I feel a rite coming on. . . .
We've all got it in us, that desire for ritual. I believe we've gotten lazy with our expressions of ritual with long established customs taking the place of fresher, and dare I say deeper enactments of what is close to the human heart.
(The one exception I see is the free-flowing rites around the Thanksgiving table, and more power to us for embracing the beauty in that sharing).
We need our own, individually created rites to mark passages, invoke aid, celebrate. So if you are a far out kind of person, your rites can be reflective of that, and if you are of a more traditional bent, you can borrow from that richness in what you create. Here's a couple of examples to get the juices flowing:
The Star Celebration
On a clear night, in a location outdoors and away from the effects of electric lights, place yourself standing in full view of the celestial bodies. Then, gazing up and opening your arms wide, breathe in, celebrating the brotherhood we share with all.
That, in case you missed it, was the far out ritual.
This rite works nicely at the beginning of a new year, calendar or birth:
Place three candles in a row facing you, and beginning on the left, light each candle. Saying as the first is lit, "I express my gratitude for all that has passed that strengthens me." Saying as the second is lit, "I honor all that I have become." Saying as the third is lit, "I embrace all the opportunities that await me in this coming year."
One last note--simple, everyday rituals carry as great a value as big statement rituals if we allow ourselves to put our hearts into them. So go ahead, greet the sun, wash your hands of worry, blow kisses, post sticky notes, share drinks, save seats, wave good-byes, send up prayers. Your world will be remarkably enriched when you do.