For the past two decades, musical rituals have been my primary process in merging the realms and collecting healing tools of intuitive insight that are stored within my subconscious energy body. Along this sacred path, I have discovered that nurturing my connection to nature herself has been of vital importance as I seek to deepen my understanding and awaken myself more fully to the beautiful truth of our collective existence. The transformative assistance that nature makes available to us in all her wild and raw forms is awe inspiring. Communing with the unconscious through music, nature, and dreams heightens our awareness and stimulates deeper integration of the consciousness we seek to crystalize. Much of my daily work focuses toward understanding and integrating methods of cultivating consciousness to further the development of a universal common sense.
My dream life was my original awakener, forcing my conscious mind to explore the themes and messages presented in my active sleeping state. The complex symbolic themes that I was receiving from a young age and on a daily basis were my catalyst. I had a strong feeling that no one else would be able to interpret any of my greater mysteries for me, and this fueled my curiosity to comprehend and commune with the language of the unconscious myself. Unable to interpret the meanings at that time inspired a phase of continual research into the greater mysteries of existence, and a simultaneous exploration of the forces of communication that seek to awaken us to our most purposeful potential.
Through decades of artistic self discovery, I have found the process of ritual to be a vital tool in my personal efforts at deciphering meaning from the universal forces alive within us all. While others may serve as a guiding force or activating portal of epiphany for us, it is my understanding that the deeper work at hand is to become our own interpreters and work toward translating the information we directly receive into a common sense communication tool. This understanding stems from my belief that we each deeply desire harmony and peaceful process in all relationships and within all realms we traverse.
As we see the world around us changing every day, the urgency to awaken our inner selves and commune with and integrate this wisdom becomes apparent as we seek for guidance from within to inform our every action going forward. Connecting to our inner selves through dreams and active imagination can help translate the fertility of the unconscious into the crystalized seeds of growth that we wish to nurture in our hearts and minds. Discovering the power of ritual is an essential tool in helping to reveal and navigate the deeper meaning in our individual and collective experiences.
Plant essence rituals have assisted my intuition in activating deeper states of awe. The ceremonial process of self care rituals promotes direct cellular communion, aligning your innate wisdom with primal sources of interconnected epiphany.
“Ritual is a means of approaching the inner world where the human race evolved early in its history. The use of ritual goes back to the earliest dawn of time among our prehistoric ancestors. Ritual is one of the faculties we have, like dreaming, that enable us to set up a flow of communication between the conscious mind and the unconscious. Our instinctual hunger for meaningful rituals stays with us today, even though we have lost our sense of its psychological and spiritual role in our lives.
One of the meanings of the word ceremony in it’s original latin form was awe. A ceremony was a way in behaving when one felt a sense of awe, or stood in awe. All the set formality around religious ceremony is an indication of the reverence and awe that people felt at one time regarding the object of the ceremony. It is natural for human beings to show reverence through formality; to use highly ritualized symbolic acts as a way to carefully approach the inner world. How does this apply to dreams? When you have begun to experience your dreams you sense that there is an enormous power and intelligence behind them. You feel that your dreams are revealing layers of your soul that you never knew. Touching on themes that are so important that your whole sense of life and its meaning begins to be rearranged. It is then that we need to know about ritual and its role in human life. Our religious lives are re-awakened and we find ourselves facing the divine world and we need ritual just as desperately as did the ancients before us.
We need to make rituals in order to touch those dream energies and evolve them while at the same time maintaining our equilibrium in our daily life. We need to express our awe and elation and gratitude and sometimes our terror. For all this ritual is the channel that our instincts provide for us. In this, we are not different from our primordial ancestors.
All my experience as a psychologist leads me to the conclusion that a sense of reverence is necessary for psychological health. If a person has no sense of reverence - no feeling that there is anyone or anything that inspires awe it generally indicates an ego inflation that cuts the conscious personality off completely from the nourishing springs of the unconscious. It is ironic then that so much of our modern culture is aimed at eradicating all reverence, all respect for the high truths and qualities that inspire a feeling of awe and worship in the human soul.
Ritual, in its true form, is one of the most meaningful channels for our awe and sense of worship. This is why ritual came spontaneously into being among humans in all parts of the earth. This is why modern people who are deprived of meaningful ritual feel a chronic sense of emptiness. They are denied contact with the great archetypes that nourish our soul life. If we look at ritual from a psychological standpoint, we may say that correct ritual is symbolic behavior consciously performed… the highest form of ritual has this characteristic: those who participate sense that they are doing an act that has symbolic meaning and they consciously seek to transform that act into an active dynamic symbol. Their every movement becomes a symbol in motion that carries the power of the inner world of invisible and physical form. Whether we are aware of it or not much of our behavior is symbolic, but what transforms physical acts into high ritual is the expression of symbolism in a conscious act. At its best, ritual is a series of physical acts that expresses in condensed form ones relationship to the inner world of the unconscious.
The role of ritual in the growth of consciousness is related to its power to make symbolic experience into something physical and concrete. Although we can understand the meaning of symbols with our minds, our understanding is made immeasurably deeper and more concrete when we feel the symbols with our bodies and our feelings… If we do something to express the symbol, something that involves our bodies and our emotions, the symbol becomes a living reality for us. It etches itself indelibly on our consciousness.” - Robert A. Johnson
As you continue to navigate the changes in your personal life, may you be guided by your sense of awe as you develop your own personal rituals to assist you with your growth. May these reverent acts help to nurture and maintain a sacred connection to your own direct wellspring of wisdom, and may you find healing assistance in nature though all of her majestic forms.
Each and every thought ripples through the fabric of reality. May our dreams for life on earth be held sacred and nurtured within your every ritual, further cultivating the hive mind awareness we need now - perhaps more urgently than ever before. We are in this awakening process together, and we will find our way through it with one conscious act at a time.
I wish you every blessing on your healing journey as you work to integrate all aspects of your psyche into your purposeful existence, and I thank you for the important work you do in your own unique way as you find your role in the solution.
*photos of Paula Ferraro by Alexa Gray