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THE JOY OF RITUAL: Spiritual Recipes to Celebrate Milestones, Ease Transitions, and Make Every Day Sacred Paperback – May 1, 2006
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Rituals are like containers, gently holding those profound moments and passages in life that we hope to honor, savor, or simply let go of. "They mark significant times, ease us through transitions, and--especially in times of rapid change--bring structure and stability to our lives," explains author Barbara Bizlou, who's known by many as the "Ritual Lady." In her elegant and thorough book, Bizlou offers readers specific ritual suggestions and recipes for a variety of situations, including "Moving Through Depression," "Becoming an Elder," and "Celebrating Your Sensuality." While some rituals cover familiar terrain, such as wedding preparations, many cover uncharted territories that are in sore need of rituals. For example, Bizlou notes that the experiences of miscarriage and abortion are common to many people, yet few cultures offer rituals to grieve such losses. Among her ideas for grieving the loss of an unborn child, she suggests that parents create an altar, light a candle, name the child, and write down "all the things you wished to say to the child." Although Bizlou has imaginative and compelling ideas for rituals, she emphasizes the need for people to customize rituals to fit their own lives. Thus, this becomes not only a handy resource, but also a source of inspiration for those who are drawn to the power of rituals. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
"The Joy of Ritual is a roadmap to celebrating life." - Donna Karan
"There are dozens of ways to use ritual to heal One of the best guides I've seen is The Joy of Ritual, by Barbara Biziou." - Christiane Northup, M.D., author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom
"The Joy of Ritual is a practical, empowering, warmly written guide that teaches you how to make the passages of your life sacred. Barbara Biziou is a gifted teacher. Don't miss your chance to learn from her." - Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Positive Energy
"In my Zulu culture, rituals are the language of the soul. Barbara Biziou has mastered that language .Biziou's teaching transcends gender, race, and creed." - Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, South African Ambassador to the United Nations
"The Joy of Ritual is a book to illumine our transitions. It gives us the means to make sacred our everyday acts while adding spice and spunk to the threshold occasions and critical junctures in our lives and times." - Jean Houston, author of A Mythic Life
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Even if notions like these offend you (as they do me), you can still find value in this book by reading it selectively. For Biziou, besides being a flake, is also a shrewd folk-psychologist with a deep and very pragmatic understanding of what makes people tick, as well as having the vivid imagination of a born showman. She puts these qualities to work in the design of simple, touching ceremonies that are designed to dissipate negative emotions and create positive ones, to celebrate and to heal.
There are ceremonies for individuals to carry out in private, like the creation of a "healing stick," done by anyone facing a serious medical procedure: assemble a small stick and several colors of yarn. Visualize in turn the friends (and, I would add, public role models) that you most respect. For each one, think of the good quality that you would like to borrow from that person to help you through the coming medical ordeal -- courage, patience, whatever. Choose a color of yarn to represent that person's quality and wind it around the stick. Keep the yarn-wrapped stick with you throughout the hospital stay. Sensibly, Biziou never even hints that the stick itself contains any power; she knows that the comfort you gain from having it close to you is generated in your own mind, through recollection of the people whose qualities you are "borrowing."
And there are group ceremonies, like a ceremony of mutual appreciation to help a group of coworkers bond and support each other.
Some of Biziou's advice is just plain silly, like her discussion of the symbolic meanings of colors and scents: Black symbolizes "release" and "the unknown" -- but not, apparently, death or emptiness -- and red, "passion, energy, creation, stamina" -- but neither "danger" nor "stop." The scent of parsley symbolizes protection and dill, mental clarity, and so on until you just want to say "c'mon Barbara, get real." In my opinion a few of her opinions, especially on health, could be damaging because she is so clever at asserting that illness comes from bad thoughts -- which means that if you don't get well, it's your own fault for not thinking correctly. I think it's a crime to propagate that cruel and stupid concept.
However, many of the ceremonies she describes should indeed be nourishing to the spirit and psychologically healing. For those who can permit themselves unashamedly to participate in a ritual, there should be genuine emotional power and closure to many of these activities.
In The Joy of Ritual Barbara Biziou allows us to look at ritual from a more personal perspective. Her book takes you from the what to the how, in this wonderfully arranged "cookbook" of ritual.
Barbara begins with an introduction to the concept of ritual, why it is important and the general composition. She then provides details on the "what" and "why", exploring the meaning of colors, scents, food and drink, crystals and more in the context of the ritual space. She also discusses creating sacred space, alters and preparing yourself for ritual.
The remainder of the book is a well organized reference of rituals to support you in defining ritual for every day, milestone rituals, personal transformation and men's and women's rituals. She provides in each section the Intention, Timing, Ingredients and Recipe along with stories of how these rituals have been used by others.
This book concludes with suggested music and readings to support your work. This book offers an accessible way to start creating sacred space and ritual in your life.