Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Ritual Exists To Express Philosophy
Article ID: 14365
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 870
Times Read: 2,427
RSS Views: 15,949
Author: James Bulls
Posted: January 2nd. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,427
The most quoted Hermetic maxim is that of correspondence: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” To continue the logical extension of that maxim, “As within, so without; as without, so within.” The microcosm and the macrocosm operate not just in the planes of existence but also in the areas of thought and religion. In other words, base matter reflects subtle spirit the same as overt deeds reflect covert thought. The tangible expresses the intangible and observance of this pattern is to be found in all schools of religious and occult thought.
To illustrate this principle, consider the relation between rituals and philosophy (the inner and outer temples of knowledge, respectively.) Ritual and ceremony are the tangible expressions that communicate the truth and wisdom of intangible philosophy. To help illuminate this discussion, consider the varieties of martial arts. In the broadest sense, the goal of most styles of martial arts is to defend oneself against unwelcome aggression, but how different styles achieve this goal is something different.
Some styles place strong emphasis on personal and spiritual development so that the student learns to live harmoniously with others and make wise decisions, which prevent conflict in the first place, and other styles place strong emphasis on physical conditioning and fighting skills so that the student may defeat his enemies in physical combat. Unless you're training for military application or to participate in a sport fight, the differences between these styles are of little consequence.
Karate, Taekwondo, Kung-fu, and other hard styles were originally developed to teach the average man or woman to defend him or herself against the average aggressor. Gichin Funakoshi – who is widely considered the father of modern Karate – said that the ultimate goal of his practice is "to purge oneself of selfish and evil thoughts.” He taught that living an honorable life and avoiding conflict was the best path and did not think it unusual for a student to use Karate in a real physical confrontation only once in a lifetime.
With respect to martial arts, the intangible thought is that one must be able to avoid or defend against unwelcome aggression, and the tangible expression is the instructional curriculum. In other words, the philosophy of the style creates the curriculum of the style. Of the thousands of varieties of martial arts taught today, few of them are similar and most of them distinguish themselves with unique techniques and innovative applications.
Novices attempt to explain the differences between these fighting systems by arguing that one style is stronger than another style, or will say that the physical techniques and applications taught in a particular system do by their very virtue elevate the system above all others. Novices will argue that circular movements are superior to straight movements (and vice versa) , or that punching is more powerful than kicking (and vice versa) , or that grappling is stronger than striking (and vice versa) , and so on in order to show which style is the strongest.
The mature student will immediately recognize the argument and understand that the question isn't “Which martial art is stronger?” but “Which martial artist is stronger?” Skills, knowledge, abilities, and intuition count for much more than the limitations or structured definitions of a single martial art. The mature student will recognize that structured curriculum exists only so that the novice may learn the underlying philosophy.
Returning to the discussion of religion, philosophy, and occult knowledge we see how the discussion of martial arts illuminates our knowledge. “As within, so without, ” so the philosophy of a fighting style and knowledge of its founder which dictate the physical curriculum are similar to the way in that the philosophy or underlying principles of a religion and its founder are expressed in the rites, rituals, ceremonies, and overt forms of worship.
Consider the variety of denominations within Christianity. Broadly speaking, Christians believe that the incarnate son of the God of Abraham Jesus Christ died for their sins and made it possible for them to return to the presence of their Father in heaven. Christians believe that a variety of saving ordinances are necessary for one's redemption and that the authority to perform these saving ordinances is made possible only through the intervention of the chosen few who serve in the priesthood. Outside of this shared philosophy, the tangible expressions (rites, rituals, ceremonies, etc.) of these respective faiths differ because the founder, teacher, or leaders of these organizations differ.
Looking away from the field of Christianity and back toward the occult community this pattern is the same: the knowledge or philosophy of the teacher is expressed in tangible rituals or other means of ritual observance. In my personal experience this is nowhere more evident than in the Reiki community. Reiki teachers share common beliefs such as the presence of universal life energy in all living things, but beyond that they differ greatly: many Reiki instructors do not use the same sacred symbols, most do not use the same method of initiating new students, and it is increasingly common for instructors to teach applications which were never taught in the past. Despite these significant metaphysical and spiritual differences, Reiki instructors worldwide continue to have great success channeling and teaching others to channel universal life energy and recipients continue to give miraculous healing testimonies.
As you've read above with respect to martial arts and Christianity, the differences between different styles of Reiki are easily explained: the philosophy and underlying principles define the outward expressions and tangible rituals. Many Reiki instructors make the unfortunate mistake of defending their practices through legalism and rest on the premise that there is only one true or correct method. They correctly maintain an orthodox position in their teaching because their knowledge and practices are guided by the philosophy of the founder, but they incorrectly apply their orthodox beliefs to all other practices and fall into legalism and the belief that their path is the one and only true path (to the exclusion of all others.)
As much as some of us don't appreciate the patronizing dictates of churches that believe that non-members are ignorant of the truth and must be educated and corrected, the exact same discussion appears in some circles of the Reiki community. Some instructors teach that all other styles of Reiki are invalid or that one's ability to channel universal life energy is invalid if the style isn't in the original form taught in Japan or if the student in question didn't study with an instructor trained in the accepted method. What these instructors fail to acknowledge is that the rituals, ceremonies, and initiations performed in different styles of Reiki exist because the philosophy or guiding principles differ. These differences aren't debated by the recipients of Reiki but only by those who teach Reiki and feel the need to defend, justify, promote, or enforce their philosophy.
Rituals only exist in order to enable expression – where the thought is different, so too will the rituals be different. Do the differences between the rituals used in different styles of Reiki invalidate all those who don't practice in the original pattern? If you answer yes, then that invalidates nearly all Reiki practitioners and teachers outside of a very small number of people in Japan. If you answer no, then you've discovered the truth that rituals enable the tangible expression of intangible thought and that rituals in and of themselves have no power other than what we give to them. “As within, so without; as without, so within.”
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Author's Profile: To learn more about James Bulls - Click HERE
Other Articles: James Bulls has posted 7 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email James Bulls... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2013 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).