Friday, May 28, 2010

Update on Everything

Quick update.

I'm working on a short-story -- I was hoping to have a Wordos-ready draft ready by this evening, but family matters (of a fun kind) intervened. It's a humor piece (well, at least I think it's funny).

Tons of rain lately; I'm sure it's good for the snow pack, but our strawberries are mushy and white. On the plus side, in the last half month there have been no less than four huge, double-rainbows at sunset. And double-rainbows almost automatically equal smooching at our house.

With all the clouds and rain, I haven't seen much of the moon. I was hoping Thursday that I might see the moon right under one of the Monster Rainbows, but that didn't happen.

In other news, I'm reading way too many books at once -- books on the various branches of mysticism surrounding the Kabbalah, books on the history of writing and the development of homo sapiens art, and the history of science. It's times like these I wish I could read in my sleep. All this research is sort of for the history exhibit in Second Life... except that I've been so busy with Family Art Projects, short stories, and research that I haven't had much time to play in Second Life. It's crazy, but everything starts to point back to Gilgamesh, King Hammurabi, Ishtar, Lilitu, and Babylon. Oh, and medieval and Renaissance pastiches mistaken in the 1800 and 1900's for real live ancient things.

On the topic of religion... somehow, this week, I got into a discussion of rituals of passage with Dave Raines. I mentioned that over a decade ago, one of my old friends had used the metaphor "taken by the fairies" as part of a Neo-Pagan based ritual recognizing that her daughter's medical condition had irreversibly changed her personality. Dave wondered about a Christian-based ritual... and this is what popped out:

I'm reminded of the saying, "When one door closes, another opens." Here's one suggested ritual format (keeping in mind that although I was raised Episcopal, my spiritual practice is Neo-Paganism).

Ritual Welcoming the Changing One (a ritual marking the passing of the old self and the appearance of a new self, either through Alzheimer's, menopause, injury, or other personality changing conditions)

From within the sanctuary, The minister lights a colored candle (representing the Changing One's past life) from the altar candles and says, "From God's hands we come, and to God's hands we shall return." He takes the candle from the sanctuary to the vestibule at the back of the church, where the Changing One waits, possibly holding a photograph or small token representing their past.

A curtain is set up at the gate of the sanctuary rail. The Changing One's family and friends form a corridor leading to the curtain. The minister, representing the church, leads the Changing One (still holding their candle and token) through the corridor of community to the curtain at the sanctuary rail.

The congregation sings, "To every thing there is a season..."

The Changing One is assisted through the curtain, which closes after they enter the sanctuary. The minister helps the Changing One to place their candle and token on the altar, and to light a new white candle (representing their new self or new beginnings) from the old one.

Holding the new white candle, the Changing One reappears through the curtain at the sanctuary rail. The minister offers a benediction (I'm not sure if anointing with oil is appropriate [Dave says that within his practice, anointing at this time would be similar to a prayers for healing service]), and the Changing One and is welcomed by the corridor of community back to their seat. (Perhaps logistically, their candle could be clipped to their pew or placed on a low table in the aisle for the rest of the service.)

The service transitions into regular communion.
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