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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.

"I sat on the seat with my husband and cried, letting myself acknowledge long-held grief. I felt engulfed by warmth, held and protected…"

A daughter remembering her parents

"The Place of Reflection is unique… The view from its location on the scarp of Kings Park is simply magnificent, and the design of the place itself blends beautifully with the natural bush surroundings… What a lovely, peaceful place to go to remember a loved one."

Tuart Place staff member

"A place of peace, calmness, beauty, tranquillity and freedom - I felt like I was in a space where I didn’t have to think about anything. I could reflect or meditate or just enjoy."

Perth Home Care Services staff member

"My friend and I come here together. We sit on the bench, two widows sharing our memories of our partners."

Place of Reflection visitor

"The discreet location amongst nature with such a superb outlook enables individuals and groups to reflect and heal without judgement."

King Edward Memorial Hospital, Grief & Loss Council member

"We really appreciate the sense of peace and serenity that settles on us when we are there."

Adoption Jigsaw staff member

"We can share this place with those needing a quiet time, somewhere to sit quietly or grieve... a place with nature, somewhere they might find peace, calmness, even closure."

Mareena Purslowe & Associates staff member

"We can share this 'A place of complete peace to just reflect and let your worries in the world go. And a place to reflect on the loved ones lost in your life and to honour them.' With those needing a quiet time, somewhere to sit quietly or grieve... a place with nature, somewhere they might find peace, calmness, even closure."

Anglicare staff member

"We really could not have had a more ambient or beautiful setting."

Cystic Fibrosis WA staff member

"The Place of Reflection is an important place to myself and my family. We are able bring our sadness to this place and turn it into a reflection that deepens our lives and our compassion for all those who suffer loss."

Soroptimists International member

"It is a lovely place for thought, meditation and comfort in nature, a place to find peace in the chaos of life."

Place of Reflection visitor

"I really like the words on the path as well as the words on the bench. If you have come through a time of grieving, you do at times feel very alone – particularly if you have experienced the loss of a life partner. The words on the bench ‘You are not alone’ were particularly meaningful to me."

Place of Reflection visitor

"A beautiful, peaceful place for people experiencing grief and loss to spend some quiet time, remembering and healing."

Place of Reflection visitor