In the US, the Thanksgiving season is almost upon us. It is hard to overstate the importance of expressing gratitude. An attitude of thanksgiving is how you tell the universe to continue sending blessings your way. After all, would you continue to give gifts to someone who did not seem to appreciate them? Of course not!
Even if you do not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday, add these thanksgiving rituals to your spiritual practice to experience more happiness and blessings every day of the year.
Offer Thanks to Your Spirits
Do not forget all of the spirits that surround you. Your spirit guides, ancestors, and other guardians help guide and protect you, so show your appreciation for their hard work. You will need:
- Frankincense and myrrh incense cones, sticks, or resin.
- Charcoal, sand, and an incense bowl. (If you are using resin.)
- A white candle.
- The best piece of meat you can afford, cooked well.
- A glass of the best wine you can afford.
- A piece of good bread.
- A dish of honey.
- The best piece of fruit you can grow or buy.
- A piece of a dessert.
- Any foods that are especial favorites of your ancestors or guides. For example, coffee.
If you celebrate Thanksgiving with a meal, feel free to use foods from your family dinner. Choose the best cuts of meat, slices of dessert, rolls, and so on.
Take all the items outside, to a peaceful place. Set them out like a picnic, with the foods placed around the white candle and incense. Light the candle first, then use the flame to light the incense. Say,
"To all my spirits, my ancestors, and my gods,
I give thanks for all of the blessings I have received this year.
I humbly offer these things to you,
With all of the respect and love that you are due."
If you wish, you can name specific blessings (a new job, relationship, or run of good luck) and thank certain spirits or deities by name. Sit quietly for a moment, feeling gratitude in your heart. When you are ready, snuff the candle. Pour the wine and honey on the ground, and leave the other offerings there for nature to claim.
A Thankful Candle Ritual
This is a nice ritual to share with friends and family during Thanksgiving celebrations. All you will need are:
- A piece of paper.
- A pen.
- A fireplace or bonfire. If you do not have access to these, you can use a candle and fireproof bowl.
- Suitable offering herbs, or frankincense and myrrh resins.
After your meal, sit and take a moment to think of all of the things you have to be grateful for. At the top of the paper, write:
"My ancestors, spirits, and gods, I thank you for"
Next, write a list of all of the things you have to be thankful for. If you are doing this as part of a celebration, pass the list around and have everyone present add to it.
Sprinkle the paper with frankincense and myrrh resin, and fold it up neatly. Carry it to the fireplace (or outdoors to the bonfire or candle and bowl), and allow the flames to burn the paper and offering incense and carry their smoke to the universe.
Connecting to Saint Francis for Gratitude
Saint Francis is considered the patron saint of gratitude. Thanksgiving, praise, and gratitude were his spiritual path in life. Even if you do not venerate saints, you can follow his example to allow thankfulness to enrich your life and spiritual practice.
Set up an area to meditate on and express your thanks. You may wish to set it with a cloth, a glass of water, a vase of fresh flowers, an incense bowl or burner, an empty plate or bowl, and a Saint Francis candle. Make it a beautiful, peaceful place you enjoy returning to.
Refresh the glass of water daily, and change the flowers as soon as they begin to wilt. Use the empty plate or bowl to leave offerings to your spirit guides and deities. Regularly come to this place to sit quietly, light the candle and some incense, and meditate on all you have to be grateful for. (If you wish, you may recite the traditional Canticle of the Sun.) If times are hard, you can ask Saint Francis for help seeing the blessings in your life. Even a simple request will work, like:
Please help me to see the bounty and blessings in my life,
That I might properly feel and express gratitude for all that I have been given.
A feeling of gratitude is its own reward, but cultivating it can also help you improve your life. Being thankful is tied to a happier, more peaceful existence, and can draw even greater blessings to you. These rituals are structured to help you express your gratitude on Thanksgiving and all year long.