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Rituals, Cycles and Ceremonies at Camphill


by Peter Henochsberg   (2014-07-01)

Ritual is common to all societies and all communities. They play an important role in uniting people and bring about a sense of common purpose and belonging. Carl Jung saw ritual as essential to people’s psychological wellbeing and it is shown that, in the absence of existing ritual, groups and communities will create their own rituals.

 At Camphill we perform and number of rituals which form part of our culture. For example, we bless and give thanks our food before every meal. We set the table with flowers, sometimes even a burning candle, when we eat. This joins people together in harmony and bring joy to the social interaction of breaking bread together.

Biodynamic preparation at CamphillHowever, we also perform many other ceremonies and rituals – usually related to the Church calendar. Most recently on Ascension Day (29th May), we performed our biodynamic ritual of mixing and applying one of the BD preparations to our vegetable fields. Then, on Whitsun Sunday (8th June), we prepared the next batch cows’ horns BD preparation – which will be used again in six months’ time.

On the nativity of John the Baptist (24th June) we did a ritual procession with lighted lanterns and a huge bonfire – symbolising St John the Baptist’s the presaging of the Christ. At this ritual bonfire, people tossed notes into the fire on which they had written their bad habits or ill feelings that they wish to be rid of. A symbolic gesture.

In each of these events, Camphill residents participated. As participation is voluntary, some events are better attended than others but, at each of them, the right people showed up. These rituals, cycles and ceremonies enrich our lives, bring us together in common purpose and make us what we are, a distinct Camphill community and village.

St John's celebration bonfire