This is my body; this is the temple of light. This is my heart; this is the altar of love.” –Sufi song (quoted in Birthrites)
“Traveler, there is no path. One makes the path by walking.” –Antonio Machado (in Birthrites)
This is a picture of the lovely elemental altar bowl my mom made me for Christmas. It “holds” all four elements in one: Earth the clay it is made from, water in the dish surrounding the candle, fire in the candle, and air in the smoke/flame.
I was going to write a bit more about the large stack of books I was lucky enough to amass over Christmas and solstice, but I decided a short, quoteful post will suffice for today (I also posted a thealogy-related Mary Christmas post at my other blog).
While I’ve read a chapter each in most of the books I received, I completely finished reading one of them: Birthrites by Jackie Singer.
Two quotes from Birthrites about the value and purpose of rituals:
Making ritual diverts our attention from the everyday tasks of survival, and for a brief time allows us to notice and comment on where we are. Faced with the awesome experience of findings ourselves conscious in an unpredictable universe, making ritual is a noble attempt to confer rhythm and coherence to our lives…
…there is a paradox inherent in the whole concept of new ceremony, because part of the power of ceremony is that it has the weight of tradition behind it. In times of continuity, ritual would be something handed down by the elders. Perhaps this is an ideal, but we do not live in times of continuity. Rather than abandoning the whole idea of ritual as irrelevant, we need to respond to the challenges of our fast-changing age by renewing ritual practise in a way that honours the past but makes sense to us now.
Merry Christmas! May we all remember that we carry an altar of love within us.