Do you ever think about why we do what we do? I do, all the time. For example, this morning while putting my altar away I asked myself, “Self, why do you do ritual? Does Deity “need” my rituals?” I sort of doubt it. If Deity is so powerful that She/He could create the world and all that is in it then Deity doesn’t “need” my rituals. So why do ritual?
Deity doesn’t “need” our rituals, we do. We need the rituals. We need our religious practices because they help us remember our place in the universe and our relationship with Deity. Rituals help us remember that we are connected to all that is sacred, both in the world, and our connection with Deity.
It seems like it is way too easy to become distracted with work, kids, obligations, bills, car problems, and the cat that wakes me up every morning at 3:30 because he is lonesome. In the process of becoming distracted we forget that we are connected to Deity. Rituals are our reminders. My rituals remind me of the commitments that I have made to Deity. They remind me of the power of the Goddess and the God, and that I can call upon Them at any time (more about that in a second). Rituals and religious practices also remind me that I was created by Deity and so I have a spark of divinity within me and that I'm not in a depraved state as some book religions would have us believe.
Do you have any acquaintances that get in touch with you when, and only when, they have a problem and want your help? I have a couple of acquaintance like that and when I see their names on the screen of my cell phone I instantly think, “What now?” and question whether or not I should even answer the phone. When I do get around to answering the phone or, more often, returning the call when I have time then I have to keep myself from begrudging listening and responding to their request for help.
I wonder if Deity feels that same way when They receive request from strangers, from those that only remember Them in times of need. That’s another reason why I do ritual. I don’t want Deity to be a stranger to me, I want Them in my daily life, and I don’t want Them to view me as an opportunistic stranger.
Those are my reasons for doing ritual. What are yours?
Find peace and joy in ritual,
I'm Dr. Dave, an eclectic shaman. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice eclectic shamanism.