This is a good example of how a ceremony can be written to celebrate any occasion, an accomplishment, or any life-affirming event.
Priscilla (fictitious name) had been through chemo, radiation, a double mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery - and had become cancer free! Her friends and family wanted to celebrate her, her struggles, her life and her victories. They had been there for her, cried, laughed, baked bread, brought food, watched movies, and prayed.
At the same time, all of them had walked through their own fires of hell at some point in their lives, separately and together. In considering such a ceremony, it also caused everyone involved to internally reflect on what they had overcome to achieve their own personal victories in life, and they realized in their hearts that they were all champions, because they had gotten through those challenges and grown from them. They all needed - and deserved - to be appreciated and celebrated! A place was chosen, a date was set. Each person was asked to bring a small symbol of themselves or their accomplishments.
That night, when all were assembled, we opened with a prayer of gratitude for everyone present. One by one, each person in turn came to the “altar” to place their symbol and tell their story. Many tissues were passed among the circle.
We entered into a guided meditation in preparation for the Burning Bowl, to help reveal the next blocks that each person needed to release in order to move on to the next phase of their life. After the meditation, the obstacles were recorded on paper, taken outside, and placed in the fire as a sign of willingness to let go of fears, frustrations, and self criticisms.
The group reassembled, with each person receiving the gift of a candle with a personal message. As each gift was opened, the message was shared, thoughts were shared, hugs were shared. Again, the tissues were passed around the circle.
The ceremony ended with a heartfelt prayer, but the celebration continued with food, drink, and camaraderie!
Life is to live, to experience, and to celebrate.