our spiritual truth; all that was needed was to step outside and feel the cool north wind kiss our cheeks.
Over the centuries we have become tone deaf to the musings of the wind. Not only have we forgotten how to interpret these important messages of spirit, we have also become separated from our true nature. Like the Wyoming elk whose migratory path from the forest to the desert is blocked due to logging and construction, we wander aimlessly without the guidance of our natural compass.
Rather than fall prey to commercialized holiday noise, you can respond to the call of wonder. This season you are invited to attend a free Winter Solstice event, and learn about navigating these seasonal way-points. When you get caught up in the trade making schemes of December, it is easy to fall prey to chaos and greed; this drains our natural resources and puts further strain on our relationships.
The path of Ritual beckons you to venture inward and remember who you really are. Rituals are wind shelters. This season, explore prayer, storytelling, decorate your home with colorful candles and greenery, share gifts from the heart, and restore your relationships, while resting by the fire as herbs simmer on the stove. Celebrate your bountiful or fallow harvest by feasting with families and friends.
This year’s brutal and uncompromising storm season is a reminder that we should take nothing for granted. Become a wind believer, and call upon the winds of spirit to return light to our planet, and wake up our brothers and sisters so we can restore harmony and balance. Although we have mastered certain technical aspects of our environment (indoor heating, air-conditioning etc.), the past year’s events remind us that mother nature can easily erase everything. Your confidence and authority to navigate change as you move up the wind swept mountain of awakening strengthens as you deepen your spiritual conditioning.
The ancient’s ones knew how to weather out bone chilling winter winds. Although food supplies were scarce, they relied on community support and a central fire to keep warm. They knew that after the mid-winter sun, spring would follow. Before farmers settled in one place to tend to the land, the year was divided into quadrants, which had everything to do with light and warm winds guaranteed by the return of the sun.
The Winter Solstice was a time of joyous celebration throughout the world. Evidence of its importance remains throughout the world as artifacts, and sacred stone sites in Egypt, Ireland, South America, Russia, Africa, and China. Pagan Rituals are alive in Europe, pilgrims gather at Stonehenge at daybreak at mid-winter, to witness the return of the light on the ancient centennial’s. Our ancestors understood that the sun and wind were essential to the very existence of humanity.
You can learn to navigate life like your ancestors by awakening to your innate internal compass, which is aligned to the earth’s magnetic energy. 15th century compasses were inspired by nature, and the information they provide is relevant today. The wind taught sailors how to navigate the sea. The directions on Aristotle’s compass card were wind points, and pin locations were determined by the location of the sun in the sky on special days such as the Equinoxes and Solstices. Even in the endless ice and snow of the arctic, hunters relied on wind patterns and the sun to find their way. Farmers relied heavily on the solstices to determine planting cycles.
Since the first utterings of the wind, people have sought universal truth. The study of weather has fascinated humankind since the beginning of recorded time; evidence of this remains as Paleolithic etchings on the cave walls of Lascaux in Southern France and other sites worldwide. Temples and Pyramids also reveal an understanding of the sun, moon, stars, and winds. Wonder creates a sense of awe.
The easier path up the mountain is to become a close observer of the natural world; begin with wind. As you reclaim your ability to hear the wind, you will intuitively receive guidance and direction. You will remain calm when bitter north winds of chaos and adversity are swirling. You will remain on your path. Remember the same frosty wind that caresses your face in the darkest hour of winter, will soon make its way elsewhere on the planet arriving as a fresh summer breeze. Wind is an immanent and persistent reminder of the sacredness of all life on this planet.
By restoring ritual in your life, you naturally begin to live in harmony with all of creation. Light will return to our planet when we collectively move forward with a stance of a compassionate heart, for ourselves and others. This is the return of light and wonder.
Renee is a blogger for Elephant Journal. Renee has also contributed chapters to Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now (Hierophant Publishing, 2012) and The Five Principles of Everything (Five Birds Publishing, 2012).
FB: Renee Baribeau The Practical Shaman [https://www.facebook.com/Thepracticalshaman]
 Rick Bass, The Book of Yaak (Houghton Milffen company, Boston, 1996. ) p 72