Working with Rituals in Organisational and Everyday Life – September 2016

Facilitated By: Anne Weber

There was a good turn-out for Anne’s thought-provoking session on rituals. We spent a little time defining what rituals are and what purpose they serve, agreeing that rituals involve speech, movement, emotions, symbols and other objects, put together in such a way as to establish or deepen an emotional connection. The ritual only works as long as it serves each person involved in it, personally or at an organisational level.

Work on rituals can involve those that are important to an individual, organisation or culture, identifying them and their purpose. Where necessary, this awareness can lead to groups agreeing to improve the ritual, or designing a new one. The act of discussing their rituals allows team to ‘contract’ with each other about their behaviours, and any changes need to be formally agreed.

We discussed how important rituals are in the area of transformation or transition. Anne introduced us to the idea of ‘liminality’ – the period between an ‘old’ system and the ‘new’ system that replaces it. Rituals can help at all stages of change, but are particularly powerful in the liminal space, allowing us to separate from our previous selves and incorporate changes into our new selves.

We had some fun experimenting with designing our own rituals, given the job of ‘preparing for a difficult course or meeting’. It was interesting how we all used similar concepts but took very different approaches to this very useful ritual!

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