Release and be free...

What is a “Burning Bowl” Ceremony?

Ritual and ceremony are ancient practices that enhance spirituality and help us transition through endings and beginnings in our lives. We are all familiar with ceremonies such as a wedding, christening of a new baby, a funeral, graduation or religious coming-of-age rituals. But ceremony does not have to be limited to only major life events. You can experience the health-enhancing effects of incorporating more ritual and ceremony into your life as the ancients did.

One of our favorite ceremonies is the Burning Bowl Ceremony. It's a wonderful ritual that honors any intention to let go - in a concrete way. The burning bowl ceremony is used in Unity communities at the end of the calendar year in December. But it can have much wider applications: study, etc. You will need: Find a quiet place to meditate. Write in your journal all your thoughts and feelings about this ending. What are you ready to release? You may be ready to release an emotion, thought or belief about your situation. The core of the ritual is about a shift in consciousness.  It's about being still, becoming aware, naming what you are releasing, and letting it go--standing in faith for what is next.  There is often an element of surrender, an acknowledgement that, This problem is bigger than me so, I let it go and let God.

Write these down on the strips of paper. One at a time, place the paper into the metal bowl or large seashell and light them. Be sure you ensure your safety as you do this. I like to put some loose sage in the bowl or shell to enhance the clearing action.


An example of life events might be the following...

  • Any ending or loss in your life such as a pregnancy loss, the ending of a relationship, moving from your home, the end of a a program of

  • Any time you are ready to release belief systems that are impeding your growth.


You will need: 

  • a metal bowl or large seashell

  • piece of paper cut or torn into narrow strips

  • a pen or pencil

Know that--your release, your letting go, begins the moment you put pen to paper.  It is your conscious awareness that activates your release of problems, thoughts, and things from your life.

As the papers burn, imagine that you are being released and are now free. You can also say an affirmation either out loud or to yourself. "Even though this issue has caused me angst, I accept myself, and I am now ready to release it."

At this Unity Spiritual Center service, there is a symbolic releasing of what we wish to let go of before we move into the new year. It is written on a piece of paper and then dropped into a large bowl or container which contains fire. Participants let go of such things as feelings of anger, unforgiveness, unhealthy habits, relationships, etc.

You can create these rituals at home if you have not had the opportunity to participate at a church. I have found both rituals to be very powerful and have seen differences in my life, and the lives of others, as a result of taking part in these ceremonies.

We at Unity are honored to call you our friend, to pray with you throughout the year, and to share inspiration and encouragement with you.  We honor your release, your commitment, and your support and we call forth invoke for you your highest and best for the the new year.

Blessings for an amazing year ahead.