Forgotten Pillars – 5 Online Live-Streamed Sunday sessions
February 25, 2024 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am
“Matrimony is an act of cultural memory.”
Years ago I stumbled on a kind of secret hiding in plain view: I could strain at the bit forever trying to invent or discover something new, or I might do something else with what happens more or less every day. I might treasure the commonplace. I was inspired by yoga. I figure the yogis took breath, an inevitability with humans, added a bit of attention, affection and discipline, gave us something marvelous and useful and restoring. It still needed work from the rest of us. But there it was. Over the years I’ve tried to do something of the same with speaking.
Culture, bona fide working culture, does the same. It takes the uneven striving of its people, one for the other, and the matters of the heart, and the odd mechanics of making a go of living together, and making home and making babies, and growing older and differently capable, and finally dying away, and employs them all in the ordinary marvel of trying to make working, sane citizens of its people. Patrimony, matrimony, ceremony, tradition, kinship, ancestral rafter dwellers: all of them are more or less forgotten pillars of the culture house of the west.
For a culture in atrophy, tradition is more like habit, ceremony is more like catharsis, and matters of the heart can’t find a way into the mirrored funhouse of being safe and managing trauma.
In a time that rewards the stand alone strategies of self improvement, culture could use some attention and devotion, some discipline and affection. In a five part series of encounters, Kimberly Johnson and I mean to do some of that work. Join us there.
Founder of Orphan Wisdom
“Dying people, and dead people too, and marrying people, none of them I’d say have the right to take from the rest of us a crucial rite of passage by which the living are drawn down into the reality that their lives have changed irrevocably.
It isn’t their funeral, and it isn’t theirs to take away. Nor is it their wedding. It’s a village rite, a communal affirmation of the village’s ways of going on, not quite being able to.
The village, or what’s left of it, deserves a rite of recognition of the seismic change in their lives that matrimony would make, given half a chance. Matrimony doesn’t belong to the betrothed. It belongs to the communities that live out and enforce and endure the changes in life that matrimony is supposed to bring.
There is a real, palpable consequence to turning away from public ceremony– and not just for the public.”
– excerpt from forthcoming Matrimony book.