Thoughts on Rituals

Ritual. That word was in my mind as I woke up this morning. It got me thinking…

(I even got super brave and did a Facebook Live!! )

I was raised Catholic. I loved the ritual and the ceremony! Little Me was fascinated by the incense, the statues, the stained glass, the choir. There are a lot of things I didn’t like about The Church, but there are things I did like.

When I was growing up, mass was said in Latin. The altar boys would walk up the aisle in their robes, swinging the censers. We knelt and prayed and stood and knelt again. We chanted. There was a sense of mystery and sacredness that I loved.

My mom left the church for awhile in search of her own truth, and took us kids with her. When we came back, everything was different. The incense was gone. The mass was in English. There were guitars!!! WTF?!! The magic was gone. I guess they were trying to appeal to younger people in an effort to get them to stay. But it ruined church for me.

Ritual. I always want to do them but I don’t. Full moon, new moon. Eclipse. Solstice, equinox. Day of the Dead to honor my ancestors. I intend to every year, but I always just let the days go by. Sometimes I forget entirely until the next day. Sometimes I take a minute of stillness to acknowledge the moment.

I was reading recently—Anna, Grandmother of Jesus, and Anna, the Voice of the Magdalenes’ by Claire Heartsong—and they talked a lot about rituals and ceremonies. They spent their last years in Avalon (…that’s a whole post in itself!) Lots of rituals and ceremony.

Part of me yearns for that. We don’t honor much in our culture anymore. Sort of birth, death, marriage, birthdays. But it’s all superficial and consumerized.

What about girls becoming women? Boys becoming men? Women becoming mothers and men fathers? All those threshold we cross into new selves. All these things anchor us and ground us into our human lives. They also allow us to share our common experiences and bond us together. We need that now, more than ever.

I did do one ceremony recently. I left my hourly job to pursue my own business and I did something to honor that transition. I built a fire and consciously listed out and gave thanks for all the things I learned about me, other people, community during that time. All the awareness I gained and all I appreciated about that 6 months I worked at the grocery store.

And then I released it. I placed my uniform—jeans, all my polo shirts, my apron, even my shoes!—into the fire. As they burned, I let that experience go. I felt the sadness of leaving. I even cried! I am going to miss the awesome people I worked with. And the sense of significance, certainty and contribution I got with that job. It was a bucket filling experience <3

Then, as the fire burned down to embers, I called in my next phase of life. What I want my business to be. How I want to BE in it, with it. I stated my intent and vowed to move forward, into the future.

That felt very powerful. And now, when I feel some fear about my future and I catch myself wondering if maybe I should go back to the security of that job, I remember that ceremony. There is no turning back; that bridge was burned! The experience of the ceremony comes back in that moment. And I feel at peace.

So I wonder…how many more places in my life could I benefit from ritual and ceremony?

I realized this morning that the biggest reason I don’t do them is because of what other people will think of me. My family—my husband and kids (excuse me, my adults :) They won’t really be surprised though. They know I’m woowoo! But still. I’m avoiding the eye rolling and the fear of laughter behind my back.

There might be some of that. They’re young still and don’t understand. Although, some of them do and would probably participate with me (My Little Voice just told me.) And if I would have been doing it all along, this would just be what we do.

I can’t let that fear stop me from doing what I am called to do. I won’t. Starting now.

I’m going to make a list of the rituals and ceremonies I want to honor and begin. I’ll let you know next week what I came up with.

In the mean time, I want to hear from you! How do you feel about rituals and ceremonies? What rituals do you do? What do you wish you could do? Will you join me?

In Service to Love!!!