April's Invitation to Ritual - Recognizing Ritual
Ritual is a practice. It can be used individually and it can be used with groups. And once you recognize and understand the framework of ritual it can be changed and adapted for almost any need.
The framework of a ritual is simple, broken down into four steps:
- Create sacred space
- Declare your intention or the reason for doing the ritual
- The body of the ritual
- Closing the ritual
In order to begin recognizing this you can look at a ritual we’ve all taken part in: a wedding!!
The church = Sacred Space
The only difference between a wedding and your own personal ritual is that the wedding has a space already prepared and dedicated to ceremony and ritual. You’ll create your own sacred (or intentional) space.
“Dearly Beloved…” = Intention
“We are gathered here to witness the union of this man and this woman in holy matrimony” is the phrase we all know by heart. It’s an intention – it’s what we intend to do while we are in that sacred space.
Intentions change. A wedding has an intention and a funeral has a very different one. Your intention changes based on your emotional need. It’s that simple.
The Body of the Ritual = Symbolic Acts (or what we do specifically to fulfill the intention.)
In a wedding we exchange vows and rings. If our ritual was to bless and welcome a newborn we might christen them, or bestow wishes upon them. Blessing an office space might mean smudging with sage.
Different symbolic acts serve to fulfill different intentions. You choose what to do based on your need. The only limit is your imagination,
“You may now kiss the bride…” = Closing the ritual
We all wait for it – we know it’s coming! It signals the end of the ritual and the start of the celebrating. In other words the return to the ordinary world.
At its heart, ritual is a framework. Once you recognize the pattern you’re free to mix and match in whatever way works for you.
Dearly Beloved, what needs do you have that you might address using the framework of ritual?