Photo of a ceremonial pot with smoke

We have a choice in living each day.  We can have the perspective and belief that nothing is a miracle or that everything is a miracle.

‘Having long chosen the latter, this perspective is part of who I am (though being human, I can get derailed sometimes). I believe I was born with a little pixie dust in my heart, because little things can get me quite excited.  I love to spread joy, because it roots that feeling deeper into my experience and lifts me up – a bit of a win-win for sure.

So where does “ceremony” come into this?  And what is the difference between “ceremony” and “celebration”?  Let’s look at the dictionary definitions first.

Ceremony: a formal act or set of formal acts established by custom or authority as proper to a special occasion such as wedding, religious rite, etc.

Celebration: to keep, observe, commemorate, or means to notice or to honour a day, an occasion, or deed.

These definitions are very closely related; so, I’d like to share how I experience the difference between these two wonderful acts in life.

With ceremony, I am bringing an “intention” first and foremost. “Intention” is the focus that I honour and uphold, as I proceed into the ceremony with my whole being.

This adds a different awareness and presence to the act or event and allows space for divine guidance to enter. There is a heightened sense of presence when I am more aware of both my inner guidance and how the environment shows up to support us. In essence, it creates space for magic and mystery to be present. For example, my girlfriend was sharing a story about her father who had passed; and just then, a blue jay landed on a tree branch right beside us and started squawking. Her father’s favourite bird was a blue jay.  What a special gift!

For me, ceremony carries a message of deep gratitude and honour. Over the past couple of years, slowing down has allowed me to become more present and intentional in how I live each day. One of the activities that has had a huge shift for me is walking in nature. I have always enjoyed doing this. However, unless I was away on holidays, the daily walks with my dog were sometimes just an item to check off my list of to-dos for the day.

In 2020, my daily walks morphed into a true act of ceremony. There were weeks that my girlfriend and I would stop in special places and hold space. We sometimes offered prayers to the land, our community, our families, or we sang and danced. Almost always we offered tobacco, dried flowers, crystals, or seeds to the land and our ancestors. During these times we were very present to the animals and birds showing up at specific moments of our conversation, and we knew they were bringing their message and medicine. The gratitude that this brought to our hearts was palpable, and we would be in awe with the miracles that presented themselves.

In early 2023, I completed my list of “Intention Words” which capture my vision and focus for the year ahead. This is another area where I bring ceremony into my life. I set aside sacred space for myself, light a candle, get my crystals, pour myself a cup of tea and then choose one or more of my oracle/tarot card decks to pull messages from.  Then I place them around me, settle into a meditation, and allow these meaningful words to bubble up to the surface. Once they are clear, I proceed to journal and record my thoughts which provide inspiration and a guiding light for the year ahead. It’s become a lovely ceremony to bring forth these annual “Intentions”.

I have added this ceremonial practice to many areas of my life: in my healing and coaching practice, as I prepare for clients, as I set up my space, as I sign the Reiki certificates for my students, or even when writing a special card.

This also shows up in a big way at our Women’s Wellness Circles. The time I spend setting up our space and welcoming everyone and right through to the closing of the Circle is special and held with intention. I am filled with huge gratitude for every unique, precious month’s gathering. It’s almost like adding another layer of love and gratitude into each action. There is a feeling of fulfilment that has accompanied these shifts.

Of course, I love to celebrate, too. To me, celebration means acknowledging the great things in life whether they be big or small – to express our joy around life milestones and just because.

It’s almost like the presence and intention of Ceremony has brought even more awareness to all that I have to celebrate. Just like life, everything is interwoven into the experience.

I encourage you to welcome more ceremony into your life, and just watch and enjoy as the miracles show up!


Circles of Ceremony & Celebration,

Karen Armstrong

WWC Host, Newmarket/EG
Reiki Master, Biophoton Light Therapist & Enneagram Coach

2 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *