Ritual has been a life enhancing, and if I am honest, a life saving part of my journey that I have increasingly called upon, for many years now.
Perhaps it is the echo of my witch ancestors, or remnants of gypsy genes that has allowed for ritual to resonate with me. The karmic left overs of many centuries of spell making, journey taking and witnessing of sacred events. It’s definitely not something I’ve read a lot about. It’s always been there, just below the surface of me.
Rituals, even the smallest of them, are a way of marking an event, giving it meaning. Creating a memory of it to hold on to and call on when needed.
There are stories from the history of war; telling of rituals practiced by warriors before they enter battle. From ingesting hallucinogenic’s to being blessed and cut by elders, and even becoming possessed by animal spirit. Albeit dark, this is a testament to the power that ritual holds. Furthermore, war is a suitable metaphor we can use to describe the world in which we live at the moment. Each morning, we prepare to face an onslaught of negative media, fear, pandemic, climate change, job losses, crime, gender inequality, discrimination, prejudice, stereotyping, bad coffee etc. If ever there was a time to invoke the power of ritual, it is now.
Put your big girl panties on, I’m about to get deep.
Gender Dysphoria is something very close to my heart. In all the diversity of nature on this earth, it is beyond my comprehension that for so long, the general consensus has been that gender fits into two boxes:
male = penis = husband=hero prince and female=vagina=wife=damsel in distress
In a population of over 7.7 billion people and counting, it should not be surprising that we have many different, natural variations of being human. Yet the conditioned human mind of many, still cannot accept this fact of nature; and sadly, those who do not fit in the two predesignated boxes, suffer. Unfathomable to me.
What happened to the old “Love thy neighbour?” thing?*
I would like share a powerful ritual borne from the experience of working with my beautiful and blessed transgender sisters. To know what Dyshoria is; means to know the opposite of Euphoria. Yet through the uncertainty and associated trauma of transition, there is hope. And slowly, an army of allies is forming. We see you ladies, and we stand next to you.
She walks into the space I have prepared with incense, plants and tingsha bells as the sunset creeps through the blinds of the room; she’s nervously, fidgeting with her hands, her perfectly pedicured toes restless on the mat, finally free of her shoes. She has just changed from her ‘mask’ clothes of day-to-day life, into what she loves – her favourite ensemble of lavender coloured tights, and a gorgeous tank top that hugs her snuggly. She sits gently, quietly on her mat, gaze down; I wonder what is going through her mind. I notice she has a tint of pink on her lips, and she has put her clip earrings on. She looks so lovely – I hope she knows this, so I tell her. She smiles coyly.
We begin. She sits up tall, cross legged, relaxing her shoulders as I instruct. I talk her through meeting the third sister of our ritual, who is still a stranger to her. An ally she doesn’t yet know. We rehearse one more time, as we have done several times before. What to say, what to ask. We prepare.Take a nice deep breath in, hold it, and release the air with a long sigh out, I say. And she does; several times.
Our sister, the last to join our trio enters the room. She joins us, seated. We are all introduced. We spend a moment telling each other things about ourselves. Highlights we hope will help best define who are, and hints of our storey of life thus far.
I light three candles. One placed in front of each of us. Our hands are joined, eyes closed. Our circle of three complete. We chant; resting in the safety and peacefulness that comes with being completely present in the moment, as we listen and feel the vibration of sound in our chests and through the arms and hands of each other.
Our focus moves to the candlelight as we open our eyes and place our palms together in front of our hearts. I thank my sisters for sharing this space and time with me.
We move to breathwork; purposely noticing the effect that different breathing techniques have on our mind and body. The challenge being to allow every thought that comes, to go with each exhale.
We start to move more, soothing, flowing, purposeful movements, warming up our bodies. A series of gentle yoga asanas with just enough stretch to awaken the sleeping muscles. Arching backs, harmonious balance, and stillness. It ends. Soundlessly, resting on our backs.
Our eyes closed; we are guided through meditation to bring focus and gratitude to each part of our physical body from the tips of our toes, to the top of our head, then our beating hearts and our skin connection to the ground. We breathe. Gratitude. Faith in something greater than us. Protection. Support. Love. Sisterhood. Nothing and no one can take this moment.
Slowly rolling over to our right-hand side, resting gently for a few moments, acknowledging the security of acceptance between us. We sit up. Facing each other. We bow gently, giving thanks to each other.
You are loved. You are welcome. You are supported. You are worthy.