On Rituals and Symbols

Ritual acts can be incredibly nourishing to the human mind, heart, and imagination.

Developing rituals that embody this same idea of oneness with the Divine/nature/other human beings/other living beings/the Earth/the universe can be tremendously valuable for human life.  Why rituals? Rituals transform the mundane into the symbolic, they take us into another space, a different field of meaning and experience. They move the accidental into the realm of the universal, the simple act into the realm of archetypes and mythic motifs.

Symbols can express more to us than mere words or thoughts can because, while they embody ideas, they also speak to us on the level of emotion, of the gut, and communicate subtleties of experience that are difficult to encapsulate in verbal thoughts.

The ritual act moves us beyond mere thought; by doing something that moves you emotionally while nourishing your mind, you move past the idea into an embodied experience. It is not sufficient to merely think of oneness, because this is superficial and soon forgotten in the bustling activity of daily life. However, an experience of oneness marks you, it stays with you, it accompanies you throughout this bustling activity. In thought, we explore truths through the mediation of concepts and language; in embodied action, we explore truths through ideas, feelings, movements, sensations.

In short, experiencing communion through an act rather than simply through a thought allows us to tap into the reality of oneness, to engage with the territory of oneness rather than just with a mental map of it. The experiential act has a transformative power that streams of thought are only rarely able to achieve.


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