Meaningful rituals and ceremonies can offer support and a sense of belonging in both the positive and challenging times. I am reminded of the family who created a treasure chest when their mother/grandmother died. Each of the family members collected an item that reminded them of their mother/grandmother to place in the treasure chest. As each item was placed in the chest the person told a story about their chosen item. It was an opportunity to honour all the precious gifts and memories the deceased had brought into their lives. They laughed and cried and connected as a family in what was a very difficult time.
I have been giving the idea of ‘treasure chests’ for ceremonies some further thought and also reading about time capsules in The Dead Good Time Capsule Book, edited by G P Gill (published by Engineers of the Imagination).
The online information website, Wikipedia, defines a time capsule as ‘a historic cache of goods and/or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people…’, even if the future person turns out to be yourself or one of your family!
Imagine creating a time capsule or treasure chest at a wedding ceremony that the couple could open on their tenth wedding anniversary or for a child’s naming ceremony that they could open on their 18th birthday!
A treasure chest could be filled with a collection of goodies that could be added to over time and viewed periodically whereas I see the time capsule as being collected at the time of the ceremony and sealed securely only to be opened at a specified time later down the track. Whatever you choose you could be flexible on your approach to this creative ceremony gift.
I was talking with some friends about what items could be included in a time capsule or treasure chest. Here are some ideas from our brainstorming session:
Think about what would be exciting to find in a capsule or treasure chest in say ten or twenty years time. With the pace of change that we are currently experiencing around us things that may seem ordinary now will be outdated in the not too distant future! Remember that if you are storing a time capsule ensure the contents are not perishable and the container is well sealed. You can buy moisture absorbers/silica gel from art shops which will help to keep the contents dry. Place items in bags (especially newspaper clippings as they have a high acid content). Write any notes or letters in black ink – apparently it doesn’t fade as quickly!
Most of all have fun, enjoy the making of the gift and if it is a true time capsule see if you can keep it closed until the specified date and create a ceremony for the opening!