Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Five: Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Sally, a RevGal in the UK, offers this Friday Five:

It is the first of May, or as I have been concentrating on dialogue with folk interested in the new spirituality movement this last week, it is Beltane, a time to celebrate the beginning of summer. The BBC web-site tells us that:

Beltane is a Celtic word which means 'fires of Bel' (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.

Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.

Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.

Another advert for a TV programme that has caught my eye on the UK's Channel 4 this weekend is called Love, Life and leaving; and is a look at the importance of celebrating the seasons of life through ritual and in the public eye, hence marriages, baptisms and funerals.

I believe that we live in a ritually impoverished culture, where we have few reasons for real celebration, and marking the passages of life;


1. Are ritual markings of birth, marriage and death important to you?
They are important, but the "day" itself is less important than the relationship. For instance, I celebrated on this blog my 22nd wedding anniversary last week -- but we are not actually going to go out to dinner to celebrate until this weekend.

I have a friend who is a bit freaked about the whole birthday thing. She spends a lot of emotional energy trying to figure out EXACTLY when to mail a card so that it arrives ON someone's birthday -- not earlier, not later. And then she agonizes over what to do if it's a holiday or a Sunday!!! I think that's crazy. Sweet, but crazy.

I think these remembrances are important, but I frequently forget to send/say/do them. In one respect, Facebook has been very helpful that way.

2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice.
One of my friends sends her mom a thank you card on her own birthday as in - thanks mom for birthing me. Thought it was pretty cool. Occasionally, I remember to do that, too.

I have a daily devotional book that I wrote people's birthday's in for a while. I need to get back to updating it. It was a cool way to pray for a friend or family member as "their" day popped up.

3. If you could invent ( or have invented) a ritual what is it for?
When I write and upload my LAST paper for seminary, we are going to have a ritual "shredding of the Turabian"!!! Page by page.

4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how?
I am not entirely comfortable, to be honest. Easter and Christmas of course are scheduled to coincide with them. And many of our "customs" are from these festivals. But I otherwise would prefer to focus on the Triune God.

5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be?
What and where less important than "WHO" -- and there's a lot of them. Let the parTAY begin! :)



RevDrKate said...

We BURNT Turabian when I finished my undergrad. Very liberating indeed.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I love your #3.

Sally said...

I love your # 3, and really understand that desire to shred something in celebration, I am wondering what to shred right now, my last day ios only 4 weeks away!!!

Sophia said...

Love the shredding ritual! And the thanking Mom on your birthday idea....

Purple said...

I so understand the Turbian thing. I slowly watched all my Hebrew flash cards drift into the recycling bin. Very theraputic.

revhipchick said...

burning Turabian--awesome! sorry that totally sidetracked me!

Deb--i LOVE your friend's sending a card to her mom on her birthday. beautiful! i also like your idea of praying for your friends on their special days.

i'm with you--the actual date is less important that the celebrating.