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Ritual Recipes

A podcast that offers safe and simple rituals to mark the moments and milestones of life.


The Charming of the Plow - A Norse Winter Festival to Honor the Dwarves and Prep Your Tools
Are you an artisan, a craftsperson, a maker? It's February. It's time to affirm your faith in your talent, prepare your tools, and get to work on your big dream. If you lived in the Old World in the land of the Norse, you'd be preparing your iron plow. You'd be honoring the Dwarves whose skill and knowledge are forged into your plow. You'd cleanse your plow. You'd charm it with herbs. Listen for a ritual to charm your tools. 
21:45 2/11/22
Hope and the Parliament of the World's Religions
After 2 challenging years, I found hope attending the virtual conference of the Parliament of the World's Religions. Its 1893 conference is considered the beginning of the interfaith movement. The Oct 2021 conference offered 583 programs, panel discussions, religious ceremonies and spiritual observations. Presenters included Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Bahhais, Sikhs, Hindus, Pagans, Native Americans, Indiginous people and more. The Dalai Lama spoke to the gathering, as did the Pope. Also sharing their wisdom were an Inuit shaman, a Curandera Esperitu, an African elder, and a Lakota grandmother -- and more.  Links: Episode 9 of Ritual Recipes about Spirit Spoons and a Ritual for Soup to Heal the World  
16:47 12/31/21
A Thanksgiving Ritual for Your Home
Think of your home as a living entity. A simple gratitude ritual can change your perspective on what your home really means. Your walls provide structure, shelter, and a sense of security. The floor supports you and keeps you grounded. Running water helps you get in touch with deep emotions.  This episode contains a simple ritual to help you see and appreciate what you have. 
15:32 11/26/21
Self-Care Rituals When Your Spouse Has Dementia
My husband and I have been married for 40 years. He has Alzheimer's Disease. Late stage. I'm his full-time caregiver. I'm fortunate to have a social worker on our medical team, and to be a member of an online dementia support group. Still, there are potholes in the emotional road we're traveling. This episode shares respected data, personal stories, real mistakes I made, and three rituals I created to help me cope. If you are caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's or other form of dementia, this episode might help you navigate this painful path.
23:56 9/23/21
Everything Happens for a Reason - A Folktale
Imagine the story of your life. What happens to you after, "Once upon a time"? The ancient folktale of Fatima the Spinner is reimagined to support a woman's right to choose. Let it inspire your own story.  The Power of Your Warp & Weft, a workshop designed by author and professional weaver Paula Chaffee Scardamalia, is included with her permission. For more, visit her website and read her book: Weaving a Woman's Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom.
28:46 9/10/21
The Wedding Ceremony Arch
What does a wedding arch have to do with a king’s scepter, a flag planted on the moon, and a Thomas Kincaid painting? Weddings are filled with symbolism. One that has been lost over the years is the original meaning of the ceremony arch. Hint:  The meaning can be found in the night sky and the ancient belief, "As above, so below. "  
14:18 8/26/21
Yemaya and Victims of the Middle Passage
Yemaya, the Yoruba orisha, the Mother of All, is associated with cowrie shells, symbols of fertility, prosperity, and a woman's voice. This episode offers rituals using various shells, and a ceremonial ritual to discover your authentic self. Learn about the millions of Africans who died crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the horrors of The Middle Passage and why August 25 has been declared the Day of Healing. 
24:45 8/16/21
Sedna, a Ritual for the Inuit Goddess of the Arctic Ocean
In the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean, we find the Inuit goddess Sedna. There are several versions of her origin story, each one horrific. At the heart of each is the theme of betrayal. The rituals I created for Sedna are designed to help us reframe childhood beliefs, especially those beliefs that can keep us from thriving as adults. That's the message in the language of the Pink Mouth Murex shell. (See "Ocean Oracle: What Seashells Reveal about Our True Nature" by Michelle Hanson.)
24:07 8/10/21
The Language of Shells - Beach Wedding Rituals
Getting married at the beach?  Mother Nature always leaves messages for us. Unfortunately, we don't always know how to read them. What messages can you find in seashells? The answers are important if you're having a beach wedding.  Resources mentioned: Ocean Oracle: What Seashells Reveal about Our True Nature by Michelle Hanson Sea Magic: Connecting with the Ocean's Energy by Sandra Kynes
21:25 7/21/21
Rituals to Renew Your Wedding Vows
Renewing your wedding vows can be a powerful ceremony You'll remember the happiest times in your marriage. You'll also remember the most painful. This episode offers two vow renewal rituals. One of them, The Growing Flame, can easily be adapted for any personal vow you make to yourself. 
