Monday, November 8, 2010


Sometimes there are chapters of our lives that cry out for the proper ending. We feel incomplete or out of sorts unless we can put things in perspective through some word or action that lets us feel that we have completed our work in that part of our life, or said what we really wanted to say in order to let go and move on.

For lack of this aspect of completion, a person could walk around feeling ill at ease in their own skin. Until they reconcile their feelings with what happened, they often may be out of sorts in their dealings with others who had nothing to do with the reason for their upset.

Of course, it is best if you can reach this closure with people in real life who were involved in the events or situation. That is often optimal.

However, sometimes, the person with whom you would like closure is dead, or lives far away, or for other reasons you choose not to contact them.

In that case, closure can be done ritually, through special ceremonies. In one case, I assisted a woman who needed to put to rest her grieving over a miscarriage that had happened a number of years earlier. After the ritual, she found peace with that issue for the first time in years.

In another case, a person needed to release a grievance over an injustice from years before. In another case, a person simply wanted a meaningful ritual to say farewell to a parent who died when they were not there.

I was also present one evening when a person performed a ritual act to signal closure to his old career.

When we do such things, we can experience a feeling of peace that we have acknowledged that a significant part of our life has ended and we say farewell to that as we prepare to begin our next chapter and set out on our next adventure.

Is there an area of your life that you feel needs closure? Have you ever thought about addressing that in a ritual context?

It is a powerful and life affirming act. It can also help us draw wisdom and compassion from those life lessons.

This is a powerful form of alchemy and an act of magic that we perform to transform sadness into a creative force, and bring peace from chaos, to bring understanding and compassion from confusion and hurt.

If you have a feeling that such an act of closure is needed, then the time is now. There is even love among the ruins of what once was, and that is always left to the gleaners who know how to find value and nourishment in the parts that have been left behind.

And it is always the survivors who are the beneficiaries, although the ghosts will often take the ritual as their cue, and take their leave, finally breaking their earthly bonds and moving on. Ghosts are not just spirits of the dead who have not crossed over. Relationships and careers have ghosts too, and sometimes these cast long shadows, until our fires cast enough heat and light to burn them away.

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