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...
I'd like to ask any gathered here who wish at this time to share with us your acknowledgments of Anne, and your prayers for her life in the future.

(They do.)

Now I ask those assembled here to join with me in prayers for this woman:

Dear God,
We thank you for the years gone by, and we
thank you for the years ahead.
This woman has lived, dear Lord.
She has seen the cycles of life and death.
She has rejoiced at morning and mourned its
Thus she has now gained sacred knowledge:
The power to heal through the depth of her
The power to teach through the depth of her
The power to bring forth a new and better
world through the depth of her vision.
May all now see in her, and may she see within
herself, the elder, the wise one, the one who
holds the candle of illumination for all the
world to see.
May she be honored and revered.
May her heart be as a womb to new life.
May her children's children see the power of the
ages as it is written in her eyes.
She has arrived, dear Lord.
May she be blessed.
She has come so far,
May she now know peace.
She has worked so hard,
May she now find rest.
And may a cycle now begin for her, more powerful
than any other, most glorious of all.
For she is now the fullness of human, of
woman, of God's servant and child.
Bless her always.
May she shine.

I would like to ask you all now to join with me in two minutes of silent prayer, in thanksgiving and in blessing on this woman.

(They do so.)
And now, Anne, I'd like to ask you to read to us your vision for us and for this world.

(She does so.)

Anne, please repeat after me:

Dear God,
Thank You for my life.
May it open now to a new and glorious chapter.
May my past and future be transformed.
May I become a channel for good as never before.
May the generation behind me receive strength
and comfort from my being here.
May I glorify and fortify Your light on earth.

OFFICIANT: Dear Anne, you are to be honored and respected for what you have done and who you are. You are an Elder among us, a wise one who has seen what we have not seen. Teach us, that we might all be more.

We deeply thank you. We wish you well. Go in peace and go in joy.

(To those assembled)

I bless you all.

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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