We are one sick society. Literally. But don’t worry,  this isn’t a criticism about our society’s ethics or morals. It’s a commentary on the fact that, as a society, we get sick all the time. Why? Because we no longer take the time to sit in ceremony and ritual as we did in “days of old,” to release the built-up energies of the past and to welcome the new energies of days to come. Oddly enough, we can schedule business meetings, get-togethers, workouts and even babysitters, but we no longer seem to be able to create space in our lives to clear out the old and welcome the new. We just get sick instead.

So, if you want to avoid getting sick every few months, listen to what your Spirit is saying. Set a little time aside at the end of each season to reflect on and appreciate what has been, and to anticipate and welcome what’s to come. There are many different ways to do this. You sit by your garden, write in your journal, meditate in front of a candle, walk in the rain by running water (the rain brings in the new and the running water washes away the old), or you can follow this really simple and practical ritual suggested by Paxton Robey. It’s called the “yellow pad” exercise.

All you need is a big Sharpie marker, a blank yellow legal pad, some matches and a fire-proof bowl or fireplace. Draw a vertical line down the center of the paper. On the left side of the paper, write all the things about the past that you want to release. You can include physical problems, challenges at work, personality issues—anything. On the right side of the paper, write all the things you want to manifest in your life in the near future. This can include states of mind, physical health, harmony in your family or anything else you look forward to. Fill up as many pages as you want. Write freely and boldly.

Once you’re done writing, tear each sheet of paper in half along the lines you drew. Then, with great intention, light and burn all the half-sheets that contain the things from the past you want to release. As you light and burn each sheet, say aloud in a voice of command, “I release the old and welcome the new.” Keep saying this mantra until all the sheets have been burned. Then sit and meditate on your list for the future for a few moments. You may want to burn some sweetgrass or broadleaf sage to draw in the good spirits as you do so. Store all the half-sheets that contain all the things you wish to manifest in your future in a sacred place such as your altar or “Universe Box” or Book of Shadows

Does this ritual really work? You bet. According to the laws of voodoo magic, you are binding the things you write to paper. By burning those sheets of paper, you are burning those problems or issues out of your consciousness, and your life. You are also bringing the things you want for your future into physical manifestation by writing them down. Doing this little ritual four times a year will keep your spiritual and emotional life clean and healthy. In our modern society we might not have time to dance and chant in ritual for days on end, but we owe it to ourselves to create time  for these little magical rituals that can literally save our spiritual lives!

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