Changing Paths challenge 6 — ritual

Candle flames flickering, incense smoke curling in the twilight, standing in a circle of firelight, chanting sacred words. Deep in the woods where everything is transformed by the moonlight. Where the warm summer rain falls softly on the leaves.

The atmosphere of ritual is like no other: electrifying, life-enhancing, comforting. It can jolt you out of your complacency and reconnect you with your deepest desires, your authentic self, sometimes both at the same time.

But if it seeks to prevent us accessing our deepest truest selves, ritual can also be dull, repetitive, stultifying, restrictive, oppressive.

Highly structured rituals are not necessarily oppressive (you could have a formal coming out ritual to affirm your sexual orientation or your gender).

Freeform rituals are not necessarily liberatory — plenty of evangelical churches have unstructured rituals but they’re oppressive in that they seek to take away your autonomy and deny your sexuality and gender.

When you’re creating or attending a ritual (or “service”) ask yourself what its goal is. Is it intended to reinforce heteronormativity or other conformity? Or is it intended to liberate people from conformity and control? Maybe it’s just celebrating a seasonal festival — but even seasonal festivals can contain normative messaging (consider how heterocentric some celebrations of Beltane can be, for example).

Let’s create ritual that’s affirming, empowering, and inclusive. That enables people to connect deeply with their innermost divine self and with the natural world around them.

One thought on “Ritual

  1. Pingback: Ritual | Dowsing for Divinity

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