Saturday, December 20, 2008

Victoria the Shaman

Speaking of "Welcoming" ceremonies---I refuse to give a certain pastor any publicity, but I will say...why are prayers being held at any presidential inauguration? Especially a presidency that emblazons "Change!" all across its face?

But back to newborn babies!

The "celebrant" of Ava's welcoming ceremony was a woman named Victoria. She's sort of a secular answer to a priest, surprisingly down to earth for a self-described "modern-day Shaman". Victoria told me she works with the GLBTQ community, performing as "celebrant" at various commitment ceremonies, naming ceremonies, and primarily at "end of life" ceremonies.

I said that last bit must be rather depressing. "Actually, it's not," she said.

Victoria told me that what she does now was planted in her when she saw her gay friends dying of AIDS in the 1980's. Their funerals, she said, stripped them of their dignity. Families would serve up rigid religious ceremonies; who they were and how they lived were not mentioned. Often, their friends and partners were not invited to attend. For survivors, it's hard to move on when you don't get a proper goodbye.

I can see how what Victoria does is not depressing. She's helping to honor the unique lives of the people at their end. Good on her. I definitely don't want a somber, black, boring funeral. I want a colorful glitter party. With Kylie. And confetti!

"Make sure you write that down," she says.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jesse,

I could not agree with you more, there should be no prayer services at any official government ceremonies. Whatever became of the notion of separation of church and state.

Your friend Jimmy