Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Rituals"

by Bruce Large
Rituals of Mankind

There is something very mystical about the participation in rituals, something that puts man in touch with the unseen, something that indicates that indeed there is something greater than oneself.

Whether a seasonal ritual to acknowledge the solstice, equinox, harvest, Ramadan, Old Testament animal sacrifice, New Testament Communion, a sweat lodge, wedding ceremonies or the kill of a hunt; the whole point is to acknowledge, recognize or realize, there are unseen forces perpetuating what is seen; that the body is a temporary house for each of us, and maybe we can somehow show gratitude, find a peace greater than the world can provide, give penance, or become greater than what we are or are not that moment.

Maybe a ritual is surrender, or to certain degree masochism; even sadism meant only to deceive others into submission of government through propagated religion.

One thing for certain, through man's existence rituals have been catalysis, from the mystery religions of Egypt, to the pagan holidays of the United States of America, there is a powerful dynamic result.

This is not to insinuate ritual participation is insidious in nature, after all that would imply the vain death of many, and no death should be vain thus reflecting a meaningless life. That in itself is a tragedy.

Then again, in a comparative sense, we in the midst of radical technology, radical science, radical government, seem to have been culturally indoctrinated and even victims of cultural genocide. Who is to say that throughout history we as individuals have lost touch with truths absolute in a world of relativism?

When we are born geographically and celebrate the holidays (holy-days) of the region, how many people actually know its ancient origin and meanings? (Didn't Macy's propagate Santa Claus?) Does what one does in one region make them more or less human than others in another region?

In my personal opinion, (which is only my own) ritual in all its forms, has always been about certain things. Some of them are only made manifest in the corporeal, while its energies and motivations are to reach beyond towards godliness, godhood, or to sense the presence of the alchemist. Others have used ritual for government, identity, destruction and domination. Kingdoms have risen and fallen on rituals. Man even has attempted to reach beyond death to give himself what he can not; the Breath of Life by using rituals. Yet, in all of the trials and errors, the diabolical successes and great failures, the greatest concept has been a celebration and thankfulness for and of life.

-Bruce Large