Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away. Whether you love it, hate it, or don't really care about it, it’s pretty impossible to ignore all the romance in the air. As annoying and ridiculous and money-driven as this Hallmark holiday may feel to many of us, that doesn't mean we don't believe in love. So why not treat this time as an opportunity to bring a little more of it into our lives—whether with others or just with ourselves?
For this very reason, we turned to transformational healing artist Alexandra Roxo, who specializes in opening the heart in love, sex, and relationships. She showed us different rituals—all varying in purpose and intent—to help bring more love in.
“A ritual can be anything you imbue with intent, devotion, and repetition,” says Roxo. “Ritualizing something is the act of creating depth around it. For example, the first time you drink tea is not a ritual, but when you begin to establish a relationship with it and fill it with intention and meaning, it ritualizes the experience. Then, the next time you come back to it, you know you will feel the warmth, pause, peace, or whatever you have created around the experience of it.”
And while making a ritual out of lighting a candle, writing down lists, or repeating affirmations in a mirror might not seem like it's changing much of anything, rest assured that, by putting intention on these experiences, change often comes. “Rituals have the power to move energy, to transform an experience. They can create an intentional space for us to make life changes, or start a new cycle or habit," explains Roxo. "The act of lighting a candle every day for a month ceremonially dedicated to a wish has the power to make the wish come true. Every time you light it, you align with that wish, and those vibes come closer.”
So, in honor of love (instead of a random holiday), below are four rituals to heal, open, and strengthen the heart. These are bound to be beneficial, whether you’re wallowing in the pain of a breakup, seeking the perfect partner, looking to strengthen the existing bond between you and your partner, or just wanting to reconnect with yourself.
How to set the space for a ritual
First things first, if you’re going to do any sort of ritual, you must set up the space for it. For Roxo, this means carving out some quiet, peaceful alone time. She suggests turning off your phone, turning on some music, burning candles or incense, and even putting on a hot outfit, if you want. “Whatever gets you feeling grounded, connected to yourself, and good,” says Roxo. “Make it magical, and you will make magic.”
Letting go of past heartbreak
Whether you’ve just ended a relationship or still reeling from the pain of a long-ago lost love, Valentine’s Day and all of its cheesy romanticism can stir up some unpleasant emotions. Roxo’s ritual for letting go doesn’t ask you to suppress these feelings but, rather, calls you to feel them all—and then set them free.
Roxo suggests doing this ritual around a waning moon for the strongest effect, though it can be done at any time. To start, write a goodbye letter to the person you’re releasing. “Take some time putting all your vibes, pain, and sadness into that letter. Not blaming, but just speaking your truth,” she says.
Once you’ve finished writing your letter, find a fire-safe container and burn it. (Make sure you're in a safe space to do so.) Sit in silence afterward, taking a moment for yourself.
Next, light a white candle, For the days following, commit to writing down five things in your life that make you feel really good, placing them under the base of the candle, and lighting it daily to honor your newly healing heart. Roxo suggests doing this for 40 days, or at least a full moon cycle, to feel the deep benefits.
Calling in your ideal partner
For those of us who are single and looking for a partner, Roxo shared a ritual to help manifest and call in the ideal soul into your life. In a journal, write down three to five keywords that speak to who you are—asking a friend for input if you need. Next, think about what kind of partner you'd want, and write down the keywords for that ideal person. “I like to look back at old lovers to see what worked and what didn’t, and make my list from there,” she says.
Keep these lists close to you where you can see them daily. “If you want to make your Tinder profile an intentional space for magic, then you’re allowed to use your phone for this one,” says Roxo. “When you feel ready, you can translate this list into action on your profile, or you can leave it on your altar, or set it to sea. This magic is done best near a full moon with celebration in your heart. Have fun with it! Light a candle to begin, and light one to end.”
Building a stronger bond
Sometimes our relationships may need a bit of a boost. This ritual can be done with your partner to help strengthen your bond. First, Roxo suggests you “set the stage.” Bring on the mood lighting, candles, and good times. “Look good and feel good,” she says. Then, give yourself five minutes to write down what you’re each bringing to the relationship that you love, and then spend another five minutes writing down what you want more of. “Remember to phrase it all in the positive, such as, ‘I love our dinner dates when we dance after,’ ‘I love our at-home karaoke sessions,’ ‘I could handle more morning sex,’ ‘I would love more weekend trips.’”
Roxo suggests making this a monthly habit to continue to find depth, fun, and growth together and stay on track as a couple.
Loving yourself, and building self-esteem
Of course, Valentine’s Day (or every day, for that matter) shouldn’t just be about your love for other people—you have to show yourself some love. For some good old self esteem-building, Roxo suggests a "confidence shower."
Make a safe space for yourself and set a timer, get in front of a mirror, and shower yourself with praise for one minute. Sure, it may feel funny or strange at first, but soon, you’ll begin to believe and feel the praise you’re telling yourself.
This can also serve as a social ritual. Roxo suggests gathering a group of your closest friends, and have one person sit in a chair while the rest of the group praises that person, and rotate positions. Because, remember, you can't fully love someone else—or be ready to accept their love for you—if you don't love yourself first.