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Taking the Stone ceremony

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Stone1

The community gathers around the hole to witness the ritual (figure 1.1)

This article is about ceremony. For the episode of the same name see "Taking the Stone".

"Taking the Stone" is the general name of a form of ritual suicide practiced by the Clansmen of the Royal cemetery planet, and "The Gathering", the ceremony that surrounds it.

While it is not clear if this ritual occurs in other locations, the ceremony and ritual as observed takes place around a deep cylindrical pit, of unknown depth, but perhaps as shallow as 60 meters, (approx. 200 ft.) but likely much deeper. A Clansmen, or Clansmen "initiate" (like Chiana), the ritual participant, steps onto any of a number of stone "piers" that extend over the hole, while the rest of the community gathers around the hole to witness the ritual and participate in the ceremony (figure 1.1). The participant raises both arms over its head with elbows out and bent, with the wrists pointing inwards (figure 1.2). The fingers are splayed wide and contorted, perhaps to mimic agony. The participant bends its knees and takes on a somewhat aggressive posture, contorting the face and pointing it upwards, while making a loud, wide vocalization, like a scream. The gathered group members respond, repeating the gestures and vocalization. The ritual participant then throws himself off this projected rock into the pit.

Stone2

The participant raises both arms over their head (figure 1.2)

At this point the ritual can take one of two forms. The first, the participant decides not to complete the ritual and activates a "sonic net" to catch them before they strike the bottom, and they return to the group to attempt the ritual again at a later date. Aeryn Sun pointed out that this sonic net was an aerial descent technique used by Peacekeepers. In the second form of the ritual, the participant either decided to fall to a noble death or failed to correctly activate the sonic net. In this case the participant died upon impact with the bottom of the pit. ("Taking the Stone")

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