Ceremony is a way of performing how things can be that may be in tension with how things actually are. This ‘ceremonial narrative’ occurs within the everyday in place and time, but is set apart from it. It is this  highly intentional space (sacred) within the everyday, where other possibilities are glimpsed and, perhaps, where real societal or attitudinal changes are seeded and become possible.

Ceremony is an act of listening for the integration points, the building of relationships around certain actions through repetition, careful and clear language and the creation of congruence in those participating and those presenting. Good ceremony is good storytelling that transmits a sense of inclusion, shared values and becomes a mooring point for belonging and for the possibility of new questions and perspectives to be produced.

To bring ceremony to our lives offers us an opportunity to see things anew, to create the narratives by which primary meaning is made in our lives.

The Power of Ceremony

begins with the setting of intentions, the way in which the visible elements are conceived, given language and brought to expression. Ceremony is a process in which ones intentions are clarified and made manifest by paying particular attention to the quality of the experience for all involved. People experiencing, witnessing and participating in the ceremony will have the opportunity  shift in perspective, thought and feeling, perhaps to enter their lives anew.

Rites of Passage, a term coined by Arnold Van Gennep, an early 20th Century Anthropologist identified/produced 3 phases’, I call them experiences,

  • Separation – pre liminal
  • Transition- liminal
  • Re-Incorporation- post liminal.

Coming from the Latin term, Limen-‘ to stand at the threshold’ between one way of being and another.

Liminality is characterized by ambiguity and disorientation, where the subject has left his or her previous identity or way of living and is yet to assume their new one or place in society. Later in the 20th Century, the term was reclaimed by Victor Turner who focused in the liminal period entirely and applied it more widely that to Passage Rites themselves, 

‘the subject is structurally, if not physically, ‘invisible’” (1967: 95)….Liminality may perhaps be regarded as a realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations may arise” (1967: 97).