Every year I see posts go up on Facebook that are variations of “what should I give up for Lent this year?” with suggestions like chocolate, donuts, and the ironic social media posting. Usually I shake my head at its amusing triviality, but this year I saw a fascinating post by a priest about what to do for Lent.
He suggested looking carefully at one’s life to find out what was blocking us from loving ourselves and others, writing those barriers down, burning them, then using the ashes for a simple anointment for Ash Wednesday.
To use words more familiar in magick, he was suggesting:
- Shadow work
- Petition papers
- Banishing ritual through fire
- Anointment ritual
I rewatched the video several times (you can view it here) and I think this is a fantastic idea, whether or not you participated in Ash Wednesday or plan to do something for Lent. It’s just a good idea for any time!
- Rip, don’t cut your petition paper edges, rotating it counter-clockwise when doing so
- Phrase clearly what you want to get rid of (eg “fear” or “doubt” not “lack of confidence”)
- Don’t let your pen leave the paper when writing it (yes, that means writing in cursive!)
- Write it three times, rotating your paper counter-clockwise each time. If you have a magickal number that you connect with that is not three (eg 4) use that instead.
- When folding your paper, do so counter-clockwise
- You may wish to rip up your petition papers as well; if that feels right, go ahead and do so before burning
- Charge the papers with clear intention, the same as your writings
Burning the Papers
- It is tradition to use pieces of the Yule/Christmas decor when burning ashes for Lent. If you have any leftover holly, ivy, etc, add that into the bowl
- Add in any purification or banishing herbs that you like working with, such as angelica, basil, oak, pepper, pine, thistle, or yarrow (rosemary if you don’t have any of these). If you really want to pack a punch to it, add hot pepper.
- Palm Sunday palm crosses from last year – if you have any left over, add these as well
- Use a black candle to light it, or keep a black candle lit during the ritual
- While they burn, pray to your deity asking them to remove these petitions from your life and give you the strength to do so
- After the ceremony and anointment, take a shower/bath, continuing to ask for the removal of your petitions, letting the water wash away the ashes
Since this was a banishing / cleansing ceremony, consider also adding a positive balancing spell soon afterward. I would recommend a self-love ritual with rose petals or even a quick spritz of yourself with rose water.