Rituals

I lit the candles and began the blessing, waving the heat of them closer to me, and covering my eyes.  It felt so good to be doing this again, I wondered why I had stopped.  I heard the TV in the living room.  I knew why I had stopped.

My kids stared in wide-eyed amazement; my three-year-old could still remember when we kept the Shabbos, the Sabbath, holy.  He grinned with the familiarity.  The baby, though, began a prayer of his own:

Happle dirday you you.
Happle dirday you you.
Happle dirday ME!!!!
Happle dirday you you!

Heh, since when did candles become a birthday-only thing?  Since Friday became like every other day.  There is always work, and supper always gets started late, and then there are dishes, and TV shows, and, well, it just got to be all the same.  I always forget.  It's wrong for me to blame anyone but me, but I often wonder how different it would be if I had more support.

Some especially close friends and I are doing an online Samhain ritual.  I have never done a non-Judeo-Christian ritual before, and am a little apprehensive, but am assured that the ritual is highly customizable;  I don't have to violate anything I believe in.  Since we will be doing it via email, we will have to try especially hard to focus on the togetherness of it, but I am so looking forward to it.  The whole point, as I understand it, is to recognize the changing of the seasons, to see the spiritual in all of us and the world around us, and to honor our dead.  I can dig that.

I want to say that life is full of little rituals, but for me, it really is not.  There isn't much that's repetitious and sacred to me.  We do have our bedtime ritual, the children and I, which consists of a drink of water, then the Sh'ma, Judaism's most basic prayer, then the old standby "Now I Lay Me" but in its gentler incarnation:

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Thy love go with me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Thank You, God, for our home and our food and our family.
God bless this good Earth, and everybody on it.
Amain.

Then comes a goodnight kiss for each boy.

Each meal gets the Hamotzi, the bread prayer.  But that's it.  I wanted to have all kinds of rituals and traditions for my family, like greeting the beauty of every new day in some kind of way, like meeting a new season.

Halloween is a VERY big deal to me.  It's the one night a year when you are allowed to be whatever the hell you want and nobody has a hard time with that.  It's a night when you are actually encouraged to be out in the night, feeling the feel, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds that come when the sun goes down.  Plus it's a community thing too.  Everybody else and their kid is out there with ya.  Makes me feel kinda warm, knowing people all over the US and some of Europe are doing more or less what I am doing that night.  Dressing oddly and behaving in a silly manner.

We do have a tradition for that, but it happens October 1st, not the 31st.  The Hanging of the Decorations.  It is also costume trying-on time, to see if we have one that fits any kid, and is the kid gonna like it.  The little boy votes yes for the black widow spider suit.  The big one votes no for all the ones we have, wants to be Superman, with a plastic mask.  Adamant.

I do have one other ritual, but it's very, very private.  I perform it at least every other day.  It brings me release and relaxation as well as being a time for me to think about people I love so much, want so much, but am so far away from.  No more detail than that, I am sorry.

I am one of those who can feel the holy in everything, but also one who gets so wrapped up in the material, that I forget to pay attention.  Do I need more rituals?  More faithful observance of the ones I know already?  Yes, almost certainly, and with the right support, maybe I'll get off my duff and make it happen.