Rosh Hashanah invites us to turn and return—to ourselves, to our inner truth, and to Divine presence. This ritual is designed to support this process through physical, embodied turning. As we move our bodies, we shift our energy. As we turn, we also return.
Begin by choosing three objects that are small enough to hold in your hands—candlesticks, for instance, or a child’s toy. Each will stand in as the answer to one of the following questions:
What are you grateful for in this past year?
What are you turning away from, that is, what would you like to leave behind?
What are you turning toward in the year to come? This can be specific, such as “my art practice” or more broad, like “kindness to strangers.”
If you’re having trouble choosing, feel free to just go with the first three beautiful or meaningful objects you find, either in your home or outdoors, and assign them these qualities in your mind.
Once you have your objects, it’s time to set up the mini-altars that will become your ritual space. Choose a room where you can either make a little bit of space for each object along each wall, or bring in small tables or stools where you can place each object near a wall.
When you’ve done this, you should be able to see each object upon entering the room and they should be surrounding you in the shape of a triangle when you walk into the room’s center. Feel free to spruce up your mini-altars with leaves, stones, fabric, or anything else you might have at hand.
When you’re ready to begin the ritual, enter the room and stand at the center. You may wish to ground yourself with a deep breath in and out. Then, turn first to the object that represents what you’ve been grateful for in this past year. Walk up to the object. As you look at it, give thanks to whatever it is you’re grateful for. Then, turn in a clockwise circle, in place, and walk back to the center of the room.
While standing at the center, turn toward the next object in front of the adjacent wall. Walk up to it, and state aloud what it is you’d like to turn away from this year. Then, turn in a counterclockwise circle, in place, and walk back to the center of the room.
Turn towards the third object and the third wall in the space. Walk up to it, and speak aloud what it is you’re turning towards. Turn in a clockwise circle, in place, and return to the center of the room.
Remain in the center of the room for a few moments. What did it feel like: the gratitude, the turning away, and the turning toward? What are you taking with you?
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