Archive for September 19th, 2011
I found this flower isolated from a field of such flowers which seem to prefer the shade of trees rather than the open fields and direct sunlight. Not too far off, a large number of similar flowers huddled together. They made me think of a community holding together and with this one flower, an outsider or outlier. I had chosen this flower for today’s post early this morning and then got busy with the making of school lessons and then shopping for needed foodstuffs for the week. I knew that this was the photo for today but didn’t know what I would talk about or why I would talk about it. Looking again at this solitary flower, I thought of myself, an outlier or outsider, and I thought about how willingly entering into the process and journey of self-awakening, individuation, leaves one positioned on the outside of a community even though still contained by the community. Then, one of my readers, Urspo asked a question in commenting about yesterday’s post which had community and rituals as the topic. Then, I knew where this photo was taking me – and so I enter into into the idea of ritual and individual for this post, a place and idea that I have not consciously thought about before this moment. I am excited about seeing where this will take me, not knowing what will emerge when the post is completed and published.
Yesterday, through wandering through the words of King and Heimbrock, I came to understand about how ritual sustains community, in a way defines community; and how community gives rise to the rituals. Doctor Urspo asked about rituals for the individual, rituals other than analysis or therapy which is a ritual in itself. My first thought was to say, of course there are rituals for the individual, that person who dares the journey of individuation. But, where does that come from? And in beginning the search for answers I found that ritual is embedded in the spiritual. Anything that connects ego, self, with the all-encompassing whole that we name as God, as the One, the source of light and life, is a ritual.
I noted that my blogging here is a ritual, a practice I engage in to honour my own journey and to light my path on this journey. In a way, it has become such a part of my life that it causes me discomfort when outer life interferes with this private time, as though these words are like prayers. Rituals in a Jungian sense are repetitions of an action which are meant to transform. To enter into a dialogue with that spiritual centre which Jung called the “Self” is to invite the conscious “self” to change. Change means something dies so that something new can be born out of that death. For Jung and most Jungians, this is an alchemical process, a process of psychological transformation.
To be alive is to be growing, becoming a better person with “better” being defined by each individual. No one wants to be stuck in one place, spinning one’s wheels so to speak. We pray in order to grow, to become a better person; we study for the same reason; we practice skills in order to perfect imperfect skills. We fear being stuck, not growing as we sense that this would somehow be psychologically fatal for our well-being. So, we do what we can, both consciously and unconsciously to stay alive.
Somehow we know that soul is near that centre, a part of that centre. For ritual to assist an individual, it must reach for the centre, it must honour the soul, the mystery of the unknown and the unknowable. So, what can I do as a practice, as a ritual that would honour and assist the journey of individuation, a journey of wholeness, of holiness?
For me, blogging, daring to step into ideas and paths that lead me out of my comfort zone of what I know. For Jung, the drawing of mandalas played a large role. For others, sand play or sandwerk or a return to a church or dance or . . . it seems to me that the paths of ritual are endless. Silent meditation is one path that I have used and will continue to use though the form of meditation seems to change. Sometimes that meditation is active such as in gardening or wandering with a camera. Sometimes the meditation is passive as in sitting still with music or incense or simply with one’s quiet centre.
Now, I want to ask you, the reader, what rituals assist you on this journey toward light?