Monday, November 29, 2010

private ritual

This Thanksgiving, after all the eating and football and more eating (etc) our family had a bonfire. (We do that. A lot.) Once the initial 20 ft conflagration (yep, we use gasoline) had turned into a nice glow, my mother surprised us all by pulling out the Black Belt.

This belt is a heirloom from her side of the family. I don't know how many generations it goes back, but it's sole purpose was the disciplining of children. A thick leather strap, folded over on one end for better grip with sufficient length left over for the whacking of bottoms. As the oldest child I remember getting whacked quite a bit.
(My folks had mellowed by the time the younger ones were getting into their trouble, not nearly so much whacking going on then.)

So my mom surprises us all, by pulling out the long unused Black Belt... and after a few words, throwing it on the fire.

This was her ritual for us, a gesture of reconciliation, of apology, asking forgiveness, and a hope for healing. It was very powerful.

I don't believe in magic, or gods, or fairies, or angels, or answers to prayers. But I DO believe in ritual. That in our animal brains, we respond to special acts done with intent.

This has been a very difficult week for me and I've been able to find some measure of comfort in my own private rituals. My primary form of worship/ritual involves making marks. It works for me.

I also believe in the ritual of sweat & strained muscles, of beating the hell out of an inanimate object, of writing things down, of creating something, of destroying something. Of Silence. Of reaching out.

What are your rituals?


xJane said...

That sounds wonderful and powerful. I cannot imagine the healing that might come from this. Thank you for sharing it (and great photo)!

My rituals are beating the hell out of friends (and getting the hell beat out of me) on the judo mats and burning candles. Especially during the winter, I light candles against the dark (instead of turning on lights) and when I meditate, I light candles to signify my desire to focus on a particular aspect.

I guess I also light candles to deal letters—I love the ritual of ink on paper sealed with wax. I'd not thought of it as ritual before, but I guess it is.

And tea—loose, in a pot, poured into an appropriate cup (green, black, Moroccan).

G said...

xjane~ thank you! (I really wanted to take better pics of the belt before it was burned, but my mother was determined that this ritual should not be put off. If you look close, you'll see a leather strap in the middle of the flames).

I love your rituals. Always have, you are a serious source of inspiration to me when it comes to these things.

(btw~ I really need to get me some martial arts)

(btw~ receiving a letter from xjane sealed in wax with a spider stamp: MOST AWESOME)

missoularedhead said...

I bake, and I make things out of other things. There was a movie a while back, about a woman who baked pies that were emotional responses…sort of like that. Except I am partial to breads (kneading is cathartic) or extravagant desserts that involve many steps and each one must be thought out…escapism at its best, I suppose.

This week, I've been making a lot of lampshades and clocks. And the best part of doing so is drifting through the thrift stores, imagining a history for each and every item I touch…who did it belong to? Did they love it? Hate it? Was it a gift? Who from? It's soothing, somehow, to think of those sorts of things. I wonder if perhaps someone will see something I make and say 'ah yes, there's my old' whatever it is.

And when I'm really, really stressed out and need to chill, I do dishes. By hand, and I try to stay in that moment, and think about just that dish, and the sponge, and the shapes.

G said...

missoulaRedhead~ omg, baking bread! yes, If I was going to call anything magic, it would be cooking, those who create such amazing foods out of raw ingredients.

escapism, I think that is what rituals are all about, removing one's self from the situation a bit. (for clarity, for space & fresh air. perhaps)

TGD said...

Thank you very much for this post!

It's given me a great deal to think about.

G said...

TGD~ you're welcome :) (and thank you for the comment)