The importance of religion in our lives cannot be underestimated. And, just because we may have rejected the religion of our origin, does not mean it’s not important to us. The word religion originally meant to “relate back” to something. Without the presence of some way for us to “relate back” to ourselves, we are lost trying to make meaning of our lives. This psychological pressure prevents us from fully experiencing joy.
The good news here is that if the religions of your upbringing no longer serve you, it’s time to create your own. The development of a personal mythology is a wise and worthy task, and perhaps the most important any person can undertake in his or her lifetime. It begins by asking simple questions of yourself, and connecting to the mystery that is life and this universe.
Luckily, both Pluto and Neptune are on our side in this pursuit. Pluto encourages us to explore our depths, while Neptune challenges us to find a spiritual connection tosomething…ourselves, the mystery, or another. Fueling the pressure to look deeply within to fill yourself with personal myth is Saturn. Saturn is right next to the moon and asking us to fulfill and manifest the myth within us.
We can stop looking for meaning outside of us in fleeting things. We can stop pursuing the calcified certainty that is always elusive. We can stop resisting the call to fall into the mystery that sustains life. We can start to make meaning from the myth that we live by.
For a start-to-finish guide on personal myth making through yoga, please read Yoga Beyond the Mat.
Alchemical Ritual for the Sagittarius Full Moon
As a fire sign, Sagittarius has a lot of energy, and vivacity. This energy is both bright and engaging, but is also overwhelming if not reigned in. Sagittarius, applauds higher thinking and philosophy, and religion often intrigues the archer. This full moon ritual for Sagittarius draws out the high side of Sag and illuminates the spiritual connection within the religious function of our psyche, so we feel less adrift and know we are not alone.
Sagittarius' ruler is Jupiter, the great centaur who aims true for the target. Our work here is to shoot for the source—the heart—of connection. This is the ultimate target, and the ultimate goal of any philosophical, religious or spiritual pursuit. Gather a blue stone such as topaz, amethyst or turquoise. Clear quartz crystal is effective in this ritual, too. Simple flowers such as daisies or carnations are pleasing to Jupiter, and enhance ritual. If you have clove or anise spice, sprinkle it into a bowl and place it in your ritual space. Clove and anise essential oil may be used to anoint your third eye, and your hips (Sagittarius rules the hips) before and after the ceremony. Use sage, sweet grass or palo santo to cleanse yourself and the space by casting the smoke over yourself and encircling your own body three times. Light a few candles and dim the lights. Locate a religious item, or one that holds profound philosophical properties for you (an icon, a book, a statue, etc.). Place this item in the center of the ceremonial circle. Step inside, sit down, and close the eyes. Place your mental focus on the object and its meaning. Visualize it in your mind’s eye. Say the following invocation out loud:
Sagittarius and Jupiter, allow me to feel the deep connection to source that comes from within, even as I seek the means to express that connection on the outside.
Spend a few moments in quiet contemplation. Clear the mind of thoughts completely.
See the object you’ve brought with you into the circle and silently ask it to give you a message. Religion is most powerful when we make it personal, commune with it, and allow it to speak to us. Wait patiently, and allow the message to arise. It may be a simple image, one word, or a feeling. Accept all things that come. Do not anticipate or second guess the message, simply allow it to arise on its own. Once it does, take three deep breaths and feel the message in your body, as you slowly open your eyes and see the external embodiment of the message in the item before you.
When complete, chant Om three times, and snuff the candles. Place the sacred item in prominent view and allow it to be a touchstone of the message you received in this ritual. This is an outer representation of the inner connection you have to spirit. This ritual is the beginning of building a personal mythology—one where you find your own way through the outer trappings of religion and philosophy to connect with yourself. In doing so, rather than looking for meaning in your life, you bring meaning to it.
By Alanna Kaivalya
Alanna believes Yoga is for everyone and each student can develop the self-empowerment needed to embark on a personal journey to meaningful transformation. On this principle she founded The Kaivalya Yoga Method, a fresh take on yoga emphasizing the individual path while honoring tradition. Teaching students since 2001, teachers since 2003, Alanna has written and developed teacher trainings worldwide for top studios and independently. In January she debuted a comprehensive 200hr-online teacher training with YogaDownload. She holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, has authored numerous articles and two books: Myths of the Asanas, an accessible practitioner’s guide to stories behind beloved poses; Sacred Sound, a yoga “hymnal,” illustrating the role of chant and mantra in modern practice. Look for her third book, Yoga Beyond the Mat, in Autumn 2016.She lives in New York City with Roxy the Wonderdog.
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