The Dawn of Belief: Rites and Rituals
Since the dawn of civilization, all cultures from Australia to North America have practiced and passed on their rites and rituals. These ceremonies help formalize their ideology and belief systems. Whether you examine a so-called “civilized” nation or a tribe living in almost total isolation, rites and rituals form the cornerstone of nearly every culture; even in modern times. Passed down from generation to generation these rituals and rites play a vital role in maintaining order (by providing unique structure) while increasing the dedication level each individual has (through the overt display of piety) to other members of their collective cultural, religious, and spiritual belief system.
Examining the historical records of humanity scientists found primitive cave drawings like pictographs, which often depicted the rites or rituals of even some of the earliest humans, such as the Cro-Magnon. In their culture, the tribe gathered before a hunt, offering to their “Gods” and Mother Earth offerings and specific requests usually assisted by a Mogur, or Shaman, the holy person of the tribe. All believed that the hunt’s success was interdependent upon their dedication and intentions. These early humans also believed strongly in the correlation between weather and the attributes of the tribe. If winter arrived early, or was unusually long, members of the tribe often believed it a sign that the tribe had not been committed to appeasing their “Gods”. Therefore, they offered additional rites, rituals and even sacrifices.
The Native People of North America are perhaps one of the most well known cultures to have placed extreme importance on the ceremonies, rites and rituals of their beliefs. Who is not familiar with the iconic “rain dance”? Another well known, but more contemporary ritual is the candlelight vigil. These ceremonious events often held outdoors, with hundreds or more in attendance to show spiritual support for victims of tragedies like missing children, victims of crime, or soldiers missing in action. Many religions also hold ceremonies that celebrate and commemorate, in a ritualistic way. For example, the catholic religion has mass prayers for the dearly departed, communion, and confession among others. The Jewish participate in various ceremonies, among those the “Bar-Mitzvah” which symbolizes the coming of age of males.
The spiritual community also takes part in ceremonial and ritualistic events. These events usually correspond to specific calendar dates, moon phases, or seasons. The reason for these ceremonies varies from culture to culture and religion to religion. Some thematic commonalities, however, exist amongst many cultures like fertility, forgiveness, remembrance, health, and the “promotion” of members to higher counsel.
One thing seems to be common among rites and rituals, from the earliest thousands of years ago, to those taking place in modern day, all intended to serve the highest good of the specific community it served. While western civilizations often struggle to understand the concepts behind some of these rites, the idea or the intended outcome seems easy to embrace; a healthier body, a stronger tribe, a better world, and a positive outcome that not only served a single individual, but a community as a whole.
It is a matter of choice to believe whether the prayer line for the cancer victim created the cure, or the Divine had intended so from the onset. It is also hard to explain if the ritual for the rains needed to grow crops or provide water for the animal kingdom were a result of the tribe’s piety in performing the “rain dance” or if Mother Nature simply let loose with a downpour. In each scenario, it was the firm and unshakable belief that kept such rites and rituals alive, as let us face it, had they failed repeatedly, chances are they would have been abandoned and forgotten.
Believing in an optimistic outcome, and then dedicating oneself to that end, seems harmless and actually helps to instill the power of positive thinking, or empowerment in the ability to change the external world. Faith by its very definition requires that we hold close and adhere to an idea, something which cannot be proved, yet neither disproved and those that do believe, no matter their specific religion, race or culture seem to live in balance with self and the world in general.
The Dark Side: Curses, Spells, Magic and Voodoo
Dark ritual and rites like curses, spells, and magic also exist in the world. The other side of the coin of benevolence and good of the community highlights the selfish nature of world cultures and humanity as a whole since time immemorial. The practices vary from culture to culture. For example, the making of a voodoo doll, to placing a curse or “hex” upon someone that has perhaps caused harm, stolen their lover, or taken their job originates from cultures and religions found in Africa. The darker side of such rites and rituals are actually on the increase. They have become more prominent in the 20th and 21st century, in correlation perhaps with the rise of spiritual enlightenment. To be called a witch, psychic or medium no longer brings the threat of being burned at the stake, but instead can bring respect, awe and even envy. It has become commonplace to be told you are “cursed” or to see advertisements of “reuniting lovers”, “lottery numbers provided” and other such claims that give a human, even if gifted the power and ability to drastically change one’s life. There is a darker side here, however, one rarely discussed and kept private; just like the elements or articles used for these dark “spells”.
The biggest difference between the rites, rituals, and prayers that joined the communities, cultures, and religions of the past is that their dark latter day counterparts are not about the good of all, or the highest good. In fact, the converse is usually the case with dark magic. To wish upon another evil, harm, or other maladies, and then to use tools, energy and resources and the same commitment and dedication is a bit frightening. Moreover, how effective is dark magic in producing the desired outcome? A man cursed by his rejected lover suddenly finds his business failing, or loses his job. His health becomes poor, affliction after affliction. Is this the actual result of such a curse, or could it be Karma? On the other hand, one must consider that this person is simply making poor choices, which now lead to a less than positive outcome.
What about the woman who finds her lover has lost interest, no longer contacting her, as she mourns for the days of her lost love, she in desperation pays usually a large sum of money to have him “returned to her”. In some cases the lover does reappear, the relationship again intact and happiness abounds. However, is this really the result of some spell, or was this the Divine plan from the beginning? Perhaps he had a temporary need for freedom, or perhaps the idea of such a spell gave her the energy that instilled faith and hope where desolation lived?
When it comes to paying someone to alter or shift the free will of another human being or to “grant” a wish, much like a genie in a bottle one must exercise great care and caution. In these scenarios, whether the term is spell, curse, ritual, or even prayer the highest good of all must remain considered above all else. Unless you feel comfortable spending a large sum of money on a dark affair producing an immeasurable outcome.
Unlike the Neanderthals, the lost tribes of India, or the original people of the North American plains, the selfish rituals and dark spells of the modern day psychics or witches comes with a very high price tag literally and figuratively. If you choose the dark path prepare yourself for the darkness that you wish upon another to manifest three fold, in your own life.
Ultimately, good and evil, positive versus negative, comes down to something as simple as intent.
Rites, rituals and prayers will continue to be a part of the global culture, varying perhaps in the details, but never in the belief that strongly adhering to their dogma will produce the desired outcome regardless of intent.
Manifesting: You and Your Destiny
Despite the lack of evidence, humanity has proven beyond any doubt that believing in something and making tribute to that belief, even if only to satisfy one’s own selfish needs, will continue throughout the ages regardless of the intent or outcome. Moreover, despite the fact that an ever increasing schism exists between modern spiritual practices and the original doctrines that these beliefs were founded upon rituals, rites, and religious ceremonies remain embedded in humanities cultural mores, folkways, and belief systems; still expected to produce a direct effect regardless of the benevolent or malevolent intent that motivates the believer.
Therefore, if you want to experience a measurable change in the quality of your life, or you seek to alter the course of your life’s path, use your own history and resources as a starting point on the path to manifesting your destiny. More importantly, adhere to what feels comfortable to you, and offers a feeling of faith, balance, and optimism. Because, when you think about it, can you really change the weather with a dance, or your financial status with a magical candle? Probably not a question you can answer empirically based solely on the external events that transpire, in your life, after performing a ritual, rite, or magical spell. So, believe in yourself, your life experiences and your ability to manifest a positive outcome for you, and those in your community. Trust that in doing so that the universe will respond by rewarding your just intent in substance rather than in the immeasurable and often negative outcomes that modern day blind faith, selfish motif, and tunnel vision dogma ultimately manifest, in your life.
For more information on Manifesting and the Laws of Attraction, contact Maya Moon via her profile page.