21:40 7/12/21
The 7 Hills of Rome Wedding Ritual
Did you fall in love in Paris? Or Podunk? Use that info to personalize your wedding ceremony. Use that same info to create a ritual for a birthday or retirement party. Use it for a student who is leaving home to study abroad.  As often happens, this ritual was inspired by one of "my" couples, Thomas and Raffaele. They shared their first kiss in Rome's ancient Garden of Oranges on the Aventino, one of the city's seven hills. The men made their wedding vows on an oathing stone hand-painted with orange blossoms.  Not getting married? This ritual can inspire a daily exercise in gratitude. 
17:35 5/19/21
Is Your Child Leaving Home?
Imagine that you're a parent and your child is leaving home for college, or for a job, or some other grand adventure. You've equipped your son or daughter with all the necessities and you're excited to see your child take those first big steps away from home. But something doesn't feel right. This is a milestone in your young adult's life and in your own. Yet it feels empty. What's missing? A ritual! 
22:44 4/12/21
Spiritual Medicine of the Hawk and Falcon
The falcon is the consummate hunter. It teaches us how to make progress by blending speed and focus. The falcon wants you to see beyond your limits. The hawk's medicine is inward and deep. It wants you to see your life from a broad perspective and let go of unnecessary baggage. The hawk awakens us to the vision we have inside us.  This is the 3rd in a series of how the magic and mythology of birds of prey can be used to create safe and simple rituals. See episode 43 for the Eagle, and episode 44 for the Owl.  For full shownotes, go to
21:19 2/1/21
Owl Medicine for the Spirit
Imagine an owl. Did you feel a sense of apprehension or foreboding? No surprise. Owls have long been associated with death. Or, did you picture Harry Potter's owl, Hedwig? Beliefs about owls are contradictory because the owl is the symbol of death, and wisdom, and magic.  At the heart of owl medicine is the ability to discern the truth.  In this episode, you'll learn how to use a paper template of a feather in celebrating baby blessings and birthdays, funerals and memorials, and how to find answers in your dreams.  This episode is the second in a series about birds of prey and how they can inspire rituals. 
24:27 1/21/21
Eagle Medicine for the Spirit
Central to all birds of prey is their association with death and the cycle of life. This episode is the first in a series of how birds of prey can inspire rituals for a variety of situations: funerals  and memorials, projects that require focus or the ability to see the big picture, and life events that require courage. As Lesley Morrison writes in her book, The Healing Wisdom of Birds, at the heart of eagle medicine is reaching the place where we realize our freedom to soar. This episode shares the gifts, challenges, history and mythology of the eagle in various cultures from the ancient world to now. For example, an Irish tradition says Adam and Eve are alive today, having shape-shifted as two eagles that live in Galway. The eagle's ability to shape-shift explains why two eagles, formerly two Druids who changed themselves into eagles in order to protect the grave of King Arthur.  See for a list of references used in this episode and for information on Zita's guest appearance on the paranormal podcast "See You On The Other Side."    
18:15 1/2/21
Rituals for Podcasters, Speakers & Storytellers
Discover your secret sound. Take a lesson from crows about adapting, from parrots about diplomacy, and from dolphins about communicating with other species. Build an altar to the element of air. Visit for more details. 
