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Author Topic: Crafting a Ritual  (Read 16132 times)
LyricFox
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« Reply #15: June 22, 2008, 05:55:57 pm »

To achieve a desired end. A course of action may be 'prescribed' to solve an issue. In the case of an issue that needs to be solved, hopefully it IS a 'one time thing'.

If that end never needs to be achieved again, than repetition is unnecessary.

I can see you and I aren't going to look at this the same way.

A ritual implies repetition. The parts of the ritual may vary (as could the intent), but the pieces of the ritual are the same.
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Dania
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« Reply #16: June 22, 2008, 06:25:19 pm »

A ritual implies repetition. The parts of the ritual may vary (as could the intent), but the pieces of the ritual are the same.

I have never heard anyone say that until today. I have done a lot of rituals that I probably will never do again, honestly. My coming of age rite for instance. I have no reason to do that ritual again, more than likely. Ditto for my personal path Initiation. Now, if someone were to do those same rituals, for some reason, than yes, they would be repeated. But the fact that I'm not doing them again doesn't make them not rituals.
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« Reply #17: June 22, 2008, 06:48:49 pm »

I have never heard anyone say that until today. I have done a lot of rituals that I probably will never do again, honestly. My coming of age rite for instance. I have no reason to do that ritual again, more than likely. Ditto for my personal path Initiation. Now, if someone were to do those same rituals, for some reason, than yes, they would be repeated. But the fact that I'm not doing them again doesn't make them not rituals.

I think what is probably happening here is that we're looking at a term in two different ways. Now, is there a better word for what you're talking about? I dunno. I do know it may not be wholly accurate, but I suspect that it's been used enough in this way that it's too late to put another word in its place.
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Dania
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« Reply #18: June 22, 2008, 07:02:25 pm »

I think what is probably happening here is that we're looking at a term in two different ways. Now, is there a better word for what you're talking about? I dunno. I do know it may not be wholly accurate, but I suspect that it's been used enough in this way that it's too late to put another word in its place.

I really don't think there's a better word for what I'm saying. To me, a ceremony is used to acknowledge something, to confer a rank or title, or something of that nature. It can be religious and they often are, but a ritual has a...mystic? component to it that a ceremony does not. That is where something like an Initiation ritual comes in. It does far more than just recognize a passage- it creates one.

I do think that words evolve over time...if it's been in common use this way for so long, then it's meaning has evolved to encompass this usage. Whether or not it's semantically proper or not isn't really all that relevant.

As a point of discussion only, do you think that the first time something which is considered a ritual at this point in time, by your definition (repetition) was not a real ritual until it was repeated X number of times? If so, how long does it take and how often does something needs to be done before it becomes a 'ritual'?
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Koimichra
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« Reply #19: June 22, 2008, 07:06:53 pm »

But the fact that I'm not doing them again doesn't make them not rituals.

In fact, you're using the word in a way that does not correspond with either the casual or the technical liturgical meaning of the term. It's not an uncommon use in parts of the Pagan community, but it is an incorrect one that reflects a dearth of adequate liturgical vocabulary. (Also, I suspect, a desire on the part of some Pagan authors to use words that sound more mystical and less "businesslike"; "ritual" conjures up smells and bells and chanting in a way that "religious event" doesn't.) A better word would be "ceremony" or "observance" or "religious act" or "religious event."

What your dictionary definition means by "prescribed" is not that it's written down once and used once, but rather that it's a formally-written set of rules that must be observed each time the ritual is performed. It wouldn't really be "prescribed" if you were only going to use it once; you wouldn't need rules for a single-use event.
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Koimichra
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« Reply #20: June 22, 2008, 07:11:27 pm »

It can be religious and they often are, but a ritual has a...mystic? component to it that a ceremony does not. That is where something like an Initiation ritual comes in. It does far more than just recognize a passage- it creates one.

