Lynette is founder of A Woman’s Blessing. She is a modern day medicine woman, using the sacred plant medicine Cacao, ritual and meditation to bring alignment to source and grounding to earth, for her and her clients. Her 20 year career has seen her write 4 books (her 5th to be released soon), she is a TV/Radio presenter, broadcaster and international speaker on the rise of the feminine (for corporates and the good of the earth). She currently lives on the edge of the jungle in Bali with her husband Mark and youngest daughter Livvie aged 7. She is also mum to Rosi and Nanny to Rhoda and Mac.
Lynette has kindly offered our readers a chance to
download their own free ritual
And use this code: iwantaritual
Lynette works with ritual and re-storing forgotten traditions through the emergent traditions that exist within us all. We have written extensively on this subject and it is wonderful to see some of our sentiments reflected in this beautifully written piece of work. She has experience of ritual from other cultures and is exploring ways of incorporating ancient ideas with fresh, relevant new ones. Enjoy….
How women are using ritual to empower themselves and their daughters
Rituals have been used for centuries, across the world in numerous faiths, religions, cultures and tribes to mark and witness life events and transitions.
They initiate beginnings and bring gentle and ceremonial closure to endings. People chant, meditate, breath, smudge (white sage, palo santo and rosemary commonly used), give offerings, use herbs to heal, invocate and clear negativity. People light candles, write, dance, ground themselves and eat, to create and perform moments of significance for those attending.
As women, I believe ritual is where we gain our nourishment. Typically the givers of nourishment, we have largely lost the art of nourishing ourselves through intentional ritual, and the rituals we DO have that nourish us are often fleeting moments that could be made SO much more significant, with more thought and intention.
- That morning cup of tea for instance, could be seen as a moment to connect with oneself and honouring another day, invoking positivity and strength.
- That bubble bath by candlelight that we give ourselves once in a blue moon, could be a ritual we give to ourselves or another woman in our house to bless her as the goddess she truly is.
- The dog walk we do every evening could be so much more than an attempt at avoiding the dog from harassing us during our evening tv cycle, it could be a sacred release of all things negative and a blessing to nature and the fellow mammals we share the earth with.
Those 3 things right there could be made more ritualistic simply by stopping for a second, acknowledging the intention, being more mindful by giving sole attention to the outcome, even with a little prayer-like acknowledgement of its significance. And those things could give us worlds more benefit as a result making the world of difference to our outlook on life.
But so often, these moments are flitted away with our busy-ness and our need to get things done in order to get to the next ‘bit’. Largely, we fail to notice the sacredness of such ‘normal’ things and we fail to make sacred those ‘normal’ events that other cultures honour, celebrate and give life purpose and meaning too.
Women are changing that though. With the rise of the feminine becoming more of a cultural ‘norm’ to talk about, the rise of the Goddess in us all, the movement for women to be seen as equals in every culture, it’s all starting to fall into place that the feminine is sacred, that she is the very portal through which humanity begins and it’s where ritual and intention can give birth to new meaning for all of our lives. The female I believe, is where the gift of ritual can be re-introduced, the gentle art of breathing softness and meaning into the little things in life.
We are learning more about the rituals that other cultures have not forgotten, the way they honour their young girls for instance when they start their first menstruation cycle – the Apaches have a Sunrise Ceremony (there is a great article here about it)
It consists of a 4 day gruelling event where she dances, runs to the 4 directions, receives and gives gifts. She is guided by the medicine man and her sponsor during this massive event to keep her going, she is covered in a mixture of clay and cornmeal which she must not wash off for 4 days – it is a huge event for her but one that signifies her transition into womanhood.
During this ceremony she learns about her sexuality, what it means to be a woman, her own spiritual power and sacredness as a goddess! She also learns her own healing powers as those in the village come to her to be blessed and healed – she learns about herself and grows into herself.
The best ritual most of us can hope for at that critical time in a girl’s life is a talk on period pains and being handed your first packet of sanitary towels….or a moon cup for the enlightened!
