Turning the Soil of Soul: Ritual as Celebration » Nature’s Path

snowdropsHey, lovely readers! Remember when I said the next installment in my Pagan-UU series would be coming in February? Just kidding! Looks like this series is turning out to be a bimonthly endeavor after all.

But no worries! While I’m diligently working on my next piece, over on Nature’s Path today I’ve shared some reflections on ritual as celebration, in “Turning the Soil of Soul.” What happens when we explore ritual beyond the divide between magic and religion?

When we light a candle in our ritual space, we ignite a flame within ourselves. When we pour water or burn incense as offerings, we offer ourselves as well, to soak into the earth or rise in gentle wisps of smoke towards the sky. Imagining these things is not enough — the work demands that we engage not only with our minds and hearts, but with our bodies. This is the original meaning of celebration: a gathering, a time of coming together. We’ve come to think of celebration as an occasion for happiness and enjoyment, because this sense of wholeness that we find in company with ourselves and with others is deeply nourishing and joyful for us. But celebratory spirituality also means being fully present to sorrow and suffering, and giving our whole selves as much to hard work and discipline as to pleasure and delight. Celebratory ritual is about our willingness to be fully present to the world and its gods.

Writer Anne Lamott suggests there are three essential prayers. If the prayer of Thank you! is expressive, and Help me! is instrumental, what of Lamott’s third prayer — the prayer of Wow!?

For me, Wow! is the “third way” of celebratory ritual — what precedes and gives rise to the duality of the other two, and also holds within it the possibility of reconciling the tensions between them.

You can read the full article here.

Alison Leigh Lilly
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, exploring themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, articles, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work here.

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