How ceremony works its magic
The power and beauty of ceremony and ritual
Awakening The Shamanic Force Within
As already explained, in ceremony we enter into a sacred, symbolic enactment of intent. This intense enactment elicits powerful holistic responses within the individual psyche and the whole group participating, producing connection, healing, change and manifestation.
Here are a few pointers as to how ceremony works its magic:
· Ceremony elicits holistic responses.
During a ceremony we drift effortlessly into an altered state of consciousness. We respond with our emotional brain by being moved. We reactivate cellular (or perhaps genetic) memories of how things were long ago. We also respond with our souls to the sacred field that is created through the ceremony, tuning into the wider fields around us.
· It creates inner harmony and reduces inner conflict.
Holistic responses create harmony and reduce conflict in the inner world, and we know that such ’whole brain responses’ can reach as far as to modulate alternative gene expression, facilitating profound healing.2
· We enter a higher state of consciousness.
During ceremony we suspend the normal time/space continuum and enter fully into the present, a mental state in which all that matters takes place in the ’here and now’. This brings, as Sobonfu Somé, a female African ceremonialist shaman, formulates, ’all participants into a higher place of consciousness within themselves’.3
· It has meaning for our inner world and helps us to manifest in outer reality.
During ceremony we create a powerful and meaningful story that expresses how, for instance, we want things to be, or what we wish for, or want to let go. Such meaningful stories and experiences shape how we see ourselves and, especially, how we dream and build our future, so affecting what we manifest.
· Ceremonies and ritual create a powerful field.
Ceremonies and ritual connect and align the whole participating community, creating an energetic field and space where everybody is equally involved and immersed in a positive task. This field can become very powerful in itself, enhancing connection, harmony, healing and transformation for the group as well as for the individual.
· They elicit a sense of being embedded in the transpersonal.
Everybody within a shamanic ceremonial space will experience, at least at one point, a connection with something bigger: they will sense and feel ’the sacred’. This will nurture a transpersonal sense of identity, beyond the isolated ’I’, which is one of the desired outcomes of all spiritual work.
· They contribute to creating a better world.
If we accept that there is an underlying energetic world, a timeless pool of consciousness into which we can tune and in which we can create, then we will understand that when we conduct a beautiful, harmonious and powerful ceremony, we are feeding dreams and experiences of beauty and harmony into this general pool. We are therefore contributing positively to this energetic field and consequently to the manifestation of more beauty and harmony in the visible world.4