These days ritual in its own right isn't a high priority in our every day lives. We have our little things we all do, our morning coffee, afternoon tea (like I wrote about here), our bedtime routine, Saturday morning cartoons (do those still exist?), our usual yoga class, etc. But the place of ritual in our culture has largely been forgotten. We treat symptoms of the sufferings of our spirit, i.e. anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, symptoms of trauma, etc. as biochemical, medical issues when in fact they are often crises of the soul.
Joseph Campbell writes, "The function of ritual . . . is to give form to human life, not in the way of a mere surface arrangement, but in depth." This form is what allows us to acknowledge, honor, even admire our pain rather than be it, which ultimately allows us to release it. This is where the importance of ritual comes in.
Ritual itself is aimed at awakening our Younger Self, our unconscious mind that experiences life through the holistic awareness of our right brain. Younger Self communicates through emotions, visions, dreams, and physical sensations and symptoms. It is through ritual that we communicate with our Younger Self. This communion with Younger Self, with our unconscious minds, with our soul is how we begin to heal, to connect with the greater mystery of Spirit, of life. It's about awareness, acknowledgment, and honoring our process and our journey.
In other words, ritual is one of the ways we put our lives in perspective. It calls together all of our shades, our experiences, traumas, the "ghosts" that haunt us. Ritual sorts it all out and puts it to rest. So what might it be like if more of us (the greater public) created ritual and sacred space to process our pain rather than approaching it as something that is biochemically wrong with us? How might that empower us to HEAL ourselves rather than look to some thing or someone else to fix it for us? It seems to me that simple step of taking our spiritual and emotional health into our own hands tells our soul that we see the deeper issue and are ready to confront and take care of it.
If you are ready to do this kind of deep and transformational work, heal your body, and nourish your spirit, but don't know how to create the sacred space and ritual work, come over to my website Wild Grace and see if my services are a good fit for you.