There are many major events in our culture that have their own ritual from weddings to graduations yet there are some that have no ritual at all, a girl’s transition to womanhood with her first period or a boy’s transition to manhood (when exactly is that?). There is a growing movement to make moments more special by personalizing rituals that aren’t very meaningful anymore (the commercialization of holidays comes to mind) or creating new rituals where there isn’t one. I had to do that when Buddy, my dog of 13 years, died. I mentioned in my last post how it affected Pixie, my darling Shih Tzu. I don’t have to go into detail about how deeply it affected me, too.
To honor Buddy’s memory, give him a proper good-bye, & give myself closure, I created my own ritual that included a burial with his favorite stuffed animal, a eulogy where I mentioned many of the wonderful memories we shared, journal writing, & the creation of a portrait that was based on a silly photo of him & Pixie in a washtub. How he hated that experience! I could practically hear him protesting the humiliation of being photographed in a plastic tub. Totally embarrassing for a dog of his stature 🙂 The portrait wasn’t meant to be realistic; it was meant to capture his playful yet curmudgeonly spirit as well as Pixie’s sweetness. This artwork helped me heal & still makes me laugh each time I see it. Art is one of the great healers & a valuable component to meaningful ritual for me. How do you make rituals meaningful for yourself?