Ritual. What does it mean to you?
To me, ritual never seemed very important. I had routine. I had a class time-table. I had church services at school. I had Schoolies. I had graduation – oops, no I missed that. And then, one day, I had a wedding.
Before getting married, I didn’t think much about ritual and the seriousness of weddings. Before my own wedding, and attending weddings of close friends, I had always thought it was difficult to find the bride in the meringue. I looked, I tried, but I couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about.
We didn’t have much of a lead up to our wedding. Let’s say it was about 6 months from meeting, and 3 months of an engagement. Of that time, only about 2 months were spent in each other’s physical company. Let’s just say we were taking a punt. And we knew it. We knew we were being brave warriors, flying in the face of wedding tradition by not taking 2 years to organise the big day and not planning a honeymoon. We were light-hearted about it. Until we got to writing the vows. And I realised for the first time what ritual meant.
Weddings are a ritual. A serious occasion, iced with marzipan, to cement and make official the love between two people (note, I did not say a man and a woman).
So every word of the vow we uttered was completely serious, and designed to convey the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Because we had known each other so momentarily, our vows were very short. We didn’t promise to be with each other to death do us part. We had no idea. We could only promise to support the other to grow as they needed to grow. And everything else just had to wait and see.
If I made my vows now, I would include a bit more adulation. Five years in, I have more to go on. You, my husband-to-be, are an amazing wise and kind man, who makes me complete, rested and grounded. You make me laugh every day, and no kidding, I don’t think I have had a really shit day since we got together. You share most of my passions, my feelings and my thoughts, and quietly tolerate those you don’t share. I promise to support you to be whoever you need to be, and grow however you want to grow. I promise, as much as possible, to be with you in sickness and in health and to death do us part. Thank you for loving me as myself.
Anyway, ritual is important, I have come to realise.
In recent days, I have introduced a little ritual into our household routine. There is ritual in our eating together and other daily activities, but this recent ritual has more of a traditional, spiritual feel. Inspired by a friend, and Elki’s love of Ommms at yoga class, we set up cushions, light an oil burner, and sit in a circle saying Oms and a blessing for the day. Elka is very fond of sending love and nourishment to all the children of the world, then clasping her hands at heart centre to say “Om”. Our ritual is an evening ritual, a time otherwise known at the Witching Hour – when dinner has been served and mum frantically tries to wash up, and prepare Elka for bed, while Elka rushes around crazily, making demands to read to her, and rolling around naked on the bed. Crazy hour is now peaceful Om hour, and all our wild energy is contained and channeled into our Oms.
Tonight, we did a special ritual for my dear friend, Margot, who passed away nearly 8 years ago. Because today would have been her birthday, we planted a frangipani in the garden, then, on Elka’s insistence, set up our cushions for our Oms. Tonight, we lit our candle for Margot. I had to ask Elka to stop talking momentarily, while I said my blessings for Margot, thanking her for knowing us, and being so kind and funny and grounded and amazing.
In all my wisdom and wifeliness and mumminess, I now greatly value ritual in my life.
Blessings to Margot and all who knew her.