In this beautiful article, our close associate Gayatri reflects on simple rituals involving the four elements that reconnect us with the sacred in the everyday.
Could everything be sacred?
It’s certainly one way of perceiving the world. When we look around with eyes that see the sacred in everything, the world becomes enriched with beauty and magic. The significance with which we imbue simple actions can become a powerful act in our lives. Everything has the potential to become a gateway to our connection to Spirit.
Many people have lost touch with the sacred in life, and so we lose a sense of the magic in things. Look at the way we use substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. These have been used by tribal leaders, shamans, mystics and devotees to access ecstatic states and other realms of consciousness. They had a sacred use in ceremony. In our society, these same substances are often used in a mundane way; to numb, to distract, or for relaxation from the stresses and strains of the day.
The same can be said for sex. We can do it with intention, awareness and awe at the bliss we feel; or we can simply satisfy a physical urge. Now there’s nothing wrong with a quickie but if that’s all we ever experience, we could be missing some of expansive potential available to us through our sexual energy when intended as a sacred act.
Getting in touch with the sacredness in things doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or involve a lot of esoteric knowledge. It’s a simple shift in perspective that opens our eyes to new possibilities. Personally I use to struggle a lot with the idea of magic and ritual. Thinking I would have to dress up in swathes of black velvet and lace, and stomp about in a muddy field chanting incantations to do it properly. Or that the sacred meant seriousness rather than a spontaneous expression. Essentially thinking I had to become someone different from who I already am. But that was nonsense and I’ve discovered that the Sacredness of things is simply a thought away and intention is the gateway. The Sacred can be expansive, arousing, playful, and sexy just as much as it can be profound and powerful.
One of the simplest ways I know to invite in the Sacred, is through rituals that connect with the elements – Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Virtually every “life system” from Ayurveda to Qabala to Alchemy draws on the elements to provide a base for understanding the world. Although they are understood in different forms and with varying meanings, they offer a useful foundation for exploration and experimentation.
Why not try out some of these ideas and rituals and see what kind of sacred sexy magic appears in your life?
Fire – the element of Fire represents both creation and destruction. We couldn’t live without the fires of the sun giving us light and heat. Unharnessed and unchecked, fire can wreak havoc and raze everything to the ground.
In the Hindu tradition, Lord Agni is the God of Fire and he resides in every living flame. He is the carrier of the Divine Spark and represents the connection between humanity and Spirit. Every time we light a flame we are invoking Lord Agni and so Hindus consider it to be rude and disrespectful to blow out a candle or incense stick; rather it should be snuffed or waved out.
Imagine each time you lit a candle, you felt that you were creating a bridge to Spirit. Imagine each time you extinguished a flame, you brought awareness to the creative and destructive power of the Fire. How much more meaningful would even a simple tealight become?
Here’s a super simple Fire Ritual to explore: if there is something you wish to release from your life, write it down on a piece of paper and then burn it. Give it to the fire to purify and consume. The stronger the clarity of your intention around this and your readiness to really let it go, the stronger the effect.
Water – connects us to feelings and emotions. Water may flow in a steady trickling stream or wild waves crashing, it encompasses all. The fluidity of Water can make it difficult to hold onto and so it is useful for washing things away, cleansing, releasing and letting go.
Try a bathing ritual, either solo or with partners to drop into the nurturing energies of Water. If possible, make the bathroom as dark as possible (water springs from the depths) by removing artificial lighting or even blocking out the daylight; use only candles to light the space. Draw yourself a full warm bath and add scents, salts and even flowers to make it a truly special experience. Take time to wash each part of your body with awareness. Allow yourself to lay back and soak, feeling held in the warmth of the water.
If doing this with a partner or partners, take turns washing one another. Allow the water to trickle sensually over the body. Let words fall away so that only the sound of the water remains and you can drop deep into the experience.
Earth – roots and supports us. For any kind of ritual, and life in general, it’s really helpful to be grounded. Often on spiritual paths there is a desire for ascension and “going up”. But if we are not also anchored to the Earth, we can become floaty and ethereal, which makes it harder to be “here”.
If we want to be really present with what we do, then we need a practise to release stress and tension and ground our body to the earth.
Shaking Ritual –put on some music with a good strong beat (such as this track). Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent, arms hanging loose by your side. Allow a shaking movement to come up from the earth. Let it rise through your feet, ankles, knees, hips and pelvis, spine, shoulders, arms, hands, neck and head until your whole body is in motion. Keep everything loose for optimum benefit. Your mouth and jaw relaxed and open, and your head nodding with the movement. If you feel like making sounds, just allow them to be released. In the beginning you need to actively shake your body, but after a short while you might find that the shaking takes you over and it’s just happening. Go with it!
At the end, take a moment to notice how you feel. Give thanks to the Earth.
Air – the element of Air has qualities of lightness, movement, and change. Think of the wind blowing through and turning everything upside down. We can’t see Air but we can see its effects from the leaves blowing on the trees to the fluttering papers on our desk. And we feel it.
In sexual play and love-making it can be easy to get stuck in the same old habits and ways of doing things. Air is the breath of life and so offers freshness, inspiration and aliveness.
Before you make physical contact with your partner (this practise works best with one other person) take a moment to connect through the breath. Sit opposite, softly gazing into one another’s eyes, and let your breath come into synchronisation. You might find that you are both breathing in and out at the same time, or alternating. Either is fine, just allow it to come without effort. Spend at least five minutes in this space of connecting through the breath and notice how you feel afterwards.
Or try giving your partner a massage with your breath – don’t touch them with any other part of your body. Just your life energy through the breath!
If you blow with your lips pursed (like blowing out the candles of a birthday cake) then you will have a cool breath. If you blow with your lips open (as if making the sound ‘Ha’) then you will have a hot breath. Play with these breaths over the body and enjoy watching your partner responding to these delicious new sensations.
Reading through each of these elemental rituals, which one spoke most to your being? Did you feel a sense of aliveness or curiosity to explore? Trust your impulse and go with it.
And if you feel ready to explore the sexy sacred deeply in a safe and loving environment, come and get elemental with us in Wales next week!