Burning Bowl Ceremony, New Year’s Eve/Full Moon
Releasing all of that which no longer serves.
It is traditional, I think, that on New Year’s Eve we review the year just past and the things that worked, as well as those that did not. We might consider where we are in our career, how our families are, our health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual), where we feel that we are succeeding and where we feel that we are falling short. On the Eve of a dawning year, we might ponder ways to change our lives, what we’d like to be rid of in order to create space for vibrant, full-on, life force to flow through us and into all that surrounds us.
A burning bowl ceremony is a great thing to do on New Year’s Eve. In a burning bowl ceremony, you set intentions to release everything, or a few things, or one thing–whatever it is that you are focused on releasing at that time.
As I’m writing this, it is New Year’s Eve, 2017. A perfect time to release old energies, patterns, stories, hurts, wounds, and etc. For me, this is a time to do a big releasing ceremony. I hope you will join me from wherever you are!
What You Will Need:
>A flame proof dish. Things that work well are: a cast iron sauce pan, cast iron, deep frying pan or cast iron dutch oven; a pyrex bowl; a metal bowl; a stone or concrete bowl. Please be sure that whatever you’re using as your burning bowl is safe for the oven and stove top, unless it is specifically designed to be a burning bowl. We don’t want the container to crack and spill flame all over your living room floor.
If you have a fireplace, you might consider using that rather than a bowl for your ceremony. If you are doing your ceremony outside, you may not need a bowl. A firepit–either in the ground or a free standing one–both work beautifully. In this case (using a fireplace or fire pit, rather than using a bowl) you will want to lay your fire before beginning the ceremony and possibly light it. This is up to you. You may also choose to light your fire during the ceremony and to spend more time flame gazing and awaiting the proper moment to add your intentions to the flames.
If you’re doing your ceremony in a firepit, or fireplace, please skip down this list to the bottom, to the line beginning with, ‘Your intentions…’
>Epsom salts, enough to cover the bottom of your bowl by at least 1/2″.
>Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) or grain alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol is about $1 per bottle at your local drug or dollar store and that bottle will last for many, many burning bowl ceremonies.
>A stick lighter or long matches.
>A folded towel or flat potholder to place beneath the bowl to protect any surface from heat damage.
>Your intentions written on paper. It’s great if you have handmade paper or paper you’ve charged under a full moon. But notebook paper or a piece of a brown paper bag, are perfect. Please only use things that burn cleanly, for your own safety.
>Smudge such as sage, sweetgrass or charcoals and resins, or incense. If you have problems with smoke, or prefer not use it, you can use a spray bottle of water. You might add a pinch of sea salt, flower essences, homeopathic remedies, or essential oils (or all of these!) to the spray bottle. You could also just use a small bowl and sprinkle or flick the water with your fingers.
>A dish or shell to burn the smudge in, if needed.
Writing Your Intention:
Be as clear as you possibly can and as concise as you possibly can. Muddy intentions bring muddy results.
Shorter is better.
Spend time with this. Think of all of the things you want to clear out of your life: clutter in the closet; emotional baggage; that stupid co-worker who talks all day without taking a breath. Think out the repercussions. If you release that co-worker, it may mean you’re releasing the job that requires you to work with him. Think ahead!
It’s okay if you want to photograph or make a copy of your intentions to look back on later.
Put your materials together in your ceremonial space.
If you have an altar for the season, or a working ceremonial altar, this would be the perfect spot to place your bowl for the ceremony. If not, find somewhere quiet and safe, where the flames won’t be able to reach anything flammable–the center of a room, on a kitchen table, or out of doors in a safe location.
Once you have your space prepared, it is time to open the ceremony.
Light your smudge and waft it over your body from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, if possible. As you smudge, focus on any areas where you feel like you’re holding tension, or an energetic feeling of heaviness or stickiness, anywhere in your body that tends to hold illness or where you feel called to spend more time clearing and upgrading your vibration. This is the beginning of the releasing ceremony. Allow yourself to be in that energy.
Next, you will call the directions. The intention here is to create sacred space and to surround yourself with beneficial energy. There are so many ways of doing this and I can’t list them all here, but know that you have at your disposal the options of calling in: angels; your ancestors; goddesses and gods, including those from all traditional and mainstream religions; animal totems; light workers; guides; the devas; fairies; colors; light; happiness; the winds…whatever energies you are called to work with. In each direction I ask specifically for only energies that are absolutely beneficial and who come to ceremony with the greatest and highest good.
Facing East, “I call on the Spirits of Air, the flying ones, bald eagle, hawk and the song birds; the clarity of conscious of thought, and the winds that blow away the stuck energies and the cobwebs in my mind. I also call on the energies of the goddess Arianrhod, Lady of the Silver Wheel, Celtic goddess of Air, full moons, time, karma and retribution. I ask that all who heed this call come with pure and positive energy for me/us and for this ceremony. I call on my ancestors and the spirits of the land, both those who are land spirits and those who are spirits who have lived on and who continue to protect and guard this land. I call on the spirit of the East Wind to bring clarity and to clear all that no longer serves. Blessed Be.”
