A common purpose unites each and every ritual, explains author Rachel Pollack, who offers this primer on creating meaningful rituals. At its core, a ritual helps us acknowledge the important moments in our life, whether it is a marriage to a beloved or the welcoming of spring equinox. A ritual "connects us to each other, to nature, to the cycles and rhythms of life", she explains. "It opens our heart to love and to intense emotion--sadness and longing as well as joy. And it opens a space for what we call the sacred or spirituality to enter our lives".
Chapter by chapter, Pollack offers do-it-yourself suggestions for creating grand and small rituals, such as the exchanging of love vows, conceiving a baby, or the saying of a daily blessing. She also explores the many tools for ritual, including sound (humming, turning a rainstick), sight (rock art, working with colour), and "Smell and Taste" (preparing food, sipping wine, introducing essential oils). Other rituals include walking labyrinths, making a pilgrimage, celebrating menopause and burying a placenta. --Gail Hudson