I came across a nice little article on ritual today. In short, ritual works to reduce anxiety, stress, grief, and more. Ritual gives us a sense of control, even when we don't have any control, which helps us fight our instinct to avoid risk. Ritual helps us to begin the process of working through grief or loss.
I believe in ritual. Ritual takes us out of the everyday and allows us to acknowledge important events in ways that our minds are designed to remember, much like a mnemonic device. Ritual takes us out of ourselves and into a different, more communal place, allowing us to feel supported and connected. Ritual is a different way of communicating with the universe, which, in my practice, allows me to tell the difference between my magical efforts and simple thought or general wishing and hoping.
We are in a time when we are in need of new rituals; the old ones often no longer apply. It's hard to establish new rituals, because at least some of the power of rituals is in their very tradition, but we have to keep trying, keep making rituals that have meaning for us, because this is a language we cannot let die out.
I created ceremonies for my children to welcome them to the world. I found these to me moving and powerful, and I am glad for the legacy they leave to my sons. The creation of a ritual is itself good for the soul; give yourself the comfort of a ritual for something that is difficult for you. Share it with us!