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Ritual is the art of transformation, a living space for inventing the world within and around us.
My experience with ritual has shaped and reshaped who I am over and over again. It is at the heart of everything that I do.
I grew up in a traditional Christian church setting as the child of a pastor. I was in ritual spaces three times a week for Wednesday night youth group, Sunday morning worship and Sunday evening prayer service. Church community and the language and rituals therein were anchor points for me and my family. I experienced the trauma and the joy of practicing the same language, the same stories over and over again. When they were stories of love, the repetition comforted me. When they were stories of judgement, I felt my self worth wither. The rituals I was a part of shaped my values, my experiences and my sense of self.
In our home, my parents chose moments to ritualize to create significance in the ordinary. We were not wealthy by any means, but we had special days with their own practices and routines that turned a day into an experience. For Dinosaur Day, we ate dinosaur-shaped boxed mac and cheese, drove into the city to visit the natural history museum and played dinosaur games. When we celebrated the first day of summer, it was with special treats and a day of pajamas on the couch. These moments became pillars for me in understanding how to create a rich, full culture in any circumstance. Magic didn't require lots of money if the ritual around it was special.
After getting a degree in theatre, I spent years as an actor and singer, inviting people to share stories in a community space. I told stories through song and I created immersive, interactive and traditional performances focused on collaboration and community. I was a part of sharing plays and dances that challenged and invoked joy in audiences. All of these experiences were steeped in ritual. We invited people to be moved by fictional and true stories of love, justice, exploration, grief and joy. We were painting a vision of a world and asking them to step inside with us.
When I made the decision to leave the theatre, I went in search of a way to connect with communities and individuals for the spiritual and cultural health of everyone I share space with. Ritual was the place where my artistry, spiritual leadership and political activism dovetailed into a single space. I began exploring and researching my own ancestral heritage and the religious culture I was raised in. I reimagined Catholic rituals. I made zines for the new moon. I struggled to find my way forward in a white supremacist culture where appropriation is insidious and pervasive. In this process, I created a set of tools for myself. As I used these tools and began to share them, I started to get a picture of how many people around me were struggling in the same ways I was. We were looking for ways to tend to the spiritual and cultural health of ourselves and our communities without the dogma, colonization and oppressive structures of religion.
I began practicing and creating ritual as a vocation. Ritual changes us, invites us to practice inventing the new world. As a white person, I knew that my default would perpetuate the ableist, white supremacist, fatphobic, cisheteronormative, colonizing patterns I was raised in. Unless I was intentional about pushing back against and actively dismantling these systems in my practice, I would replace one oppressive spiritual culture with another. I made a practice out of taking in teachings, media, stories and ideas from people who had been doing this work longer than me. Through the teachings and challenges of Black/Indigenous/People of Color queer, disabled, fat, trans, neurodiverse and culturally marginalized voices I began to untangle the web of distopian narratives that I was taught as true in American culture. The old systems that had defined so much of my experience failed me as I began to step into my fullest self. I began to embrace my queerness, stopped dieting, started searching out expansive visions of God. I committed myself to a journey towards decolonization that disrupted my old stories. The communities I am in became practice spaces for building new ways of being through anti-oppressive frameworks in mixed-ability, queer, mixed-race spaces. I completed the certificate program for Embodied Social Justice through The Embody Lab and the Movement Chaplaincy certificate through Daring Compassion. I lead an BIPOC-futurist book club where we enjoy, learn from, and imagine with futurist authors of color from all over the world. I am involved in cohorts, communities and fellowship programs that encourage feedback and accountability in an effort to keep my practice grounded in non-punitive reconciliation.
With a deepened ritual practice comes a desire to share and offer what I have learned to those that want to connect. I create rituals for friends and clients who want to interact with change in an intentional way that amplifies their values. If you are interested in connecting for an individual ritual experience, a community ritual or as part of a recurring guided ritual practice, you can sign up on the services | pricing | booking page.
You can also check out my CV and Leadership resume for more details about my experience.
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