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Ritual Meaning and Examples of a Ritual

what_is_the_purpose_of_a_ritual

What do rituals mean? 

When you do quick research on google asking ritual meaning, these below are some of the answers:

“A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence,” says Wikipedia.

“A ritual is a ceremony or action performed customarily,” says vocabulary.com

“An established or prescribed procedure for a religious or another rite.” Says dictionary.com.

Really?

But wait a minute! These do not help to explain really what ritual means. I was hoping you could show me some examples of rituals I hear you saying.

What is an example of a ritual? 

I can give you tons of examples of rituals because they surround us. Epified explains in their youtube video, ‘rituals are one of the defining characteristics of human beings of being human.’

Here you can see some of the rituals to start with:

Ritual meanings arise from Earth’s events.

Life is full of cycles. The Earth revolving around the Sun creates the seasons. The moon revolving around the Earth makes the moon cycle.

Throughout humanity, these cycles have been marked with special days, and special rituals and ceremonies have been celebrated on these special days.

These rituals have provided great inspiration and relief to embrace our cycles inside our own words as human beings.

To give some examples of these rituals that are being practiced by many around the world continuously are:

Rituals meanings arise from religion’s traditions

Each day many people around the world are doing similar kinds of actions, even at remarkably similar times. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, Confucianism, Bahá’í, Shinto, Jainism, and many more religions and traditions are practiced by the people who believe in them via rituals.

Rituals are not just arisen from religions, on the other hand, maybe religions make it possible that we still have rituals in the world.

  • Rituals in Islam such as fasting and, sacrifice 
  • Christmas rituals such as Three Kings and Santa Claus
  • Rituals when entering a catholic church

Rituals meanings arise when you do them

We call our rituals according to when or how often we do them. Morning rituals are a big topic these days. Sunday family rituals are those that mark many people’s lives.

Ritual meanings arise from our needs during different phases of life.

As with the cycles of life, we also have our cycles. Even though birth and death come to mind first, human life is full of cycles. During the day, so many different emotions come to visit us. If we are unaware of our inner world and name those emotions and accept them as such, then life can be chaotic. Rituals can help us to be centered. Some examples of this kind of ritual are:

Ritual meanings arise from what accompanies the ritual.

All those things you use during a ritual can help you become here and now to ground you. Even in some cases, the process of the rituals can be all around those objects. If you want to see some of these rituals, I will share some videos below.

      • Tea and coffee rituals

  • Cacao rituals

  • Rituals with sage

Ritual meanings arise from where you do them.

You can think about different places where you can practice rituals as well. For example, in the classroom, at home, or in the bath.  

  • Rituals and routines in the classroom
  • To do at home
  • To do at the hammam (Turkish bath)

As you see, our lives are full of rituals. Humanity is rich with the heritage of rituals coming from our ancestors. Some of the rituals are actions that we are repeating again and again for centuries. Others are more personal.

Jung was an influential advocate of rituals during his life, and look at what he says about different kinds of rituals:

‘Religious traditions are rich in customs and ceremonies for meeting anything that might occur a person. Some rituals help carry us over a threshold during life transitions such as birth, becoming an adult, marriage, and death. For some people, prescribed rituals still work effectively. Sometimes you can modify a religious ritual to meet your requirements and devise the medicine (ceremony) that is exactly right for your ailment- this is the highest form of creativity.’

Jung

This thought of him opens a new question for us.

What is the purpose of a ritual?

It is hard to say ok; this is the purpose of a ritual. It depends on different rituals, with who you do it, when, how, and where.

I love rituals and always did so in my personal story; I accumulated many moments full of rituals. Therefore, I can explain to you the meaning of rituals based on how they enrich my life.  

  • Rituals provide a connection with the One or the Cosmos (depending on your belief), and rituals make it possible to connect to me.
  • Rituals are making me aware. Thanks to them, I can become here and now.
  • When I practice rituals, I can gain more consciousness around my life. It is not merely a non-stop flowing river anymore; my adventure is full of cycles.
  • Rituals bring magic to the moments. When I am aware of a moment, the potential of enjoying it becomes more visible, living it instead of just passing by.
  • Thanks to those rituals that many people are doing together, one can feel connection and unity.
  • Rituals are a great way to foster your relationship with yourself. It is a game that you play with yourself. It fosters self-love.

What is the difference between rituals and routines? 

When you look at those descriptions in the dictionaries about the ritual meaning, one cannot help asking this question about the difference between routines and rituals.

Maybe you drink coffee every morning, which is your morning routine, but what is the difference between this routine with the tea rituals of mystic Sufi people then?

The difference between routines vs. rituals lies in the purpose of doing it. The objective is a very personal story, depending on each of us. There is no one right way for all. Still, the difference between routines vs. rituals is in the meaning instead of the form.

How to convert routines into rituals? 

If you want to discover more about rituals, go for it. Convert some of your routines to rituals. Then, just give it a try.

Let’s say drinking coffee in the morning. To give some ideas, below is how you can approach converting routines to rituals:

  1. First of all, start by being aware. Stop for a second. Breathe. Be aware that you are preparing your morning coffee.
  2. Put your intention out there. At that moment, ask yourself what the intention of this morning’s coffee is and name it.
  3. Think about it if you would like to add more detail to this moment to make it easier to be here and now. As ancestors were calling for the veil to be thinner, you can easily connect with the One, with the Cosmos. Maybe lighting up a candle, or incense for some pleasant smell, music, if you have a cold, perhaps a blanket.
  4. Enjoy the process without any expectations. Whatever happens, is the best possible between all possibilities. Do not ever forget.
  5. Lastly, before you finish, be aware that you are closing a circle. It can be nice to show your gratitude. Go back to your intention and ask yourself what you are grateful for. It does not matter how big or small things you are thankful for. It is about attitude, and it all sums up at some point.

It is not about the form you care about but the meaning behind it. Rituals bring sense to our lives, full of symbols.

Above all, rituals are the best way humanity could find to show our admiration for life. It is our connection and celebration with the unseen. It is an unheard conversation.

So, to answer our starting question, the ritual’s meaning is very personal. 

One of my life mottos is to live life as a ritual. Before finishing, I leave you with Tiu de Haan, her TED Talk about why we still need rituals. Enjoy!

 

Please let me know what it means for you in the comments.

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Rituals Board!

 

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