rite


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rite

1. a formal act or procedure prescribed or customary in religious ceremonies
2. a particular body of such acts or procedures, esp of a particular Christian Church
3. a Christian Church

Rite; Ritual

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The form of a religious or magical ceremony, usually following a traditional structure. Isaac Bonewits states that "the word `ritual' comes from the Latin root related to `number' or `counting,' the way things are to be done (that is, `one after another'). . . . In all rituals the crucial point is to do things in the proper order in the proper way, usually as prescribed by custom or tradition." Ritual is made up of "things said" (legomena) and "things done" (dromena).

Van Gennep divides ritual into three parts: separation, transition, and incorporation. The first involves withdrawal from the world. In transition, one is "between the worlds" (a term used by Wiccans to describe being in the consecrated Circle). In the final stage, incorporation, change is integrated into life. This can be seen on a broader scale in the many parts comprising the initiation process in most primitive societies. The beginning of such an initiation involves complete separation from what, to that point, has been normal life. This often requires the initiate to go to a separate living area, overseen by the initiator. In Voodoo, this period can last as long as nine days. The actual ceremony of initiation marks the transition to a new level of being. Finally, the initiate returns, with newfound knowledge and experience, to his or her family and everyday life. As Van Gennep has observed, this entire process takes place, in compressed form, in any act of ritual. Ritual is a means of bringing undivided attention to vital issues of such a ceremony.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley argues that the most effective rituals engage the senses, alter consciousness, and open the gateway to visionary thinking. Most effective rituals incorporate such elements as special dress, altar and paraphernalia (candles, incense, and sacred figures), chants, prayers, mystery dramas, dance, and song. These adhere to a prescribed formula, determined by the purpose of the ritual. Sir James Frazer suggests that in primitive ritual, the rites are generally magical rather than propitiatory.

Wiccan rituals are usually led by a priest and/or priestess, who may or may not have an entourage of aides. Wiccan rituals include celebratory rituals for the seasons, such as the eight sabbats of Witchcraft; rituals for births, marriages, or deaths; rituals for healing; and rituals for divination. Rituals may be performed by individuals or by groups such as covens.

R I T U A L M AG I C see CEREMONIAL MAGIC

References in classic literature ?
The manual rites then ceased and all present reverted to the more spiritual part of the ceremonies.
There are some, even, who have slaves that talk for them, and I saw one who sat during the rites with closed eyes while a slave narrated to her the events that were transpiring within the arena.
Let us make our deaths worth while, and at the back of this unknown warrior turn this day's Tribute to Issus into an orgy of revenge that will echo through the ages and cause black skins to blanch at each repetition of the rites of Issus.
From this primitive function has arisen, unquestionably, all the forms and ceremonials of modern church and state, for through all the countless ages, back beyond the uttermost ramparts of a dawning humanity our fierce, hairy forebears danced out the rites of the Dum-Dum to the sound of their earthen drums, beneath the bright light of a tropical moon in the depth of a mighty jungle which stands unchanged today as it stood on that long forgotten night in the dim, unthinkable vistas of the long dead past when our first shaggy ancestor swung from a swaying bough and dropped lightly upon the soft turf of the first meeting place.
The rites of the Dum-Dum marked important events in the life of the tribe--a victory, the capture of a prisoner, the killing of some large fierce denizen of the jungle, the death or accession of a king, and were conducted with set ceremonialism.
And while you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings, reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be punished for evermore.
Then she went, and to the kings who deal justice, Triptolemus and Diocles, the horse-driver, and to doughty Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of the people, she showed the conduct of her rites and taught them all her mysteries, to Triptolemus and Polyxeinus and Diocles also, -- awful mysteries which no one may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of the gods checks the voice.
If, I say, while these sacred rites, which are in common to
He remembered how his brother, while at the university, and for a year afterwards, had, in spite of the jeers of his companions, lived like a monk, strictly observing all religious rites, services, and fasts, and avoiding every sort of pleasure, especially women.
was not simply a new rite but an entirely new understanding of Baptism.
Clean Rite is also seeking sites for 30 more locations here between now and the end of 2006.
Furthermore, in section 6, the Roman Pontiff encourages all members of the Eastern rite to "preserve their legitimate liturgical rite and their established way of life," and to protect and advance their ancestral traditions.