LOVE YOURSELF: A BODY WORSHIP RITUAL

Learn how worship your body with the same reverence you show when entering a sacred space of prayer, says Kitty Cavalier.  Artwork: Pedro Sacadura

As a little girl, I loved volunteering to clean my church after mass on Sundays. My family and a few other parish members would polish the pews, switch out the flowers on the altar, sweep the long processional aisle of dust bunnies and organize the hymnals. As a very devoted little Catholic girl, I felt like I was being given a backstage pass to my favorite concert. Tending and caring for what I considered God’s house was a huge honor and made me feel quite elite.

As time (read: puberty) went by, my beliefs about religion began to shift tremendously. As Mae West once said: “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” The church no longer felt even remotely like home – and as for many of us, my spiritual path since has followed more of a curve than a straight line. But there’s been one constant throughout: my body.

“My body is my temple” – it sounds so cliché. But let’s really think about it for a second. A temple is defined as “a space devoted to religious reverence,” and I can think of no greater house of worship than the cathedral of my very own heart. There is no holier a song than the sweet hum of my inhale and exhale. The light in my eyes mirrors the warmth of a candle’s flame. My skin houses and protects me like the smooth, lavish marble of the Taj Mahal, and the flush of my cheeks after an orgasm can put the ceiling of Sistine chapel to shame.

Yes, my body IS my temple. So today I’d like to share with you one of my personal favorite rituals to start 2016 off right: body worship. There is no way to do this ritual wrong. Just like learning a prayer or a hymn, a little heart, a sprinkling of soul, and practice is all it takes.

Suggested supplies for this body worship ritual:

  • Body Oil (such as coconut oil)
  • A mirror propped against a wall
  • A body scrub (like some sea salt mixed with body oil), or a loofah
  • A towel
  • Candlelight, incense, flowers, or anything else that helps you set sacred space
  • Music: click here for a free, hand-curated Body Worship Ritual playlist

1. Set Sacred Space
Imagine you are setting space for the high holy days of your inner temple. You can light candles, burn incense, place rose petals on your bath mat, fold your towel as you would for a guest, play music, or anything else that evokes the spirit of the sacred for you.

2. Tending The Temple Grounds
Step into the shower or bath. As you wash and scrub your skin, do so with the same care, attention and tenderness that you would show to the house of the Divine. Scrub and loofah your elbows and knees with the same softness and reverence you would show when walking into a sacred temple. Imagine that as you caress your body with soap suds, every bubble of soap is like a flower laid down in offering at the altar of YOU. When you rinse your body, feel the water wash away that which no longer serves you, and it’s healing power to make space for something new to enter.

3. The Sacrament of Body Worship
Now you have prepared the temple, you are ready for ceremony and worship! Place a soft blanket or towel on the floor in front of your mirror. Position yourself naked by candlelight seated on the floor and bow to the beauty of your reflection. Take the body oil and warm it between your holy hands, using your breath to blow a prayer of gratitude into the oil. Then, allow your hands to be both pilgrim and priestess, as they slowly, reverently massage prayers into your skin. Approach each curve and corner of your body as a different room in the temple waiting to be explored.

4. Encountering Eternity
When you feel complete with your body worship, get very close to the mirror. Stare deep into your own eyes and see if you can glimpse the part of you that is eternal, that never ages, and transcends time. Just like that sense of divinity we feel when we walk on sacred ground, that spirit is right there, woven into the fibers of your DNA. All that’s required to encounter it, is the courage to really look.

BEST OF 2015: THE NUMINOUS YEAR IN REVIEW

So many fantastic contributions from the Numinati this year! Here’s a month-by-month run down of some of our favorites in a special best of 2015 review…

JANUARY :: WHAT IS DHARMA? THE JOY OF SERVICE AS LIFE PURPOSE
Author: Naomi Costantino / Artwork: Erin Petson

 

FEBRUARY :: FASHION DESIGNER TAROT
Words: The New Age Hipster / Image: Alexandro Palombo

 

MARCH :: THIS ONE TIME, WHEN I WENT TO SHAMAN SCHOOL…
Words: Wolf Sister / Image: Karolina Daria Flora

 

APRIL :: SEXUAL HEALING (A.K.A. FINDING F***ING ENLIGHTEMNENT)
Words: Hanna Bier / Artwork: Romain Gorisse

 

MAY :: 20 THINGS I LEARNED AT CRYSTAL SCHOOL
Words: Ruby Warrington / Artwork: Karina Eibatova

 

JUNE :: INSIDE CAITLYN JENNER’S BIRTH CHART
Words: Kimberly Peta Dewhirst / Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair

