It is wedding season, and one thing I LOVE about being ordained is performing handfasting (Pagan wedding) ceremonies. I don’t have the opportunity to perform them as often as I would like, yet this month I have been invited to perform two of them. Hooray!
The first one was this past weekend, in the beautiful city of Kelowna in the interior of BC. My family took the weekend for a family trip, and visited my husband’s mother, and connect with a student of mine for an initiation. The next one is next week, near the beach on the Island. I’m looking forward to that one as well.
Marriage is a rite of passage, a celebration of the love between two people. The ceremony acknowledges that love, and shifts the relationship, affirming the commitment of the couple to each other, surrounded and witnessed by loved ones.
Because of one rite of passage, I missed another. The celebration of life for my friend Shelby, who crossed over several weeks ago, was also this weekend. That rite of passage was more for the people left behind than for Shelby.
We underestimate the importance of these rites of passage. Rites of passage change the participant, and mark a shift from one stage of life to the next. Marriage and death are obvious shifts. There are other moments in our lives that ought to be celebrated – birth, becoming an adult, achieving a big goal, separation from a partner, becoming a crone or sage… anything that feels significant.
Our society marks some of these moments – bachelor or bachelorette parties; baby showers; graduations; funerals. The goals, and endings (whether jobs or relationships), and aging – those we often let pass without recognition. And when we let them pass, we soon forget the importance of the lesson, or the things we went through to get where we are.
So mark those moments, as I did with my tattoo. I’m not saying you ought to get a tattoo at each of these points! Do *something* to acknowledge the moment. Go out for a nice meal. Light a candle and make an offering to the God or Goddess you feel most connected with. Throw a party. Make the moment special.
What moment would you like to recognize with a rite of passage?