Ceremony & Ritual

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Alchemical Integration

Article 9: Jacquie Riker

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn't make any sense.
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Ceremony and Ritual as a Personal Healing Process

In ancient times, the Alchemist knew the secrets of transmuting base metal, or lead, into the preciousness of gold. This is symbolic language for the ability to transform that which is heavy, dense, and stuck into that which is fluid, of the greatest value and the highest frequency. In terms of a healing process, this means taking your obstacles and transforming them into stepping-stones.

Healing of the mind, body, and spirit begins with making a commitment to one's self to courageously and compassionately look at the heaviness in the heart and mind, and the obstacles to radiant health in the body. In order to know the Light, one must be willing to risk embracing the Dark.

Alchemical Integration is a healing process that uses techniques such as CranioSacral bodywork and sacred ceremony to facilitate connection with one's inner wisdom as a healing quest.

In the legend of the Quest for the Holy Grail, the Knights rode OUT looking far and wide throughout the land for the Grail, which would restore King and country. The legend tells of a King who was languishing between life and death, unable to rule his kingdom. The land was withered and barren; the people were starving. According to the legend, the grail held the substance that would transform King and country to their original vitality. Symbolically, the image of the Grail, or Chalice, represents the inner source, or the heart, which is full to overflowing, open and receptive, clear in the way ahead, strongly centered in truth, that which supplies our abundant vitality. So our quest is to go IN to find the power to heal, restore, and fill our consciousness with vibrant life.

We begin this journey by seeing it as the ceremony of creating a safe, sacred space for moving into the deeper levels of one's being. Creative imagination is used to visualize a healing garden, a temple, a site in nature, or whatever manner of place is most important for this inner ritual. This becomes an inner sanctuary where all that happens is held in honor, compassion, and with the intention of harmony and balance.

Inviting stillness allows us to move from doing into being, and opens our awareness to notice where there is contraction in the body, restriction in energy flow, or an obstacle in consciousness. This may take the form of a previous trauma to the body that has not been fully healed, or the residue of an intense emotion that could not be fully processed when it was experienced. This unprocessed emotion could then become suppressed in the body causing restriction of the tissues and the energy in the area. Likewise, a limiting belief in consciousness, which once served as a protective mechanism, can now become an obstacle to moving forward. Using therapeutic imagery, we dialog with that aspect of self to determine what its purpose is, how it has served, and what needs to happen to allow it to transform. We may create an altar of objects that symbolize those issues we are working with, so that they are acknowledged and thanked, held in the energy of Grace while in the process of transformation.

Emotional energy that is stuck may need to be expressed, and that could take the form of speaking words that have been held in, or voice toning to open the throat for expression. We might use Tibetan bowls to re-balance resonance in an organ or body part, or gentle body movement, slowly unwinding to allow the tissues to release contracted energy. A moving meditation or sacred dance may be used to open congested areas of the body and the energy pathways enhancing fluidity and balance. Also, we frequently use the Burning Bowl ceremony, which involves writing or drawing out the unfinished business of the heart and mind that surfaces in order to be healed. Expressive artwork or writing allows that which was in the dark and causing heaviness to come up into the light and become a tool for empowerment. The paper can then be placed in a bowl and burned, wherein the fire cleanses and purifies, and the smoke carries it to the Great Spirit in a prayer of surrender. Or the paper may be ritually buried in Mother Earth where She will receive it and transform its energy.

What would an Alchemical Integration healing ceremony be like?

We would begin with a conversation to check-in and to determine where you are now in your life and on your spiritual path, what your intention is for healing, and where you want to be. We would then create sacred space for the healing dance by entering silence to still our doing-self and allow the beingness of self to come forward. By consciously letting go of the busyness of life and focusing on breathing together, we connect with body wisdom and the heart space. CranioSacral bodywork is used to deepen your ability to travel inward and to connect with this inner wisdom of your body and feeling nature that holds the information of what needs to be healed, as well as exactly how to accomplish that healing.

The ritual of a guided visualization, using the senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting, will help to create your personal sanctuary for healing, and you may return to it any time that you wish to continue the process, either in session or on your own. It's as if you are making a movie in which you are the producer, director, writer and star. The power of your imagination creates a healing garden where you smell the flowers, hear the birds and creatures, feel the breeze on your cheek, and the sun on your face. You make a meditation seat where you go to sit in your deepest stillness, grounded and centered in the essential truth of your being.

In the safety of this therapeutic imagery we gently allow space in your awareness for you to discover and embrace those parts of self that are wounded, painful, unforgiven, or heavy. We ask your inner wisdom to show you how to return to balance and wholeness. Honoring the guidance of your inner wisdom, we may use therapeutic dialog to converse with an image or a feeling of the aspect of yourself that needs healing. By guiding you in asking questions of this aspect, we discover its origin, purpose, how it has served, and what it needs now to be able to transform from the lead of body, or consciousness, into the sustaining, vital gold of spirit. All of this comes from the well of your center, your personal Chalice, which you now have access to for living a radiant, empowered life.

Sometimes there is no dialog, and instead we create a deep silent place where I am a conscious companion, present with you as your inner process unfolds guided by your inner knowing. In the sanctuary of your interior healing space that is being held for you, repressed experiences or feelings that are obstacles can surface, allowing that rigid energy to move fluidly and to become your stepping-stones in empowerment.

Frequently your inner wisdom gives a "homework assignment" to express emotions and cultivate empowering tools for navigating life. This becomes your personal ritual, possibly consisting of creating a sacred space or an altar in your home to honor yourself or others, expressing thoughts or feelings in journaling, finding stillness in meditation, being centered in a disciplined movement of tai chi or qi gong, discovering creativity in artwork, opening to fluidity in sacred dance, or grounding in connection with nature.

We conclude the healing ceremony by thanking your inner wisdom and all the aspects of yourself that have come forward with a willingness to transform. It is important to take a few moments to notice how you may feel differently, and to gather the gifts of healing you have connected with so that you may bring them into your everyday life. These ceremonies are used to discover and transform the layers of heaviness around the Chalice of your Heart, changing the lead of consciousness into the gold of spirit. This is the art of becoming a powerful Alchemist, free to live a life that is clear, open, full and strong.

Jacquie Riker

Jacquie Riker is certified by the Upledger Institute in advanced CranioSacral Therapy and Somato Emotional Release. Jacquie has also completed training in Vision, Creativity and Intuition Therapy with Caroline Myss, Ph.D and C. Norman Shealy, M.D, Ph.D. She is an ordained minister, lecturer and teacher whose ministry focus is spiritual coaching, personal healing and the creation of ceremony.

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Editors note:

The Cerritomni segment promises to be exciting and informative as you are introduced to the Rituals and Ceremonies of many cultures as well as contemporary Rituals as designed, created and scored by those on a quest for an expression of spirit that is personally fulfilling, meaningful and enlightening.

This quest is often a long and multifaceted journey. We will endeavor to bring you articles that are of the highest quality and credibility and look forward to your suggestions and encouragement.

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