The word you're looking for there is "sacrament" or "mystery." "Rituals" don't create things; they are repeated ceremonies hallowed by use that may allow one, by that repetition, to enter into a mystical state of mind. It is THAT REPETITION that makes that space that is the heart of ritual; creating that mystical space/thing/time by a specific act is a sacrament, magical act, mystery, etc. But not a ritual.

And that is why some Pagan authors without a lot of background in religion like to use the word "ritual" -- it has a mystic-y component to it that conjures up the whole smells-and-bells thing. But the REASON smells-and-bells has a mystic component is the daily repetition over years and years that creates a holy feeling.

"I do think that words evolve over time...if it's been in common use this way for so long, then it's meaning has evolved to encompass this usage. Whether or not it's semantically proper or not isn't really all that relevant."

On a religious discussion board? I think it clearly is relevant.

And it's primarily been in "common use" in a certain limited communities; even in everyday English, "ritualized" implies repetition (often devoid of meaning, but repeated because that's "the way it's done.")
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Dania
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« Reply #21: June 22, 2008, 07:11:58 pm »

In fact, you're using the word in a way that does not correspond with either the casual or the technical liturgical meaning of the term.

What is the technical liturgical meaning of the term? What are you defining as the "casual" meaning of the term?
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Neriandal Freit
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« Reply #22: June 22, 2008, 07:13:11 pm »

As a point of discussion only, do you think that the first time something which is considered a ritual at this point in time, by your definition (repetition) was not a real ritual until it was repeated X number of times? If so, how long does it take and how often does something needs to be done before it becomes a 'ritual'?

Dania brings up a good point in this "Word debate" that there is going on...

I wouldn't mind seeing you Lyric or you Koimichra explain this one to all of us, as each side is making great reason.
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LyricFox
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« Reply #23: June 22, 2008, 07:15:31 pm »

I really don't think there's a better word for what I'm saying. To me, a ceremony is used to acknowledge something, to confer a rank or title, or something of that nature. It can be religious and they often are, but a ritual has a...mystic? component to it that a ceremony does not. That is where something like an Initiation ritual comes in. It does far more than just recognize a passage- it creates one.

Hmmm. No I'd have to disagree that an Initiation ritual "creates" a ritual. Of course, I don't agree with a ritual has to have a mystic component and that may be where we're differing.

I brush my teeth every morning. It's part of my morning ritual. I'd be hard pressed to give that a mystical component. Ritual or routine...same meaning. It's something that's done more than once.

Quote
I do think that words evolve over time...if it's been in common use this way for so long, then it's meaning has evolved to encompass this usage. Whether or not it's semantically proper or not isn't really all that relevant.

Oh yeah. It's relevant, Dania. Semantics is always going to be relevant if you're trying to convey meaning. If it wasn't relevant, then I wouldn't get pissed off when someone calls me Wiccan when they really mean Pagan. So occasionally we're going to split hairs. That's pretty much what I see happening here. (Happens with the word cult all the time.)

Quote
As a point of discussion only, do you think that the first time something which is considered a ritual at this point in time, by your definition (repetition) was not a real ritual until it was repeated X number of times? If so, how long does it take and how often does something needs to be done before it becomes a 'ritual'?

I think it HAS to be repeated. I think the components can change, but I think it has to be repeated. Whether it's twice or 20 times really doesn't matter.
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Neriandal Freit
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« Reply #24: June 22, 2008, 07:18:41 pm »


I think it HAS to be repeated. I think the components can change, but I think it has to be repeated. Whether it's twice or 20 times really doesn't matter.


If this is the answer to the question I pose (but not directed to me) - then how is it that what she does / does not do is not a ritual?

Just because she did it once five years ago doesn't mean she won't do it again, right?

I guess what I am asking is this, is it a ceremony the first time and then a ritual the second? And if that's the case, why is it?
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Dania
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« Reply #25: June 22, 2008, 07:21:53 pm »

The word you're looking for there is "sacrament" or "mystery." "Rituals" don't create things; they are repeated ceremonies hallowed by use that may allow one, by that repetition, to enter into a mystical state of mind. It is THAT REPETITION that makes that space that is the heart of ritual; creating that mystical space/thing/time by a specific act is a sacrament, magical act, mystery, etc. But not a ritual.

