Thursday, September 6, 2012

ADF Liturgy part 1: The purpose and function of ritual

          Ritual is a function of spiritually that has been with us from the dawning of our species. To understand the purpose and function that ritual plays in the spiritual lives of people we first need at least a simple definition of ritual. Ritual is an established set of procedures or acts outlined for a religious or social event that can pertains to a divine nature (Random House Dictionary). Rituals also help us mark the passage of time and the Rites of Passage that mark turning points in our lives.

          There are many purposes for ritual ranging from marking births to marking the passing of a loved one from this world. Rituals can be for an individual or for groups of varying sizes. But no matter the occasion for the ritual, the main purpose of ritual is to allow us mortals to have access and contact to the Other Worlds that are beyond our normal perception, to the Kindreds. (Bonewits 102)

          Throughout recorded history there have been rituals marking the milestones of human lives. Births in many cultures are marked with some type of ritual. These kinds of rituals run the gambit from baptisms in the Christian faith to Pagan communities. Up until modern times there were rituals for our youths that marked their movement from childhood to adulthood. There are parts of the world where tribal societies in remote regions still have rights of passages for youths. Sadly these types of rituals are beginning to fade because of modern influences. Unions of couples are also marked with rituals, though there are many people don’t really see this event as ritual anymore. Some of the hardest rituals can be those we do for loved ones that have passed from this life into the next. Even though these rituals mark the end of a life they also give those left behind a way of saying good-bye and bring closure. Rituals that mark the passage of time help us connect to where we come from and where we are headed. They also help us define who we are as a people and as individuals. (Corrigan)

          Rituals also function as tools that allow us contact the worlds beyond ours. They give us a doorway to connect with the three realms and to the Kindreds themselves. It is important for us as a people to feel a connection with things larger than ourselves. It gives us a spiritual fulfillment (Brooks). Through ritual we take formulated steps to move our minds and souls to a level of consciousness where contact with Natural Spirits, the Ancestors, and the Gods can be reached. In a group setting the steps of ritual are designed to help create a group mind that is focused on the same goal of reaching the Kindreds. The goal of contact is to help create
relationships with the Kindreds. But working ritual as a group has another effect; it creates a sense of community within the group of people worshiping together. (Corrigan)

          Rituals are also done to seek the blessings of the Kindreds. It could be that a new endeavor we are seeking blessings for. Or it could be the birth of a child or a union that the blessings are being sought. There are times when blessings are asked for those who are ill or in great need. Within Pagan practices there are times when we seek blessings for the land and the life living on it. Rituals can be a place for seeking the blessings of the Kindred for any of life’s needs. (Brooks)

          Rituals have many purposes and functions within our lives. Most importantly rituals allow us to create connections with others outside of ourselves; be it mortal, Nature Spirit, Ancestor, or Gods.

Works Cited/Consulted For ADF Liturgy series

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wiki/view/Main/TheOutsiders>.Bonewits, Isaac. Rites of Worship- A Neopagan Approch. Earth

Religion Press- A division of Dubsar House Publishing, 2003.Brooks, Arnold. "Goals of Group

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Walter. Greek Religion. Basil Blackwell Publisher and Harvard University Press, 1985.Corrigan,

Ian. "Concerning the Taking of Omens." March 2008 <

working/taking-omens.html>.—. "Intentions of Druidic Ritual." June 2008 <http://>.—. "Sacred Space, an Exlporation of the

Triple Center." May 2009 <

space.html>.Crudden, Michael. Hymns: A New Translation by Michael Crudden. Oxford

University Press, 2002.Gold, Pete. "The Consecration of a New Grove." 2008 <http://>.Johnston, Sarah Lles. Restless dead:

encounters between the living and the dead in anciet Greece. University of California Press,

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University Press, 2002.Paradox. "Sacred Space, an Exploration of the Triple Center."

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Islands: An Introduction To Celtic Myth, Legend, Poetry And Romance. Kessinger Publishing, LLC,

2007.Thomas, Rev. Kirk. "The Nature of Sacrifice." Oak Leaves Issue No. 41 2008: 43-

55.USGS. "Water Science for Schools." 13 May 2009. USGS- Science for a changing world. May

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Body_water>.Willoughby, Harold. Pagan Regeneration: A study of Mystery Initiations in the

Graeco-Roman World. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2008.Wright, Dubley. Eleusinian Mysteries and

Rites. Kessinger Publishing, 2003.

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