5040 How to Create an Earth-Honoring Ritual

Speaker: Patricia Montley, author of In Nature's Honor: Myths and Rituals Celebrating the Earth (Skinner House, 2005). Patricia Montley co-chairs the Worship Committee at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. She has a master's degree in theology and a doctorate in the theater arts.

Prepared for UUA.org by Allan Stern, Reporter; Jone Johnson Lewis, Editor.

Rituals are a way of defining us as humans; without them, we are less than human. With them, we appreciate the poetry of the world around us. Electricity has lessened the anxiety over the coming of darkness for the long dark winter; we are no longer as sensitive to being dependent on the elements.

The workshop discussion then proceeded through a handout with the following topics (each topic has many detailed sub-topics):

Creating a Ritual for Summer Solstice

  1. Define Summer Solstice
  2. Research the history of Summer Solstice

    1. Structures built by ancient peoples to mark the Solstice
    2. History of Summer Solstice celebrations
  3. Why would we moderns want to celebrate the Summer Solstice? Why celebrate the sun at all?
  4. How to celebrate the Summer Solstice: in music, poetry, story/myth, litanies of praise, explanatory prose, symbolic objects, symbolic movement, ceremonial food
  5. Create outline for ritual
  6. Write a script
  7. Optional post-ritual