As many of you know, I was involved in a fraternity when I was in college.  A major part of being in a fraternity is sharing in rituals that help to form bonds with each other.  Some of them are esoteric, so I can’t share them with you.  But my favorite one, the one that always made us get up and hug each other at the end, well I’d like to share it with you guys tonight.

I’ve seen a lot of activity around the pond recently that has made me pretty uncomfortable.  I know that Diane’s great diary has gone a long way towards starting the healing process.  I’m hoping to build on that with this.

The name of the ritual is simply ‘The Web’.  I am going to walk you all through it on the flip.
It starts by having everyone sit down in a large circle.  The person leading the ritual (that will be me, in this case 🙂 gives the simple instructions:  Pick a person in the room, and say something nice about them.  It can be anything at all.  Stories of one person helping another out in a tough time are common.  Sometimes it’s just saying that someone makes a damn good omelette at 3 in the morning.  It doesn’t matter.

This is initiated by the ritual leader (me).  After I’ve said something about someone, I pull out a ball of twine.  I hold onto my end, and throw the ball to them.  It is then their turn to have their say about another person.  When they are done, they grab hold of the twine, and throw it to the person they said something about.

After a while (and we usually let this ritual go on for hours), you see that a giant web of twine has formed.  This is symbolic of our bonds to each other.  If I pull on my end of the twine, everyone else will feel it.  If someone lets go of their twine, then our web is weakened.

We then place a symbol of our physical bond on top of the web, resting near the center.  In our case, this was our fraternity charter.  For the pond, I will consider it our goals and ideals as progressives.

Then, one by one, people are told to start letting go of their twine.  Through this, we see that what we are trying to achieve, or what we are trying to protect, becomes increasingly near to falling to the floor; eventually, when enough people drop their bonds, it does fall.

There is nothing more important than how we treat each other.  We may not always agree, but if we are to accomplish anything, we have to respect and understand one another.

Update [2005-12-5 0:30:46 by ejmw]:Thanks to all who have participated so far, and for the rest of you, please jump in! I always think that it’s much more powerful seeing graphical representations, so here is our Booman Tribune web as of midnight eastern time (click for a larger version).

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