Ritual is all around you

Some thoughts about ritual in everyday life.

Ritual is everywhere in every part of your life. It isn’t just something you do to invoke or channel a spirit or God to do magic or talk to the other side, or change your world or yourself. Ritual is the way you set yourself up for your day, set your mood with the things you do like brushing teeth and bathing, the other things of your morning routine. Ritual is the way you enter the space of your work, swiping the security card, the way you do your work, the boundaries you have in your work relationships. The little things you do regularly with, for and to your lovers and family to express and confirm your special connection.

When you watch a TV show you are entering a mythic journey that invokes archetypes that are manifestations of gods and spirits. The show will take place in a space, it will tell about its history with a montage so you get a connection with the characters and who they are. With music it will set you up emotionally to get into the right state to share the experience not just with your family but with everyone watching the show at the same time and who have ever watched it in the past and will watch it in the future. You are participating in thought-forms.

One of my magic teachers thought TV was a training ground for telepathy, for the New Age. The first step to telepathy is shared emotion. When you watch a TV show you are sharing emotions with millions of people empathizing with characters who represent the vital essence of human relationships. Some are hero’s journeys, like police stories, even many comedies and family dramas also follow that structure. They are direct descendants of the great stories of the gods and archetypes we use for ritual. What we, as conscious aware magicians, witches, yogis, wiccans and pagans can do is regulate our participation in and relationship with those thought-forms and transform them. You can use them to connect with everyone else participating in them changing their affect and meaning. Think about much how psychic energy is shared in the experience of Seinfeld or Friends or SVU or CSI, or the Voice. If you could channel that, direct it to your purpose what could you do with it.

These daily rituals might all seem mundane compared to talking to gods and spirits. The reason these rituals only transform life and the world in minor ways is the result of the combination of motivation for doing them and what’s at stake in them. For most ordinary people the motivation for daily rituals is maintenance of the current state of their life. So all these daily rituals are designed to keep life as they want it now, manage their shadows, hold back the chaos, keep control. TV shows and their stories are usually apart of that function. They let them experience emotions and alternative possibilities from a safe distant, impersonally helping them cleanse and manage emotions in safe ways. They help them to maintain their sense of themselves, their world as a security blanket.

Rituals that transform lives, that change your power relationships with the worlds must have serious parts of you at stake, must involve big parts of you. This may include the whole of you, your physical, your spiritual, your intellectual and your sense of who you are to yourself and in your society. This is what happens with tribal initiations where the whole society is involved in them. Other rituals are more personal where only your sense of identity, your sense of personal power and your experience of the world are affected. Some rituals only affect your intellectual understanding like the way most educational rituals work in our society. These can have big effects on your role in society and your sense of yourself, your identity and your understanding of the world and therefore your personal power and identity. But they like all initiations they indoctrinate participants in the ways on the society providing the education.

One of the insights that comes from magic and other spiritual traditions is that power and insight come from standing in more than one world, spiritual, material and view through the different lens of different cultures and traditions. For example having more than one language enhances your experience of all the languages. Being able to use different frameworks, points of view from different traditions – witchcraft, yoga, materialist science, wicca, magick – will give you insight and power in relation to any situation you face. Having a solid deep experience of one tradition with a wide understanding of others allows you to see passed symbolism to an intuitive relationship directly with biggest most beautiful reality at the core of all.

how to create a ritual

Circle of Power

This is an extract from the introduction to a soon to be released Ebook

How to do Rituals for Daily Life and Special Moments

Every tradition has its own images, Goddesses, Gods, spirits and cosmology for its practices. Ritual is both an internal and external practice. It is a way of structured actions to bring mind, emotions, body and spirit together with other dimensions of being in order to achieve something for yourself, your loved ones and to affect your world. Ritual is neither good nor evil but can be used for both. It seems to be a natural part of human communication and organisation, whether you are talking to other humans or the spirit world. It can be unpredictable because the universe has a sense humour (some say), but mostly it’s because of collisions between our conscious, unconscious and subconscious and limits on our knowledge and perceptions leading to impulses and thoughts that derail our ritual.

