Liturgy 1, #1

Define ritual, especially as the term applies to religious and spiritual work. (minimum 200 words)

In Isaac Bonewits book, “Rites of Worship” (Bonewits, 29) , he states “A ‘ritual’ or ‘rite’ is any ordered sequence of events, actions, and/or directed thoughts, especially one that is meant to be repeated in the ‘same’ manner each time, that is designed to produce and manage one or more altered states of consciousness (ASCs) within which certain results may be obtained.”

Within ADF we perform rituals as a way to connect with the divine through sacred space, sacred actions, and sacred invocations.  For my personal practice, however, it is not just a way to connect with the divine, it is also a method for connecting with the Earth Mother and the seasons of life and seasons of the world.  These seasons are repetitive in nature, and the blessings we often ask for and receive are also repetitive in nature, as mentioned by Isaac’s definition.

For example, we celebrate Samhain as not only a time to honor our Ancestor’s due to the veil between worlds being thin, but it is also the third harvest festival in which farmers would use the remains of our harvested goods  in a great feast so that we do not waste food and can preserve food for the winter.  This is a perfect example of a seasonal ritual and high rite. Again at Yule we are celebrating the long night with prayers that the sun will return, this is another example of a seasonal high rite (though of less practical nature like the farmers would do), but with less ties to agriculture and more ties to weather.

Ritual is a way of making a transition, be it a transition of life events or a transition of the earth, a sacred event.  By definition a ritual is a way for us to recreate the cosmos and reconnecting with the divine in order to acknowledge something sacred or important. It is a process of motions that we go through to make our ritual space sacred, and through thoughtful actions and words, creating the necessary state of mind and energy to allow our desires to come together in one great union of intent.

(Word Count: 293)

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