Ranger “ephemera” in the Temple
For many years back, the Ranger Dept has put aside a Ranger hat and uniform shirt for each Ranger who has passed away. Sometimes messages are written on these uniform items by other Rangers. The hats and shirts have then been taken out to the Temple, and attached near each other in one specific area.
Ranger Memorial Totem
The Rangers have adopted a 4×4 post as our symbolic totem to place in the Temple for event week. This post is sunk into the playa (ideally as close as possible to the same area of the Temple where the hats, shirts, and other Ranger ephemera has been positioned). On top of the post we fasten a Ranger hat with the names of the Rangers who have recently passed. Then we attach pictures of the Rangers onto the post. Their names are printed underneath at least one of their pictures.
This is a gathering where friends, family, and Rangers are invited to come to gather around the burn barrel in the light of our tower candles to share a moment of silence together about the Rangers who have passed.
Someone from the Remembrance Committee starts off with a welcome and a moment of silence. Then, they introduce the predetermined speaker for each Ranger who has passed and asks them to give remarks, thoughts and anecdotes for the Ranger they knew.
If 3 people have passed, 3 different people would each speak about one of the people. Then, the floor is open for anyone to speak. After some time, when things slow down, the person leading the event can thank everyone for coming and end the ceremony.
Ranger Memorial Procession to the Temple
This ritual is intended to honor and remember our Rangers who have passed away in the preceding year(s). The procession requires an Honor Guard which leads the procession into the Temple. There should be a Ranger pair in the Honor Guard for each fallen Ranger.
The Honor Guard will carry torches in a procession two by two as Rangers always roam in pairs. The Rangers in the honor guard should wear their finest Ranger gear available, although presence is more important than fashion.
Timing and spacing are key elements to a good procession.
- Pre-establish a time to meet and a rendezvous point at approx. 6:00 on the perimeter.
- Pre-establish a destination point for the procession near the Temple, usually where the 4×4 totem and other Ranger ephemera is located. Place two buckets there to extinguish the torches once the procession is finished.
- The Rangers who are to serve in the Honor Guard meet at a pre-established rendezvous point on the perimeter of the Temple.
- The Honor Guard is issued torches, and then forms up in pairs, and the pairs form up into two lines perpendicular to the perimeter.
- Each Ranger should be about 10 feet away and directly across from their partner in the other line, just close enough to enable them to cross their torches into an “A-frame” when they raise them up. Torches should be held by all Rangers so that the wicks are approximately the same height as each other.
- Spacing down the lines between each pair of Rangers should be equal, approx. 10 feet.
- These two lines form the Honor Guard “corridor” through which the family and friends of the deceased will enter the perimeter, and approach the Temple.
- The family and friends will gather at the end of the corridor furthest from the perimeter and await their signal to enter.
Next, add fire.
- Each pair in the Honor Guard will now soak their torches in fuel and then light them.
- The fuel bucket is placed on the edge of the perimeter.
- A GO signal is given for fueling the first pair.
- When the first pair is fueled and lit, they will move forward entering the perimeter, and the entire Honor Guard line will move forward with them, maintaining spacing between pairs.
- The line will move forward just far enough for the next pair to fuel and light their torches.
- Repeat forward movement in increments pausing to allow each pair to fuel and light.
- When all torches are lit, the last pair in the Honor Guard line should be standing at the edge of the perimeter, with the rest of the line inside the perimeter forming a corridor pointing directly toward the Temple in the center.
Proceed to the Temple
A GO signal is given, and the first pair in the Honor Guard begins to walk slowly from the edge of the perimeter towards the temple.
The family members or Rangers who wish to put remembrances into the temple will follow behind. When the lit torches reach the closest point to the temple they will be allowed, the Honor Guard will stop, face each other and hold their torches to create a tunnel for the families to walk through.
When the last member goes through the tunnel, the torch bearers will move two by two to extinguish their torches and join the group at the Temple.
The procession may gather around the Ranger Memorial Totem (see below) or some other section of the Temple where the pictures and “ephemera” have been positioned. (Ideally the Ranger Totem will be placed near the section of the Temple where the other Ranger ephemera has been positioned)
The timing is the biggest challenge. Also this procession has been scheduled for the day after the man burn, which is the same day as our “Crossing the Line” ceremony and the Pin Ceremony.
There are many many parts of this Procession that could be much more intricate, but thus far we have not felt that much pomp is important or necessary. Some day it might be.
This tradition is a fairly recent development within the Ranger dept, (the first procession was in 2017, created by crow and Splinter to honor Ranger Bourbon and the other Rangers who had fallen in the previous year) but it draws from a number of other cultures and practices as we saw fit.