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 ?
These have become blended with their own wild rites, and present a strange medley; civilized and barbarous.
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.
Curiosity and wonder possessed all hearts, but respect restrained all tongues till the holy rite was over.
so gray tradition tells) were once the resort of the Power of Evil and his plighted subjects; and here, at midnight or on the dim verge of evening, they were said to stand round the mantling pool, disturbing its putrid waters in the performance of an impious baptismal rite.
Hunt visited that part of the country, the staff still remained, with the fragments of the banner; and the superstitious rite of placing food from time to time on the mound, for the use of the deceased, was still observed by the Omahas.
let the burial rite be read - the funeral song be sung
At first Pierre wished to take another seat so as not to trouble the lady, and also to pick up the glove himself and to pass round the doctors who were not even in his way; but all at once he felt that this would not do, and that tonight he was a person obliged to perform some sort of awful rite which everyone expected of him, and that he was therefore bound to accept their services.
So Mombi called Jellia Jamb to her, and performed a certain magical rite with which she was familiar.