About Betty Ray
The founder of the Center for Ritual Design, Betty works with individuals, families, and organizations to co-create meaningful personalized rituals that cultivate resilience and well-being. These can be anything from reimagined daily rituals -- like putting down the phone during morning coffee and doing a short mindfulness practice instead -- to more elaborate rites of passage which add depth and meaning to major transitions like puberty, graduation, marriage, job change, parenthood, loss of a loved one, divorce, midlife, and elderhood.
Betty is also the author of the Ritual Design Toolkit, a 5-step program which she researched and produced with the generous support of the Mira Fellowship in 2020. In spring 2019, she received her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute. Her research focused on how we might integrate evidence-based psychology and educational practices with ancient traditional ritual forms to design student-centered rites of passage, imbuing today’s young people with the skills and dispositions they’ll need for the uncertain future they face.
Before her ritual work, Betty spent a decade in senior editorial leadership at the George Lucas Educational Foundation where she saw first-hand the incredible benefits of engaging the inner lives of young people and the adults who care for them. Her work has appeared on the pages of Edutopia, the Greater Good Science Center, and the Shame Pinata podcast, and she has presented at conferences including The Hero Round Table, Learning and the Brain, Maker Faire, and SXSW EDU.
Keynotes and Presentations
The Power of Everyday Rituals for Extraordinary Times
With all the disruptive chaos in today’s world, it can feel overwhelming. In this keynote, Betty shares the secret of universal archetypal ritual design, along with several practical ideas for creating personalized rituals to create a sense of stability and order, to strengthen community bonds, to mark transitions, and to process complex emotions. From simple daily rituals to more complex one-off rites of passage, these practices can help deepen our resilience, and develop stronger
Contemporary Rites of Passage for Tomorrow's Leaders
Since we first put pigment to cave walls, we humans have prepared our young people for adulthood via an organized, ritualized rite of passage. I believe modern education ignores this more soulful process, and that our young people suffer a crisis of meaning and purpose as a result. In this presentation, I present a customizable model that can be used by parents, educators, and other community leaders to design a contemporary rite of passage experiences for young people that prepares them in mind, body, soul, and spirit for the complex future they will inherit.
Workshops and Coaching
Now What? Creating Personal Rituals for Extraordinary Times
This 6-week workshop is intended for anyone who is feeling challenged by the current state of the world and/or is going through a significant personal transition -- or both. You will work through the six steps: Story, Wisdom, Design, Production, Performance, and Integration. By the end, you will have created two personal rituals: a simple daily practice to help boost your resilience and sense of well-being, and a more in-depth rite of passage ritual to support you in navigating any significant life transition that may be up for you.
Design a Meaningful Family Ritual Amid Global Pandemic
With our normal routines disrupted amid the backdrop of fear, it has become increasingly challenging to focus. In this hour-long workshop, in true spirit of "put on your own oxygen mask before helping others," participants will go through the process of designing a ritual for themselves.
1:1 Coaching Services
I work with young people 12-18 to help them design meaningful rites of passage as a way to mark their coming of age. Typically, engagement is for 9 months. Please reach out to me directly and we can discuss your needs.