The Power of Ritual
by Harriet R. McMahon, Ph.D.

                As I continue on my spiritual path, I have come to realize over and over the powerful effects and importance of ritual.  I have been fortunate to study with many different traditions such as Inca and native American as well as studying many modalities of healing such as Reiki and Hypnosis and they all have one component in common. That component is Ritual.


Ritual is an important part of our lives and helps to maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual tranquillity.  It aids the soul in becoming nourished and nurtured.  Performing ritual to promote healing helps an individual enter that altered state of mind, which is a place of deep relaxation and calmness.  For a ritual to be effective, the subconscious mind needs to be triggered.  There is a deep state of physical relaxation and a highly alert mental state.  The energy shifts and the participant becomes more centered and the senses are heightened, emotions are clearer and there is an openness to receiving and sending energy.

            Ritual is an action that speaks to the mind and heart but does not necessarily make sense in a literal context.  As an example, people in church do not participate in the ritual of communion and eating the bread to feed their bodies but they eat this bread to nourish their soul.  Ritual is a meaningful act whether it is for an ordinary purpose or a sanctifying action.  I can light a candle because I need light or because the candle represents the light I need.

            Ritual provides the opportunity to give life and its experiences a new meaning.  Ritual guides people to rediscover themselves and maybe even see things in a new and different light.  We may not feel our oneness to the Creator but ritual allows us to rekindle that awareness.  Performing ritual allows us to set aside time to create a sacred space and to separate ourselves from the ordinary and allow extraordinary possibilities to enter the mind.  Through ritual we can become inspired, awareness can occur and a new sense of knowing can arise.

Ritual can help release any limiting beliefs that can prevent an individual from using their creative ability.  When the purpose of a ritual is achieved it leaves one with the feeling of joy and fulfillment in the body, mind, and soul.  If the ritual has been performed in a group, it leaves the participants with a desire to continue a connection to that group that the experience was shared with.  This allows for a continued support system and a connection to community.

            My prayer is that all healers, both traditional and alternative, work from a place of purest intention.  When the intention is pure there can be no wrong in how a ritual is performed.  May we all continue to explore and strengthen our own minds and hearts so that we may guide others to their own greatness through ritual and the wonderful gifts of healing and may all our work be done for the highest good.  

Blessing and Light to all.    Rev. Harriet McMahon

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Copyright 1999-2005  Harriet McMahon (Creative Growth and Healing)