Practicum Post–What Do You Need?

To put into practice what I wrote about ritual being a dance of two parts (call and response), here is something you can try.

Identify a need.  This in itself can take time and discernment.  What do you long for?  What would support you?  Take all the time you need to become clear about what your need is.

Pay attention to how you feel as you name your need.  Does any particular part of your body resonate with this need?  Do any emotions come up around it?  Acknowledging any mental chatter that may be present around whether or not you really know what you need or whether or not you really deserve what you want, while not giving it too much energy, pay attention to the overall “lean” of your being in relation to this need.  Do you imagine yourself moving toward what you name or away from it?  Does your being get drawn in like a magnet or are you more ambivalent?  The clearest needs, those you will find easiest to speak and embody in ritual, are those with the strongest pull, the least friction (even if there is mental chatter present).

Find a bowl.  It doesn’t have to be large.  Place it in sacred space: a bedroom sanctuary, under a favorite tree.

Find one object that represents your need.  It can be your need written on a piece of paper, but even better to be an object that with its very color, shape, and form speaks without words your need.  Be specific.  Let yourself play.  Let yourself enjoy the object you choose.

Place the object in the bowl, and sit down with the bowl in front of you.  Now speak, in words.  Name your need using the most true words you can find in you to describe it.  If there is fear coming up around what happens if your need is not met, acknowledge it, but don’t follow it.  Remain in touch with the “lean” of your being, with the shape and texture of you as you imagine yourself in touch with what you are naming.  Do not censor.

(It might sound something like this: “I need a job.  I need work.  I need that glow of satisfaction that comes when I have done my best at something that asked of me my best skills.  I feel myself smiling.  I feel warm inside.  My hands feel capable and I imagine them shaping something although I don’t see what they’re shaping.  I need to know that my skills are building something that will last.”)

When no more words come, sit back.  Remain silent.  Watch, listen, observe.  Let what happens happen.  Take at least as much time at this as you have taken at speaking.

You may, if you can and if you wish, leave the bowl and object in your sacred space and repeat this ritual as often as you are able and as feels right to you.  If you notice, in the hours and days and weeks after, any part of what you have asked for coming to you, be sure to acknowledge this with gratitude.


About Jayleigh

Drawing on experiences within women’s spirituality groups for the past ten years, as well as experiences of creating group ritual within these spaces, I am passionate about bringing the healing and enlivening power of ritual to individuals and communities. I believe that the roots of ceremony lie deep within all of us. Our bodies and hearts know these ancient ways of connecting with each other, with our deepest selves, and with our earth. My work centers around helping people remember ceremony and incorporate it into their lives. My business, Incorporating Ritual (, is a vehicle through which I offer consultation services for creating self-designed ceremony as well as facilitation of ceremonies for life events personal and communal, large and small.
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