Mindful Muse – January – Self Dedication

Mindful Muse – January – Self Dedication

IMG_2466In the 8-Limbed Path of the classical yogic philosophy, the second limb includes a moral observance (niyama) entitled Ishvara-Pranidhana which translates into devotion to a higher power.  Every year I dedicate myself to a full year of in-depth study of a particular spiritual method, philosophy, or technique.  I invite you to join me throughout the rest of this year; every month I will make ritual suggestions for honoring your definition of the Divine, so this first step of specifying that for yourself will be the central focus of our self-dedication ritual this month.  This month I invite you to start the new year with a self-dedication ceremony.  For the next few days or weeks spend some time in silent reflection and contemplation through meditation and prayer, and specifically define your understanding of Ishvara/Higher Power – God, Goddess, Great Spirit, Highest Self.  Set a date for your self-dedication ceremony below.  Put it on your calendar.  Honor yourSelf.

Self-Dedication Ceremony

(During your prerequisite contemplation of the Devine above, you may burn a white candle during your meditations.)

Supplies:  White candle(s) representing the Divine, one each of a green, yellow, red, and blue candle, altar space or small table or board (a natural wooden cutting board or tray works well), matches or lighter, flower/herb/plant/stone, small bowl of water, feather or favorite incense, small bowl of a natural hot spice, any other items that represent the Divine (picture, book, symbol, jewelry, etc.), paper, pen.

Preparation:  Your altar should preferably be in the north or east direction of your quiet space.  Place the following items in their corresponding directions forming a sacred circle space: north/green candle/plant or stone, east/yellow candle/feather or incense, south/red candle/spice, west/blue candle/water bowl.  If your altar is solid, then the directional candle can be atop the altar if it does not fit behind the altar.  If you have a portable altar, place it just inside the circle in the north.  Decorate the altar with the white candle(s) and any other items you would like to work with that represent the Divine.

Ceremony:  Take a few moments in a seated position in front of your altar inside your circle to ground and center by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths.  Once you feel centered and calm, light the green candle in the North inviting the element of earth and foundation, light the yellow candle in the east inviting the element of air and knowledge, light the red candle in the south thanking the element of fire and will, light the blue candle in the west thanking the element of water and emotion, then light the white candle(s) inviting the Divine/Great Spirit.  Prepare yourself once again for meditation in front of the altar and begin to gaze at the white candle flame in front of you.  Once you are fully concentrated on the candle flame, close your eyes and hold the flame at your mind’s eye for a few moments.  Begin to reflect deeply on Ishvara/Divinity on the level of emotion and connection, merging with the aspects of the Divine nature within.  Be with this union for as long as you feel comfortable.  Once you feel your communion is complete mentally count up from 1 to 10 as you bring yourself gently out of meditation, touching the ground with your hands if you need more grounding and centering.  Write your dedication, Word, or symbol on the piece of paper.  Fold the paper once or twice, folding the paper towards yourself.  Place the piece of paper under the white candle and allow the candle to burn all the way down.  If you have to extinguish the candle, continue to burn intermittently for the next 3 days until the candle has burned completely.  Beginning in the west, extinguish the blue candle thanking the element of water, continue to the south extinguishing the red candle thanking the element of fire, extinguish the yellow candle in the east thanking the element of air, and extinguish the green candle in the north thanking the element of earth.  Take 3 deep breaths and thank Spirit.  So be it.

 

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