Wikipedia describes a ritual as “a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence.” Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community.
“I pound my feet strongly on the ground several times, I take several deep breaths, and I “shake” my body to remove any negative energies. I do this often before going to work, going into meetings, and at the front door before entering my house after a long day.”
What is ritual and why do we do it? Not all of us do. I certainly don’t. Or so I thought.
It’s true I don’t do ritual magick; not because I don’t believe in it for others, it’s just not for me.
Ritual can be as simple as staring into a candle flame. You meditate; your breathing is slow and steady as you concentrate, sorting out the chaos in your mind. You rationalise your thoughts and emotions and discover new resolve to assist you in how you deal with those problems in day to day life. The ability to think clearly, which is often clouded by any number of things and for various reasons, makes a huge difference to one’s well-being.
But I do have my own rituals. The things I do on a daily basis are more ritual than routine. While routine can be a good mental balance it also has connotations of the mundane (commute, work, commute, bed), so I prefer not to think of these that way.
Getting my morning takeaway a coffee is a ritual. I enjoy it and it helps me metaphorically gird my loins for what may lie ahead, and believe me, there are days when they need girding. Sure, I can make coffee in the office but it’s not the same thing. It starts my day off right for me and on those odd days when I don’t have it I miss it.
Going to the gym is my evening ritual. It’s my way of alleviating any stress from the day, and as much as its bloody hard work I love that I’m doing something good for myself, and with that rush of endorphins I can think more clearly and it helps me sleep.
My evening pot of almond tea has become another ritual. I love the taste and smell of it, just on its own. Tea pot, loose leaf. I may have paperwork to do or I might just plonk myself in front of the telly but I like that pot in front of me.
Even tidying up (mugs in the dishwasher type thing) before I go to bed is a ritual. It’s really no big deal, I just prefer to wake up to a tidy flat.
So do what you need to do, magick or otherwise. As they say, if it feels good, do it. Do they really work? If they’re helping achieve what we set out to do, then I’d have to say yes.
By Andrea Marlowe