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Ritual

  • Ritual is the act of sanctifying action — even ordinary actions — so that it has meaning: I can light a candle because I need the light or because the candle represents the light I need.

  • Ritual is the way we carry the presence of the sacred. Ritual is the spark that must not go out.

  • I believe that we often disguise pain through ritual and it may be the only solace we have.

  • Creating daily rituals — making daily tasks into times of enrichment through planning and special personal details — is a way to live a richer, more satisfying life. ... I've become convinced that only by paying careful attention to the simple details of daily tasks and to our immediate surroundings can we live vitally and beautifully all the days of our lives.

  • Creating meaningful personal rituals throughout the day eliminates the dullness of routine, enriches and elevates the events of our lives and at the same time comforts us.

  • Rituals create moments where living becomes art.

  • Rituals are a wonderful way to build a sense of continuity.

  • Celebrations enlarge my capacity for joy.

  • Ritual — which could entail a wedding or brushing one's teeth — goes in the direction of life. Through it we reconcile our barbed solitude with rushing, irreducible conditions of life.

  • Rituals are a good signal to your unconscious that it is time to kick in.

  • Ritual and myth are like seed crystals of new patterns that can eventually reshape culture around them.

  • Any ritual is an opportunity for transformation.

  • Your dreamer may do without a creed, but he always wants a ritual ...

  • We all practice rituals. Every morning we have a ritual that gets us out the door. Maybe we meditate. Eat Cheerios. Have coffee. Bedtime rituals close the day and open the night into sleep. Personal rituals calm us, make us feel centered, give us a sense of safety. We also practice rituals in community: holiday rituals, wedding and funeral rituals, graduation rituals. We practice traditions handed down through the generations, giving us a sense of timelessness that plugs us into the entire web of community. Or we create new traditions. As community members, doing specific actions with others gives us an experience of shared intensity and depth of commitment that is unknowable on our own.

  • I have elsewhere tried to show that Art is not the handmaid of Religion, but that Art in some sense springs out of Religion, and that between them is a connecting link, a bridge, and that bridge is Ritual.

  • ... ritual is the bridge by which man passes, the ladder by which he climbs from earth to heaven. ... We must not pull down the ladder till we are sure the last angel has climbed.

  • ... ritual makes, as it were, a bridge between real life and art ...

  • The sacred is not in heaven or far away. It is all around us, and small human rituals can connect us to its presence. And of course the greatest challenge (and gift) is to see the sacred in each other.

  • The preparation for the ritual is the ritual.

  • This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down.

  • All rituals are paradoxical and dangerous enterprises, the traditional and improvised, the sacred and the secular. Paradoxical because rituals are conspicuously artificial and theatrical, yet designed to suggest the inevitability and absolute truth of their messages. Dangerous because when we are not convinced by a ritual we may become aware of ourselves as having made them up, thence on the paralyzing realization that we have made up all our truths; our ceremonies, our most precious conceptions and convictions — all are mere inventions.

  • [Ritual] dwells in an invisible reality and gives this reality a vocabulary, props, costume, gesture, scenery. Ritual makes things separate, sets them apart from ordinary affairs and thoughts. Rituals need not be solemn, but they are formalized, stylized, extraordinary, and artificial. In the name of ritual, we can do anything. We can do astonishing acts. In the end, ritual gives us assurance about the unification of things.

  • Rituals are vital especially for clans without histories, because they evoke a past, imply a future, and hint at continuity.

  • ... ritual is rooted in earth, / ancient and blest.

    • H.D.,
    • "Choros Translations," Red Roses for Bronze ()
  • Ritual is one of the ways in which humans put their lives in perspective, whether it be Purim, Advent, or drawing down the moon. Ritual calls together the shades and specters in people's lives, sorts them out, puts them to rest.

  • One needs the invented, the spontaneous, the impromptu for ritual. Skepticism, that grain of salt, is inappropriate.

  • It is my contention that ritual begins at home, in domestic magic.

  • ... ritual lulls our fear of disorder with the certainty of order.

  • We humans have always needed rituals to draw like curtains over the chasms of the unknown. Without them we go mad, I think.

  • Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored.

  • Ritual is the most primitive reflection of serious thought, a slow deposit, as it were, of people's imaginative insight into life.

  • Magic, then, is not a method, but a language; it is part and parcel of that greater phenomenon, ritual, which is the language of religion. Ritual is a symbolic transformation of experiences that no other medium can adequately express.