Monday, January 2, 2017

Rituals for New Beginnings

January 2017



There are times, in my place of residence in Carmel, Indiana, when my dog Winky and I walk under a night sky that is bathed in deep blue light.  The horizon beckons us to climb into the silence of the moving winds, the stars and the darkness. It is always a surprise to discover this world yet when I arrive there, I am enfolded in the awareness that these elements go back hundreds of years and have been experienced by many other human beings before me.   While it is a new journey for me each time, it is also an ancient path that is well worn from previous visitors.

When we enter a new world, whether it’s a new job, a new home, or a new year, we often feel a sense of trepidation.  Beginnings scare us because they seem like lonely voyages into the unknown.  But, no new beginning is truly unique from all others.  There is shelter to be found, there is companionship to strengthen us, and there is always hope. Not the Pollyanna version of hope, but a deeper, more instinctive feeling inside that sustains us as we adapt to a new start. President Obama described it in this quote, “Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

Rites of passage and rituals are perfect ways to honor and acknowledge our fears and our hopes for new beginnings.  They can be simple and powerful; for example:
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    We can light a candle and utter a blessing to give voice to our hope in a new beginning, such as “In the name of silence, in the name of stillness, in the name of solitude, I begin. I bless the wonder of my eternal soul, the miracle of my health, and this new year that brings me the opportunity to be compassionate in my heart, clear in my words, gracious in my awareness of myself and all other living creatures, with courage in my intentions and generosity in my spirit.  
     My love and light guide me now and in the coming days.”
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    We can create a thoughtful and inspiring Vision Board for the coming year by cutting out images from old magazines gathered just for that purpose and pasting them to a white poster board with our vision for the future.  Sitting in a quiet place, silently using our scissors to cut the images and then arranging them in a gently guided sequence, we can invoke the wisdom of our soul guides to help us bring together dreams for the future that we wish to tie to our hearts and make real in the new year.  When it is done, we can raise a toast with a glass of champagne (or a cup of hot tea, as you like) and utter the words, “And so it is!” 
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     On New Year’s Eve one of my favorite rituals in our Web-based world is watching on television as the New Year is rung in across the globe. It’s a thrilling spectacle that brings me a direct experience of being connected to One World.   It never fails to choke me up with emotions of gratitude, awe, and joy.  I utter a prayer to bless the world and give me courage to do my part to contribute to a world of justice and goodness:  “May our human thoughts be true light, may they find their way into words and deeds that spring from kindness, compassion, and love for one another.”

I wish you a wonderful new year of rites, rituals and ceremonies – and, from my heart to yours, have a Happy New Year!


Elaine Voci is a life coach in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant  Foundation & Institute .   Elaine is the Editor of the Celebrant Blog for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.

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The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants.  To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit 




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