Tag Archives: ceremonies

My questions go deeper than that; they are doubts about my faith. I have only one certainty: there exists a parallel spiritual universe that impinges on the world in which we live. Apart from that, everything else seems absurd to me—sacred books, revelations, guides, manuals, ceremonies … and, what is worse, they appear to have no lasting effects.

Paulo Coelho, Aleph

The Rites of Passage

The Rites of Passage: a classic study of cultural celebrations by Arnold van Gennep, a paperback from University of Chicago Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Arnold van Gennep The Rites of Passage from University of Chicago Press

“Birth, puberty, marriage, and death are, in all cultures, marked by ceremonies which may differ but are universal in function. Arnold van Gennep (1873–1957) was the first anthropologist to note the regularity and significance of the rituals attached to the transitional stages in man’s life, and his phrase for these, ‘the rites of passage,’ has become a part of the language of anthropology and sociology.” — back cover


Egyptian Magic in Egyptian Magic by Florence Farr.

“Rituals or Ceremonies now simply regarded as a waste of time by those who have to assist at their celebration, had a potent effect when the symbolism of each action was fully recognised, and when the imagination was extended and ultra-sensitive, and the Will concentrated firmly and repeatedly, on the object to be accomplished.” [via]

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“To trace the genesis of the movement, which came into activity some 250 years ago (our rituals and ceremonies having been compiled round about the year 1700), is beyond the purpose of my present remarks. It may merely be stated that the movement itself incorporated the slender ritual and the elementary symbolism that, for centuries previously had been employed in connection with the mediaeval Building Guilds, but it gave to them a far fuller meaning and a far wider scope.” [via]