Ritualisation and power dynamic relationships

Ritual exists through all cultures and parts of humanity.  From weddings to birthdays and religion to getting ready for work in the morning.  Humans like ritual.  In fact it could be said that we need it.

“…..ritual, whether secular or sacred, binds groups together, ensuring their harmonious functioning by generating and maintaining orders of meaning, purpose and value.”

Barry Stephenson


Research in archaeology and anthropology continues to shine light on the meaning and value of rites, rituals and ceremonies. Our ancient ancestors had insight into their emotions and the needs those emotions created as they lived and searched for meaning. With a primitive, spontaneous form of wisdom, they developed rituals to meet those needs.¹

Ritual and ceremony are tools. Powerful and efficient tools at times. They can help us to set a clear intent and to keep our mind focused. They can help us to visualise.  They are vessels that hold a safe space for you and enable you to enter different realities and expand your consciousness.²

In all relationships ritual will be present, and none more so than in power dynamic relationships.  From ceremonial collarings to simple daily acts of ritual like greetings, how you serve a drink, etc. these all serve to remind us of our place in the relationship, whichever side of the slash you reside.  They may help us focus on the moment and for some they will be very helpful in maintaining a mindset.


“I’ve had times when ritual has helped me to find my mindset and be in my place.  I work, and in my work I have responsibilities, I need to be assertive, sometimes I have to be authoritative and a leader.  In doing these things – in doing my job well, I am serving my Master but this comes at a cost.  Stress of daily work can stay in my mind and as I ponder those stresses and problems of work….I find I am not feeling in my place when I am home with Sir.  My mind is still in the workplace.  Ritual really helps me to transition into a different head space.  It allows me to leave the stresses of work at work and reach my place as His slave, embrace my submission to Him and know my place.  For a while I became anxious that I wasn’t being a good slave because my mind wasn’t in the right place – I came to realise that I wasn’t being a bad slave…or a bad anything – I was just stressed.  I actually just needed to relax.  Ritual not only helps me to relax but it delivers me to where I want to be in my mindset in order to feel I am serving Him well.”

slave J


In the study of ritualistic behaviours, the terms sacred (the transcendent realm) and profane (the realm of time, space, and cause and effect) have remained useful in distinguishing ritual behaviour from other types of action.  Belief systems, myths, and the like, are viewed as expressions of the sacred realm in which ritual becomes the actions of the individual in a society expressing a relation between the sacred and the profane.  The function of ritual is that of providing the proper rules for action in the realm of the sacred as well as supplying a bridge for passing into the realm of the profane.³  Put more simply, ritual gives us a connection between what it is that we are doing (the action) and it’s meaning, giving ritual a symbolic and sacred purpose.


“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

How do you (or have you) used ritual in your power dynamic relationship?  How important is it to you in your relationship and within the community?  On Wednesday 22nd March at 9pm GMT / 2pm SLT / 5pm EST (23rd March in Australia 8 am AEDT) we will be discussing “Riualization in power dynamic relationships” in a PDRelate Live Meeting.  Join us to share your thoughts and experiences and/or to hear those from others.  Learn more about how to join in to our Live Meetings and you can access the meeting joining instructions by registering.


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