Ritual has many purposes ranging from the very ordinary to the profound. Celebrating birthdays, naming ceremonies, weddings, initiations and empowerments are profound life changing moments. Whilst your routine to prepare yourself for your day, brushing teeth, cleansing, dressing and entering your workplace or home building using a key or security pass are ordinary things that we do in habitual ways that have the effect of ritual and could benefit from the conscious awareness and empowerment that ritual brings to them.

This article presents one version of the essential ingredients of ritual with an application of them. It seeks to analyse what is taught in various traditions so you can apply them to any tradition and help understand why ritual can be a powerful part of your approach to life. These ingredients are very practical you could write a business plan using them, or plan a holiday or any event, because as the old magical saying goes “as above, so below” meaning that which applies to the highest most powerful knowledge should work in the simplest most ordinary situations.
These ingredients divide the indivisible. Ingredient five’ doing it’ includes the whole process from start to finish. Ingredient two the goal you want to achieve and the feelings that are motivating you need also to be kept in mind throughout. Ingredient six is the product of the whole process but is also centrally influential on the shape of your ritual as your plan it. This is also true of ingredients seven and one. Even though this mix up is true the order here is a logical procedure to follow.

The seven principles of ritual:

  1. Background, space, history, boundaries
  2. Desire, goal, motivation
  3. Resources, form, structure, plan
  4. Action, doing it, passion, expression, doing it
  5. Receptiveness, listening, responsiveness in the moment
  6. Meanings, Broader effects, consequences to your story of yourself and your context/culture, myth
  7. Unexpected, limitations, humility, spirit
  1. Background, space, history, boundaries. In the immediate physical level this refers to the room, the space or the temple you are going to conduct your ritual in. “Setting the Space” is to make the place sacred by arranging it to suit the ritual. Setting the space is also the internal process of getting your body/mind into the right state so as to set the physical place into a place of power. It is concentrating the spirit in that place. You also draw a boundary around it to make it special. You even conduct a ritual to enter it when it is being used for ritual. This sets your inner space, state of mind for the work you are about to do. It becomes a place of power so that even before you have done anything your psychic and group resources are all focussed and ready for the work you are about to do. In NLP they would say you are anchoring your emotions and energy so that you will immediately be “in state” or in a power state when you enter the space with the ritual of entry. The space should bring all your senses into play – colours (vision), objects for texture (touch) and symbolism (emotionally powerful for you), music or sounds (hearing), smells, the feel and shape of the space (proprioception) and of course food for taste. It is also the personal background you bring to the work, your emotional and cultural history, which will define your interests, roles, and the traditions you will use/participate with for the ritual.
  2. Desire, goal, motivation. Why are you doing the ritual? What are your motivations? What do want from it, your goals? Some of these are obvious up in front of your consciousness, like money, love, rain, celebration, worship, contacting the other side, invocation or evocation. You could just want to consolidate a group for a non-esoteric purpose, like doing a fitness work out together or a work meeting to improve performance or make a plan to make something happen. But the more important motivations (especially when doing esoteric or magick rituals) are those hidden from you, subconscious desires, attitudes which drive the surface ones. For example, why would you want to use magick ritual to do something that you can do in more practical ways? For example – Why do you want to use a short cut to manifesting wealth using esoteric ritual rather getting money by participating in value-exchange relationships like working and saving or going into business after doing business courses? You could use these principles of ritual for non-magical goals as a ground for communication and doing business, designing a dance party or birthday gathering all worthy goals. This doesn’t mean you can’t use magic(k) ritual for all kinds of practical goals (like money) it’s just that you need to be clear about your motivations and get your conscious and subconscious desires and motivations aligned so all your power is behind them. It’s also important to realise that if something is a goal then to your unconscious being it is not here and now. It is over there away from you and out of your reach. This needs to be addressed in the construction and actions, the mental disciplines of your ritual. You’ve got to experience your goal in all your senses as if it has already been achieved. One of the powerful forms of ritual is to use it to overcome any feeling or realities that might block you from achieving your goals. So those blockages are made conscious. One such form is the ritual journey based on the hero of a myth.
  3. Resources, form, structure, plan. What will be the structure of your ritual? What will you use as tools, instruments, weapons for it? Who will participate? What actions, symbols, thought-forms will be involved? There are material representations of the symbols and there are the astral or spiritual or magical meanings of them. On a material level you’ll need to buy candles and special paper if they are what you are going to use. You may need a partner if it is going to be a sex magick ritual (though that’s not necessary). Will you be sky-clad (naked)? Will you evoke the spirits you are going to invoke by using costumes? Will you need to make them, better than buying them? Buying anything you are going to use in ritual CAN (meaning they don’t have to) be a problem. This is where the Astral/Spiritual/Magical meaning and existence of the symbols you are using comes in.

