SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF CEREMONY

From The Power of Ceremony
By Linda Neale

These seven fundamental principles of ceremony can be applied in any religious tradition or cultural context to develop new ceremonies or to understand old ones. The book describes each of these in detail, and illustrates them with stories and actual ceremonial experiences.

1 - Listening (sense organ) is related to intuition and involves tuning into the spiritual realm and receiving messages that are applied to daily life and to the ceremony.

2 - Intention (heart) is the foundation upon which ceremony is built. Intent is what distinguishes ceremony from its more unconscious cousin, ritual.

3 - Preparation (mind) includes both physical and spiritual dimensions. Preparation is ninety percent of the ceremony.

4 - Structure (bones) includes the flow of the ceremony, the order, the drama, the form. It is what connects the different parts of the ceremony to each other.

5 - Symbols (skin) help us to enter the world of our ancestors, a deeper level where feelings are experienced liminally rather than consciously.

6 - Prayer (breath or voice) is as essential as breathing to the ceremony. It comes in a variety of forms: songs, dance, meditation, listening for guidance.

7 - The Unexpected (Trickster element) is an element that can be anticipated but never controlled. Trickster can bring joy and spontaneity to a ceremony, but can just as easily bring chaos.

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