Ritual

  1. A series of actions that are always performed in the same way, especially as part of a religious ceremony
  2. Something that is done regularly and always in the same way

Source: Oxford

Any ritual whatever, as we shall see later, unfolds not only in a consecrated space but also in a “sacred time,” “once upon a time” that is, when the ritual was performed for the first time by a god, an ancestor, or a hero.

From Eliade, “‘The Phenomenology of Religion,’ from The Myth of the Eternal Return” in God. Ed. Robinson. 2nd ed. Hackett, 2003.

2 thoughts on “Ritual”

  1. I like how you included in your description that rituals “are always performed in the same way” because I think that the reading by Stephen Jacobs on cyber-rituals challenges the way we think of the rigid nature of rituals. The author quotes Tambiah who writes “Ritual is a culturally constructed system of symbolic communication […] constituted of patterned and ordered sequences of words and acts […] whose content and arrangement are characterised in varying degree by formality (conventionality), stereotype (rigidity), condensation (fusion) and redundancy (repetition)” (1115). However, cyber-rituals are performed with far less rigidity since worshippers have the choice of when, where, and how they will perform such rituals. There may be far less rigidity and repetition by online worshippers than those in the “real” world. Jacobs concludes his discussion by noting that “patterned and ordered sequences of ritual performance in cyberspace are far less constrained than is ritual performance in geographical space” (1116). Therefore, cyberspace challenges the traditional notion of the way rituals are carried out.

  2. The Jacobs article discusses ritual a lot. He mentions how ritual has been known to be a hard word to define and scholars to this day still try to define exactly how ritual activity can be distinguished from mundane activity. I think this is because something that is mundane to one person can be a ritual to someone else. Tambiah says that we cannot completely separate ritual from non-ritual, but “ritual is a culturally constructed system of symbolic communication” (1111). I really like how he mentions that it is culturally constructed because I think this is very true I believe that many different cultures have different rituals and are unique to that culture. It seems that with advancing technology, cyber rituals are becoming more and more popular throughout the world and it will be interesting to see how performing rituals online differ than performing them in person at a place of worship.

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