    A “thought-form” is an Astral or spiritual existence (depending on who you listen to). It is a thought that is given form and life through action, emotion (trust/faith/belief but others as well) collective imagination, energy and attachment. Thought-forms are affected by the emotions and thoughts of those participating in them. It is the reason some traditions use secrecy so they can control the quality of the energy, emotions, spirit input to their thought-forms. Thought-forms can become attached to objects which are used as symbols. An everyday example of a thought-form is a corporation. The symbols and name of the corporation and the group of people they represent are given a life of their own beyond any individual or that group. In the ritual system that is the law of the land the symbols are given person-hood with many of the same rights as we have as embodied people. Most people in the west, in fact around world, treat these symbols and names as if they are real entities. They pay our wages and take responsibility for our lives. They move mountains if they mining companies and build bridges if they are engineering companies, though they only exist as symbols in the collectives minds of our society. When you buy symbols for ritual you won’t know who has touched them and what they were feeling and what energy they put into it with their emotions and how these will affect your ritual. There are a few ways of deal with the unpredictability of other people touching, thinking about, feeling attached to the objects and thought-forms you are going to use in your rituals. You can use a ritual of cleansing to make bought costumes and objects useable. You can accept energy is energy and it’s all good and helpful because their involvement makes the thought-form all the more real. It depends on your cosmology as to what works for you.

  4. Action, doing it, passion, power/love expressed. Carrying out the ritual, the working, whatever form it takes with all the intense focussed passion you can pull from you or push you to. It is said that intensity of experience comes when there are high stakes, when your life and love are on the line. Ritual is most powerful and effective if this is the case. It can mean that your body is at stake because you are in real danger as in many tribal initiations. Alternatively, it can mean that your identity is at stake like doing something that redefines how you will experience yourself. You can symbolically act out an intense situation where through the suspension-of-disbelief (which is where movies get their power) you can feel the danger as an emotional rather than as a physical reality. Having your identity endangered on the other hand can come from all sorts of more gentle situations like changing habits, like falling in love and having to rethink reorganise your life around a new person, like changing your job or changing spiritual traditions. Ritual can be used to transmute these situations by empowering you to feel choice and some sort of control of the change process.
  5. Receptiveness, listening, responsiveness in the moment. As you do anything you need to have focussed awareness in the moment of the sensual and emotions experiences you are having. In ritual this is heightened and intensified. For example, during the process of a simple ritual with a limited time frame and clearly prescribed set of actions and goals, your awareness is for the emotional and physical effects and the aftermath/consequence of the ritual in the moments you are doing it. In the case of a longer term working of ritual where you may need to adjust and adapt the ritual as you go to respond to the changing circumstances created by it then sensual in-the-moment mindfulness will be important to the achievement of your goals. Some rituals, such as invocations and channelling, are communication processes that need to be flexible and responsive to the events of the ritual. Focussed awareness is extremely important in order to succeed.
  6. Meanings, Broader effects. Consequences to your story of yourself and your context/culture, Myth. Meaning comes from the larger context and consequences of the ritual, of any activity and thought, feeling. On one level this is the mythic archetypes that evoke and invoke power for you as the symbols that will empower you. On another level it is the meaning in your life and culture of the ritual. How will it change your life, your sense of yourself, your relationships – personal, political and professional? How will it affect your environment – psychic, material, intimate, cultural?
  7. Unexpected, limitations, humility, Spirit. You always have to allow for the unexpected, the improbable, worst case and best case as opposed to the wished for and/or most likely scenarios. You need to allow for your limitations which are where the unpredictable and unexpected come from: limitations in knowledge, limitations in talent, limitations in strength, just the simple fact that you are in a skin means you have limitations on your point of view. Most call on spirit and other higher powers when they are faced with these limitations, when they feel overwhelmed, when faced with death and loss (even small losses like the car keys). This involves keeping a reserve of energy, of resources, being balanced and moderate in your approach to things. This is where the cycle of life comes in because when you are faced with these aspects of your life and ritual it usual inspires further ritual and so you go back to the beginning.

