The journey of a lifetime is constantly unfolding. Our bodies grow from infancy and childhood to adulthood and old age. Our relationships mature through dependence, independence and inter-dependence. Throughout life our identities, goals, attitudes and beliefs shift and evolve. Ceremony and ritual honor and mark these significant changes.
Since prehistoric times, people have used ritual and ceremony to celebrate, to mourn, to express wonder, to seek guidance, to offer gratitude, to find solitude, to gather community. Sadly, many of us today have lost touch with this most natural of human impulses: the desire to pay attention to what truly matters on our life's journey.
Rituals strengthen our sense of place in the world and bolster the feeling of meaning and purpose within our own lives. They promote connection, not only to ourselves but to that which is sacred. Rituals can be an important means of nurturance, reflection and inspiration during times of challenge, change or transition. Contemporary rites of passage can include:
Coming of age and life-cycle ceremonies include alternative bar and bat mitzvahs, puberty, mid-life and croning ceremonies, as well as other meaningful rites of passage such as graduating college or buying a home, beginning a new career or entering retirement.
Rituals for divorce and separation, as well as life transitions and initiations, offer support as they honor the loss of what is ending, encourage what is newly emerging and celebrate what has already begun. While these are often private ceremonies, great courage, comfort and fortitude can be derived from sharing them with others.
Healing rituals address every level of recovery – physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual – as they pertain to the individual. Healing rituals can help to discover value and perspective within the experience while creating space for grieving and renewal.