We don’t find Godin temples and cathedrals.We don’t find Himby standing on a prayer rug or sitting in a pew.God appears when welove someone other than ourselves.And we continue to feel His presence when we do good for others.Because God is not foundin mosques and synagogues.He resides in ourhearts.
I'm not particularly in favor of doctrine or creed, ordination, the elevation of holy texts, the institution of church, or, for that matter, Christianity. Like most religions, it has irreconcilable shortcomings and an unforgivable history. What I do favor is the attempt to make sense of things by living within a story. The Christian story, for good or ill, is my inheritance.
He loved the darkness and the mystery of the Catholic service--the tall priest strutting like a carrion crow and pronouncing magic in a dead language, the immediate magic of the Eucharist bringing the dead back to life so that the faithful could devour Him and become of Him, the smell of incense and the mystical chanting.
Dr. Murray points to the Nazarite system as what he calls an external scaffolding supporting human efforts at righteousness, reminding the participant that he is set apart. Christ, he said, needed no external reminder that the Father was His joy and that wine was not, that He was Life and was wholly Other from death, that He bore on Himself the shame that long hair but vaguely pointed to.
Ritual and ceremony are powerful bonding tools. They result in a sense of community, a feeling of unity far beyond what you might expect.
We are among the first peoples in human history who do not broadly inherit religious identity as a given, a matter of kin and tribe, like hair color and hometown. But the very fluidity of this—the possibility of choice that arises, the ability to craft and discern one’s own spiritual bearings—is not leading to the decline of spiritual life but its revival. It is changing us, collectively. It is even renewing religion, and our cultural encounter with religion, in counterintuitive ways. I meet scientists who speak of a religiosity without spirituality—a reverence for the place of ritual in human life, and the value of human community, without a need for something supernaturally transcendent. There is something called the New Humanism, which is in dialogue about moral imagination and ethical passions across boundaries of belief and nonbelief. But I apprehend— with a knowledge that is as much visceral as cognitive— that God is love. That somehow the possibility of care that can transform us— love muscular and resilient— is an echo of a reality behind reality, embedded in the creative force that gives us life.
Phyllis and I pray these chaplets together; at three o'clock, every first Saturday. We are never in the same town. For months, we do not speak on the phone or email. We pray these chaplets for just a few minutes, maybe as many as sixty minutes, once a month on a Saturday afternoon. Intimacy with the elusive God is that kind of intimacy. It is the closeness of praying together, apart.
When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?
Thanks to Karen Connelly who read earlier versions of this manuscript and to Ronald Hatch my editor and publisher.
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. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.
People have traditionally turned to ritual to help them frame and acknowledge and ultimately even find joy in just such a paradox of being human - in the fact that so much of what we desire for our happiness and need for our survival comes at a heavy cost. We kill to eat, we cut down trees to build our homes, we exploit other people and the earth. Sacrifice - of nature, of the interests of others, even of our earlier selves - appears to be an inescapable part of our condition, the unavoidable price of all our achievements. A successful ritual is one that addresses both aspects of our predicament, recalling us to the shamefulness of our deeds at the same time it celebrates what the poet Frederick Turner calls the beauty we have paid for with our shame. Without the double awareness pricked by such rituals, people are liable to find themselves either plundering the earth without restraint or descending into self-loathing and misanthropy. Perhaps it's not surprising that most of us today bring one of those attitudes or the other to our conduct in nature.
What is man if the signs that predate him have such power? A human race has to invent sacrifices equal to the natural cataclysmic order that surrounds it.
Every spoken sentence beginning with ‘I Am’ is a powerful spell exhaled into action. Describe yourself wisely.
I carry out sun rituals on the slopes of high mountains. But I am also taboo for myself, untouchable because forbidden.
Residents of the squatter community of Christiana, Denmark, for example, have a Christmastide ritual where they dress in Santa suits, take toys from department stores and distribute them to children on the street, partly just so everyone can relish the images of the cops beating down Santa and snatching the toys back from crying children.
