This Thanksgiving, after all the eating and football and more eating (etc) our family had a bonfire. (We do that. A lot.) Once the initial 20 ft conflagration (yep, we use gasoline) had turned into a nice glow, my mother surprised us all by pulling out the Black Belt.
This belt is a heirloom from her side of the family. I don’t know how many generations it goes back, but it’s sole purpose was the disciplining of children. A thick leather strap, folded over on one end for better grip with sufficient length left over for the whacking of bottoms. As the oldest child I remember getting whacked quite a bit. (My folks had mellowed by the time the younger ones were getting into their trouble, not nearly so much whacking going on then.)
So my mom surprises us all, by pulling out the long unused Black Belt… and after a few words, throwing it on the fire.
This was her ritual for us, a gesture of reconciliation, of apology, asking forgiveness, and a hope for healing. It was very powerful.
My beliefs have changed about things like God, Blessings, Answers to Prayers, etc. I no longer feel about them the way I did growing up in the church. But I DO believe in private ritual. That in our animal brains, we respond to special acts done with intent.
I also believe in the ritual of sweat & strained muscles, of beating the hell out of an inanimate object, of writing things down, of creating something, of destroying something. Of Silence. Of reaching out.
What are your rituals?