While we don’t have traditions like the Sunrise Ceremony where I’m from in the UK, women like me, who were not born from those cultures, are starting to want and see the value in holding sacred ceremony for themselves, to honour their journeys in life thus far, to honour their stages of life – the stages beyond engagement and marriage to another. I mean our passing from maiden to mother to crone. Our menopause is a time where we can honour our wisdom and our wombs for instance. Rituals releasing trauma, evoking positive manifestations, the idea of passing down positive ritual to our daughters is brewing.
I know women who are making up their own rites of passage, I have seen women going through self blessing ceremonies where they effectively ‘marry’ themselves, not legally but meaningfully. Honouring who they are, their healing and their individual significance. For those women, it has meant that they would really need to think hard about if or who they might marry in the future because it would mean ‘divorcing’ (spiritually at least) themselves, in order to blend together and couple with another.
My husband and I took our daughter through a ceremony with a local Shaman to celebrate her 1st 7 years – where she leaves the light of me (her mother) and stands in her own light. She was taken into a waterfall with a Shaman, she had to float on her back out of the waterfall all alone into the arms of her parents, while being pummelled by the waterfall – a test of going with the ‘flow’, trusting that her parents will be there to catch her when she does new and scary things on her own, a test of just what she can do. It was then followed by a blessing where she moved from a circle on the floor made from a hoop of flowers, candles and gifts from Pachamama, into her own circle – separate from her father’s and her mother’s. We had a feast afterwards of roasted marshmallows (her favourite) and fruit, while we sang and drummed around a fire outside. It was very special and a day she will never forget ‘I feel invincible!’ she said afterwards! It also turned out to be a very special ritual for me as mum, a letting go of my baby, seeing her as her own person more, in a light that I hadn’t before. An empowering move for me as a woman to move into my OWN light once more and know she is safely in hers.
Women are not just attending Red Tent meetings and Sister Circles (where women get together in sacred circle to share, honour each other, impact wisdom, sing and enjoy ceremony) but Pink Tent meetings and Mother-Maiden circles also are being organised. It’s where teens can sit with their mothers and other mothers and talk, share, listen and hear wisdom from their elders. It helps young girls to see that as they expand into their womanhood, they don’t need to her perfect or ‘have it all together’, as women are sharing their fears and regrets as well as their successes and bravery. These circles give teens the freedom to fail, ultimately meaning she is FREE to try new things, go out of her comfort zone, take pressure off herself to be perfect.
I have friends who celebrate our grandmother moon during full moon ceremonies with their little girls, taking them out into fields, in the moonlight to dance, smudge with herbs, collect flowers, sing to the moon, honour the wisdom she brings and make their intentions as her next phase comes to fruition.
Many women are bringing back Pagan rituals that involve the use of herbs such as Rosemary to cleanse and release negativity from spaces and protect – some gather bundles of Rosemary and hang them on the front door to protect the space from burglars or harm. Lavender has long been used to heal and evoke calm in rituals all over the world. Feverfew and Basil are used in rituals and tinctures to help menstrual cramps – in fact, at one time, Basil was considered a herb that men wouldn’t even eat because of its connection with women using it for menstrual healing.
These are the recipes and teachings of witches and crones in years gone by who were burned at the stake for using them. The Sundance Ceremonies were banned by the US government for 70 years as were almost ALL native spiritual rituals and they have only been allowed to use those rituals again in my lifetime.
I love how the art of ritual is being recognised as something sacred, important and of significance. Parts of all of these rituals stem from some tradition, culture, religion or background but ritual itself is has no derivative in any one place, and I love how it is evolving. New rituals are being born whilst ancient tribal and native rituals are given their honour and place once more after years of harmful shame and banishment.
It’s the IDEA of forming rituals that mean something to each of us personally that I’m loving seeing the emergence of. Engaging in simple but deliberate and thoughtful ritual, has been proven to:
- bring back a sense of control
- deepen our peace of mind
- induce deep calm
- manifest new circumstances
- distance people from hurt
- restore the sacredness of life
- develop self-empowerment
Women around the world are turning to ritual as a way of seeing more clearly, bringing the sacred to the mundane, forgiving themselves and others, moving on and bringing closure to trauma. A simple breath, intention and a candle can open the gateway to beauty, love and peace.
And I believe it’s the way forward. The way to bring peace and connection to us as women, to impart to our daughters, to impact to THEIR children. The gift of being conscious. And women are the ones who are leading the way.