Ceremony By Jan Engels-Smith
The nature of ritual is that it supports change. Rituals are performed to make something happen, invoke spiritual power, or identify something as sacred. They are designed to transcend the linear mind, stimulate the senses, and open the subconscious to inner work, inner change, and transformation. I think of ceremonies as celebrations and often use the words interchangeably. Both rituals and ceremonies can help you experience Spirit in a profound and dynamic way. They help to declare your intentions and to acknowledge the spirits as magnificent beings.
You have been exposed to ritual and ceremony no matter what your background. Cultures create different traditions to honor the spirit realm, but there are many commonalities throughout the world. All cultures and societies have rituals such as funerals, weddings, celebrations of birth, and other transitions in life. Rituals are often used as rites of passage to mark stages of change in one’s lifetime.
Benedictions, sacraments, candlelight services, chorus singing, prayer, invoking the directions, blessing-way ceremonies, sweat lodges, vision quests, sun dances, darmas, and chanting are all forms of calling Spirit to join in a special way to bless and to guide. Rituals promote a giving and sharing of information between you and Spirit, each of you benefiting the other. I have found repeatedly and without exception that if you ask with an attitude of respect for help from the spirit realm, it will be available to you. Rituals and ceremonies do just that. They serve as the invitation to Spirit that says, “Join me. Bless this time. I honor your presence and your existence. I believe in you; help me connect to you in a powerful way. Let me feel you around me and inside of me. Merge with me.”
Rituals and ceremonies can be done privately or publicly. Just bowing your head before a meal and thanking Spirit for the bounty of your table is a ceremony. The more you do ritual and ceremony with intention and love, the more you will come to know the marvelous energy of the spirit realm. After all, if you want to walk the spiritual path, then you need to acknowledge Spirit and start defining and developing your relationship.