So, apart from casting runes, what other hobbies do you have? Forbidden rituals, human sacrifices, torturing? –
My Ten Commandments:1. God is a verb, not a noun.2. Prayers are important only if they lead to corresponding actions.3. Creation is an art. Science provides the tools for the artist. Anybody with the tools is not necessarily an artist.4. Religion involves exclusivity and superiority. Divinity is inclusive and involves humility.5. God by definition should be omnipotent. He should not require intermediation by priests and prophets.6. All prophets have displayed exclusivity and superiority. (Refer to #4 above)7. Rituals involve intermediation and often cruelty towards other fellows of creation. 8. Inclusivity and humility towards all creations of God is divine.9. Rituals are antithesis of the divine. Rituals indicate a god and his intermediaries who are greedy, arrogant, revengeful and cruel.10. God exists only for increasing happiness of all creatures.
It is possible to induce incorrect notions of cause and effect in most people in just a few minutes. All that is necessary is to expose them to rewards which they believe they are generating based on their actions when in fact the rewards are randomly awarded. People will latch onto any seeming success and repeat it, even when they have to explain repeated failures as well. It appears practically impossible, or at least very rare, for humans not to be influenced by immediate experiences of concrete results. This is true even if the experiences turn out to have limited theoretical validity. The moment of surprise is not when people repeat alchemical failures but when they begin to do something else.
Our comfort in theological traditions should never usurp our desire for spiritual Truth. If we vigorously pursue the rituals rather than a relational experience with God then we've missed His message entirely.
Virtual worlds are places of imagination that encompass practices of play, performance, creativity and ritual.
By using repetition, images, and other strategies - all of which communicate truths in ways that are not cognitively or propositional - marketing forms us into the kind of persons who want to buy beer to have meaningful relationships, or to buy a car to be respected, or buy the latest thing to come along simply to satisfy the desire that has been formed and implanted in us. It is important to appreciate that these disciplinary mechanisms transmit values and truth claims, but not via propositions or cognitive means; rather, the values are transmitted more covertly...This covertness of the operation is also what makes it so powerful: the truths are inscribed in us through the powerful instruments of imagination and ritual.
The unknown grayish mystifying forest was benumbed into frost-covered cold, and the tremendous pines towering above the dark marshy soil resembled a gathering of severe mute brothers from a forbidden ancient order worshiping forgotten gods no one had ever heard of outside of the world of secret occult visions.
Think of the great poetry, the music and dance and ritual that spring forth from our aspiring to a life beyond death. Maybe these things are justification enough for our hopes and dreams, although I wouldn't say that to a dying man.
Take us to the in-between,Where earth meets sky, and wake meets dream.And time rushes by, unseen.Take us to the infinite night,Where up is down, and left is right,And dark vanquishes light.
Sisters we gather,In answer to the call,To fulfill our destinyAs guardians this side of the wall.“Where the fabric wears thin,And our enemy’s at hand,We must thrust him backInto his own land.“We honor our legacyAnd before the night is done,Sisters past, present and futureWill unite as one.
I may appear to suffer from some sort of compulsive repetition syndrome, but these rituals are important to me. I have many places where I sit and think, “I have been here before, I am here now, and I will be here again.” Sometimes, lost in reverie, I remember myself approaching across the same green, or down the same footpath, in 1962 or 1983, or many other times. Sometimes Chaz comes along on my rituals, but just as often I go alone. Sometimes Chaz will say she’s going shopping, or visiting a friend, or just staying in the room and reading in bed. “Why don’t you go and touch your bases?” she’ll ask me. I know she sympathizes. These secret visits are a way for me to measure the wheel of the years and my passage through life. Sometimes on this voyage through life we need to sit on the deck and regard the waves.
The mystery religions were instituted in order to protect the marvels of the commonplace from those who would devalue them.
Jiu Jitsu is a baptism by combat, and serves a purpose in the inner life of the individual that has always existed, but our modern culture fails to acknowledge.
When a witch embodies self-love, her energy becomes magnetic and her sense of possibility becomes contagious.
…is methodical abuse, often using indoctrination, aimed at breaking the will of another human being. In a 1989 report, the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the L.A. County Commission for Women defined ritual abuse as: “Ritual Abuse usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful,humiliating, intended as a means of gaining dominance over the victim.The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual indoctrination. It includes mind control techniques which convey to the victim a profound terror of the cult members …most victims are in a state of terror, mind control and dissociation” (Pg. 35-36)