The thirst is there. I see it lighting up people’s faces when I tell them about ceremonies we do as a family, or rituals I do with my children in the garden, on the beach, and in the forests. I know this thirst because I share it, I feel it daily in my bones. I hear it in the incessant low moan of my longing that hums long-forgotten songs. The words for these songs remain hidden like gems in the bedrock of my European ancestral lands. I know children along the lines before me were rocked to sleep by these melodies, and I imagine the earth feeling the thunder of dancing feet as people gathered to celebrate seasons along the northern French coastlines and in the Italian vineyards – now these celebrations often relegated to the dusty distant label of “European folklore” far from my experience in this lifetime on these coastal lands of the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest.
I also sense the thirst in those clear moments scattered throughout the day, when I pause long enough to be-hold whatever it is that ends up in my hands: a glass, spun from sand, which itself was stone crushed by ocean’s thrust over millennia; or, my dog’s warm fur, chestnut-scented and thickened by love.
My thirst is enlivened in those moments when I allow myself to fall unapologetically in love with the world at my fingertips.
And what do I hear? I hear the ancient memory of song and dance that gave rhythm to our year as a village as we cycled through the seasons. I hear remnants of lost spells that were spoken as offerings to the land, keeping us tethered to the ensouled realms of our breathing world, keeping us in a good way with the Fae and indwelling spirits of stone, mountain, river and tree. I hear stories of a time where we knew the words and gestures, the rites and rituals, to welcome in new life, to mark transitions and release old wounds, to bless a home or a parting of way, to turn towards our grief and prepare our beloveds for their passage through the veil…
And there is another longing: to hone-in on the very craft of ritual, making ceremony a way of life, making ritual a language for carrying on these conversations with the underlying threads of our journey, with our living cosmic and earthly kin, with the greater realms of our existence. It’s a yearning to lift up the world at my doorstep, to behold the gift of life, to reveal the extraordinary nature of the ordinary things that make up the stuff of our everyday. It’s the longing to make sacred again the soil underfoot, the acorn whose name was removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, the encounter with wind and rain, the birthright of our children to live in an enchanted world.
It is from this place where dreamscapes converse with clouds and ocean, where trees are celebrated as sentinels, where daily meals are infused with a simple but deeper sense of connection, that my offerings for Ritual Artistry are birthed. My offerings now take the form of a triad (many good things come in threes):
“Ceremony” focuses on creating personalized ceremonies for life events and passages (such as house warmings or leavings, mother blessings, naming ceremonies, memorials, and so many others…) to mark, acknowledge, and take the time to honour these important moments in life.
“Sanctuary” focuses on offering one-on-one ritual guidance, to create personally-meaningful rituals to tend to the underlying currents of your journey and empower you through change.
And now, “Ritual Artistry” focuses on honing the homecraft of ritual, collectively, for soulful connection with the natural world.
In Ritual Artistry, I tend the following inquiry: how to bring ritual into our everyday life, as a way of life, into the heart of our homes? By home I mean our abode, yes, but also our earthly dwelling – this wild world we live in, the place we’ve woven ourselves into through our daily interactions. How might we create ritual around the hearth, ceremony around the year, as we feel into the pulsing heartbeat of nature’s cycles. How might we ensoul our daily and mundane tasks, our encounters with dishes and dust, with rain and wind, with strangers and beloveds, with the food on our plate and the water flowing from our tap? And how might we do this collectively, gradually growing community around shared meaningful experiences?
This has been my core inquiry throughout my decade of motherhood, as I sought to infuse our family life with an awareness around the power of ritual to connect us with the magic of the world at hand.
It has been a decade or more of unschooling, unlearning, and deconstructing the influences in my life that deadened my innate sense of wonder, awe and reverence.
It has been ridiculously difficult and humbling to notice, year after year, my blindspots, my faltering capacity for attention, my overactive vigilance and sense vulnerability that keep me buzzing and pull me out of my body. At the same time, it has been deeply rewarding to connect with the vast expanses within my own body and breath, to develop a sense of deep-time history through connection with ritual, and to cultivate a felt sense of belonging to an animate, living world.
At the heart of this all was a fire: a flame of passion to do this for our children, if not for ourselves.
It has been a decade of learning to cultivate and nurture my children’s natural affinity for ritual, ceremony, love of earth, and sense of enchantment and belonging, all the while navigating the cultural forces that pull in the opposite direction. It has been a decade of dancing with the tender desire to “story the world” for my children – to create through my stories a world that is alive, spirited, wondrous, and in which they fully belong.
The way I approach this is through small, simple gestures woven into the fabric of our family’s days. For example, while we prepare for school, I brew a pot of ginger-lemon-honey tea for our thermos. At least once or twice a week, we take the long route to school through a park on a big giant rock with a view. Once we’ve made it to the top, we sit down, breathe in the view, pour tea into each of our mugs. In silence, we all go to our little spot where we’ve been pouring out our first bit of tea as an offering to Earth. I’ll usually make a prayer out loud and place my hands on the earth. The kids follow suit with their hands on the Earth – they seem to love this! Sometimes they will spontaneously hum or sing. Then we gather and share how grateful we are to be living here, we notice what the weather and elements are doing, we take in the sounds, sights and smells of the morning. One of the most rewarding part of this ritual for me is to see how much the children love it and how naturally they took to it, making it theirs.
Just as ritual gestures emerge from tending the soulful threads of our journeys, these offerings of Ritual Artistry emerged from this longing I just shared with you in this blog. And so, I invite you to gather with me throughout the year – drop-in as you can or come to them all! These are shared rituals for families around seasonal markers, these are collective pop-up ritual for everyone to experience, and there are also specific group workshops for adults around themes that we hold close to heart.
With excitement in my heart, I say: stay tuned for the upcoming offerings in Ritual Artistry this fall!!