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Symbolic acts and rituals

For some people, symbolic acts and rituals can help to give comfort during times of grief and loss. In group situations, they can also help individuals to feel more connected to each other.

Because the natural environment at Kings Park needs to be protected, there are some common symbolic acts which aren’t allowed at the Place of Reflection: the scattering of ashes, the scattering of petals or other plant matter, the release of balloons, the lighting of candles or lanterns or anything else that has a naked flame. It’s also not permitted to stake objects into the ground or attach decorations to any existing structure or tree.

Some suggestions for symbolic rituals that can be used at group events are included below. These have already been used at Place of Reflection events and have proven to be both practical and meaningful:

  • Placing a glass ball, marble or similar object into a glass jar, or releasing bubbles into the air, to symbolise the remembrance of a loved one.
  • Using battery-powered candles during events.
  • Writing inspirational words from the Place of Reflection pathways on a piece of paper, giving them to guests as they arrive and asking them to reflect on the word during the course of the event (these can be made into origami shapes for even greater effect) A list of these words can be found here.
  • Inviting guests to walk the Place of Reflection pathways with a focused aim: this may be consideration of one of the inspirational words engraved in the pathway, or visualisation of a specific time or event – past or future – that gives them hope and strength.

Ideas for other symbolic rituals are welcomed – please use the Feedback form provided on this website.

The following organisations worked together to bring the Place of Reflection vision to life:

Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS); Healing Hearts Foundation (founded by the Rotary Club of Heirisson); Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Kids WA; The Compassionate Friends WA; Soroptimist International of South Perth; Lotterywest; Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority; and Friends of Kings Park.