Are you saying that repetition alone is what makes that 'mystical state of mind?

And that is why some Pagan authors without a lot of background in religion like to use the word "ritual" -- it has a mystic-y component to it that conjures up the whole smells-and-bells thing.

In which religion? All religions are not created equal. I have seen many use the term who have extensive background in their particular tradition- does the fact that they are not well versed in all religions make them unqualified to speak about their own?

But the REASON smells-and-bells has a mystic component is the daily repetition over years and years that creates a holy feeling.

Are you saying that the repetition is the only way in which that 'holy feeling' can be achieved?

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Koimichra
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« Reply #26: June 22, 2008, 07:22:07 pm »


Well, my original point was going to be, trying to create a "ritual" out of thin air is probably going to feel empty and flat. Is there a traditional form that's used in your religion? If so, I'd build on that. If not, think about what sort of form would suit you -- usually you're going to have:

1. Welcoming/Create sacred space/time
2. Introductory action/speech/prayer/spell
3. Meat of ceremony
4. Farewell/closing of sacred space/time

Your meat bit might include multiple parts (Christian services, for example, typically include a "liturgy of the Word" and a "liturgy of the Eucharist" as two big meaty parts, one after the other). But I suggest you think about how you might create and close your sacred space and time, and what sort of "introductory' thing you want to do. That will give you what can grow into a ritual, and the "meat" can be different every time. (It will work better in the long run if you have a) one meat section or a few interchangeable meats that can be b) altered to fit different circumstances. Again, to use a Christian example, weddings, baptisms, and funeral Masses all use the "Mass" template, adapted in a few places.)

I think if you start from that sort of framework and build into it, you'll find it far easier to plan your ritual/ceremony/whatever word we're going to use, and it will have more meaning for you.

My other advice is that writing for the ear is different than writing for the eye (if you intend to speak), and that probably half of religious services fail due to lack of structure, and half fail due to craptastic writing. Cheesy
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Koimichra
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« Reply #27: June 22, 2008, 07:24:06 pm »

I guess what I am asking is this, is it a ceremony the first time and then a ritual the second? And if that's the case, why is it?

How much time, how many repetitions? 1 year, a thousand years? 10 times, a million times? I can't really tell you. There's not some official cut-off. And, yes, you may have rituals you only use once in a great while. But ritual does mean repetition. Smiley
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Dania
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« Reply #28: June 22, 2008, 07:27:36 pm »

Hmmm. No I'd have to disagree that an Initiation ritual "creates" a ritual. Of course, I don't agree with a ritual has to have a mystic component and that may be where we're differing.

I brush my teeth every morning. It's part of my morning ritual. I'd be hard pressed to give that a mystical component. Ritual or routine...same meaning. It's something that's done more than once.

I agree with this. But I think this is a very different context.

Oh yeah. It's relevant, Dania. Semantics is always going to be relevant if you're trying to convey meaning. If it wasn't relevant, then I wouldn't get pissed off when someone calls me Wiccan when they really mean Pagan. So occasionally we're going to split hairs. That's pretty much what I see happening here. (Happens with the word cult all the time.)

I should have been more clear- I don't think whether or not it should technically be called a ritual is relevant in the least to how to perform a work for a specific purpose.

Just because she did it once five years ago doesn't mean she won't do it again, right?

I guess what I am asking is this, is it a ceremony the first time and then a ritual the second? And if that's the case, why is it?

Thanks Neriendal, that's the question I was trying to convey.
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LyricFox
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« Reply #29: June 22, 2008, 07:31:30 pm »

Dania brings up a good point in this "Word debate" that there is going on...

I wouldn't mind seeing you Lyric or you Koimichra explain this one to all of us, as each side is making great reason.

Coming at it from a scholastic viewpoint, take a look at some of what Koi has brought up. That's probably as good an explanation as we'll see. Smiley
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