“It is from the primal world that living faith arises.” ~Larry Harvey
What is Ritual?
It’s a simple word—yet many of us struggle to define it, feeling uncertain or even argumentative about how it should be defined. Some people use the word confidently and easily, while others feel uncomfortable and even threatened by it, and a few reject it completely. Yet rituals, diverse in appearance, content, style, and meaning, exist all over the world. Often cultures or groups of people disagree about the appropriate traditions, customary ways, and even whether to honor rituals at all! Thus it’s not surprising that rituals are a common source of conflict and confusion for many of us.
other solemn ceremony or act, including births, life transitions, special occasions,
To answer this question, we must understand that belief is the core of all ritual. Whether the belief is in God or science, wind spirits or serpent wisdom, it is the expression of belief through actions, words, and symbols that defines all rituals. Moreover, misunderstanding or rejection of the diversity of beliefs is the source of all confusion about ritual and its purpose in our lives.
indwelling presence whose divinity exists within all aspects of Being.The first view, transcendence, is from the Latin word transcendentem: it means surmounting or rising above, as if to step up on a ladder. Transcendence places divinity beyond the worldly experience of humanity. On the other hand, immanence views the divine as immanent—deriving from the Latin immanere, it evokes the feeling of an
These conflicting perspectives about divinity lead to different and often mutually rejecting beliefs, and almost all ritual conflicts can be traced back to this fundamental difference.