How to Hold a Gratitude Ritual
By Patti Wigington
Do a Gratitude Ritual to express your thankfulness.
For many Wiccans and Pagans, autumn is a time of thanks giving. Although this is the most obvious around the Mabon holiday, if you live in the United States, most of your friends and family will be giving thanks in November. If you’d like to tie in to that a little, but with a Pagan flair, you might want to consider doing a short gratitude ritual as a way of expressing your own thankfulness.
- Before you begin, decorate your altar with symbols of the season. You may want to choose items that represent abundance, such as:
- Baskets of fruit, such as apples or grapes
- An abundance mandala
- Colors associated with abundance, such as gold and green
- Symbols of things you’re thankful for, such as your health or your career
- Photos of your family and friends who mean a lot to you
You’ll also want to have a candle on your altar. Gold or green is preferable, but you can use another color if it signifies abundance to you. Also, make a batch of Gratitude Oil ahead of time to use in the ritual.
- If your tradition calls for you to cast a circle, go ahead and do so.
As you begin, take a moment to reflect on the abundance in your life. When we say abundance, it doesn’t necessarily mean material or financial gain — you may be abundant if you have friends who love you, a satisfying family life, or a rewarding career. Think about that things you have for which you are most grateful. These are the things you will be focusing on in this rite. As you’re thinking about these things, anoint the candle with the Gratitude Oil, and then light it on your altar table or workspace.
- If you have a particular deity in your tradition who is associated with thankfulness, you may wish to call out to this god or goddess and invite them into your circle. If not, that’s okay too — you can express your gratitude to the universe itself.
- Beginning at one corner of the table, begin saying the things you are thankful for, and why. It might go something like this:
I am thankful for my health, because it allows me to feel well. I am thankful for my children, for keeping me young. I am thankful for my career, because each day I get paid to do what I love. I am thankful for my job, because I am able to feed my family. I am thankful for my garden, because it provides me fresh herbs. I am thankful for my coven sisters, because they make me feel spiritually complete…
and so forth, until you have expressed your thankfulness for everything in your life.
- If you’re doing this ritual with a group, each person should anoint a candle of their own, and call out their own things that they are thankful for.
Take a few more minutes to meditate on the candle flame, and to focus on the notion of abundance. While you’re thinking about things you are grateful for, you might also wish to consider the people in your life that are grateful towards you, for the things you have done. Recognize that gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving, and that counting one’s blessings is an important thing to do, because it reminds us of how truly fortunate we are.
- Note: It’s important to realize that one of the things about being thankful is that we should let people who have made us happy know they’ve done so. If there’s someone specific you wish to thank for their words or actions, you should take the time to tell them so directly, instead of (or in addition to) merely doing a ritual that they’ll never know about. Send a note, make a phone call, or tell them in person how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you.
What You Need
- Symbols of what you’re thankful for
- A candle
- Gratitude Oil