An Example – A group healing-light ritual

my Myers Briggs Type

Over the years I have played with different systems for categorising people. I’ve always found them unsatisfying. Not because they are inaccurate but because of what they do in my mind to the people who I meet. I’ve even played at creating my own, based on the Chakras. Seven types based on seven dimensions of being with a seven leveled measurement scales. By temperament and interest the categorising systems I went for were Astrology with 12 types, Numerology with 9 or 10 types (depending on how you count) and Tarot – Major Arcana with 21 types, even the Kabala with 10 types. Each of these have the possibilities for great complexity to try and cope with human realities.

  • Astrology has 12 signs, 12 houses, 12 moving celestrial bodies all interracting and professing the absolute objectiveness of the heavens.
  • Numerology has 9 numbers and one place marker, the zero. You can add up the numbers from you birthday and name to break them down to one of the nine resulting types and a destiny. Or you can map subtleties by applying the typing system to different dimensions of the person by not breaking down the numbers into the types mentioned by adding them together.
  • Each tarot card represents a person type allow you 21 types or 78 types if you want/need something more complex and enigmatic. Each of the 21 are also a role in society, a stage or moment of life.
  • The Kabala has 10 centres of light and 21 connecting paths. Each centre of light, like the Chakras, represents states of mind and being, and can therefore represent types of people who experience the world predominantly through that state. The connecting paths and the centres themselves let you measure the way these states interact to make the person. The cool thing about this system is that you can bring in numerology and the tarot deck./li>

These all work to help give a feeling of insight and security when faced by the complexity humans and their relationships. The system I spent most time with was Astrology in my teens and early twenties and through my marriage with a professional Astrologer who gave it great store (obviously). In these times and as I watched my ex-wife and others interact with Astrology and the other systems I noticed the system and its legitimacy seemed more important than the people I/they were meeting. That cliche was true about the first or second question asked when meeting someone was what was their sign. I used to be pretty good at guessing peoples signs before I started to get in depth with the system. When I started doing charts and studying the great complexity of the system allowes people.

In case you want to draw that box around me I was born 0235am 08/06/1958 in Sydney Australia. Most people will think my moon is in Pisces (as I did for while) but it actually in Aquarius. feel free to figure me out. Contact me if you think I’m your soulmate, I might just be who knows.

I have been tested for jobs using some of the modern categorising systems but rarely remembered much about them. They seemed superficial in comparison to the depths of history and human imagination and society that the systems have I mentioned above. Recently someone asked me what my Mires Briggs type was. I’d forgotten what they were at first, then remembered. I didn’t know until did some research that it was based on Jung’s work so I thought it might have some interest. I liked that it was based on questions about your experience of everyday life and your relationships with it.

But I still have the same worries about the validity and the limitations it places on how I might be percieved. I don’t remember what my IQ is for instance, though I have done some abilities testing at different times. The problems with its cultural relativity make it invalid to my desire for some kind of deeper understanding human nature. At least that’s my emotional response but I do realise that the test could help when you are wanting to get people who are successful within a cultural context.

Anyway here’s a box you can put me in. Just remember that it is a moveable feast because I think these modern systems a more effected by the moods of the tested person. Though hopefully someone, a true believer, will argue with me on this point.

I like that if I’m going to be unbalanced then it is towards the intuitive, so maybe that’s why my result is what it is. It does seem very unbalanced though, to me, and I do like balance.

