The Importance of Rituals (Part 2) by Elise M. Edwards


In my previous post, I wrote about the importance of rituals. The rituals of the Easter season helped me process some difficult emotions. The way that rituals mark time and demonstrate consistency has been a comfort for me when facing new challenges and settings. But I am quite aware that rituals can become empty.   In one of the comments to that post, a woman named Barbara responded, “There came a time for me when familiar and meaningful ritual no longer made sense. I had changed in understanding of what the ritual symbolized and celebrated. And haven’t found new rituals that make sense for me now…or at least I’m not aware of any.” Barbara’s remarks capture not only the loss from no longer being able to relate to existing rituals after life changes, but also the difficulty in finding or creating new rituals to take their place. I thanked Barbara for her honesty and decided that this post would continue the discussion, focusing more on discovery and creation of new rituals.

As I was preparing that post, I watched an episode of Call the Midwife that prompted me to reflect on the need to create rituals when existing ones just don’t work. Call the Midwife is a BBC-PBS show about nurses and midwives living in a convent in London’s East End at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s. The show is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, and it does a better job than most primetime dramas of showing female characters’ experiences the joys and challenges of their professional lives and personal lives. As it is set in a convent with several characters who are both nuns and midwives, the show also explores the theme of vocation. What does it mean to be called to the religious life? Called to nursing? What does motherhood demand? Continue reading “The Importance of Rituals (Part 2) by Elise M. Edwards”

The Importance of Rituals by Elise M. Edwards

elise-edwardsMy sister once said about me, “One thing you have to understand about Elise—she takes the ritual of whole thing very seriously.” My sister was right and her words helped me see this quality about myself. What ritual was she talking about me taking so seriously? Happy hour on Fridays.

It was a different season of my life when she said this. I don’t have Friday happy hours regularly anymore, although I did gather with my friends nearly every week for food and drinks for many years throughout my 20s and 30s. It was often on Fridays, but at one point it was Wednesdays and then, for about a year, it was Thursday nights after a late shift at work.

More recently, I would meet a friend for crepes at the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. Although the day and the time and specifics of these gatherings would vary, the act of setting aside a weekly time to connect with people dear to me and relax as we indulged in good food or drink was a ritual to me.

Continue reading “The Importance of Rituals by Elise M. Edwards”


“So it all kind of depends… even in men compared to men, and women compared to women, you would have to have a counterpart to judge something as yin or yang—you are never statically just yin or just yang…”

Elisa Fon is a student of acupuncture, graduating this semester from Yo San University in Santa Monica, CA.  She also studies reiki, energy healing, meditation and yoga.  Elisa and I have known each other for most of our lives as friends, as one another’s support and as chosen family.  Over the last few years, however, we have more consciously fostered an intentional aspect of our intimacy: a challenge to each other to live more authentically, to walk counter-abusively and to live towards physical, spiritual and emotional empowerment.  One privilege of this relationship has been the opportunity to create a language together in order to speak across our differences and share our respective passions: feminist theo/alogies (mine) and Chinese medicine/ healing arts (Elisa’s).

Searching for a way to better understand and teach feminist Taoism, I reached out to Elisa for dialogue and language, which gave birth to the following interview about the relationship of one feminist to Taoism, or a Taoist to feminism. Continue reading “A FEMINIST TAOIST VOICE PART 1: MY DIALOGUE WITH ELISA FON, ACUPUNCTURIST, TAOIST, FEMINIST AND FRIEND by Sara Frykenberg”

%d bloggers like this: