By Kay Elam, Sigma Delta (Huntingdon College), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
Because of the Coronavirus, our world, as we know it, will never function as before.
In some ways that’s good. Through social distancing and stay-at-home initiatives, we’ve been forced to slow our pace and find new ways to do things. We are cooking more from scratch (maybe healthier), doing arts and crafts, reading, and spending lots of quality time with those in our households.
Many of us have found creative uses for technology such as Zoom and Skype. Chapters have connected for committee, Leaders’ Council, and collegiate and alumnae chapter meetings. The Fraternity has provided programming for like-officer sessions and forums. Boards and International Standing Committees are meeting virtually. Even Leadership Institute will be a virtual experience this year.
This situation also has caused havoc for many of us. Lost jobs/income, cancellation of classes/closed universities, altered graduations, closed businesses, isolation which often leads to depression, uncertainty of the unknown, and fear of catching the virus are among the ways COVID-19 has transformed our world.
So, how can we use our Ritual to help us cope?
The Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee does not allow conducting online Rituals or Ceremonies (which may be attended only by initiated members). To provide suitable substitutes, RT&J adapted the CEREMONY for Chapter Business Meetings and the Opening and Closing of New Member Meetings CEREMONY (from the Book of Rituals Instructions) into the SERVICE for Chapter Business Meetings and the New Member Meeting SERVICE, respectively. The services are available from your RT&J Network Liaison. Additionally, International President Crystal Grafton Combs performed the Welcome of Collegiate Seniors into Alumnae Status Service for members who wanted to participate online at the end of April.
The current academic terms are essentially over, but your chapter can still come together virtually for gatherings. Maybe e-mail or text Ritual Moments to sisters on a weekly basis. Grab a link from RT&J‘s “In the Loop” articles and send it to members.
We can live our Ritual by staying in touch with each other by mail, phone, instant messaging, FaceTime, Zoom, or other Internet-based methods. Listen to our IP’s weekly podcast, Coffee Talk with Crystal, by clicking here.
Include Ritual in your personal journey as you navigate these uncharted waters. If you get depressed, lonely, or overwhelmed, think about different aspects of Ritual. Maybe take a long walk, close your eyes, and visualize your initiation or your chapter’s most recent Ritual. Remember how your sisters looked, how the room looked, how you felt, and what was said. Think about walking into the room… and out of it. Hum the song that was sung.
Finally, make a list of things to do every day, things to make you feel better such as:
- Check on each other
- Lift each other up
- Keep Ritual in your heart
- Stay safe
Our Ritual is much more than just a proceeding. It provides our philosophy, inspiration, and comfort. Even though it’s not practical or advisable to perform the Ritual while the coronavirus dictates that we be apart, our Ritual’s meaning, applicability, and resonance is perhaps stronger now than it ever has been previously.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org.