 

JULY :: HOW TO CAST A MONEY SPELL
Words: Nabeel Afasr

 

AUGUST :: TAKE A LOVER WHO LOOKS AT YOU LIKE MAYBE YOU ARE MAGIC
Words: Ellie Burrows / Portrait: Mikal Marie

 

SEPTEMBER :: HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR SPIRITUAL ROADMAP
Words: Shaheen Miro / Images: Benoit Paille

 

OCTOBER :: HOW TO WORK WITH EACH MOON PHASE
Words: Hannah Ariel

 

NOVEMBER :: PROTECT YOURSELF FROM VAMPIRE LOVERS
Words: Alexandra Roxo, Natalia Leite, and Cat Cabral / Artwork: Pa-kwan Promsri

 

DECEMBER :: THE ART OF SACRED ADORNMENT
Words: Kitty Cavalier / Photography: Anna Dabrowska / Illustration: Mara Gonzalez Telman

SACRED ADORNMENT: THE ART OF DRESSING FOR YOUR SPIRIT

Dressing for your spirit – that’s the art of sacred Adornment, says Kitty Cavalier. Photography: Anna Dabrowska // Illustration: Mara Gonzalez Telman

Adornment and ornamentation of the human body is a practice that goes back to the beginning of time. It is something we humans have used for thousands of years to express how we feel, what we think, and what we choose to honor. When you think about our ancestors showing up to a Full Moon ceremony, what do you envision them wearing? Some mud encrusted, tattered frock that’s been worn for weeks?

Perhaps. But in most cases, our ancient granddaddy’s and grandmama’s would pull out all the stops. Ceremonial beauty rituals included things like bathing for days, massaging oneself with fragranced oil and herbal salves, face painting, and ornamenting the entire body with glittering shells and earth gems. After all, when the Gods themselves are your Friday night date, you better damn well get your glow on.

Creating beauty with the human body has always been and will always be a way of expressing reverence, tribute and prayer. For example, when a person gets married, she or he will think nothing of spending a whole year focused on their appearance. We get dressed up for holidays, birthdays, graduations, job interviews, etc., all as a way of expressing our inner experience of celebration with outer beauty.

With all the pressures of fashion trends and societal beauty norms however, it is easy to fall into the trap of adorning oneself solely to please the voyeur, rather than express the spirit within. But true adornment isn’t about impressing anybody, it is about leaving a unique impression on the world.

Here are five easy, rock-solid ways you can use The Art Of Sacred Adornment to cast your unique spell…

1. Make Your Beauty Routine A Ritual
As you line your eyes or mascara your lashes, remember that you are drawing well deserved attention to the portals of your soul. When you rouge your lips, be aware that you are bringing red, the color of passion and power, to every word you speak. As you paint your fingernails, remember that every stroke of the polish is a prayer of adornment for all the magic your hands create every day.

2. Create A Sensation Based Wardrobe
Stand in the middle of your closet. As you look around, notice what catches your eye and creates the sensation of lust and desire in your body. When you put that garment on, notice how it feels. Does it make you feel delicious, sexy and turned on? Does it make you feel powerful? Does it make you feel good in your own skin? Challenge yourself to assemble your outfit without looking in the mirror once, basing every decision not on how things look, but on how things feel.

3.  Create Your Own Color Psychology
Some schools of thought teach that red is a “power color”. I say, your power color is whatever the f*ck you want it to be. For example, wearing ultramarine blue makes me feel both sexy and slightly androgynous, depending on the item. That makes me feel powerful, sometimes. Other times it is the softness of a cream lace kimono and vintage pink camisole makes me feel powerful. Maybe neon yellow is your power color, or wearing all black makes you feel romantic. However a color feels to you is how it will make you feel to the rest of the world, when you are the one that is authentically wearing it.

4. Go outside your comfort zone
A fabulous way to practice adornment as prayer is to stretch a little bit beyond your comfort zone, every day. This will be different for everyone. It could be something as simple as switching out your regular sneakers for a pair of classic, chic Chuck Taylor’s. Or if you’re a notoriously glamorous dresser, maybe your challenge is a pair of slouchy Levis. As in any area of life, the richest magic always lies just outside our comfort zone.

5. Keep It Simple, Starlet
At the end of the day, practicing adornment doesn’t mean you need to start parading the streets in a gilded carriage. (Unless ya want to – I know I do!) Sacred Adornment can be as simple as caressing every inch of your skin with warm, glistening coconut oil after a shower, or clearing off your nightstand at the end of the day to light a candle. Any time you intentionally honor all the beauty that you are, you become a living, breathing, prayer.