‘What is Ritual?’ by Diane Mariechild

To become whole we need to find a centre, a space where we can gather and focus our inner energy so that we are not continually shaken by criticism, demands or stressful situations. Traditional religious beliefs have mistakenly identified this as perfection, when what is really necessary is wholeness.. My personal search has led me into feminism, psychic development, mediation, reincarnation, Wiccan rituals, yoga and a study of matriarchal consciousness. Out of this search I have created my own rituals that strengthen and centre me. I borrow from many traditions, but for the most part the rituals well up from an inner source. And later, to my surprise and excitement, I find how similar they are to ancient traditions.

A ritual is a stylised series of actions whether physical or mental, that is used to change one’s perception of reality. It is a symbolic event that attempts to concretise an inner event. A ritual often begins and is performed long before an awareness of the meaning develops. A transformation of personality I implied in every ritual and a ritual is implied in every magical process.

‘Ritual is a statement of what we want and a remembrance of the great cycle of things’ — Brooke Medicine Eagle

The art of ritual is the discovery of how to make the best use of energy flows. There is strength in ritual. There is power in clarifying our actions, making them precise and then using repetition of sounds and movement to build energy. We bring our energy in tune with the universal energy, thus experiencing our connections with the whole universe.

A ritual may be as simple as the lighting of a candle, or it may involve elaborate preparations. Ritual may include the use of some or all of these things: stylised movements, repetitive words, chants or song, objects, costumes, tools ,food, beverages or drugs... .Rituals may happen spontaneously or each detail may be prepared in advance.

In ritual you create in the microcosm what you desire in the macrocosm. Before performing a ritual you need to have your purpose and the reasons behind it clearly in your mind. These questions might be helpful in assessing your purpose:

What do I want? Why do I want it? What will happen if I achieve my purpose? What will happen if I don’t? How will my success or failure affect other people? Do I want it so much that I become fearful or tense and block the energy I need to achieve it? Do I really believe I can achieve it? Do I think I deserve to achieve it? Do I have whatever is necessary (energy guidance, self-confidence, tools, time, resources) to achieve it?

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