I stood back and admired my work when it dawned on me. All of my awkwardness about whether or not I know how to create ritual to practice a spiritual path is silly. Mom taught me how to create ritual in the kitchen with good cooking and beautiful meals. She decorated for every holiday no fail, with kudos for years when she outdid herself, which was often. I remember one of the best parts of decorating was walking from all possible directions toward the house so we could behold our work from every vantage point. And now my grand daughter and I scour the overstuffed attic closets containing holiday decoration Mom bought me over the years. Things I've cursed and blessed, now in a new light through the eyes of a toddler.
These things I do over and over are the rituals of my life. As I venture out on my own path of spirituality, these are the things I can draw from. Then I build--expand my repertoire of ritual incorporating less and less crepe paper and more and more things from the natural world, more and more gratitude for what I use, more and more reciprocity with an Earth that is beyond tapped out.
Another thing I realized is that Mom believed in a Spirit that took care of the Earth, and she practiced her own garden meditations and prayer on a corner city lot for some 60 years. She never went to church (although was happy to send me with friends and neighbors). If asked she spoke of the "Good Lord," but her worship was in her garden. Gardening is one of the oldest forms of communing with the Earth and is filled with ritual--sowing, growing, weeding, and harvesting.
I already do some things well:
- I design rituals for the person being celebrated
- I make them pretty
- I make them delicious
- I try to work with products in season, meaning less footprint (but I could do better on this)
- I initiate ways to help people get started talking when they come together--I am a community builder
- I try to have something new and something you can always count on on the agenda (food, activities)
- Continue birthdays, graduations, weddings, memorials, life events and incorporate songs, or other ways to connect with Spirit.
- Expand beyond (Christian) holidays, expand to incorporate an earth component (e.g., solstice).
- Braid gardening with meditation, prayer and ritual.
- Continue to craft prayers and thanksgiving at meals.