Posts tagged Rituals & Ceremonies
The Wild Mystic Woman's Guide To Creating Rituals

(The following post is a guest post written by Wild Mystic Woman Writer, Trish Finley)

Making your own rituals is a powerful way to claim your spirituality. But for some of us it’s new territory, and a scary place to dip our feet.

I grew up evangelical Christian, where rituals were seen as silly at best and dangerous at worst. When I got to the point in my spiritual journey where I needed ritual, I was lost. Where should I start? What would I use? What should I say, and what if it doesn’t work? Why am I doing this anyways?

I found some answers in reading and research. But mostly? I just tried stuff out to see if it stuck. 

Despite the title of this post, my aim is not to tell you how to build a ritual. Only you know what sticks and what doesn’t in your practice. This is just to give you some things to try and a place to start, if you need it.

There are a lot of reasons people perform rituals, but, basically, the purpose of a ritual is to declare an intention. That’s it, and that’s why it’s impossible to mess up. You may find ways that are more effective - for you - and ways that are less effective - for you. But that’s the only requirement: that it works for you.

Below are a few things you may (but by no means must) consider when building your next ritual.


There are four broad intentions that encompass most (not all) rituals:

Release - Do you need to let something go? A person, event, season of life, expectation, fear, grief?

Summoning - Do you need to call something to you? Courage, your power, money, wisdom? This can also be called manifestation.

Connection - Do you have a deity or ancestor you want to connect with? (Think of this one like date night with the divine. You’re just there to get to know one another.)

Remembering -  Is there an important date or time of year you want to honor?

Other - Whatever your intention, describe it to yourself as best you can. It may help to write it down.

If you pick up other people’s energy and emotions like I do, or if you work in a field like tarot reading or reiki, developing a releasing ritual is especially important. For example, I light a candle for each client when I start a tarot reading, symbolizing making a connection. Then, when I’m done, I blow it out to symbolize severing the connection and any lingering feelings that went along with it.


It can be helpful to choose a place that’s conducive to your intention. We tend to know where we need to perform the ritual, so if you’re not sure, take a walk or a drive and see where it leads you (even if it leads you back home).

Choosing the place - Do you need privacy? Would you like to be indoors or outdoors? Is there a special place that has spiritual significance for you or relates to your intention? Or a place where you feel particularly at peace?

Creating sacred space - This is where you make a physical home for what you’re about to do in the spiritual realm. You can mark this space with crystal points, rope, salt, smoke, or even just your imagination.

I usually practice ritual at home, where I have privacy to say whatever weird things come out of my mouth. Occasionally, when my feelings are too big to be contained indoors, I go to a lake and draw my sacred space in the dirt beside the water.


Here are some cycles that affect some people’s rituals. Feel your way around them and find out if they are right for you.

Lunar cycle - Do you experience changes in energy around the new or full moon? (This is a big one for me.)

Menstrual cycle - Is there a time in your cycle when it feels right to slow down and perform a ritual?

Astrological calendar - Are you affected by retrogrades, eclipses, or other astrological events? (I particularly pay attention to Mercury retrogrades.)

Religious calendar - Is there a traditional religious calendar you’d like to honor, like the Wheel of the Year or the Church Calendar?

Personal calendar - Are there any personal dates during the year that are important to you, like birthdays or anniversaries? (I celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday every year, usually by smoking pipe tobacco, because his stories have played such a central role in my life.)

Natural calendar - How do the seasons affect your energy?

It may be helpful for you to mark these events on a calendar so you can gauge your energy around them. No two people react the same.


You don’t have to use words, but they can be powerful in helping you focus your intention.

Compose your own words - What is your intention? How can you best express this in words? (It may help to write them down.)

Say what comes in the moment - Does it feel right to spontaneously speak instead of compose words?

Use old words - Is there something that expresses your intention better than you could put it in your own words? Are there words so old and well used that you feel they have additional power behind them?

Names - If you are remembering someone after their death, it may help to say their name aloud.

Hybrid - Does it feel right to include several of these elements?

One weird tip here: Whatever words you decide to use, I’d recommend speaking out loud. It feels really weird, and is why I do most of my rituals at home. But there are two reasons I do it anyways:

The first is that it makes my intention seem more real in the breathing world after I speak it aloud. The second is that, especially when saying what comes in the moment, I’ve surprised myself with what comes out of my mouth. The barriers between spirit and body tend to be thinner during ritual, so you can bring out some pretty rich stuff.