Facing South: “I call on the Spirits of Fire, the healthy predators and tricksters who teach us life’s lessons with humor and fun. I call on the energies of Coyote and Wolf. I call in the cleansing, violet flame of St Germain, and the power of creative thought, of the generative mind, for while fire cleanses and burns away things, it is also the flame of creativity, the spark of passion, and the spark of life within the seed, that from which things grow. I call on Brigid, the Celtic goddess of Fire, and of poetry and inspiration, midwifery and healing. She of the Eternal Flame. I ask that all who heed this call come with pure and positive energy for me/us and for this ceremony. I call on my ancestors and the spirits of the land, both those who are land spirits and those who are spirits who have lived on and who continue to protect and guard this land. I call on the spirit of the South Wind to bring energy and passion. Blessed Be.”
Facing West: “I call on the Spirits of Water, the slick, cool creatures who live in this element of mystery, the otter, dolphin and whale, the muskrats and frogs. I call in the flow and power of water, the ability to stay the course, to wear down obstacles with patience or to move around them with ease. I call in our ability to ‘go with the flow’ and also to ‘be in the flow’. I call on the mermaids and mermen who are able to move between the Worlds and the Celtic goddess Sulis, who is known to reside in the hot springs at Bath, England. I also call on the Lady of the Lake. Water is mystery, the Lady of the Lake lives in the mystery, a life beyond a veil. I ask that all who heed this call come with pure and positive energy for me/us and for this ceremony. I call on my ancestors and the spirits of the land, both those who are land spirits and those who are spirits who have lived on and who continue to protect and guard this land. I call on the spirit of the West Wind to bring purity, to wash us clean. Blessed Be.”
Facing North: “I call on the Spirits of Earth, the four-leggeds, horse, bear, the white tailed deer, and the White Buffalo; I call on the grounding and nourishment provided by Earth which holds us and feeds us and provides us with all that we need to sustain physical life; I call on the Celtic goddess Danu, the mother of all Irish people and of the Tuatha de Dannan, who is the producer of life, Earth Mother, goddess-healer of the land. I also call on the spirit of Gaia, the Earth herself and on White Buffalo Calf Woman, who brought the 7 Sacred Rituals to the Lakota people. I ask that all who heed this call come with pure and positive energy for me/us and for this ceremony. I call on my ancestors and the spirits of the land, both those who are land spirits and those who are spirits who have lived on and who continue to protect and guard this land. I call on the spirit of the North Wind to bring nourishment and growth. Blessed Be.”Facing the Center or East: “I call on the Spirits of Center, the as above, so below; as within, so without, mysteries. I call on our connection through all of the dimensions, honoring the 9 dimensions I am aware of, from the iron core crystal at Earth’s center, to the 9th dimension and the great sun at Galactic Center. I call in Unity Consciousness and the Sacred Marriage, the heiros gamos. I call on the Spirit of the Divine Sophia, the creatrix of all that is. I ask that all who heed this call come with pure and positive energy for me/us and for this ceremony. I call on my ancestors and the spirits of the land, both those who are land spirits and those who are spirits who have lived on and who continue to protect and guard this land. I call on the spirits of the Spiral Winds to bring connection as we move higher on our path. Blessed Be.”
Once the directions have been called, I will make a prayer to Mother/Father/Divine of which I am part, asking that my intentions be seen and sealed as I offer them into the fire for release and clearing. See below.
Now it is time to offer the intentions to the fire.
How to make the bowl burn: Pour enough Epsom Salts into the bowl to cover the bottom by at least 1/2″ and then add enough alcohol to dampen the salt. Be careful with the alcohol as it is highly flammable and too much will be dangerous.
Using your stick lighter or long, wooden match, light the alcohol ablaze.
If you’re using a wood fire, proceed with lighting or blaze gazing, if you lit the fire beforehand.
Once you’ve taken a moment to see the blaze, add your intentions to the bowl and say a prayer (or whatever term you use for sacred words) of releasing. Here is a suggestion: Mother/Father/Divine, As my intentions are released into the purifying flame, please clear me of all that no longer serves me, so that I vibrate at the highest frequency of love, and am rooted into my true spiritual power. Please seal all voids, cracks and openings with the golden substance of Divine Love. I ask that you open my heart to the vibration of Cosmic Unity-Consciousness. So I speak and so it is. <looking into the flames> I release you. I release you. I release you. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Once your flames have died, or your intentions have burned completely to ash, and you feel complete with the releasing ceremony, it is time to thank and release the directions and guardian spirits who you called in. I like to do this in reverse order, beginning in the center and moving from North, to West, to South, and finally, to the East, saying words such as: Thank you Spirits of the Center, for being with me/us in ceremony today and offering your strength, blessings and power. I honor and thank you for your presence here today. Go if you must, stay if you will, Blessed Be. And repeating something like that in each direction until finishing in the East.
Now clean out your bowl, offering the salt to the Earth if you can, and blessing it as you place it into the dustbin, if you cannot offer it to the Earth.
This ceremony is also a good one to use each month on the Full Moon.
I hope that you are blessed by this ceremony and that you find yourself more clean, clear and current. ~Blessings on you. Be~