As all kinds of folx move into re-opening space that was closed during the pandemic, it can help to bring intentionality, and even ritual, to this process. We have all been exposed to trauma in the form of a global pandemic. This trauma has different manifestations depending on one’s social location and context, but no matter where you are or who you are, the impact of this collective trauma is real. And this means finding and creating means for healing from it are necessary and can be real.A congregant who is a psychotherapist sought me out, asking about ritual before they begin seeing clients in-person. The following was crowdsourced from Unitarian Universalist ministerial colleagues, and brought together by the sacred, synergistic energies that occasionally flow through me. It can be used, in whole or in part, in many contexts ~ perhaps it can be used in yours? Please feel free to share it widely.
I strongly advocate against cultural appropriation of sacred rituals from communities to which we do not belong. For instance, I do not burn sage since its origins is from people native to this continent and mine are not. I encourage others refrain from similar acts of misappropriation.Center Yourself Before entering the space, remove your shoes and connect with gratitude. Sit for as long as you need to be present and to leave the logistics and distractions of the rest of your life aside. They can learn to wait patiently for you while you do this thing. Embodiment: Bow to the pandemic out of respect and humility for its power as an adversary. If the concept of bowing is distasteful, consider it as an act of “touching the earth.” (This idea comes from Joanna Macy, who adapted it from Catriona Reed, an ordained senior member of the Order of Interbeing.) Honoring the limits of your body, raise hands high to the ceiling at each wall and sweep down. Do over and over to experience the power of repetition and the possibility of groove. Exhale audibly and comfortably with each sweep of your arms so that the breath that we’ve been afraid of is now helping move things. Use a broom (I like cinnamon brooms myself – it’s one of the few scents I can tolearate) and ritually sweep, starting at the center of the room and moving toward openings (open windows, doors, vents) Bring music into the space. Singing or playing recorded music. Some ideas include
- “Let Nothing Evil Cross This Door” (Hymn #1 in Singing the Living Tradition)
- Carrie Newcomer’s “Sanctuary”
- Coco Love Alcorn’s “The River”
- Aly Halpert’s “Loosen, Loosen,” performed here by Gabrielle Byrne