Deeply into the Bone: Re-Inventing Rites of Passage

Grimes, Ronald L.

The work of a major scholar who has spent years writing and teaching about ritual, Deeply into the Bone instigates a conversation in which readers can fruitfully reflect on their own experiences of passage. Covering the significant life events of birth, initiation, marriage, and death, each chapter includes first-person stories told by individuals who have undergone rites of passage, accounts of practices from around the world, brief histories of selected ritual traditions, and critical reflections probing popular assumptions about ritual. The book also explores innovative rites for other important events such as beginning school, same-sex commitment ceremonies, abortion, becoming seriously ill, divorce and retirement. Editorial Reviews William Klassen Without question, this is one of the finest books I have read in several decades. It is well written, beautifully printed, and deals with passages of life [and] the rituals that people have or have not developed to cope with them. --The Kitchener-Waterloo Record Lawrence Hoffman There is no other book even remotely like this. Deeply into the Bone is an exceptional, imaginative book on the topic of rites and the shaping of human life. Grimes is one of the few people who ably combines scholarly disciplines and perspectives with firsthand narratives, literary essays, films and observations of general culture. He is unquestionably a first-rate author and thinker, and this is an unquestionably magnificent book. NAPRA Review Grimes' combination of scholarly knowledge, anecdotes, literary essays, and observations on modern culture provide a first-class foundation for this thoroughly absorbing foray into a deeply interesting and relevant subject. Madeline Duntley Deeply into the Bone is guaranteed to change our minds about ritual. Using a global and ethnic array of rites new and old, Grimes shows that contrary to popular belief, the ritual marking of life passages is anything but universal. By teaching us how to think comparatively we see that rites of passage are enduring rituals not for their uniformity, but because they serve as cornerstones for cultural and spiritual creativity and innovation. Library Journal With examples drawn from a wide variety of world cultures, Grimes (religion and culture, Wilfrid Laurier Univ., Ontario) provides a thoughtful, insightful examination of the significance of rites of passage. Specific rituals can make such life transitions as birth, coming of age, marriage, and death more meaningful and can unify a community or society through their continued practice. Grimes emphasizes that rites of passage do not merely involve change. They involve transformation--a process through which an individual's life is permanently and irrevocably altered in some manner. First-person accounts of life-passage transitions enrich Grimes's scholarly but accessible text. He has successfully created a deeply evocative portrait of life-passage rituals and their meaning in a variety of human contexts while demonstrating the need for such rituals in modern technological societies as well as in traditional cultures. This work will be a valuable addition to religion and anthropology collections in academic libraries.--Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

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