We held our annual Rose Ceremony on the Summer Solstice this year, celebrating the Light and deepening our commitments to the best in ourselves. Thirty-four of us of varied ages and lifestyles gathered around the altar at Radha in a willingness to make a commitment to the Divine. Devotees started arriving about 15 minutes early, many taking the time when they arrived to write down their grudges and resentments from the comfort of the couches, while the altar slowly filled with the beautiful roses everyone brought.
Swami Jyotihananda opened the ceremony with a beautiful talk, bringing light to the meaning of the Rose Ceremony and soon the sounds of Hari Om filled the space as we settled into the present. One by one we came to gather in groups of four as the rose bowl filled with petals and gently swelled with the heartfelt surrendering of pairs of opposites and requests for Divine Love in return. After the last rose was given, the whole room shifted into a stretching, smiling group, newly inspired to find the best in ourselves and throw all our previous grudges out the door!
So began the second half of the Rose Ceremony, with a joyful chanting of Om Namah Sivaya, we gathered around a giant pot from the kitchen to burn away all we had written down on pieces of paper. As the commitments to let go burst into flames, Radha filled up with an equal amount of smoke, and much giggling and laughing ensued. Giggling aside though, it felt like the Divine was letting us know exactly how much all of the grudges and resentments we carry cloud our ability to see things clearly! The smoke cleared away revealing all of us, gathered in small groups, happily talking and connecting with each other.
A feeling of love abounded, and we left carrying the gifts of Divine Love, minds enraptured with the kind and compassionate thoughts growing within, and hearts rejoicing for the glowing insights the Light carried into our lives as humans dancing into the Divine.