Ritual and Ceremony in Modern Life

How do we make meaning out of the big milestones in our personal and community lives? For the many people who do not have strong ties to religious or other cultural traditions, major life events such as birth, aging, relationship changes, illness, death, and community crises are often marked by no ritual at all. Holly Pruett, a life-cycle celebrant who works with individuals, families, and communities to commemorate such occasions, leads a conversation about the role of ritual and ceremony in participants; family and cultural histories, the impact of life events that have passed unobserved, and the new ceremonies that people are creating to mark these milestones.



Holly Pruett | Portland

After twenty-five years as a leader in and consultant to local, state, and national nonprofits, Holly Pruett now works with individuals, families, and communities to help them commemorate life’s major milestones. Certified as a life-cycle celebrant and home funeral guide, she is currently a graduate scholar in Stephen Jenkinson’s Orphan Wisdom School. After three years of organizing PDX Death Cafe, Holly recently created the Death Talk Project to promote useful, honest conversation about how we die, how we mourn, and how we care for and remember our dead. Holly is passionate about building community and believes participating in ceremony is a gift for everyone involved.

Program Themes

Belonging , Community , Culture , Faith and Ritual , Family , Spirituality , Values

Equipment Needs

chalk/whiteboard , small table for props