Monday, October 12, 2009


Traditions and ritual have great significance in life. That is one of the reasons that I began a blog on Christmas traditions-- because in the fast paced world that we live in, we often fail to include ritual in our lives. This is one purpose that religions serve (if you can call it serve) but even many churches have less and less of an understanding of how deeply people need ceremony and rites.

Sam Harris, in his book 'The end of faith' writes about the need for atheists to acknowledge this and goes on to state that meditation and solitude are also important for the spirit. The increase of wicken ceremonies and the study of ancient women's religions reflects this need for ritual, I believe. A book "Mother, daughter, sister, bride: rituals of womanhood' which I spotted on Amazon appears to contains many of these and Sue Monk Kidd also writes about rituals that she and many of her friends engage in in 'Dance of the dissident daughter'. The rituals that represent a passage from one stage of life to another are particularly powerful. Other rituals that simply note a new season or a special day add a uniqueness to life that differentiates one day from another.

As an example: a friend told me she grew up doing a snow dance. On the morning of the first snow, her family would jump out of bed, strip their clothes off and dance around the living room. I have no idea if they had special music, but it seems to me that adding a special song would make the ceremony stronger.

It's easier to use ceremonies that others have developed and nurtured but when a family creates it's own traditions that occur year after year, one generation to the next, the meaning becomes deeper and more meaninful.


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