Ritual vs. Ceremony

I'm not going to start off by giving a dictionary's definition of ritual or ceremony or write a long synopsis of either.  You can go on your own to a dictionary or google ritual vs. ceremony and you will get more than you need of an understanding of both and the differences.  This could be cleverly debated and it could go on and on but I will keep it practical and applicable.

For ME, this is how I understand it and how I practice it, depending on the outcome I desire.

A ritual is a practice, act or behavior (which may or may not have special meaning) that I do in the same sequence every time.

For example: I don't get up at the exact time everyday but as soon as I get up I immediately brush my teeth and wash my face.  I may or may not take a shower before my coffee depending on what I have to do that day but my ritual is brush my teeth and wash my face- everyday in that order immediately after I get out of bed.

A ceremony is a practice or act that is performed occasionally and usually has some significant meaning.  You can perform a ceremony alone or with many people gathered. Weddings, funerals, graduations are ceremonies (just to name a few).

For me rituals and ceremonies go together frequently. The ritual is the structure and the ceremony happens in between. For example:  Before I see a client, I go through the same steps of clearing the space and using specific prayers in a specific sequence with the same music and incense.  This is my preparation ritual.  It prepares my mind, body and energy for my client.  When the client arrives, I perform a healing ceremony.  This means, to me, that what I am doing has deep meaning but it moves more freely.  I follow my guidance and each session usually has many variances. I end the session in the same way for consistency (a ritual).

If I am doing a certain healing activation or technique, there is a ritual to it.  Which means that I would perform my preparation ritual and then a healing ritual which would have certain steps I would follow in a certain order.  The whole session would be a ritual.

For some people, their meditation time is like a strict ritual (music, candles, dim lights, same time and place, etc.).  This helps them achieve a particular brainwave pattern more quickly and efficiently.  Some people conduct their meditation time like a ceremony.  Less structure, less dependance on the ritual to reach their desired outcome. 

As you can see, we can take this discussion to many depths but I will trust that you understand what I mean.  Please do ask questions if you have any or make comments.  I'd love to hear them.

Lots of love,