Sunday, November 6, 2011

Share Your Ritual

The Ritual Tent last summer at Easton: a laboratory, play space, and refuge for the ritually gifted and challenged.

I’m amazed by the riches of an on-line clearing-house for progressive Jewish rituals in everyday life:, coordinated by Rabbi Roni Handler. You can find there rituals for the adoption of a pet; for acknowledging the advancing Alzheimer’s disease of a family member; for healing from trauma and abuse; for coming out; for gender transitioning; for the preservation of the earth from ecological violence; and for far more. Even better, this is a grassroots effort: members send in rituals they’ve created or discovered and found helpful.

What consciously spiritual gay and bisexual men need is our own version of RitualWell. I’m inviting you to help create it.

You’ve got a wealth of wisdom stored up in your own experience of creating ritual that expresses and nourishes your inner life as a man who loves other men. What’s helped you grow and move forward is a potential resource to your brothers. Sharing what’s within you builds a bridge that spans from your own internal life to widening circles of community.

The ritual supports of your inner life may be absolutely simple and unelaborated—as simple as pausing mindfully before beginning a meal, or lighting a candle before a photo of someone you love. If so, they’re likely to speak all the more easily to other men you share them with. They may be rich and elaborately developed. If so, they’re all the more generous an invitation to men who may be grateful to draw on your practice.

Maybe you have a ritual to center yourself in times of stress; to deal with loss and grief; to remind you of who you are most deeply and who you want to be; to connect yourself with the natural world; to reaffirm the bond you share with a partner or a friend; to deal with the effects of homophobia in your life; to honor the humanity and worth of a stranger you’ve just made love to for the first and last time. (Maybe your ritual is pure vanilla, and you could share it with your grandmother; maybe it’s deeply engrained in your erotic life and oy, may your grandmother never know.)

I invite you to share your rituals here—in a few lines that describe a simple practice; or in a longer explanation of something more elaborate and personal. Post them as comments on this entry; or send them as e-mails to my address in the sidebar. Attach photos if you’d like. I’ll move your contribution from there into the more permanent “Ritual Resources” module to the right, posted with your name if you want to share it, or anonymously if you don’t.

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