When the Winter Solstice and full moon teamed up earlier this month, I started feeling a more-pressing-than-usual need to release the things that have either run their course in my life or that are simply no longer serving my growth. The end of the year brings these feelings to me annually, but this year, it feels particularly strong. I’m going to attribute it to the cosmic universal forces at work, and we’ll move on from there. It’s time to get ready for a burn bowl ritual. I talked about it a little bit last year in this blog, and I wanted to revisit it in more detail this year because I do think that taking the time to symbolically release negative thoughts and ideas can help us move into the present and future. Here’s one way to use this fire ritual to bring you clarity as one year ends and another begins.
On a piece of paper with a pen or pencil, write down the thoughts, ideas, conditions, or lifestyle choices that are no longer moving you in a positive direction. It’s important to actually write these things with pen and paper. Describe them in as much or as little detail as you want. Elaborate fully or use one word; it’s up to you. Simply getting these thoughts and ideas down on paper can be incredibly cathartic. You may wish to give yourself several days to work on this list, or you may knock it out in one go.
When your list feels complete, set aside some time to read it over once more. Light a fire in a fireproof bowl, firepit, or fireplace. Drop your list into the flames, and as it burns, imagine the smoke carrying away any negative thoughts or feelings you have surrounding everything on your list. You might want to say a prayer or affirmation of release as it burns. This can be something as simple as “Thank you for serving me; I no longer need you anymore.”
One reason to use a fireproof bowl (versus a fireplace or pit) is that once the ashes are cooled, many people like to collect them and either blow them into the wind or scatter them away from their property as a final symbolic gesture of release. Once time, I simply lit my list over my kitchen sink and washed the ashes down the drain – not quite as ritualistic as building a fire, but it did the job.
Then, with your burn bowl ceremony complete, you can turn toward the future. Light a candle or some incense. Make a cup of tea. Get out a beautiful journal and pen, or vision board materials, and start to write or create the things you’d like to bring into the space you just made. Intentions are powerful manifesters; use them to your advantage.
This is a lovely thing to do with friends and family this time of year if they’re open to it. Any day or night between the solstice and new year is especially meaningful; however, burn bowl rituals can be done whenever you feel the need to release whatever might be holding you back. This is a gift of time, reflection, and love that you can give yourself and those you love.
As we flip the calendar, may you find a way – with a burn bowl or not – to leave the past where it lies, to see the absolute beauty of the present, and to look with anticipation to the future.