Monday, 22 September 2014

Little rituals...

It’s the last day of summer, a time when once, all over the country, people would gather to recognise the change in the seasons and take part in rituals of one kind or another. Ritual is part of what makes us what we are and most of us, even if we don’t recognise it, take part in them.

I am without doubt a creature of habit, tied to my daily routines and bound by the small self-generated rituals that have become a necessity for my existence. I get up at pretty much the same time each day even though I don’t need to, my bathroom routine (which I won’t detail) seldom varies. My early morning is a pattern not quite set in stone - checking mails before coffee, then looking at Facebook and a blog or two before tackling the watering and the washing up. After that I make my lunchtime sandwich, and so my day progresses without radical deviation from my routine.

Strangely though, I am not a lover of formal rituals. I see them as binding habits implanted in us by outside influences in order to keep us quiet when really we want to break out and scream ''No more''. Religion, education, organisations of any kind rely on ritual to keep us within their accepted boundaries and then we go on to invent our own rituals which locks us tightly into a whole range of self imposed habit. Weddings and Christenings leave me cold with dismay, and even Bonfire night has lost its appeal now that I’ve grown older. Easter never was on my list, and a more ridiculous set of rituals I can’t imagine.

Yes, ritual, ultimately, is for the mindless although it seems to be the chosen behaviour of the sane.

Madmen on the other hand, true madmen (I’m not thinking OCD type behaviours) hardly ever adhere to ritual. Their lives are a series of random and unexpected events that rarely form patterns or are even repeated. Of course you might argue that serial murderers who follow the same pattern for each kill are mad. But are they if they can control and repeat a sequence of events time and time again? That seems to be the act of a sane person to me.

Maybe ritual is an attempt to control the madness, a magic spell to stop us from simply living an animalistic life driven by needs and temperature and breeding patterns. Even animals have rituals they must follow at times though. Maybe at a cellular level we are hot-wired with ritual and only those without it are truly free?

And if that is the case then I think that it must be grand to be a madman.


  1. Andrew Height
    What am I going on about?

  2. Clare Pritchard on FB
    you always make sense to me Andrew x

  3. Andrew Height
    That's a relief Clare.

  4. Clare Pritchard on FB
    You're welcome mate, you talk more common sense than most me dear x

  5. Cloe Fyne on FB
    Bonfire night???? That is definitely one not to be lost!!!! X ps are u sure summer didn't end yesterday..... Was bloody freezing this morning! Bbbbbbbrrrrrrrr

  6. Andrew Height
    I'm trying to get Bonfire Night back, but it seems to have gone up in a puff of smoke.

  7. Andy Brewer on FB
    Don't forget the really cool rituals Andrew such as Wassailing the apple trees, mumming on Boxing Day and of course May Day.

  8. Tim Preston on FB
    I've been told that a squirrel buries nuts because it is following it's bliss. Ritual, yes but ..... I think that there is love at the centre of every ritual but over the years the meaning has been covered in shite. The main one being Fucking Christmas. That's the now Christmas, not the original one - what a despicable demonization of the soul that is now!

  9. Andrew Height
    Tim and Andy I think rituals are fine in terms of entertainment value, but I hang my head in despair when we slavishly do things because we are told we should or conditioned by society and authority to go through the motions of living. Belief of course is another matter. If you truly believe that the ritual you are doing has purpose then I'm all for it. By the way I cast spells.

  10. Tim Preston on FB
    FFS Autumn - season of mists and mellow fruitfulness - Do you want time to stand still? I bet even that wouldn't make you happy. be a lover, not a fighter :-)

  11. Andrew Height
    Tim, I agree with your original comment.

  12. Tim Preston
    What about the Wicker Man?

  13. Played the Wicker Man card eh? Well, someone had too. Can't beat that Tim. You prove your case

  14. David Bell on FB
    My ritual on the last day of summer is to check the oil tank and switch the heating on.

  15. Andrew Height
    As ever the practical man David. Get some wood chopped while you are about it.