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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

The Ritual of Writing

Celtic Knot leather journal. One of several I sell in the shop at

Writing is one of the most sacred and ancient rituals we have as humans. Beginning with cave drawings before we had written language, to blogging and all the other ways we use technology to communicate, writing puts us in touch with our inner wisdom, helps us untangle the complications of life and sets us on an intentional path. What makes the ritual of writing different from simply writing down what happened in your day is the intention and attention with which it is done. So, as always, begin by sitting quietly and taking a few cleansing breaths. I also always like to light a candle for any ritual to make the space calming. When we take a moment to get in touch with our inner selves, set a sacred space by lighting a candle or incense and write from the soul instead of the head, we have entered a whole different world of writing. Most westerners don’t ever need to worry about thinking more. We are very analytical and cerebral and our cultures often don’t teach us to connect to intuition, inner wisdom, a higher source, our souls. So, when we have a problem in life, we believe we can think it to death. This is what we call anxiety – imagining and thinking about our problems with just our minds. Sometimes this is helpful. Certainly, logic and analysis have great value. But they are limited in what they offer us. Through meditation and sacred writing, we can learn to get back in touch with the inner self, with our souls, which is the part of us that knows why we are here on this earth, what our life’s purpose is, and what is healthy and healing for ourselves. Since most of us have been disconnected from these sources of wisdom for so long, it can be heard to start to hear them again. The ritual of writing is wonderful for re-connecting. To make writing a sacred ritual, make it intentional, and beautiful. The best way to do this is to buy, or make, a journal you find beautiful, that you love just to hold or look at. You can get leather journals, or ones with any kind of design you can imagine, online or in certain shops, or you can make your own. My dear friend made me one with images that related to me taped or decoupaged onto a plain bound journal, it was one of my favorite gifts ever. If you are on a tight budget you can simply buy a spiral bound notebook and make a cover yourself, gluing or taping inspiring images to the cover.

Next create a beautiful space to write – if it is in your room, light a candle, or sit by the fire, or near a window, or at your altar. By taking just a moment to slow down, breathe and get centered, light a candle and create a sacred space, this will feel like different writing from scribbling something while doing ten other things. Then just start writing. You can write about anything, from concerns to dreams to conflicts to the mundane. But as you keep writing, listen for that quiet voice that is your higher self, your inner wisdom, even the voice of God/spirit/the universe, call it what you will. The more you do this, the more you will feel and hear your own higher wisdom speaking to you and coming out on the page. Don’t be critical of anything you write. There is no right or wrong. And no one every needs to see a word you write. Just let it flow. You will be amazed at the answers, wisdom, inspiration and love that can pour out of you and really inspire and shape your life. I often read old journal entries or blog posts and am really surprised by what I wrote. As if someone else wrote it. But in a good way, it seems more insightful than I’m usually capable of. That’s when I was writing from my inner voice, higher self.

Another writing ritual that I love is writing and burning. I do this every New Year’s Eve, but also whenever I am stuck in life or feel I need focus or direction.

For this ritual you will need paper, pen, and a source of fire (fireplace, fire pit outdoors or candle) and if you are indoors, you’ll need a fire safe dish or pan or bowl.

This is a simple but profound exercise. Begin with a few centering breaths. Light a candle. And tear a few strips of paper. You can write down things that you have had in your life that you no longer want, that you are letting go of and leaving behind. Examples can be- anger, trying to be perfect, overeating, guilt, lack of self-love, a bad relationship, a job…anything that comes to you. When you feel you have written all the things you are ready to let go of, take each one and say goodbye to it, and consciously decide to release this behavior or thought from your life. Light it on fire and watch it burn as you cut the connection to that thing. Do this for all the pieces of paper containing things you are letting go of. Do this in a fireplace or firepit, or if indoors have a fire safe dish or pan and drop the small piece of burning paper into it. Next, you can tear new strips, or you can write this part in your journal, but write all the things you want to create or draw into your life: love, abundance, health, family, career, peace, self-love, whatever it is. These you can put in a jar and whenever you think of something you want to draw into or create in life, you drop it in the jar, or you can keep them in the journal. You can re-read these any time you like. Writing can help us get past the gatekeeper of the mind, the mind that is ego driven and analytical and logical. Writing helps us get in touch with wisdom and power that are the source of healing, inspiration and joy that come from taking the time to listen to our higher voice.

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