Ritual is poetry in action. More specifically, religious or spiritual ritual is poetry in action not merely for idle entertainment but rather for purposeful work.
This kind of ritual is also re-enchanting: it gives us a renewed awareness of the sacred around us and within us, figuratively transporting us to what we call a “place that is not a place and time that is not a time”. We go to that liminal place and time to make magick, which means just to cause change and transformation—in our own lives, in our community, and in our broader world—in accordance with our Will.
Now, our Will is like Fire: our Will can be scattered, like the light and heat of a candle, or it can be focused, like that of a laser. Our Will is more powerful—more capable of causing change and transformation—when it is focused. In order to make our ritual more magickal, that is, in order to make it more powerful in causing change and transformation in accordance with our Will, we often align our ritual with periodic and special rites of passage in human life in Nature. Periodic rites of passage include, for example, the eight sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. Special rites of passage include, for example, birth, coming of age, and death. All such periodic and special rites of passage resonate with our spirit as occasions for focusing our Will on particular kinds of change and transformation that we want to cause, whether in our own lives, in our community, or in our broader world.
As mentioned above, ritual is poetry in action, and like all poetry, ritual is open to personal interpretation. This living book of shadows provides some starting points for creating effective rites of passage, but when we gather to work purposeful poetry in action, we should allow space for personal interpretation—we do best to try to strike a balance between solemnity and playfulness. Striking this balance can be tricky, but keeping an open mind and a light touch can help. And when we succeed, we truly can use ritual on these periodic and special occasions to focus our Will to cause change and transformation.