As a generation, we are growing into our wisdom. We are hungry for our wise women, our wise men. We are hungry to know them and to become them. The wise have seen the light at the center of things, and the light at the center of things is who we are. Until we see that, the mission of our lives remains unfulfilled.

This rite is very significant when done for someone's fiftieth, sixtieth, or seventieth birthday. It should also be noted that it is as appropriate for men as it is for women.

OFFICIANT: We gather on this day to celebrate an important passage in the life of Anne Martin. She is to us a beloved child of God. She is as well the daughter of (name) and (name), the wife of (name), the mother of (names), and sister to the world.

The years of her life on earth have brought her to this sacred moment, where she takes upon herself, through the grace of God, the mantle of the Elder. From this day forward, she celebrates and carries forth the purpose of the wise ones, who oversee our human progress, who nurture and sustain us. She shall be grandmother to all children, handmaiden to God and Goddess, revered for her insights and honored for her knowledge.

To you, Anne, having lived these years, having seen what you have seen and cried the tears of troubled times, we now acknowledge that you have climbed the ladder of the elder ones. May God reveal to you a sacred sensibility. We are blessed by your presence. We are grateful to know you.

Please reveal to us your story.

(Anne has prepared, prior to the ceremony, a letter to the world. It describes her history however she cares to reveal it. She forgives and blesses past times. She offers herself for continued service to humanity and to the world. She claims the full blessings of her maturity, the value of her experience to now share in faith and inspiration with those who seek her counsel.)

And so it is. We thank you, Anne.

Ceremony of the Elder: A Rite of Midlife continues...
From Illuminata by Marianne Williamson. Copyright© 1994. Published by arrangement with Random House, Inc. Reprint permission from Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Group.


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