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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

What is Ritual?

This article was written by Donald Tyson on May 10, 2002
posted under Magic

Ritual is the medium through which the art of magic is practiced. It consists of an action or series of actions, which may be entirely mental, or mental and physical, by which the power of magic is released and directed towards the fulfillment of a specific desire.

Magic ritual is not some strange, exotic beast difficult to approach and apt to scamper away when touched. It is a common occurrence in everyday life. The reason most everyday rituals do not bring about desired effects is that they are not understood for what they truly are; therefore, they remain unfocused.

When a ritual is unfocused, it can never accomplish a major purpose. The magnitude of a ritual is determined by the degree to which the power released is effective power. If power is released in all directions, so to speak, it accomplishes nothing, and the ritual is impotent. Once you become aware that you are working a ritual, and what the purpose of that ritual is, it becomes effective, and magical power is released and applied to the object of desire.

It is doubtful if magic can be worked without ritual. Often the ritual is very brief and completely mental—the inner utterance of a single word, for example. But for the power of magic to be released and directed requires some structure or framework, however simple. To work magic without ritual would be like trying to draw water out of a well without a bucket. Ritual is the bucket. The water itself is the magical potency. The act of drawing it forth is the practice of the art of magic. It can then be carried in the bucket to the place where it will be used, and this is the focusing of the ritual upon the object of desire.

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