I won’t be addressing any one style of ceremony, but will speak to styles across the board.
What is ritual magic? It is ceremony. It is performance like song or dance, but not like these things in the conventional sense. There are simple ritual practices that those of organized religion wouldn’t want to acknowledge are magic, like singing hymns, but their purpose for singing these hymns is a spiritual/metaphysical one. Ritual magic seen from a superficial view would look “absurd”, though in fact much that is quite literal/factual also has that quality of absurdity. As they say, the truth is stranger than fiction. In fact, it’s the absurdity of it that heightens our awareness.
We are deliberately acting outside of consensual reality when performing a ceremony, any kind of ceremony. They exist to make us aware of and allow us to express our connection to the unseen spirit in the world.
Chanting to greet a day, ceremonially. Yes, you speak from experience.
People are often put off of ceremony/ritual because they don’t understand or “feel” the meaning of the words or symbolism. This is quite natural, and without this understanding the ceremony is weakening, not strengthening. But what they often don’t consider is that any symbolism or words that express their sense of connection would be valid.
You can’t put your intention into it then? Exactly.
But the sound of a foreign language in some rituals only heightens the mystery. Ah, it can, and in fact if you understand the mood or spirit of the words then they will be effective anyway.
I’m thinking about Latin in churches. Yes, and the priests do understand Latin so their chant has the proper mood and tones as they recite the mass. Where the mass is invocational, another type of chant is actually meditative. Gregorian chant, I mean.
The same for those who are granted kumu status in Hawaii. One learns to be proficient in chant; words, meaning, intent, delivery. When mastered they can be called kumu (kumu = teacher). The word in Germanic tongues is wizard, though the association might seem off putting. Oh, for us kahuna, but same roles and responsibilities. The old Slavic wizards were keepers of their peoples chants. It was believed that their chants/songs could and did move the world to respond, and that gets to the point of ritual magic.
Ritual magic is a structured statement of your intent, but it is also an expression and release of energies lingering in you. Ritual magic serves the dual purpose of relieving obsession, and having an intention driven “butterfly” effect on the world.
Ritual magic and ceremonial magic are the same thing? Yes, though you can have two purposes. Not all ritual/ceremony is for creating an effect. It can also be undertaken to bond with spiritual presences you revere, a “communion”. Some people can get very ungrounded if they loose touch with this communion, disoriented even. They often experience moments of inspiration/guidance even though their intention is just to commune.
When Wiccans (or Pagans) celebrate the Sabbats & Esbats is that also Ceremonial Magick? It is in one part. They actually engage in a ceremony, but they then also engage in celebratory practices that are just seen as phases of life during that season.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.