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Author Topic: Marking important transitions  (Read 2561 times)
dragonfaerie
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« Topic Start: June 07, 2008, 01:37:54 pm »

Many of my friends have had babies recently. One of my covenmates is starting a new college. I'm almost ready to graduate from night school. Another covenmate is getting handfasted at the end of the month.

This got me thinking... one of the things I think pagan religions generally lack are ceremonies for life transitions. Often, we don't bother thinking about it until we're on the edge of the transition, and then it might be too hectic to even think about designing our own ceremony to celebrate the transition/accomplishment.

- How important is it to you to celebrate life transitions with religious ceremonies?

- Does your religion have an established liturgy for such ceremonies you could draw from, or would you have to write your own?

- And finally, what sort of events would you consider important transitions, besides the obvious ones... birth, death, and weddings? Are graduations important? The onset of puberty? Menopause? Buying one's first home? Paying off a long-standing debt? A child loosing her first tooth? The first day of school?
 
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« Reply #1: June 07, 2008, 02:06:39 pm »

- How important is it to you to celebrate life transitions with religious ceremonies?

Pretty important. I follow a seaonsal cycle, which I love doing, and I find that I enjoy marking the transitions of the seasons with little rituals, speical meals, seasonal decorations and the like. Therefore I think that is where my mindset comes from for marking important transitions that happen in my life. I'm not talking anything big here, just little religious practices. For instance, I got married last year. It was a civil cermemony, and my husband is not religious in the slightest. Yet I still wanted to mark the occasion somehow, and so we braided coloured thread together to signify our marriage, as I gave a silent prayer of thanks to the Gods. Luckily, my husband was fine to do this with me, as I think he knew how important it was to me. I have that braid on my dressing table now and it makes me smile every time I see it. I know that isn't overly religious- but I really wanted to include my Gods into my wedding somehow and I feel like I achieved that.


- Does your religion have an established liturgy for such ceremonies you could draw from, or would you have to write your own?

No, I'd write my own. I'd prefer to write my own anyway, especially since I never want anything long-winded. I'm not a very ceremonial person, lol.

- And finally, what sort of events would you consider important transitions, besides the obvious ones... birth, death, and weddings? Are graduations important? The onset of puberty? Menopause? Buying one's first home? Paying off a long-standing debt? A child loosing her first tooth? The first day of school?

Absolutely anything, lol. If you feel as if it's a transition, then it is one. Even if you don't have a name for it. For instance, if you've had a bad year where negative things have happened and you've been full of negativity, and then suddenly everything brightens for you, then that's a transition. And if you want to mark that transition, then I think that's a good thing.
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« Reply #2: June 07, 2008, 02:15:28 pm »

I'm almost ready to graduate from night school.
I have my last exam in roughly three weeks. I'm pondering what I'll doing since a while, but haven't come up with anything yet as I'm so inexperienced in rituals and would need some reading before I do something.
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« Reply #3: June 08, 2008, 11:20:41 am »

How important is it to you to celebrate life transitions with religious ceremonies?

Reasonably. I like them. They make the transition easier.

Quote
Does your religion have an established liturgy for such ceremonies you could draw from, or would you have to write your own?

One of the things I gave myself as an assignment when working on my 3rd was pulling together ritual seeds (not full scripts, but ideas, bits of text, etc. that could be remanipulated easily) for various major ones - funerals and illness stuff, especially, since those you don't have planning time for often (unlike weddings and births, where you get more warning they're in the offing.) 

One thing is that many of the ones I list below are either personal or very-close friends sorts of things: they need to a) be adapted to that setting and b) what's meaningful for them is going to vary from person to person.

Quote
And finally, what sort of events would you consider important transitions, besides the obvious ones... birth, death, and weddings? Are graduations important? The onset of puberty? Menopause? Buying one's first home? Paying off a long-standing debt? A child loosing her first tooth? The first day of school?

Birth, wedding, death.

Starting school. Finishing school. Ditto with other kinds of training or learning (religious and otherwise) or taking a break from them.

Starting a new job. Leaving a previous job (jobs have so much impact on the rest of our lives: not just in terms of what we do during the day, but also our schedule, how we get there, etc.)

Moving into a new home. Buying one, too. Leaving an old home.

Various life and physical stages - menopause, puberty, etc. but also, perhaps, things like giving up an activity your body is no longer up for, or committing to a new significant one, or whatever. Surgery of various kinds might apply: I know several people who've done ritual relating to a hysterectomy, even though for two of the ones I'm closest to, they didn't particularly want kids (i.e. it was other stuff they were focusing on beyond 'personal lost of physical fertility')
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« Reply #4: July 08, 2008, 10:15:40 pm »

I have my last exam in roughly three weeks. I'm pondering what I'll doing since a while, but haven't come up with anything yet as I'm so inexperienced in rituals and would need some reading before I do something.

Setting a cap and gown on fire and jumping over it comes to mind... but all the ones I've had have been a polyesther blend and would probably smell terrible.

My personal take is that ceremonies don't have to be elaborate. Maybe the best way to celebrate my new degree would be propping the certificate next to my Brigit statue while the Lady and I have some nice whiskey together. She is a goddess of Bards, after all, and my degree will be in Communications.

Or maybe you make a necklace to honor a passage, with a special charm. Heck, why not a charm bracelet that you wear in ritual, with all the charms in one place? Or going out for ice cream? Buying new shoes could be a ceremony, if, say, you're celebrating the means to splurge and treat yourself.

I like to think outside the box. Ceremony, and ritual for that matter, doesn't always have to mean casting a circle or doing a liturgy. Sometimes the most moving things are spontaneous, between you and the Gods.

Karen =)
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« Reply #5: July 09, 2008, 02:27:50 am »

Thanks, I was doing something little and informal. Smiley
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« Reply #6: July 29, 2008, 11:22:20 am »



- And finally, what sort of events would you consider important transitions, besides the obvious ones... birth, death, and weddings? Are graduations important? The onset of puberty? Menopause? Buying one's first home? Paying off a long-standing debt? A child loosing her first tooth? The first day of school?
 
Karen
Myself and a few other more solitary witches in my area celebrate life changes of all kinds. When I bought my new house we cleansed it and blessed it. I helped perform their handfasting, and they helped perform my daughter's Wiccaning. Really we will celebrate what feels really important to us. If it feels like a major transition sometimes we'll just get together and do an informal ceremony just to celebrate getting through a tough time.
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« Reply #7: July 29, 2008, 03:47:32 pm »


One of the things I gave myself as an assignment when working on my 3rd was pulling together ritual seeds (not full scripts, but ideas, bits of text, etc. that could be remanipulated easily) for various major ones - funerals and illness stuff, especially, since those you don't have planning time for often (unlike weddings and births, where you get more warning they're in the offing.) 

I like this idea a lot, and will think about this.

PF, you might like taking a look at "The Pagan Book of Living and Dying", by Starhawk and M. Macha Nightmare, to get some ideas about this. I don't have it,  and have not really read it, but have looked through it. It's pretty focused on Neo-Wicca, so it's not for everyone, but I think there are some good basic guidelines in there.
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