22:00 11/30/20
Rituals for Writers
To a writer, the blank screen can be exciting or daunting. Find helpful rituals with magic pens, stones, and draw on the special qualities of lions, ants, cardinals, and whales.  This episode also looks back in history at cultural changes brought about centuries ago by the Black Death, the invention of the printing press, and why having books became a status symbol.   (New podcast music by Hal Aaron Cohen! See
29:17 11/7/20
Home Funerals
Did your grandmother's house have a parlor that was used to care for the dead? Mine did. When the time comes, which do you want: a funeral home or a home funeral? Burial or cremation? Fancy casket or cardboard box? Ashes in an urn or scattered someplace special? Who have you talked to about what you want? No one? I'm not surprised. Death hasn't been a popular topic of conversation -- until now.  This episode explores the national death-positive movement through Death Cafes, Death Doulas, Speaking Grief, the National Home Funeral Alliance, and more. It also includes "The Memory Box." That's a funeral ritual I created to help anyone, especially children, find a way to grieve.  Mentioned in the episode: National Home Funeral Alliance  (This is where you’ll find the Quick Guide to Home Funerals) Speaking Grief    Death Cafe   The International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA)   Mary’s Place (A Center for Grieving Children and Families)   Death’s Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Teaches Us About Life and Living by Brandy Schillace The Celebrant Foundation & Institute    This episode is the 3rd in a series related to funerals. Others are: Ritual Recipes Episode 38 / Funerals for Pets Ritual Recipes Episode 39 / Funerals for the Death of a Marriage  
25:17 10/25/20
Divorce: Funerals for the Death of a Marriage
Most couples don't get married expecting to get divorced. But when a marriage is dissolved, can ritual help the couple move on? Rocky Road is a marriage maintenance ritual. Untying the Knot is a funeral ritual for the death of a marriage.  As heretical as it might sound, I don't believe that all marriages are meant to last. I believe we're meant to learn from those relationships and share what we've learned with others.  The two rituals in this episode are more complicated than my usual. They're worth the effort. If you're going through a divorce, recognizing the gifts hidden in these rituals may keep your heart from becoming bitter. That's important. Because someday you might want to take the risk again. When that happens, you'll be ready.   Hear personal stories from three people who went through a painful divorce. One is a bride from the first wedding I officiated.  One is podcast coach Dave Jackson. And one is my own story. In case you're wondering, we're all doing just fine. 
32:43 10/10/20
Funerals for Pets
Over 11 million dogs and cats die in the United States every year. Because of the close bond people have with their pets, the people are often referred to as "pet parents." So, what do we do when a beloved pet dies? How do we celebrate the life that gave unconditional love?  The first pet cemetery in the U.S. was created in 1970. The burials were held at night because "clients were too ashamed to be seen treating an animal that well." Today, there are approximately 700 pet cemeteries in the U.S. If you've been asked to lead a funeral for a pet, or if your own pet has died and you want to create a funeral -- whether public or private -- what can you do?  If your pet is being euthanized, what kind of ritual can you have for the moment of transition? What might your vet think?       
21:41 9/26/20
Croning - A Ritual to Celebrate Aging
She's a woman of "a certain age." Our culture thinks those words are better than saying "she's old." Well, I'm a woman of a certain age. I'm certain of who I am, certain of what I want, and certain of what I have to offer the world. I'm 72 and I'm a Crone. I claimed that title in a ritual called "Croning."  A croning can never be like a surprise birthday party or a married-at-first-sight reality show. When a woman decides to claim the title of Crone, she needs to prepare herself. Doing so could take a full year, or more.  There are many kinds of croning rituals. The one I created is detailed in this episode.   Mentioned in this episode: Deeply Into the Bone: Re-Inventing Rites of Passage by Ronald L. Grimes Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women, by Jean Shinoda Bolen , MD The Grandmothers, an oracle deck, by Megan Garcia
37:01 8/1/20
Colored - A Black Lives Matter Ritual
At 9 years old, I didn't care that my mother wasn't funny like Lucille Ball, or that she didn't wear circle skirts and twirl around the house like Loretta Young, or that she was no longer pretty like Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke. I wanted my mother to be brave, like Annie Oakley. Not long after Rosa Parks sat on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in the whites-only section, I found out how brave my mother really was...and that Black Lives Matter.  This episode contains a simple ritual I call "Colored." Done with a group, the ritual can open the door to conversations about race.  Mentioned in the episode:  The 10 must-watch documentaries about Civil Rights, compiled by PBS.   Speak up! Use this link to contact your state legislators. 
