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.