Why do a Burning Ceremony?

Mar 18, 2021

Burning ceremonies have morphed from age old rituals into a transformative way of releasing the past from your life so that you can focus on what’s in the present instead – it’s a way to leave behind those things that no longer serve us to make room for the fresh and new things that will. Burning ceremonies should be an inspirational practice – making way for new beginnings.

Burning ceremonies have been used in various traditions for a number of years. They often include writing prayers, hopes, dreams and sometimes conflicts that you want released on a piece of paper and burning it in a bowl – the theory being turning your thoughts, feelings and dreams into smoke and sending them into the air. These ceremonies have been used at weddings (the couple burns what they are leaving behind in their single life), milestone birthdays such as coming of age, change of jobs or careers, unhealthy attachments to people (here or gone) or things, sadness and trauma. It is also a practice used for setting New Year’s resolutions.

In the case of writing a letter to someone that has passed, a burning ceremony is a way to heal grief – to perhaps say those things you never said while they were alive. When writing your letter think about the experiences you shared, a favorite memory, things you wished you could have said to them directly and your moments of appreciation. You can read the letter out loud first if you like, or just place it directly in a fireproof dish or a bowl and light it on fire – maybe use the flame from a candle to make it more special. Maybe perform this someplace that was special to you both. After the fire is out, scatter the ashes outside on the ground sending them back to the earth.

This does not need to be done alone, make sure you have support with you or on speed dial and have compassion for yourself afterward, as it can be an emotional experience.

It’s a good idea to use a journal also as a way to capture your thoughts and feelings before and after this ceremony – setting good intentions for your future.

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