20:12 6/16/20
Fairies - How I See Them
Do you believe in fairies? I do, but not in the way you might expect. My childhood ideas have changed. Now I think of fairies as thought forms of good energy -- helpful spirits, invisible, accessible. Hear about Ho Hsien Ku, "the immortal woman," one of the 8 fairies in the Chinese legend. Learn how to invite the fairies into your world, how to connect, what to offer. And, most of all, how to see them in the mirror.  Mentioned: "Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories and Ceremonies" by Bobby Lake-Thom, Medicine Grizzly Bear Mentioned:  "Enchantment of the Faerie Realm: Communicate with Nature Spirits & Elementals" by Ted Andrews
26:21 5/21/20
Love Knots - A Wedding Ritual
Long ago, when sailors navigated by the stars, when seabirds carried the spirits of sailors lost at sea, and when everyone knew that the bust of a naked woman on the bow of a ship would calm rough waters, a sailor would carry a cord with three knots. Bound in each was the wind itself.  Inspired by the ancient lore of knots, I created the ritual "Love Knots" using the arbor knot, the lovers' knot, and the Celtic marriage knot, with possible additions of the double fisherman's knot, and the sailor's breastplate knot. The ritual can easily be adapted for two people entering a partnership of any kind.   See the website for a picture of the three knots used in the wedding ceremony. For couples who have had to postpone their wedding, please read the blog post by my Life-Cycle Celebrant colleague Karla Combres about how and why to mark your original wedding date with ritual. You can find it at The Celebrant Foundation and Institute's blog.
14:15 5/2/20
A Gathering of Ancestors
The power of this ritual comes from exploring the past, getting to know your ancestors and what they might have survived -- plagues, natural disasters, persecutions, wars, genocide. Whether or not you know who is on your family tree, they existed. You're the living proof. What do they have to tell you about facing fear, seeing the truth, finding courage, and helping others?  Build an ancestor altar and honor your heritage. Don't know anything about your ancestors? Do what the ancient Greeks and Romans did and build a wind tomb.     
19:08 4/15/20
Spanish Flu and Covid 19
Why was the death toll in the Spanish Flu of 1918 so high? Why were the details not shared with the public? Why were Black doctors and nurses so key to the survival rates of Americans not serving in WWI? Zita Christian interviews retired Connecticut state senator and history professor Mary Ann Handley about the Spanish Flu of 1918. The interview originally aired in May 2018 on episode 123 of Page 1. Find it on The interview was to help writers determine character, setting, plot, and conflict from an actual historical event.  
30:48 3/20/20
Key to My Heart Wedding Ritual
All over the world, the presence of a key indicates there's something to protect. When you love someone, you trust them with a metaphorical key to your heart. Based on this understanding, I created a ritual called "The Key to My Heart."  As part of a wedding ceremony, this ritual acknowledges how the couple was influenced by their parents and grandparents. The ritual offers an opportunity for the parents to be involved in the ceremony.  The ritual can also be used in the couple's "first look," as well as in anniversary celebrations to come.  The ritual is particularly useful for anyone going on a journey of self-discovery. 
19:36 3/6/20
Maiden Mother Crone
Every Maiden isn't young. Every Mother doesn't have a child. Every Crone isn't old. What distinguishes the three is not age, but energy.  Let me show you how the three faces of the Goddess can be used in a group ritual for your Moon Circle, or as a ritual you can do by yourself. If you don't have white quartz crystals for the Maiden, red garnets for the Mother, and black obsidian for the Crone, no worries. Use white-yogurt-covered raisins, dried cherries, and regular raisins.  Imagine yourself in the click-your-heels scene near the end of The Wizard of Oz movie. Discover the inner power of your own ruby slippers, or ruby boots, or ruby stilettos. Websites mentioned: / / / / / /  
15:55 2/21/20
Interfaith Weddings, Chuppahs, Royal Stars of Persia
Long before organized religion, people found meaning in the stars. People saw the night sky as a canopy with four corners watched over by four bright stars: Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares, and Fomalhaut. In time, those watchers became royal stars, and those stars became archangels: Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and Gabriel. Ancient beliefs can show how we're all connected under the same sky -- a good foundation for an interfaith wedding ceremony. 
15:29 1/28/20
Winter Solstice Messages from the Trees
Trees shape the mythology of cultures all over the world. Trees show us where the fairies live. Just as the forest is the place where untried heroes are transformed, we, too, can be both lost and found among the trees. That's because trees have messages for us, if we'll just listen. I offered 14 of those messages to those who attended this year's Winter Solstice ritual.  Which one of these trees calls to you: Alder, Apple, Ash, Birch, White Birch, Cherry, Elder, Hawthorn, Hazel, Hickory, Locust, Red Oak, White Oak?  Each message comes with an instruction. Are you ready to follow the wisdom of the trees?  Mentioned in the episode:  This Winter's Night, a CD by MotherTongue / Available at  Wise Trees, a book by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel / Available wherever books are sold.    
22:00 1/5/20

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