Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The Yearly Cycle. The yearly ritual round is a way of (re-)connecting with the cycles of life of the natural world (Starhawk, Eliade). The celebration of annual festivities - Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Years, birthdays.. - is universal, common to all human societies.
1- Ritually reconnecting ourself with nature's cycles "situates" or "grounds" our daily existence, framing it within a larger, living flux. Since the flux is alive, reconnection can confer meaning, signification, belongingness which are properties of healthy life.
Veterinarians say that the happiest animals are working animals (as long as they are not maltreated). A working animal discovers a "meaning", a "purpose" or "function" in working for a larger whole. One sees this attitude expressed by soldiers who feel a need to serve their country, missionaries who desire to "spread God's word and save souls",.. (see note 1)
2- "Temporal framing". Through ritual acts, by "resonating" with the transformational cycles of nature, we gain Power. An (extreme) example: tapping into transformational power though activation of "The Grand Archetype" of Death / Rebirth which can lead to "spontaneous healings" or great personal transformations.
The idea of "ritual acts" invokes images of religious sacraments or magical procedures. We also include personal or familial rituals linked to time or place. I keep a journal and review my entries each quarter moon with a big review of the whole lunar month at new moon. People annually visit ancestral graves, join together as families at Thanksgiving and Christmas..
1- More and more young people realize at some level of consciousness that the "System" is broke (and too broke to fix). Our old Road Maps of Reality lead nowhere good. But we have not discovered or invented a new System yet. We stumble blindly through the collapsing ruins of the old system without maps or guidance. Such "civilizational crises" (Edgar Morin) are profoundly stressing. Many seek escape through diversions: spectacles, extreme sports, idiotic stunts. Some "escape" through drugs, obsessive sexuality, crime or madness. Still others become fanatics of various sorts, often inspired by idealistic drives to do something positive with their lives. At least some of the young occidentals joining "jihadist" terrorist groups like ISIS are so motivated. They see no way out of the impasse our civilization is in than violence: destroying the decayed Old Order to make room for the new.
internal blog links: some articles touching on fanaticism