Sound can help build a mood, focus your thoughts, or put you in a different state of mind.

Music - Are there any songs that help build your intention - a religious song that connects you to your deity or a song that reminds you of the person you’re honoring?

Sound clearing - Sound clearing is when you disperse built up energy using sound waves. Is there a point in the ritual, like the beginning or end, where you’d like to break the energy? What would you like to use to do this - a chime, clapping your hands, an instrument?

(This is particularly useful in releasing rituals.)

Ambient sounds - Do you need sounds in the background to help you focus, like wind in the trees, running water, or soft music?

I tend to gravitate towards old Christian hymns when I’m performing ritual. My family has sung them to me since I was a baby, so they are familiar, and I think there is a buildup of power in a song that’s been sung for centuries. (One of my favorites, Be Thou My Vision, can trace its tune back about 1300 years.)

Sacred Objects

There are no wrong objects to bring into a ritual. The only requirement is that they are meaningful to you.

Props - These set the mood. Are there any candles, crystals, or decorative elements you’d like to include? Not everything has to mean something - beauty can be reason enough on its own.

Talismans - Are there any objects that remind you of your intention - something that comforts you, an icon of your deity or power, a picture of a loved one? Or, is there a tarot or oracle card that represents your intention? (For example, I’ve used the Ace of Pentacles as a talisman during a ritual to bless someone in their new job.)

Traditional elements - Are there any traditional religious elements you’d like to include, like salt or bread and wine?

Body Language

Body language doesn’t just communicate with the people around us. It also communicates how we want to feel to ourselves.

Posture - Does is feel right to stand, sit on the floor or in a chair, kneel, bow your forehead to the earth, or lie down?

Hand motions - Are there hand motions you hold as sacred, such as palms together or the sign of the cross? Are there any hand motions that would help you express your intention, like palms to the sky to indicate receiving whatever you’re summoning?

During my rituals, I usually kneel. I see this as a sign of surrender to Spirit, who is greater than me, and acceptance of my own vulnerability in that moment. The only time I kneel in my life is during ritual or prayer, so using that posture helps focus my mind on the task at hand.


Smell can help focus you in the moment and build memories that make your practice richer over time.

Sage - Traditionally used as an energy cleansing herb. You can use the oil, a sage-scented mist, or smoke.

Essential oils - Is there a scent that helps you with your intention, like lavender for calming emotions?

Incense - Used for centuries to indicate sacred presence or purpose. I never burn incense to scent my home - I only use it for ritual so my brain will equate the smell of incense with focusing on spiritual things.

Plants - Are there certain plants you use for sacred or healing purposes? Plants can function as both talismans and scents in rituals.

Smudging - Smudging is the practice of using fragrant smoke to represent intention. You may want to waft smoke over yourself, your space, or certain objects to purify them. I usually do this with incense before drawing cards for a client to clear anything that could negatively impact the reading.

A few final notes:

Breathe - Breathe. Be present. This ritual is for you, so there’s no chance of getting it wrong.

Be safe - Make sure you don’t put open flame near fabric or carpet. Turn on fans if you’re burning incense or sage indoors. Have a plan for extinguishing fires before you begin, just in case.

Respect the environment - If you’re performing a ritual outdoors, put the space back the way you found it. Don’t leave anything behind, and be especially careful with open flame in wooded areas.

(When performing a ritual outside, I try to use objects around me so I don’t accidentally leave something. When I’m done I brush out circles I’ve made in the dirt.)

Make space for doubt - If thoughts like “This is stupid” come up, make space for them. Doubt is not a hindrance - in fact, it can be the tool on which you sharpen your spirituality.

(And you’d better believe I feel stupid when I’m holding a stick of incense in a crystal circle and babbling out loud about whatever I’m releasing. Whatever. I’ll do it anyways, because it helps.)

Make space for whatever feelings arise - Sometimes unexpected feelings come up during rituals. Give yourself space to process them afterward.

It’s ok to try things that don’t work for you - How else will you know what does work?

Be patient - Remember, ritual is just stating an intention. That’s a powerful thing, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll immediately be able to, for example, release grief. It just means you’ve started the process with focus and intention.

I know a little more about what I’m doing when it comes to ritual, but I’m still changing, growing, learning about what works and what doesn’t work for me. My hope in writing this is that you’ll also start experimenting and finding out what practices feed your soul.

