As a officiant, I am not here to tell anyone what to practice or how to practice any religion or life path. However I can share what I am experiencing in today's global, fast moving, inclusive society as people celebrate life passages. As I have mentioned in my previous blog, Reimagining ritual can be threatening to religious institutions, since religion is suppose to be about the given. Since a large percentage of our population is moving away from organized religion we need to fill that void of feeling connected as a community. So instead of me referring to rituals, I will refer to Rites of Passages both traditional and invented.
We undergo many passages in our life here on earth. Often times they can be unexpected, rough, confusing such in a loss of a loved one, sickness, destructive relationships-any situation that we don't see coming. We also see whats coming such as a birth, coming of age, marriage, growing old, going to school. We usually celebrate and gather as family and friends for the expected, such as birthdays, weddings, births, school graduations. When we celebrate with our tribe it highlights the individual and gives us validation that we are special. Without these rituals its just another day and after awhile if we don't highlight special moments in our life, we could feel alienated from others. I recently gave a birthday party to a very dear friend of mine who was turning 60. I invited a group of our friends and had a cake for her-we sang Happy Birthday. Typical birthday celebration, but she told me no one in her life ever gave her a birthday party, not even her parents. I was shocked and felt that there was a hole in her heart that has never been filled. Where did she get her validation as a person?
I am sure in some way we all have felt alone, not noticed and there are ways to celebrate alone or with others. I will touch on this topic in my next blog. For now think of ways you have been validated especially thru a celebration. Think back to your childhood, did you have birthday celebrations, did you celebrate a school graduation. If you did how did you feel and if you didn't how did you feel?