Explore the weird, winding, and wonderful ways in which we Pagan-types mark cyclic and special times, events, and celebrations in our everyday lives.
Ritual.... The Journey Begins
Well, as Samwise said at the end of The Lord of the Rings, “I’m back.” A string of family/personal life events have wrapped me tight physically and emotionally over the past months, and I’m just now climbing back into the writing and blogging saddle, so to speak. I hope some of you are ready to ride along with me again and haven’t forgotten me in the lapse, for I haven’t forgotten you.
This entry will be a short one—a teaser, so to speak. I’m planning to launch a series of posts about the mysteries of the sacred and the importance of ritual. I’m an admitted fan of Joseph Campbell’s work (right), particularly his explorations of the hero’s journey and the monomyth—the “one story” that wends throughout the human experience. In the hero’s journey—also called the hero’s quest—an individual receives a call to destiny, embarks upon a series of tests and challenges, and emerges at journey’s end changed in some way and perhaps even having undergone a rite of passage. Each of us makes many of these journeys in our lives, and it’s through these trials that we grow and find out what we’re made of.
What does the hero’s journey have to do with ritual? First, as I’ve said above, that we humans make many such quests throughout our lives, Second, that a life untested—a life without journey—is akin to a type of spiritual stagnation, perhaps even a spiritual death. And third, that ritual is a structure that supports us through all aspects of our journeying, creating a spiritual framework for action, discovery, and celebration, whether that celebration be filled with joy or sorrow. Through ritual, we become part of the monomyth—the eternal story—and we connect with the life-thread that links our past, present, and future.
Put those together—the journey and the accompanying ritual work—and one has the raw materials for transformation, which Campbell frames as the ultimate life goal and one essential to the human condition. Campbell describes the point of transformation as a sacred place where physical or temporal walls fall away to reveal a “wonder.” To reach that place, to encounter these mysteries, he tells us to quest, to work ritual, and to embrace the sacred, which includes entering sacred space and letting the mind find quiet….
Campbell writes, “This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."
It’s a lot to think about, yes? And this is where I'll leave you today. Consider your own sacred room, your fortress of solitude, as Superman would say. I’d love your feedback, and I'll be back soon this time. Thank you for reading….
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