Rites of Passage

and other life events

Rites of Passage Change Us Forever

Metal sculpture of a bride and groom


The change created in a rite of passage is profound and recognized by our community. Traditional rites of passage include:

  • Getting married
  • Establishing a home
  • Becoming a parent
  • The death of a loved one
  • Getting a divorce
  • Facing the empty nest
  • Significant passages in aging

Personal, meaningful rituals can enhance the joy, ease the pain, and guide the transformations marked by rites of passage.

The most common rites of passage are weddings and funerals.

They awaken generational memories in the marrow of our bones. We might have little or no knowledge of our ancestors – where they came from, what they believed, how they celebrated, how they mourned.

And yet, we see a bride walk down the aisle and we recognize the beginning of the heart’s journey.

We see a casket lowered into the earth and we glimpse the finality of our own lives.

In both weddings and funerals, we feel the power in all thresholds.

These rites of passage are shaped and celebrated with rituals.

Wedding Ritual: Handfasting

Couples getting married didn't always use rings. Only the wealthy could afford precious metals. To show their commitment to each other, a couple's hands would be bound with a cord of some sort. It is from this binding that we get the phrase "tie the knot."

Wedding officiant binds a couples hands with a decorative cord

Wedding Ritual: Oathing Stones

Couples might chose to make their vows while holding a stone from the land of their ancestors, or from the location of the wedding. A beautiful alternative is to have a stone painted with a symbol that's meaningful to the couple. The stone in the photo shows the Celtic symbol "gra," which means love.

ritual oathing stone with handfasting cord made with Douglas clan tartan

Funerals and Memorials

Whatever your spiritual beliefs, death creates a threshold between the world of the living and the world of the dead. When we think of a funeral as a rite of passage, we're referring not to the deceased but to those left behind. For the survivors, life is irrevocably changed by the death of someone significant.

Six people in black lower a casket into a grave

Ritual: Baby Blessing

A baby blessing is a beautiful way to

  • Honor the name given to the baby
  • Acknowledge new parents and grandparents.
  • Collect parental wisdom
  • Create a symbol of the family's home

One of the sweetest elements of a baby blessing is to symbolize the baby's home as a nest.

The Ritual Writer

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