There has been mention before of interest in what it is that I do and have often left that to be vague and open for the purpose of maintaining the open-endedness of Ehoah. Of late I’ve read some other writings on what others of similar world views do for themselves. This usually is summarized in the form of ritual and ceremony, what I usually refer to as customs for various reasons. Reasons that I hadn’t really thought much on until reading how different others go about their own rituals, ceremonies, customs. Why are mine different then? If I had to take the time to lay it out in front of me I figured that I best be genuinely answering those past questions and interests in depth.
Here is part one of a series on what ritual and ceremony is for this Naturalistic Saegoah. Why I do Ritual and Ceremony.
I am naturalistic, so for me there is no supernatural, yet I enjoy ceremonies and rituals, which I often summarize and refer to as customs. I enjoy learning how they work, why they are done, and what influences they have. I also enjoy creating them in reflection of my world view and values, and developing my world view ever more through them.
When it comes to the design of ritual & ceremony in the perspective of a Naturalistic Saegoah it can seem challenging – how do you create ritual & ceremony without invoking the supernatural? Some decide that they can for metaphor, temporarily suspending disbelief, or theatrical experience. I say its not necessary and don’t bother with it. Not to mention that I’d feel like a huge hypocrite if I involved the supernatural when I very openly don’t believe in the existence of it, and I’ve never needed to. The more I learn about why humans do rituals & ceremonies, how they work, and how we’ve come to understand the cosmos the easier it gets.
I’ve been slowly going along in developing these customs for the official Ehoah website – being open ended for various world views – and have found that there are some very simple ways to find significance, meaning, satisfaction, and fulfillment in the naturalistic Saegoah customs.
First is to ask, why are you doing it in the first place? Why bother? Get to the root of the answer to that question and you really have something to build on.For me its about feeling connected, relevant to the on going events and activities around me, creating something that has lasting impact on how we live (so we can live harmoniously within Nature), finding where I belong in the world, and what that ultimately means.
To me, the most easy way connection and relevance is expressed is in how energy moves through life on earth. From the energy source – the sun, to us. The typical energy pyramid is a testament to this amazing and relevant everyday phenomenon. This is but a small part of a bigger more profound and fulfilling picture which is the root of my rituals and ceremonies and impacts all of us – *cue the Lion King intro song* Its The Circle of Life.
It is pretty amazing how elegantly the movie The Lion King puts it, (quote after 40 seconds)
“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance… you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”
“But, Dad, don’t we eat the antelope?”
“Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.”
That last part is an especially important part in rituals and ceremonies for me.
Other rituals and ceremonies I’ve made were about our deep history of how we came to be – Our Cosmic History. And finding connection through that. The following quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson summarizes this very well,
“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”
All these are inseparable from each other and inseparable from me.
And I do ceremony and ritual to remind me of that and, most importantly, to help me act with respect to that.
(read the next part of this series here – Ritual & Ceremony of a Naturalistic Saegoah Part 2 of 3 – When & Where I do Ritual and Ceremony )