This is a paper I wrote for a class at Cherry Hill Seminary on Ritual Theory. In it, I explore some of the purposes of both ordinary/everyday ritual and special/set-apart ritual, with examples from unprogrammed Quakerism, feminist Witchcraft and Paganism, and Judaism. - sm
Is ritual – especially religious or spiritual ritual – something that is ordinary and everyday, or something that is set-apart and special? Or is it both?
When ritual is ordinary/everyday, what spiritual needs does it meet? When it is set-apart/special, what spiritual needs does it meet? What needs do we meet when we bring the ordinary/everyday and the set-apart together in a both/and space?
The place to start might be the question, What spiritual purpose does ritual serve? In an earlier paper, I identified ritual as an avenue for: magic (transformation and change); conservation and stability; expression; inquiry; and encountering Mystery. The next questions might be, How do ordinary/everyday ritual and set-apart/special ritual effect each of these?