When it comes to my area of passion, dying and death, ritual is extremely important. And, it must be ritual that is meaningful to the people experiencing the loss. Ritual for the sake of ritual, or ritual by habit or by rote is not what I am encouraging here.
The dictionary definition of ritual doesn’t really work for me and this is likely also why we are dearly lacking meaningful ritual in our daily lives;
rit·u·al – noun
- a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. “the ancient rituals of Christian worship”
See what I mean, leaves me kind of dry, dull and uninspired. Instead we could redefine ritual this way;
rit.u.al – activity
- A meaningful ceremony consisting of a series of activities and actions the family or community create to suit the unique needs of the occasion they are celebrating.
- Formally marks the end of one thing and the beginning of another thing.
Ritual is also important in personal growth work, addictions, counseling, and relationships as examples. Ritual clearly marks the end of something – this creates the necessary space to create something new.
In relationship ritual marks the end of a day’s worth of relating and completes it no matter whether it was a good, bad or ugly day. It contains history and limits bringing yesterday into today. Ritual enables relationship to begin fresh and new daily.
In personal growth work we could use ritual to ‘bury’ old habits and beliefs that no longer serve us. We could create meaningful ceremonies that would clearly make the end to behaviors that get in our way of living an inspired life.
In addictions counselling we could use ritual as a rite of passage from addiction to sobriety. We could mark the ‘death’ of the addiction and support the one letting go of drugs or alcohol in saying good-bye to what was once their most dear and reliable friend.
Look for areas in your life that could use a ceremony or ritual to help bring closure and at the same time creating a new beginning. Good-bye to the past and hello to the fresh and new.