“Rituals punctuate life.” — Robert Neimeyer

The cycle of life

Thousands of years ago, human beings held primitive ceremonies to mark the events of their lives: birth; coming into adulthood; passage into and out of parenthood; pairing with a life partner; transitioning into death. Rituals also were used to celebrate community events: the passing of the seasons; harvest time; going to war; returning from the hunt. Whole communities would come together to celebrate, or mourn, or feast. Their gatherings honored the cycle of life and the power of community.

Today, except for a few cultures that still use time-honored ceremonies as a way to strengthen their group bonds, we have largely given up this custom. A few modern rituals persist: birthday parties; christenings; graduation ceremonies; weddings; funerals. Other than that, we don’t have a meaningful way to acknowledge many of the transitions we experience in life. As a result, we sometimes feel empty.

Here are some life events that hold great meaning, yet lack any kind of recognized rite of passage in our culture:

  • Leaving home for the first time
  • Divorce
  • First job
  • Career change
  • Layoff/job loss
  • Retirement
  • First-time parent

  • Menarche
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Grandparenthood
  • Empty nest
  • Adult orphan (both parents gone)
  • Pet loss

If you’re having trouble “getting over” a transition in your life, it might be that you’re yearning for some way to create closure. Or maybe you feel a need to formally and joyfully acknowledge a landmark event that is moving you into the next phase of your life.

A private, custom-designed ritual can take place wherever you choose – your home, your backyard, perhaps a favorite place in nature where you feel comfortable. We will first meet to plan the ritual, incorporating whatever elements you’d like: music; readings; video; drumming; dancing or other performance. Then you will invite whomever you’d like: family members; friends; neighbors; anyone who supports you in this transition you’re undergoing. Most rituals last about one hour. I will be present to officiate, if you wish, or you can lead the ritual yourself. Afterwards, you and your guests can share food and fellowship. It’s meaningful, and life-affirming!

You will be charged for one counseling session (during which we’ll discuss the context of the ritual and what you hope to accomplish), and also for my attendance at the ritual, if you request that.

From a grateful client:

“Jeanne helped me work with natural elements of the lake, hills, earth, fire, water and my faith to spend an intentional hour in letting go. We structured prayers, readings, affirmations, and writings to help me name and release my past … At first, I felt freedom, then bewilderment with the new paradigm. Now I am walking in acceptance and joy.    Thank you, Jeanne, for your leadership and guidance at this time in my life.”