Wk 2- Apr. 13 – Ritual - What is your definition of the word “ritual”? What are your rituals- mundane and spiritual? How do they inform each other? Is ritual a necessary component to spiritual practice?
Ritual is so important. It does so many things for the human brain, and to our “souls”, and to our energy. This is a topic we wrote about to quite an extent in our book, EsotericMysticism. So it’s hard to sum up the importance of ritual into one blog post, and it’s hard to go into depth about it, too.
But basically, I adore ritual. I try to go to as many as I can (to the point that I’ve experienced bad ritual burn-out on more than one occasion.) But I just love rituals. All of them! (Well, I take that back. I have a hard time connecting to non-denominational Christian church services, but I’d really hardly call those ritual.)
By engaging in repetitive ritual, we change our energy. The energy of that ritual literally becomes of part of who you are. Ritual helps us to engage timeless archetypes and energies. When we engage these things, it fundamentally changes who you are. And I mean this in the most literal sense. Certain types of ritual invoke certain changes, and some of these can be quite powerful (especially those that initiate a sense of permanence within an impermanent Universe.) (Which is basically what the book is about…!)
Creating new rituals helps you to explore the Cosmos. It flexes your creative muscles and helps you engage your world in new ways. It’s fun and creative, allowing you to explore new depths and new heights. New rituals can be opening and expanding in a very profound way!
Our brains respond to rituals. You can literally observe our brains reacting to ritual – to meditation, prayer, drumming, chanting, contemplation. Parts of our brains light up when we are in altered states, particularly religious or spiritual settings. They help us to connect to one another when shared in a group. They help us to connect to the Divine. They help us to connect to ourselves and help us to learn about ourselves and engage in Gnosis, knowing ourselves!
Ritual helps us connect to community. It means we interact with one another on a regular basis. When done correctly, good ritual can build intimacy. It helps break down barriers, both within ourselves and how we engage others. It gives us a chance to celebrate, to have fun! We gather to create beautiful altars, to chant, to sing, to create magic, to engage in witchcraft. Ritual is a time for both celebration and work.
Most of all, ritual isn’t just about us, but about Them. Ritual is a fundamental way for us to honor the Gods and the Divine. It is a way for us to honor them. While ritual can be used for work only (a working circle for magic and witchcraft) it can be a way to spend time with your beloved Gods, ancestors, and spirits. Within ritual, every act, every moment, every word, every gesture has the potential to be done in honor of the most deserving Divine. And in addition to honoring Them, when we honor Them, when we open ourselves up to Them, that loops us back to my first point. At these moments we are fundamentally, forever and fully changed. Ritual opens us up to engage with energies, and once we make contact with those energies, we have the potential to be changed at our very core.
Regular and consistent ritual is so important to living a full religious, spiritual, and mystical life. It changes you, it changes the world, it changes the Universe, it changes the Cosmos. And few things come close to the magnitude of this type of power, power we have access to as soon as well will it, open ourselves up to it, and engage.