1823 - Week 2 - Ritual Ceremony and the Human Life-cycle

1823 - Week 2 - Ritual Ceremony and the Human Life-cycle -...

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Unformatted text preview: Ritual, Ceremony, & The Human Life Cycle The Role of Ritual in the Religious Life (Bring belief into action) Q: What is a Ritual? Q: What is the purpose of a ritual? Q: What do most rituals share in common? Definitions Rituals: "Stereotyped sequences of behaviors that are associated with particular emotions and which are rationalized--that is made meaningful--by the supernatural beliefs of the performers." The Structure of Ritual Division into three major stages (nearly universal stages) 1. 2. 3. Separation removed from everyday life before ritual Liminal different series of rules Re-incorporation go back to society remade/renewed Wide-spread symbolic motif Death followed by Rebirth (Spiritual Rebirth) Rites of Passage "Rituals that celebrate status changes that members of a society normally undergo during the course of life." Q: What rituals of status change have you experienced? Rites of Passage 1. Separation Distance from everyday life established, with movement to realm of special religious meaning. Removal from familiar roles or daily routines Movement to ceremonial ground or holy land Church, Synagogue, or Mosque Rites of Passage 1. The Liminal Period Everyday Norms Suspended Special Rules Now Observed Ritual Code replaces everyday norms Remember: Sacred v. Profane Special taboos introduced; other taboos may be relaxed `Religious Experience' Senses often limited or excited Heightened Sense of Spiritual Awareness Rites of Passage 1. Re-Incorporation Participants return to society, now reshaped Transformation of status Ex. Non-member now fully initiated Renewal of Community Social roles reassigned with new members Communal bonds strengthened Turner v. Bloch Re: Rites of Passage Victor Turner Optimist (positive view of Rites of Passage) Liminality communitas potential, transfromation, and solidarity. Pessimist (Cynical view of Rites of Passage) Rebounding violence Maurice Bloch (1) the assertion of reproduction; (2) the legitimation of expansion (internally & externally directed (3) the abandonment of earthly existence (see Bowie 2005: 166) Rites of Passage Discuss examples of Rites of Passage from your own life. How is your life different now? What new expectations do you or others have for you now? Rites of Passage Can you think of how violence is used in some forms of Rights of Passage? What forms of violence? Why is this done? Ethnographic Examples Rituals and Rites of Passage Male Vision Quest on the Plains Solitary "voyage" into the wilderness in search of a vision and future spirit guide (Separation) The Spiritual Test Fasting, mediation, bodily mutilation (Liminal) Guardian spirit will protect him for life (Reincorporation) Produces seasoned warriors Afterlife among the Asmat (New Guinea) once practiced headhunting Every death must be avenged, and the soul is freed only after an enemy head is taken Soul `drummed' into wooden carving (Sabo Palm tree) Once avenged, soul may be reborn Enemy head plays a central role Afterlife among the Asmat Girl's Puberty Rites in NW California A ten day cycle of purification transforming girls into young women Morning bathing, daily fasting Seclusion in menstrual hut, facing east, face veiled Female rite is stressed, mostly women achieve status of doctors Proper etiquette taught The Afterlife Death Rites What happens when someone dies here in America? Death Rites Potential rupture in community life Venue for outpouring of emotions Physical death often followed by spiritual rebirth Decomposition = completion of journey Mummification = hope of resurrection Symbolic Rebirth Symbolism of the corpse (Part of a processes) Ancestral Spirits in East Asia Ancestral spirits "watch over" descendants Fate in life may rest in ancestors hands (Reason for ritualistic practice) Gods (temples) Dressed as officials & sometimes take bribes (offerings) Offered food outdoors, like beggars Fed and honored as family guests Ghosts (outdoors) Ancestors (house) Film: The Devil's Playground Ritual, Ceremony and the Human Life Cycle Quiz #1: Please take out a piece of paper and a pen Put all books/notebooks away QUIZ #1 Q: To the Amish, as seen in the Film The Devil's Playground, what is the "devil's playground"? Video "Devil's Playground" Amish Rumspringa Q: What phase of ritual does Rumspringa represent? Q: When does Rumspringa begin? Q: When does it end? Q: What would cause someone of the Amish faith to be "shunned" by their family? The Afterlife Continued Rural Japanese Traditions From initial memorial at family altar, to eventual conversion into a `household deity' Series of memorial services perpetual Initial service photo Initial Memorial Represented with photo & small wooden tablet Soul lingers for first 49 days can reveal information Lasting presence as Ancestral spirit Watches after welfare of family for years to come Small wooden tablet painted gold & black Rural Japanese Traditions Conversion to `Household Deity' After 33 to 50 years, spirit transformed to `deity' Tablet sometimes cast into river Replaced with stone from river Buddhism in Northern Thailand After death, the soul lingers for a period of time. Families are afraid that if the soul gets lonely, it will haunt them and cause misfortune. Often, families will hold "Funeral Casinos" to attract distant family and friends to come to visit the deceased. Gambling occurs with the corpse in the room. These practices are also related to Buddhist belief in `kamma' or `karma' (or the sum of what a person has done). The deceased is paid back for all the good they did in life. Buddhism in Northern Thailand Thai Buddhist Monks and Nuns Practice of Contemplating the Corpse Death is not to be feared Death is a cycle of life The body is simply a vessel...nothing is permanent Buddhism in Northern Thailand "The Buddha said that to fully understand the body, and to become mentally detached from it, it was necessary to contemplate it in various stages of decay." (From: "Good Morning, Buddha" by Phra Peter Pannapadipo) If you want a visual, Google this: N Then hit the second link on the top to get to the images page. Buddhism in Northern Thailand Ten Kinds of Foulness (asubha/ N \ ) 11. the bloated (corpse) counteracting delight in beauty of proportions 12. the livid... beauty of complexion 13. the festering... scents and perfumes 14. the cut-up... wholeness or compactness 15. the gnawed... well-fleshed body 16. the scattered... grace of limbs 17. the hacked and scattered... grace of body as a whole 18. the bleeding... ornaments and jewelry 19. the worm-infested... ownership of the body 20. the skeleton... having fine bones and teeth Questions? ...
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