Welcome to Reverence
Reverence is a worldview: a way of approaching life with wonder, care and gratitude, attention and respect. With reverence, we slow down and witness and feel and celebrate and make meaning, alone, and together with others. We make little spots of beauty. Pause before meals to drop into full appreciation. We say “thank you” to plants before harvesting them. We mark important moments in a new way. We rebind ourselves to the cycle of the day, the moon, the seasons. With attention we connect more deeply to milestone events and life phases, such as a coming-of-age or an empty nest or a reconciliation. There are so many ways to be present and participate in beauty. This book started as a way to invite readers into more awareness, to inspire a shift from habitual to ritual.
When I started talking about it with my friends, though, it expanded significantly—especially in the area of rituals tied to life in a female body. These include some that we don’t usually consider, like the graduation from active motherhood, menarche, menopause, or the grief of miscarriage.
Reverence went from being my solo project to being a collective project. You will meet some of my friends in this book. The astrophysicist and medicine-woman Cristina Star, who writes and teaches extensively on resacralizing menstruation. The organizational behaviorist and Burning Man artist Kathleen Joy, aka Lumi, who shares the Ceremony for the Empty Nest that she constructed when her daughters left home. Maria Haddad, the designer turned herbalist and rockhound, lets us in on the healing power of smudging and vibration in natural materials. Connor James Sleeper, a Montana-based artist and mythologist writes on seasonal rituals. Jeff Greenwald, my long-time collaborator writes on Forgiveness rituals. The rest is from my heart and my experiences of living a life in ritual and reverence—even though I have been working since I was 14, and raising a large family, creating wonder and magic has always been part of my everyday life.
One of the most memorable parts of creating this work was a week I spent with Samantha, my eldest daughter, at her home in rural Connecticut. We collected and arranged rocks and crystals and leaves and flowers and glass to make altars and mandalas. The days we spent together, making and photographing them, were themselves magical. On the first day, Samantha took out some crystal beads and began to use them to filter the light. The rainbow images in this book are the direct result of this play. So even the creation of this work was done in a spirit of collaborative reverence.
My wish for you is that this book’s research, ideation, and designed experiences will feed your own instinct and intuition about meaning-making, and it will inspire you to deeply drink in the beauty of life—in all of its daily joys, milestone celebrations and losses. To the lifelong artwork of a human existence. In reverence, Christine Mt. Tamalpais, CA, 2021
The above is an excerpt from our new book "Reverence: Creating Ritual in Modern Life."