Accessing the vitality of ceremony and ritual
It has long been said that we in the UK do know how to bring a certain quality to important moments in the life of the Nation or the world. Of course, we have a lot of rich history and access to all sorts of symbols of pomp and circumstance to draw on given that we have a Royal Family, a strong military heritage and more than our share of incredible buildings as backdrops. Remember the impact we had with the ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics…
Seeing Windsor Castle in the Spring sunshine, the military impeccably turned out, the music conveying just the right balance of dignity and emotion and the faultless ceremony and ritual of the funeral of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral was for me very moving and evocative.
Part of what moved me was a sympathy and sense of sisterhood with anyone grieving at the loss of a loved one. Yet for me as I have reflected in this past week or so, I know it was much deeper than that.
Ritual and ceremony play a vital part in connecting us to something more essential within us. If we are able to give ourselves over to the ritual and its inherent beauty (when done well) we can be transported to a connection with our own soul and the souls of others. We can access a deep sense of oneness with each other and with a greater whole. It is both evocative and invocative – we can find ourselves being drawn out emotionally, intellectually and at the same time we can find ourselves connecting inwardly. We may feel a sort of ‘call’ or desire for the beauty and grace that we feel in those moments to become a more constant part of everyday life. We recognise their power and importance.
So I find myself wondering about the rituals and ceremonies that could be invested in by organisations and the degree to which the right level of consideration is given to the potential and power of these. Perhaps by thinking more broadly about the core values of the organisation and how these can be reflected in key moments in the life of the organisation – bringing those values forward in powerful ways through celebrations, through shared reflection and through participation.
Beauty often sits at the heart of a ceremony or ritual done well – not beauty in a classic sense but the beauty of rhythm, of scale, of colour, of human endeavour, of simplicity, of shared emotion and so much more.
What if we chose to access the power of ritual and ceremony within our organisations…what could that look like?