We tend not to think of the significance of ritual in our modern lives. For most of us, the daily rituals involve getting to and from work, dealing with the everyday demands of caring for home, families and business. I think the lack of ritual in our lives is the reason why so many question the purpose of it all and wonder why their lives seem to lack real meaning to anyone but themselves. Yet ritual has a way of helping us to focus, to appreciate and value what is good in our lives.
Some of you will balk at the thought of being involved in any ritual, thinking that it is either getting dangerously close to practicing Black Magic, or worse yet, might draw you into a cult. Yet ritual can be something as simple as starting the day with a prayer, or following a family tradition at the holidays. For example, pickle-making has become a delightful ritual for my mother and me. Every year around this time we go to market together for the cucumbers, dill and garlic, then we wait for the first sunny day to get together on her deck to stuff the jars. We have been doing it the same way every year for more than a decade now. and the same way that my grandmother and her grandmother before her did….. a precious ritual that will make me smile long after my Mother has gone – it reminds me to connect with my roots…
Family creates wonderful opportunity for ritual… although our family gathers off and on through the year, the Boxing Day gathering has become a ritual, especially for my mother… I think this is her day to let the family know she is proud of us, and also still the matriarch, capable of feeding us all by herself.
The Solstices and Equinoxes are wonderful times for ritual… We usually gather around a fire in my back garden, or at one of my friends. We eat, celebrate the season, and then we meditate while I drum for the group…. this little bit of ritual has become so relevant to my friends that they have begun vieing for the opportunity to have it at their house… not only does it help us connect as a community, but it seems to help each person who participates to achieve some important goals in the next cycle.
Think about the ways that you can bring ritual into your life… see it as way of helping you to focus, to express yoru gratitude, and also your joy and enthusisam for life.It can be as simple as lighting a candle and saying a special prayer with the new moon, or as elaborate as an ancient Japanese tea ceremony.