The Power of Ritual

This month’s topic was supposed to be about ritual. The exact topic was Ritual: What rituals have had the most meaning for you and your life? But as many of you know, I’ve been busy completing Infernal Colopatiron (which is now at the printer) so the month got away from me and I was unable to post. Since it seems so many others found this month too hectic (or the topic not inspiring) I thought I would make a post.

First I think it’s important to point out that rituals are tools. They are, by themselves, statements of intent. A ritual is defined as: A religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. I suppose this could also mean that we could count brushing our teeth or watering the houseplants as rituals, too (provided you viewed such things as solemn, religious or ceremonial). I had a guy argue with me once, many years ago, that taking a shower every day was a ritual.

I am one of those people who doesn’t praise the tool as much as how the tool is used. I also find myself less focused on the end result as much as the journey. So for me it’s the pathworking rituals that hold the most significance. The beauty of this is that ANY ritual can be a pathwork. I think this is where a lot of magicians may miss the point of some rituals. Let me explain. In many traditions the training from one grade to the next often requires the completion of some prescribed course of study that will include rituals.

I have met magicians who were entirely unimpressed with such courses of study, citing that they were able to complete the work in a short amount of time and that the work wasn’t detailed or as life altering as they expected it to be. This is perplexing indeed. I contend that those who feel this way didn’t stop to take time to relish in the process. To actually understand what each component of the ritual meant and to really take in the full meaning or potential of the ritual itself. Rituals are tools.

You can give two people a set of wood-carving tools. One will take the tools with grand expectations of the end result, only to discover he doesn’t have the skills to use the tools. So perhaps this person will mess around with them, find out woodworking isn’t a talent and then the tools will sit on a shelf somewhere, eventually forgotten. The tools are useless to this person.  Another person will take the tools and with precise skill, will create beautiful works of art. In the latter case, the person has the skill and the tools merely enrich his life by helping him to create.

There really isn’t much of a difference between wood working tools and a ritual. They both work much the same way.

It’s food for thought. See you all next year and may Lucifer light your way!