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Spiritual aspects of Ritual

Ritual and the Divine.

Ritual alters our state of consciousness. There are many ways of describing this, depending on your tradition and your point of view, but everyone is agreed that a well designed, and inspiringly led ritual brings to our awareness something greater than ourselves.
For an atheist or humanist, that something might be the wider community or the body of humanity. For a traditional Christian it is something very specific:- God and Jesus as revealed by the prophets and written in the Bible. For a Buddhist it’s more about contacting one’s own Buddha-nature, while for a Muslim it will be Allah as revealed by the prophet Mohammed.
For me, it is about awareness of the spiritual around me:- Seeing people less from the perspective of what they owe me, or what I owe them, or how I can better manage my interactions with a difficult friend … but more from the perspective of where people have been, what they’re moving away from, what they’re growing into and becoming, what I might be able to do to help with that process, and where I might fit in to my community as a whole.
But it’s even more fundamental than that:- it’s about awareness of the spiritual in the whole world around me, spirits of home and wilderness, spirits of trees and animals, and rocks and rivers. All these things are in a state of becoming, change, growth or decline, and all these things are tremendously, overwhelmingly beautiful.


The Fire

Meaning and Inspiration.

In this state of mind, there is no question but that life has meaning, and that the meaning lies in the interconnections in the sacred world, the fundamental spiritual fabric, and how one weaves one’s own story into that tapestry:- unconsciously or consciously? Rigidly or creatively? With or without a sense of mystery? With selfishness, greed and hatred, or with sensitivity, generosity and compassionate love?
Many feelings are the same as those evoked by looking at the stars: at once a sense of one’s own utter insignificance within a vast, possibly infinite, universe … but also a sense of terrific significance, a realisation that how one lives one’s life in this infinity is of the utmost importance.
This is what ritual, and all the surrounding endeavours of sacred art, music, poetry, performance, dreamwork and magic bring to me … and this is my meaning:- the hope that, in my work with all these things, I might bring a taste of this essence to the people with whom I meet, collaborate and ritualise. That I might help others develop or discover a sense of meaning and inspiration of their own.

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