The History of Ritual


Ritual, Ceremony, Circle


It is a buzz word at the moment, ‘Ritual’, right?

But the way we see it, this new trend, is rather a return of our sacred past and the increase in popularity (and consciousness) is because we crave more connection and meaning in life.

Rituals have been an integral and constant aspect of human life for centuries, and we want to explore this a little deeper… and understand our desires a little more.


So, previously we have talked about ‘what is a ritual’ and have put together our suggestions for an easy DIY ritual toolkit, and now, shall we delve?

Facts, as we have discovered…


Ritual, Ceremony, Circle


The Origin of ‘Ritual’

The word ‘ritual’ is derived from the Latin word ‘ritualis’, associated with the word ‘rite’ which comes from ‘ritus’, typically understood to mean a type of ceremony or custom.

It is also believed that the original concept of ‘ritus’ could be associated with the Sanskrit or Vedic Religion (also known as Historic Hinduism) concept of ‘ṛtá’, the principal of natural order within the universe. The concept of ‘ritual observances’ also ties into the theme of ceremony.


The History of ‘Ritual’

There many different types of rituals: religious, cultural, secular, sacrificial etc., and in ancient times various rituals were used to symbolise the equality between men and women, such as for priestesses in Ancient Greece (ThoughtCo) who were “… a formidable class of women scattered over the Greek world and across a thousand years of history” (The New York Times).

The word ‘ritual’ in the English language became more associated with religion in the 1600s, and “Christianity meant a gradual lessening of the prestige of women” (ThoughtCo). In the current day, rituals are no longer isolated to just the religious realm but rather are used widely for a variety of different purposes and many women are more empowered to follow their own path.


The Personal Impact of ‘Ritual’

The impact of rituals and the different variations of such can be a complex issue particularly within the realm of cultural anthropology and other similar studies that look at the role of rituals in society. For the purposes of Violet Gray we believe that the way and ‘why’ you incorporate a ritual into your life should be dependent on how you connect with it and your intention for doing so.

The words and actions that are included in a ritual are determined by those involved…. there is no right or wrong way to conduct a ritual. In some sense there’s tradition and precedent for how certain (think religious) rituals are conducted, but otherwise the act of taking part in a ritual is a personal and subjective one and completely up to you.


Ultimately, the history and meaning of a ritual is how it relates to your own life. We encourage you to find your own rituals, ones that inspire reverence (in a non religious sense, unless desired) and add meaning to your daily moments and personal practice.


Why do we have ritual, personally?

Because it helps us to find presence in an otherwise, busy and fast paced world.

Routine cultivates calm and ease.. replacing chaos.

For me, I wake and my mind goes to what I am grateful for (this is a conscious action, or ritual). Regardless of the morning and how it plays out, I always open all of the blinds to welcome the light, make the bed, light incense and the diffuser and drink my coffee as I sit at the screen. These, albeit small, are rituals – in the physical form. Yes, we go deeper in our circles and ceremonies and other spiritual practices, but no ritual is more ‘important‘ than any other.

When craving or implementing ritual into your life, we suggest getting clear.

How do I want to feel?

What is important to me?

How can I create that feeling, that reality?

What actions can I take to cultivate more ritual, more routine?

And if important, your rituals will stick…. Never act from ‘should’ or place too many rules on yourself…

Don’t build your ‘ritual list’ like you do your daily planner, but rather just choose 1 or 2 things, ways of being, to implement. From there, ritual grows…

and you will fall in love with your sacred acts of repetition.


What’s your relationship with the concept of ritual?

Share below! 


Photo Source : Mystic Mamma


• Wikipedia – Ritual, Ṛta, Glossary of ancient Roman religion

• Thought Co. – “Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece”

• The New York Times


• Cultural Anthropology – “Ritual” by Kevin Carrico