May your rituals bring you peace, purpose, growth, and power. And if you have any ritual practices you’d like to share, let me know in the comments!

trish finley

About Trish Finley

Hi! I’m Trish - writer, tarot reader, walker-in-the-woods, and seeker. I believe in bold love, vulnerability, intuition, and courage. I believe every spiritual journey is sacred, including yours. And I believe in the power of connecting with our fellow wanderers.

Connect with me over at or sign up for my newsletter, where we chat every new and full moon!

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Full Moon Blessings - August 2016

Happy August Full Moon!

Today this website officially went 'live'. 

Full moons are said to be a time of harnessing creative energy, taking actions on your intentions as well as releasing what isn't serving you. I feel that this is a perfect time to launch Wild Mystic Woman into the world and let this beautiful space grow under the light of the full moon.

Feeling the glow of la luna's love!

Ceremony and ritual have become an important part of my sacred practice.

Tonight I intend to do a short full moon ceremony of releasing what is no longer serving me so that I can move forward with more intention and sovereignty.

Practicing living in tune with the moon cycles and my menstrual cycle has become an incredible way for me to bring more sacred alignment into my life. These cycles give me a map for honouring where I am at, and learning how to call in and release what's necessary at regular stages.

It is so important for us to reflect on a regular basis on what our intentions are, and whether we are moving towards them in a way that feels good, as well as what is no longer working for us and intentionally letting it go as we call back more of our power.

I like to envision this as the waves of the sea washing up onto and down from the shore.

When the waves crash onto the beach with great force, that is like the energy of the full moon. It is focused and sure of itself as it lands on the shore with its full power.

And then it begins to recede and slowly draw back into the sea. This is like the energy of the new moon. Slowly returning back within to reflect and gather up force again before returning back onto the shore.

Like the sea, as women we are heavily influenced by the moon.

And so I like to use these full moon and new moon phases to embody the fact that I too am a part of nature. That I have seasons and phases and that when I honour them, I feel more aligned and powerful. And when I don't, I feel out of sorts.

My full moon ceremonies usually involve some or all of the following (depending on how I'm feeling and my time constraints):

  • Setting up an altar space. This can be as simple as lighting a candle and gathering a few crystals, or as detailed as setting up an elaborate altar with carefully positioned candles, a crystal grid, objects from nature to represent the four elements, etc.
  • Opening sacred space. Again this could just be lighting a candle a saying a short prayer to set your intention. Or you could call in the four directions as practiced in many Native traditions. See this example from Rochelle Schieck over at Qoya.
  • Meditation. I like to sit for a few minutes in meditation to settle my system and settle into my intention. I've recently purchased Tahlee Rouillon's meditones album 'Luminous' which has some beautiful tracks for meditation. Sometimes I like to sit in silence, or do a guided visualisation or meditate to tracks I find on YouTube. 
  • Prayer, Reading & Listening. Sometimes I like to say a prayer, or read a poem or read a few pages of a spiritual book regarding whatever challenge or fears have been on my mind lately. Sometimes I'll watch a video on YouTube from spiritual teacher whose teachings I really need at that time. I love calling in the wisdom from teachers, authors, speakers and mystics to help me connect to my own inner wisdom. 
  • Journalling. Writing helps me to get to my truth. I like to free style journal on the questions: what/who do I need to release and what/who do I want to call in. 
  • Releasing. This part is for me the most important part of my full moon rituals. After identifying what/who I need to release I do a ritual to release them. My three go-to ways of releasing are energetic cord cutting meditations (this free one is my favourite!), the Hawaiian ho'oponopono forgiveness meditation (I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.) and a fire ritual (writing down the negative thoughts, beliefs, habits, energies and aspects of relationships that I want to release on paper and then setting light to them in a bowl - see image below)
  • Gratitude & Reaffirming Intentions. Before closing I like to reflect on all the things I am grateful for and reaffirm my intentions for things I would like to give my focus to, things I would like to attract and things I would like to give to others - in all areas of my life. I write this all down on paper so I can re-read it during my new moon ceremony a few weeks later. Tonight I will be giving thanks for launching this beautiful website out into the world :)
  • Closing. I like to close by pulling some oracle cards and then sitting for a few minutes in silence allowing the work I have done during the ceremony to settle in and to give thanks for what I have released and what I am calling in.

What I've found with ceremonies and rituals is that we have to make them our own.

There are no experts. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. There is only your way.So by all means take ideas from me and other people. But above everything - trust yourself. Tune into your intuition and feel into what you would like to do in your rituals and then just do that.

Sacredness is what you say it is.

Wishing you beautiful full moon blessings and I'm so excited to have you on this journey with me.

Layla xo