Ritual or Superstition?

phot5oI find some of the magic being practiced today somewhat backward and even less evolved then the candle magic rituals of the Catholic Church, which is a tremendous repository of spiritual energies, despite its current scandals. Some tell you if you take a candle of such and such a color, and say such and such words, then so and so will fall in love with you, or give you that job, or drop dead from a heart attack so you can inherit the family fortune. Yes, telepathic vibrations are real and spoken words can have deep psychological impact, but when you toss a vibe like that out it’s like tossing a coin into the sea and expecting your dreams to come true. Not really much going on and probably doesn’t have a really good success rate.

One of the things about magic that really bugs me is that the serious books all storm through the shamanistic history of the world looking for some magic secret they can bring home and make a fortune off of. Problem is, magic only works when people believe, and the more people that believe, the more powerful the magic. You can’t take a ceremonial ritual from one culture and transplant it onto another and expect much magic at all. And yet this has largely been the history of sorcery and witchcraft.

After being exposed to the Living Theater, I fell into a little known art form I call Improvisation Ritual Theater. I believe that the counterculture is improvisational at heart. So I didn’t need to study someone else’s ideas about magic and spirituality. I just let the spirit flow through me and tried different ways to amplify the energies, which, I learned, come in flavors, or if you prefer, frequencies.

At first, when I was organizing the Cannabis Cup ceremonies, I went to Stephen Gaskin and lived with him for a few weeks while ransacking his written material to assemble a guide to ceremonies that became the book Cannabis Spirituality. I figured as long as I needed to learn how to organize a counterculture ceremony, I might as well turn others on to the secrets. But the funny thing was, when I asked Stephen to prescribe me how the Cup ceremonies should be, he just said “I don’t prescribe ceremonies. I just let them unfold naturally.” And that’s really the difference between “being spiritual” and just being. The more spiritually aware people are consciously building ceremony and ritual into their lives in order to enhance their lives and chart a vibratory course through the frequencies towards whatever vibration they seek: fun, peace, serenity, bliss is the counterculture recipe, but all cultures have a slightly different combination of vibratory flavors.

Compare that approach with say, “kill a frog and put it in a jar and go to the crossroads, draw a circle, put the frog in the center, and blah, blah blah.” Maybe you know what I’m talking about. See the ones that want to help you open up your chakras and chart your personal vibratory trail, they are the real deal. The ones that try to tell you they have discovered the real secret to life and will sell you a personal mantra guaranteed to transform you….those are just hoodwink hucksters. And there’s a lot more of them, than there are of us, the truly informed spiritual beings from the 1960s who picked up an immense amount of  knowledge about real spirituality because our culture was based on improvisation.


Author: Steven Hager

I'm a writer, journalist, filmmaker and event producer.

3 thoughts on “Ritual or Superstition?”

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