The Book of Ceremony
Last year I created a photo series called Balloons of Truth. Some of it I shared and a lot of it I didn't. Part of that series was deciding what was important to me and how I wanted to release the rest. I gathered supplies (balloons, helium, string), purchased an outfit (oh, those shoes were so expensive), and hunted down the perfect location for what I wanted. The day of, I went through a whole series of things to prepare and then headed out. In a sense I created a ceremony of rebirth. Or at least that's the term I am going to use for it. As I said in my post "I'm out here to put a physical thing to a mental release". While I don't think back on this event often it did bring about massive change in my mental health.
The book of ceremony chapter 1 explains what a ceremony is and the difference between it and a ritual. It is also the reason I want to call that photo series a ceremony.
My yoga practice is a ritual. The release of the balloons was a ceremony. There was a specific intent and timing in it. Chapter 2 is about envisioning the ceremony and in the case of the balloons, I envisioned it for weeks before I moved onto Chapter 3 preparing for it. I didn't realize I was following such a specific pattern when I created that. While I don't love the word ceremony, it is interesting viewing it in this light. Ceremony pulls me back to my time as the "good, obedient, Christian daughter". Where ceremony meant commitment to something and always felt fake or contrite. In a weird way I have tried very hard to move ceremony as far from my life as I could.
When you see something as bad, you forget sometimes that there's a flip side and that by viewing something from a different perspective it could be good. Ceremonies don't have to be fake, it's all about your belief in them. Baptisms for the one being dunked is a powerful experience whether or not, I see it as a big silly show. The release of the balloons was purely symbolic for myself and can be viewed by others the same way I view baptism.
This book is from the view of a Shaman and a woman shaman at that. Once I get over my biased thoughts of what a shaman looks like, I found the author sharing words of something she is deeply practiced in. I don't fully understand the practice of Shamanic Wisdom but I like how she laid out each chapter and the process. As mentioned Chapter 1, what ceremony is. Chapter 2, envisioning your ceremony. Chapter 3, preparing, 4, performing and so on. Overall I am not sure how I feel about the balance mentioned in the book but I am happy to have a very different outlook on ceremonies than I did before. With Christmas right around the corner taking a fresh look at the ceremonies put on by the holidays I hope I can create them to reflect who I am better.