"Ceremony," wrote Tiu de Haan, "is a container for emotion, reflection and transition. It is the punctuation we need in the frenetic stream of life. A funeral is a full stop. A wedding is a plus sign. A naming ceremony is a new sentence with its own capital letter."
As the story of our life unfolds and key events occur, we often feel a need to mark and celebrate times of change. At such times, tradition can be important when it comes to finding a ceremony which fits the bill, helping us to make sense of things, and perhaps bring about some emotional healing. And yet, when looking for something to meet those needs, a growing number of us are uncomfortable at being bound to rituals from the past which no longer feel like a good fit.
To be true to ourselves, we are instead choosing to move away from tradition in search of other ways that better chime with our own values and outlook on life. This comes from a desire for greater personal warmth, connection and engagement than we might otherwise expect to feel, as well as from a need to be our more authentic selves.
And so rather than accept rituals handed down by previous generations, increasingly we sense a need to be more anchored in our own present, and more 'hands on' in creating meaningful events for ourselves. Our bodies, our personal history, our senses, the arts, scientific discoveries of what it means to be human, and spirituality in its widest sense, are all important points of reference for us as we seek to come up with rituals which feel right as points of 'punctuation' in our own life story.
Whilst weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies are probably 'top of the list' when it comes to life's punctuation points, plenty of other situations arise when a carefully created ritual can help us draw a line under one phase so as to be able to move on to the next. When talking a bit About Celebrancy in this website, mention is made of a special anniversary, retirement, or the ending of a relationship as further examples of where a ceremony could be helpful, but other occasions could have their focus on:
Coming of age
Coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or non-binary
Changing gender from the one assigned at birth
Forming a 'new' family when two households become one
Miscarriage or choosing to terminate a pregnancy
Leaving behind a burden of guilt or trauma
Leaving this country to emigrate or return to another
These are just a few of my ideas. What matters are the ideas you may have. And if you haven't got as far as forming any ideas, don't worry - our starting point is the need you may have, a need which will often - but not always - be about marking an ending and looking to make a new beginning.
So, whatever stage you've got to, if you sense a time of change for yourself, and are looking for a 'punctuation event' that feels right for you, please get in touch for us to have a chat about what's on your mind so that we can explore things further.