As humans, we are the species that operate with symbols. Other animals use familiar signs, landmarks and gestures given by us, or act purely on instinct. Like humans, they too have rituals of gathering food, procreation and even death rituals. Our normal day-to-day rituals include a shower, combing our hair, brushing teeth and preparing for work.
Early in the morning, take ten deep breaths in appreciation for awakening on a brand new day, under a brand new sky with opportunities to start again with a different attitude – one of gratitude. Every action that you perform in ritual has a deep meaning and impact. Although you may not perceive it on the physical level, it does have astral power. There are many unseen forces, whether earthbound or angelic, participating with you upon invitation and invocation. They are there, always watching and participating when the intention is right. I always call on the forces or angels of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
The subconscious mind understands and accepts symbols and ritual as very real and will mirror that reality on the physical level in your experience. The purpose of ritual is to strike a balance in spiritual attainment – whether psychic development or achievement of Christ or Cosmic Consciousness. Only you can achieve and master perfection of your spiritual goals. Prayer, chanting, meditation and ritual are extremely performed to achieve unity with the Divine.
For true spiritual growth, practice is the key and so is persistence. If you are a Christian this week and Wiccan next week, then "Houston, we have a problem." Why? Because rituals and symbols fueled with action and belief must be consistent for them to be actualized.
If you read the sacred text of the Bible, you find that Jesus declared often, "Be it done unto you according to your faith." What a remarkable example of Divine conduct, discipline and unconventional love Jesus was, through his use of rituals, symbols and prayer. When ritual and symbols become too theological and extreme, he rejected the practices of the day and placed importance instead on right action – the ultimate ritual.
Unfortunately, many well-meaning "religious" folk in traditional faiths have become spiritually shipwrecked by one-sided "my way only" belief systems.
Prayer is a ritual and "link" to the Divine. Buddha, too, reverted fussy, intensely cerebral ritual of the Hindus during his time, replacing them with his EIGHT-FOLD PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT:
1. Right View
2. Right Aim
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Thought
8. Right Contemplation
Find the religion and ritual you feel the greatest comfort with. Do not judge yourself. God knows who you are and will assist you in your search. No religion works for personal growth without right action is intended. You can not love God and hate your neighbor. Divided kingdoms do not last. You can not hate the sinner and love the sin or judge anyone. Unconditional love is the key.
In my studies of Wicca, or "Craft" of the wise, I found that it is an amazing belief system, which out of reverential respect for nature's beauty, consistency, and color – in the sunshine, moon, storms, stars and rivers –evolved into the varying aspects of God (gods), or Divine aspects of God. There could not have been God without Goddess, or the Great Mother. Many of the great religions on earth have been greatly influenced by Wicca, including Christianity. For example, there is a statement in the Bible which stipulates "As Above, So Below." That is an ancient Wiccan saying. I saw a bumper sticker and repeated it to several Wiccan clients which reads, "Christianity has Pagan DNA." Wicca is a peaceful religion that respects life and nature. Anything that does not promote peace, balance, love and respect for all sentient animals and one's self is not a good practice to be in.
Ritual is necessary to awaken deeper levels of your own consciousness. You use everything – sense, sights, chants, fragrances or any number of cues that you evoke to deepen your own awareness and contact your levels of knowing to make change occur in yourself and your world. Rituals are not mere mindless exercises to effect change. You must be consciously aware and disciplined for change to occur. There is a thin veil or membrane between physical life as we know it and spiritual reality.
It should be our mutual goal that despite our differences and affiliations, we should provide combined, positive sources of spiritual energy and inspiration to renew our lives on the planet for everyone in spite of our differences. From the esoteric perspective, ritual is designed to successfully impact spiritual growth, understanding and commitment to God while in your body on the planet. Ritual is to remind you of your integral part in the mysterious continuum of life which is much larger than this reality. Your organic self-observation of who you are permits you to participate in ritual only on that level. However, you will bridge and accelerate reality on the astral plane, with practice, to eliminate the barrier or restrictive falseness between yourself and what we call God. God loves you wherever the ritual is a simple prayer or an advanced exercise in magick or Wicca. It is your intent. As a human, it is difficult to achieve mastery in every part of your life. But please master the daily ritual of a thankful heart, a loving smile, a greeting to a neighbor and a song to the Universe.
Ritual brings us into alignment with the power of God – the ultimate awareness. Once alignment is attained, there is a breakthrough of understanding on all levels and you will evoke material transformation in your character. We all have that ability and are linked on the Pathway of Energy to who God is, whether through salvation, mediumship, meditation or telepathy – it is up to you to find it, and you will.