I thoroughly enjoy collecting quotes on ceremony & ritual, wonder & awe…  a little bit of inspo, a little bit of meaning-making, especially in the moments I need to re-discover my “why.”

“The way you alchemize a soulless world into a sacred world is by treating everyone as if they are sacred until the sacred in them remembers.” -Sarah Durham Wilson

No matter our spiritual or religious background, whether we are atheists or church goers, perhaps we can all agree on this: life is wonderfully mysterious. How could one gaze at a beautiful Colorado vista, or the stars stretching out into the universe, or a couple who is deeply in love, and not feel a sense of wonder? -Jen

“Ceremonial observance adds lucid layers—depth, dimension, drama and distinction—to our lives, making the ordinary seem special, and the special, extraordinary.” -Donna Henes

I want enough time to be in love with everything. -Marina Keega

Ritual affirms the common patterns, the values, the shared joys, risks, sorrows, and changes that bind a community together. Ritual links together our ancestors and descendants, those who went before with those will come after us. -Starhawk

“That, I think, is the power of ceremony. It marries the mundane to the sacred. The water turns to wine; the coffee to a prayer.” Robin Wall Kimmerer

“To love another another human in all of their splendor and imperfect perfection, it is a magnificent task…tremendous and foolish and human.” -Louise Erdrich

“What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.” ― John O’Donohue

Gratitude and grace cannot really be measured; nor can they be willed. Each requires that we be open and vulnerable. Grace is a kind of wonder that can fall upon us unexpectedly. Gratitude is like a desert flower that spontaneously blossoms from within us. The presence of either one can break the limits of time and open a moment or a life to wonder and wholeness. -Michael Meade

Any ritual is an opportunity for transformation. To do a ritual, you must be willing to be transformed in some way.The inner willingness is what makes the ritual come alive and have power.If you aren’t willing to be changed by the ritual, don’t do it. -Starhawk

I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life. -Elsie de Wolfe

Ritual is able to hold the long-discarded shards of our stories and make them whole again. It has the strength and elasticity to contain what we cannot contain on our own, what we cannot face in solitude.
-Francis Weller

“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.” Elizabeth Gilbert

Ritual and ceremony in their due times kept the world under the sky and the stars in their courses. It was astonishing what ritual and ceremony could do. -Terry Prachett

“Memory is tricky-memory for certain facts and or details is probably more imaginative than anything, but the important thing is to keep the feeling the story has. I never forget that: the feeling one has of the story is what you must strive to bring forth faithfully.” Leslie Marmon Silko

“Ritual and ceremony are powerful bonding tools. They result in a sense of community, a feeling of unity far beyond what you might expect.” –Del Suggs

“Rituals are like electrically powered transmitters sending stimulating sparks of electric current or inspirational feelings that connect us to our inner being or soul.” Wes Adamson

“I believed I wanted to be a poet, but deep down, I just wanted to be a poem.” – Jaime Gil de Biedma​

“Ceremony can bring the quiescent back to life; it can open your mind and heart to what you once knew but have forgotten.” -Robin Wall Kimmerer

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement.….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel

“And as I grew older I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.” -Leonard Cohen

One cannot live in the world; that is, one cannot become, in the easy, generalizing sense with which the phrase is commonly used, a “world citizen.” There can be no such thing as a “global village.” No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality. -Wendell Berry

“We are the products of a billion-year lineage of wandering stardust. We, all of us, are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.” -Jill Tarter

“This is the first, wildest and wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness.” -Mary Oliver

It is a world of elemental attention, of all things working together, listening to what speaks in the blood. Whichever road I follow, I walk in the land of many gods, and they love and eat one another. Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly, all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands. –Linda Hogan

With the demise of religion, many people are left stranded in a chasm of emptiness and doubt; without rituals to recognize, celebrate, or negotiate the vital thresholds of peoples lives, the key crossings pass by, undistinguished from the mundane, everyday rituals of life. If we approach our decisive thresholds with reverence and attention, the crossing will bring us more than we could have ever hoped for.” -John O’Donohue

“If we do not birth and die ritually, we will do so technologically, inscribing technocratic values in our very bones. It matters greatly not only that we birth and die, but HOW we birth and die.” -Ronald Grimes

“Ceremony may be self-derived, it may come from vision, it may be given by a teacher, it may be cultural. But from all sources it has the same underlying root. It is a process in which the human capacity for sacred feeling and reverence is given form and expression.” –Stephen Harrod Buhner

Rituals, anthropologists will tell us, are about transformation. The rituals we use for marriage, baptism or inaugurating a president are as elaborate as they are because we associate the ritual with a major life passage, the crossing of a critical threshold, or in other words, with transformation. -Abraham Verghese

“When you notice something clearly and see it vividly, it then becomes sacred.” -Allen Ginsberg

“Take your well-disciplined strengths, stretch them between the two great opposing poles, because inside human beings is where God learns.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

“One purpose of creative ritual was to experience the connection to “the other” as well as a deeper connection to oneself. That’s why ancient people would say: that ritual made me more aware of how I’m connected to life, to the earth, to the spirits, to the song of creation, and made me more aware of who I am inside, at the level of my own being. What we’ve lost is partly the sense that we are each connected to the whole thing, that each human soul is secretly connected to the living soul of the world.” -Michael Meade

“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.” Joseph Campbell

I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion—and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies. -Ram Dass

If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-­more wonders. -Andrew Harvey

“The real ceremony begins where the formal one ends, when we take up a new way, our minds and hearts filled with the vision of earth that holds us within it, in compassionate relationship to and with our world.” Linda Hogan

I will tell you something about stories,
[he said]
They aren’t just entertainment.
Don’t be fooled.
They’re all we have, you see.
All we have to fight off illness and death.
You don’t have anything
if you don’t have the stories.
Their evil is mighty,
but it can’t stand up to our stories.
So they try to destroy the stories,
but the stories cannot be confused or forgotten.
They would like that.
They would be happy
because we would be defenseless then.
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

We are most human and most alive when we allow ourselves to be touched by the wonder of the world and when we feel genuine gratitude for the life we have been given. -Michael Meade

We exist because our specific particulate arrangements won the battle against an astounding assortment of other arrangements all vying to be realized. By the grace of random chance, funneled through nature’s laws, we are here. Science is a powerful, exquisite tool for grasping an external reality. But within that rubric, within that understanding, everything else is the human species contemplating itself, grasping what it needs to carry on, and telling a story that reverberates into the darkness, a story carved of sound and etched into silence, a story that, at its best, stirs the soul. -Brian Greene

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” Muriel Barbery

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. -Thich Nhat Hanh