According to this site – http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JungType.htm

This is My Myers-Briggs TYPE:
ENFP
Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
11 75 12 11

ENFP type description by J. Butt and M.M. Heiss
ENFP Identify Your Career with Jung Career Indicator™ ENFP Famous Personalities

ENFP type description by D.Keirsey

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:
• slightly expressed extravert
• distinctively expressed intuitive personality
• slightly expressed feeling personality
• slightly expressed perceiving personality

Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
by Marina Margaret Heiss
Profile: ENFP
Revision: 4.0
Date of Revision: 28 Feb 2011
________________________________________
[The following comes partially from the archetype, but mostly from my own dealings with ENFPs.]
ENFPs are both “idea”-people and “people”-people, who see everyone and everything as part of a cosmic whole. They want to both help and to be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. This is rarely a problem for the ENFP, as they are outgoing and warm, and genuinely like people. Some ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality.
ENFPs often have strong, if sometimes surprising, values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently (though enthusiastically) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in the ENFP neglecting their nearest and dearest while caught up their efforts to change the world.
ENFPs can be the warmest, kindest, and most sympathetic of mates; affectionate, demonstrative, and spontaneous. Many in relationships with an ENFP literally say, “They light up my life.” But there is usually a trade-off: the partner must be willing to deal with the practical and financial aspects of the relationship, and the ENFP must be allowed the freedom to follow their latest path, whatever that entails.
For some ENFPs, relationships can be seriously tested by their short attention spans and emotional needs. They are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting their older and more familiar emotional ties for long stretches at a time. And the less mature ENFP may need to feel they’re the constant center of attention, to confirm their image of themselves as a wonderful and fascinating person.
In the workplace, ENFPs are pleasant and friendly, and interact in a positive and creative manner with both their co-workers and the public. ENFPs are also a major asset in brainstorming sessions; follow-through on projects can be a problem, however. ENFPs do get distracted, especially if another interesting issue comes along. They also tend towards procrastination, and dislike performing small, uninteresting tasks. ENFPs are most productive when working in a group with a few Js to handle the details and the deadlines.

A Tantric Food Experience Poem

Mushrooms and Halloumi

© Christopher Michaels 2012

breakfast is ended
the flavour of fried halloumi and mushrooms has me stuck in time
or is it out of time
the poached eggs were… well poached eggs
the pesto on the toast was buried under them
they were the symphony that supported the duet
the first taste of the mushrooms had me alive to my body,
just the torso
then a bite of the eggs with the toast and pesto calms me
until…
a small nibble of the halloumi fried just right
and I am full bodied alive feet, hands, thighs and arms
I am greed and gluttony
but woofing it down fast will end it too soon
so back to the eggs and toast
then another mushroom tasting with the whole tongue
and a piece of the halloumi…
and time is slowing
each cell of my tongue is awake wondering how long it has been asleep
“is the person who did this to me available for marriage?”
the music has faded, the voices around me are dead
a galaxy inside the space of my mouth overpowering me
possessing my body
finally the last bite brings regret
I sit
a stare
hoping to somehow freeze time
a beautiful behind walks into view
a shadow of my usual response
I am lost in time and space desperate that it won’t restart
that I won’t be found
the beautiful pineapple, lemon and ginger juice warms
a universe decays, gods die
I blink and a poem writes itself
I take a drink of the juice

this was an experience I recently had…
here something for you to consider… … balancing external focus with internal focus is one of the essences of tantra… many of us are so inwardly focussed that we forget, as the poet says, to smell the roses. I once spent 3 months taking the time each day to give total undistracted sensual attention and awarenss to the preparation and eating of at least one meal a day. The aim is to use every sense with as much focus as possible. If you can share this with someone of like mind then all the better.

After Recent Mishap I’m back

This website has been offline recently. Due to a lack of computer savvy on my part. So we are starting over. There will be new everything. We will offering new workshop format and new opportunities to explore, understand and improve your relationships, including sex, bliss.

PLEASE BE PATIENT

 

OM SHANTI ANNAND