symbolism and metaphor in ritual

piece of bread

Why do rituals seem so mysterious? Why are there so many different steps, with strange objects and symbols that don’t seem to have anything to do with anything? Rituals are full of symbols because symbolism (or metaphor) is the language of the soul. (It’s also the language of the body, and of dreams, and of art.) Ritual uses symbolism to tell the soul journey.

The journey of many religious rituals is the journey of death and rebirth. Other journeys include the journeys of leave-taking, growing up, and adventure… or the journeys of connecting, marriage, belonging, or home-coming. One of my favorite ritualistic journeys is the journey of creation.

What journeys are you taking through your rituals? What journeys do you wish you could take?

red grapes

The photos in this post are of the Christian ritualistic symbols of bread and grapes. They stand for Christ’s body and Christ’s blood, and when the worshipper eats and drinks the bread and the wine, she eats a part of God. This cannibalistic ritual is actually a very old one, common to many ancient religions. If you’re interested in learning more about the roots of the Christian feast, you might want to read this book.