This article was written a few years ago but is relevant every year. Included in this year’s version is a list of Unity churches that will be hosting a Burning Bowl Ceremony this weekend. You may choose to hold a private ceremony in your home, or invite a few friends over to share in the cleansing and purging experience. Regardless of how you conduct this annual ritual, be sure to embrace it with focused intention and allow emotion to flow freely.
As the New Year approaches many people will participate in a long celebrated ceremony known as the Burning Bowl. While at first glance the ceremony may seem New Age or a bit “too metaphysical” for the average person, a closer look reminds us that we use fire as a natural ritual in common practices. Many of us have burned documents that no longer serve us such as a paid off mortgage, car note or legal papers. The act of watching something literally go up in flames and be transformed into ash can be very cleansing. Ceremonies that involve fire as a cleansing ritual go back to ancient times.
The Unity, Religious Science (now known as the United Centers for Spiritual Living), and Unitarians have been conducting Burning Bowl services for nearly 50 years. It is a spiritual service that incorporates a letting go of the unnecessary with a will to receive the coming gifts.
A Unity Burning Bowl ceremony involves each participant writing all things they wish to let go of on one piece of paper and all things they wish to accept into their life on another. Things to let go of may be negative feelings about persons, places, events or illness, conditions which are not desirable, habits or behaviors, and etc. Those things to accept would be anything that is desired or would improve one’s life. The “letting go” list is lit by a large white candle and allowed to burn into ash while the participant visualizes them dissolving and disappearing. The “acceptance” or prosperity list is sealed in a self addressed envelope which will be mailed back to the participant at the end of the new year.
New Year resolutions are a typical way of celebrating the new year, but the Burning Bowl ceremony help cleanse the mind of the things that are negative or no longer serving us. The thought is that to allow for the prosperous gifts of the new year one must release the baggage of the old.
Find a Burning Bowl ceremony near you by contacting a Unity church or Center for Spiritual Living, or check your newspaper’s community calendar or religion section and experience a new way to welcome the New Year. Here is a list of a few of the Unity centers in southern California that are holding a Burning Bowl ceremony:
Unity of Pomona, Westside Unity, Unity of Pasadena, Unity North, Unity of Aliso Viejo, Unity Chapel of Hemet, Unity of San Diego, Unity of Berkeley, Unity of Yucaipa