Life Musings

A New Year Ceremony

       As we wrap up 2012, it’s hard to believe all the events of this past year have taken place in a few short months. Transitions have always been hard for me. I often struggle with hanging onto the past while looking forward to the future and neglecting the present moment. A few years ago I started using a sage burning ceremony to physically mark the letting go of the previous year while welcoming new possibilities for the coming one. Sage has often been used in rituals to clear negative energy, making room for positive transformation. Native Americans used this herb in many ways and it was revered for its healing properties. Whether or not you believe in the spiritual realm, burning sage can be used as a personal ritual for letting go of past hurts clearing the way for future blessings.
       2011 held many personal difficulties for me and as I began this year I found myself still hanging on to many of those negative emotions. Remembering former benefits I had received from using sage in the past, I decided to try it again. Before beginning the *ceremony I scattered candles throughout my apartment to offer light and found a quiet corner to reflect on specific things I hoped to let go of from the earlier year. Here are some of the thoughts I meditated on and read out loud,

    “I burn this sage to commemorate a new epoch in my life. To leave behind the anger, bitterness and resentment present in my life this past year. To welcome in this new season of promise, opportunity, and positive manifestation of my hopes and dreams. I participate in this sacred ceremony as a reminder of our ancient ties to the earth and God’s ways of bringing healing. It is representative of destroying the negative energy in my life and heralding the positive.
        I release expectation and invite surprise. I release the pain of lost or stolen moments, I release the memories I’d like to adjust or change. I freely accept the past and present, looking forward to the future for blessings. I replace hurt for compassion towards myself and others, I replace embarrassment with forgiveness, shame with peace, anger for understanding. I welcome positive energy into my life and release the negative. I welcome peace and release fear. I welcome love and release hatred. I welcome faith and relinquish control. I welcome health and release sickness. I welcome light and release darkness.”

May this New Year bring direction, peace, courage, and many beginnings. May you find strength amidst any suffering that may come, joy in spite of unanswered questions, and hope as you pass through the Unknown. Happy New Years!

Japanese Gardens, SF* You can find dried sage at many organic markets or local herb shops. I have only performed the smudging ceremony a few times, normally concentrating on the entryways, doorways, and closets in my house before focusing on myself. Some resources say to burn incense after using sage to restore the balance between feminine and masculine since sage has a masculine energy. Have you ever used sage in a smudging ceremony? What were the results? I would love to hear about your experience!

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