| Traditional Life Rituals
| Personal Achievement Life
One of the hallmarks of a healthy community is
the existence of life rituals. We heal through
rituals. Ritual is a basic need of our psyche
and body. In its most basic form, rituals mark
ends and beginnings; in other words, transitions.
Rituals help us walk through transitions, and
therefore grow, by allowing us the space to let
go of the old that no longer serves us and embrace
the new that is aching to be.
Although we are in constant transition every day
of our lives, certain events require that we stop
and acknowledge them in the presence of a loving
and supportive community. Some examples of western
rituals are graduations, award ceremonies, and
secular holidays. These, together with anniversaries,
birthdays, and funerals all form part of our collective
need for recognizing certain events. Rituals also
bring a community together. The presence of the
community in ritual brings about an experience
of support and unity.
Today more than ever, every gay and lesbian person
needs this sense of belonging to a supportive
community. The gay and lesbian community is in
great need for rituals that celebrate our lives
and our uniqueness. For centuries we have relinquished
the important place in society that we once held.
We only need to look at the great Greek and Roman
societies but also African and Native American
to realize that our men and women held positions
of honor and respect. One way to reclaim our honor
is through rituals that heal our spirits and recognize
our personal value.
The ultimate transition in life is death. A memorial
service is a moment to reflect, remember, and
celebrate the life of that one beloved person
that is no longer with us. A memorial helps us
in letting go of the life that we once knew with
the departed while we begin to make sense of what
our new life without that person will be. In a
memorial, family and friends gather together in
mourning and in their companionship the hurt is
alleviated. In our unity we cope better. The end
of a life is an important event that causes our
own soul and other souls to grow and change. Even
though this can be the most painful of rituals
it also can be the most healing.
Most of us celebrate birthdays with a party, a
nice dinner, or even a trip. How about bringing
spirituality into your celebration?
What if your birthday was a celebration of gratitude
for another year of growing in wisdom? A birthday
ritual can be an opportunity for releasing old
patterns and behaviors while embracing and creating
a new energy of how you want to experience yourself.
All major religions have some form of blessing
a new life. A baby blessing is the recognition
of the new life as a gift to the family and the
world. It is a ritual of gratitude and planting
the seeds of good wishes for the new life.
Anniversaries remind us of major benchmarks in
our lives. In anniversaries we take time to remember
events in our lives that transformed us. We seek
to examine how a particular event has changed
us over time and the ways in which we have grown
as a result. The most common types of anniversaries
are weddings and funerals, yet others include
sobriety and resiliency (e.g., survival of a tragedy,
Personal achievement rituals include events such
as house blessings, coming of age, career change,
promotion, retirement, or any other event not
consistently celebrated by society but of importance
to the individual.