Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rediscovering Ritual

My personal definition of ritual: a symbolic set of actions with ceremonial import, performed at a predesignated moment, usually designed to be replicated.

Ritual is a powerful way to connect specific aspects of our lives to the sacred dimension of existence. As we search for meaning in the puzzle of our experience, we perform rituals to ceremonialize the most compelling pieces.

Today marks the Spring Equinox and the corresponding Pagan festival of Ostara. Today is also Palm Sunday in the Christian tradition, the Sunday before Easter (the similarity between the words Ostara and Easter is no coincidence; you can find more information by clicking the "Ostara" link above). 

In the week leading up to Easter, many Christians will attend Holy Week services (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil). In these services both traditional and modern rituals will be performed, designed to bring lay Christians closer to the sacred dimension of life. 

I love returning to the rituals of Easter and continuing to study Pagan rituals. 

Discipline and a fondness of repetition are qualities I must work to develop as they don't come naturally to me. Yoga practice helps me to work on discipline; specific yoga postures, breathing methods and meditation techniques are designed to be repeated regularly; this is the crux of the Yoga tradition. 

As a theme for your Yoga practice this week, no matter your faith tradition, belief system or conscious lack thereof, I invite you to think about ritual in your life. What are the secular and/or religious rituals that comfort and anchor you? What about your own practice is ritualistic? What is the difference between habit and ritual, for you? How can you use ritual to enhance your life, even the more mundane parts?

Blessed Be, and Namaste. 

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