Truly, any and every moment of life can be experienced as ceremony.
Beloved black gum and yellow-poplar leaves crunching below my feet. Dewy moss partnered with rough bark, greeting the warmth of my hands. A cool and low hanging autumn fog hugging the landscape, as a deep sense of silence fell upon me. Almost like a wall, or a door in itself, the feeling was beautifully dense, yet penetrable. At first, the reticence was all my senses could discern. As I moved deeper between my wise companions called trees, my eyes made out a small black iron fence veiled by dry ivy. Within it, six cement headstones. My Dad passing some time before, I knew what I had stumbled upon was a graveyard; I had seen one before. I constructed cemeteries to be simply where bodies were buried. But, this hallowed holding within my church, the forest, felt wildly different than anything I had threaded into before. And in it, I felt more clear, more distinctly present. I didn’t then realize the full significance of what I had found, or found for myself, of the holy ground I had entered. But I did understand that I was in the presence of something that time had touched, yet was timeless, intangible and sacred.
I did understand that I was in the presence of something that time had touched, yet was timeless, intangible and sacred.
This moment was so potent for me, that I returned to the burial ground as often as I could; treading deeper into conversation with the energy of it each time. This entering into sacred relationship, into mystery, became something my spirit craved. It felt like I was touching something deeper and purer within me, each time I ran through the woods into that silence. It felt like a return, a coming home. This journey always manifested itself as awe and gratitude into my day, seeing endless possibilities to meet the divine in varying shapes, experiences and forms.
Fast forward to today, decades later, and one could easily say that I am still that wild haired being conversing and moving in relationship with the sacred; awake to its beauty. Not that I am returning to that wooded burial ground every morning, although I do wonder if it is still there. But, more so that the experience fortified within me an understanding that the potential to be in the presence of the divine lies in every moment between everything. The key word here being potential, for it is up to us to not only clearly see the sacred, but have the courage to meet it, weave it and be in relationship with it as well. This is where the conscious art of spiritual practice enters modern life.
You see, my running to the graveyard wasn’t just a wild child habit; it was a ceremony. It was me choosing to participate with great intention in something that clarified that which I value, the sacred connection I share with life. Being ceremoniously in the forest is still my favorite way to engage with this core value of sacred connection. But it isn’t always possible. So, over time, I have mindfully cultivated rituals that I practice through ceremony, such as lighting my altar with my daughter in the morning, using my moonLIT app and connecting with tribe, giving and receiving with two hands, tea moments with loved ones, my yoga practice, walking barefoot in my back yard and listening to bird song.
Truly, any and every moment of life can be experienced as ceremony. So, let these words be a siren to you, to have the courage to leave habits behind, awaken or enliven your relationship to the divine and live your incredible existence ceremoniously.
Photo by Allison Janssen.
Allison Janssen is the cofounder of the lunar astrology and sacred rituals app, Moonlit, Mama to a toddler, military wife, lifeloogang backpacker, writer and yoga teacher. Obsessed with nature’s inner workings, she spends her days investigating and appreciating the many relationships, the connections, experienced in life — that between breath, body, mountains, the moon and beyond. For more, see her on the Moonlit App, and follow her on Instagram @moonlittribe and @allisonajanssen.