Rituals and Celebrations
“The human role is to enter into the celebration of the universe.
That’s the primary thing. To have lost that celebratory experience is to lose everything that makes life worthwhile.”
To follow our eccentric heart we have to be quiet enough and open enough to sense what it is asking of us. In the rush and noise of daily life it’s hard to hear much of anything unless we have ways to slow down, breathe, and just be. Meditation, movement, time in nature, making or listening to music, tarot sessions, are all ways to do this, but another wonderful way is through ritual and celebration.
Good ritual helps us to notice and celebrate our individual life story and where it fits in the larger cycles of life and nature, helps us fully experience our emotions, and helps us appreciate the unique life story and emotions of others. To live with attention, care, gratitude and creativity. To find the humor, even if sometimes it is black humor, in our struggles. To see that we are not alone in our pain and joy, to be kinder to ourselves, and to give and receive support from others.
The opportunities for ritual, simple or elaborate, in solitude or with others, are endless. Daily rituals can help us center ourselves, set intentions for our days, express gratitude, celebrate the important relationships in our lives, or pray for guidance. Periodic or seasonal rituals can help us pay attention to the cycles in nature and in ourselves. Other rituals can help us celebrate good fortune or recognize suffering and help us find support. Rituals marking passages help us to understand changes, help us to leave the old and find courage to embrace the new.
Why bother with any of this when our lives are already so full? Because ritual like this energizes us, connects us with all of life, and strengthens us. The ritual forces us to slow down, become silent and reflective. Vague feelings that threaten to overwhelm us get discovered and discharged. We see our lives from a broader perspective, helping us see patterns and discern meaning. We set intentions for the future. We feel heard, and receive the support of others. Afterwards we feel lighter because the vague energy of fear or grief or confusion or excitement or uncertainty swirling around us has shifted and we now have more clarity and more energy to go forward with our lives. Ritual reminds us of what we value and how we wish to live, and that our lives are important.
If you would like to experience some ritual like this and learn how to create your own rituals to bring reverence, gratitude and healing into holidays, personal milestones and everyday life, you may be interested in the workshop Creating Ceremonies of Connection.
Check here to learn about upcoming rituals and celebrations.
Mary Samuels, retired Unitarian-Universalist minister