I am as they say happily married but instead of on my finger, my wedding rings are currently lying on the bottom of a lake in northern Sweden. To drop our rings in the lake was a mutual decision that was part of a ritual my husband and I made last year. It was about letting go of the way we had related to each other for two decades and to mark the beginning of something new between us.
Previously I wouldn’t have described myself as a person who was much into rituals. When I thought of rituals, I often saw before me images of people chanting in woods in the middle of the night or doing scary stuff involving blood. But as the years passed, I felt a growing sensation of wanting to mark certain happenings in my life.
The definition of a ritual is: A religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. But does a ritual have to be religious and/or solemn to be called a ritual? For me, a ritual doesn’t necessarily have to do with either religion or solemnity. It can be about finding old papers in my drawers and deciding to burn them in my fireplace. Or taking a stone from one country and burying it in the soil of another country. Or burning a candle for someone who passed away. And well yes, dropping my wedding ring in a lake.
Rituals for me are about consciously marking the end of something old and the beginning of something new in my life. I have found that there is great energy to be found in actively doing something, however little it might be, to bring focus to something ending and/or something beginning in life. I like getting creative with rituals for this, coming up with whatever feels right for me. Over time I have noticed that I apparently have a special fondness for burning stuff. To me there is something magical about watching a fire entirely consuming something and I find it a great way to mark the ending of something in my life. The funniest, and strangest perhaps, thing I have ever burned? A SIM-card from a mobile phone (long story)….
A ritual for me can also be about being conscious about what I choose to do or wear in a certain situation. For example, I have a couple of beautiful and very special malas that have come into my life and that I like to wear on certain occasions. In case you’re not familiar with this; the word mala is a sanskrit word meaning meditation garland. It’s a necklace worn by spiritual seekers for thousands of years and with roots in hinduism, buddhism and yoga.
Rituals help me live my life consciously. They remind me of the fact that whatever is happening in my life is meaningful. I have therefore taken rituals and made something of my own with it. To me it really doesn’t have to be a big or strange event for it to feel meaningful. So if you ever feel tempted to try, why not burn something that no longer serves a purpose in your life? As you have probably understood by now, I can really recommend it!
Are you curious about malas? Mine are handmade and blessed by a healer on Bali. How cool is that?! The person who creates them is called Madhu and she is an utterly wonderful and magical woman. If you are interested you can check out her website Madhus Magic Malas.
Photo: Bibbi Friman