Perhaps you have heard “Who Am I” by Country Joe and the Fish. The song, an anthem to the search for identity among young adults in the late 60’s, grappled with profound questions of belonging. Its most famous line is, “Who am I To stand and wonder, to wait while the wheels of fate Slowly grind my life away.”
The reality that large forces may have a crushing impact on Self is a central concern for many healing traditions in the colonized world. The perception that such forces, including the dominant culture, are determining, or undermining, one’s identity can be profoundly disturbing. This may be particularly true for persons of mixed race or cultural heritage. All too often lineages are mutually rejecting. How is one to embrace a complex heritage when the branches of that heritage deny the identity claims of the others?
Ceremony can aid individuals, families, and communities bridge conflicting cultural and racial identities, and support the incorporation of disparate aspects of self. Crucially, ceremony can also provide a supportive audience for evolving understandings of identity. Has ceremony aided your quest for identity?